It’s deeper than you think

Maybelle slowly returned to the world from her deep sleep at 5:30 am. Her mind woke fully before she was interested in opening her eyes to see what the day was going to look like. She could smell the coffee in the air coming from downstairs where her mom and three aunts would be sitting together. A darkness hat set in inside of Maybelle and she wasn’t able to get up early in the morning like she used to. Her mother called it becoming an adult, Maybelle called it enlightenment. She rolled herself over to face the edge of the bed and finally opened her eyes to see her black cat Moon staring back at her. The cat made a very soft noise and walked closer to Maybelle’s face to rub her little cat nose against hers. Maybelle gave in and smiled at the cat before getting to her feet finally. Ever since the world had become this painful and strange place they had taken in many new animals, mostly stray dogs and cats left behind by people who had attempted to escape, but there was a few bunnies running around as well. Moon had been Maybelle’s since before the world changed. She had a birth defect which had stunted her growth, so she was too small for her age, but Maybelle thought the goddesses had sent Moon to her as a companion.

The sink made a loud squeal as Maybelle turned the tap on to splash some water on her face. Her right hand stretched out to grab the towel hanging next to the sink and she buried her face before retuning to face herself in the mirror. She studied her face wondering if the dark circles under her eyes would ever go away. Maybelle sighed and turned away from the mirror to pick up a pair of shorts and an oversized t-shirt laying on the dresser on the opposite side of the bathroom. Moon followed every step she took as they started making their way downstairs to see her family. She could hear the news on the TV and the soft murmur of her aunts and mom talking. Moon ran ahead of Maybelle but had to wait for her human to open the swinging door to the kitchen. The women were all sitting around the kitchen table staring at the TV but as Maybelle walked in, they all lifted their heads to smile at her.

“Good morning” They all said in perfect unison.

Maybelle nodded her head back at them, she wasn’t much of a talker in the morning. She walked over to the coffee in the corner and poured herself a cup full. Her mom got up from the table and walked over to the stove where one of her aunts had made her usual omelet.

“You hungry baby?” Her mother asked.

“Not really” Maybelle answered.

“Well have some omelet” Her mother said.

Her mother would do this every single morning. It was their little routine. Maybelle only wanted the coffee but the omelet was very tasty so she would end up eating every last little piece left in the pan. Her mother placed her palm on Maybelle’s cheek. The hand was warm and comforting like a mother’s touch usually was. Maybelle saw the same look of concern in her mother’s eyes every morning, but her mother would never admit to it. Her mother took her seat around the table again as Maybelle shoved a large piece of omelet into her mouth.

“What’s going on?” Maybelle asked, mouth full.

“There’s a girl in subcity four who’s being targeted” Aunt Rickie answered.

“What she do?” Maybelle asked.

“They say she attacked one of the civil service patrollers” Aunt Lory said.

Maybelle continued to shove omelet into her mouth as she joined the other women around the table to watch the news. There was a sketch of a girl on the screen while reporters talked about how she had supposedly moved through the back allies of her town. There were many towns like that now. Maybelle and her family had been fortunate enough to find sanctuary in one of the few towns where they were less strict. They were still divided up separating family units from single people but in their town, there were several definitions of family. Maybelle, her mother and her aunts had registered as a family. They had formed an organization to help people who were targeted in other subcities, but lately it had become much harder because of an increase of security. Their town was also starting to become targeted by civil service companies in other subcities to force them to increase regulations.

“We should help her” Aunt Pixie said.

“It’s not an option Pix, the civil service is after her” Bebe, Maybelle’s mother said.

“That’s why we should do it” Aunt Pixie said.

Aunt Lory got up from the table to grab more coffee. She took the pot and went around the table to fill all her sister’s cups. Maybelle watched the looks between her aunts and her mother. She knew they would be spending some time discussing if they should help the girl on the news or not. Lory sat back down with her sisters.

“It’s too dangerous. If she attacked a patroller, they would stop at nothing. They would kill us” Aunt Lory said.

Maybelle got up from the table with her coffee cup and silently walked back up to her room. She had been part of an online underground group for months that her mom and aunts knew nothing about. If there was one place, she knew she could get some more information about this girl it would be there. Online activity was highly monitored but they had found a channel where they could help each other across the entire nation. Maybelle got her laptop out from under her bed and flipped it open. Moon came running through her slightly open bedroom door and jumped up on the bed purring. The cat rubbed her body against Maybelle’s legs before slamming her body down on the bed to stretch out. Moon ended on her back exposing her stomach to the room, paws clawing towards the ceiling. Maybelle’s fingers started typing on the keyboard, each letter she hit making a clicking noise.

Others online were already talking about the girl on the news. Some were saying she was already killed by the civil service, but others said she hadn’t been discovered yet. It was hard because the stricter subcities controlled all the news coming out from their town boarders. Finding out exactly what had happened or where someone was could be almost impossible in some cases. Maybelle placed her headset over her ears and pulled down the microphone putting it in front of her lips. One of Maybelle’s friends from the online community called her through their chat.

“Mia! How are you?” Maybelle asked.

“Doing good Belle. How is everything with you?” Mia said through the headset.

“Alright, I guess. What have you heard about this girl?” Maybelle asked.

“She released a video earlier this morning on the network. She said she still safe for now but she’s planning something, she’s reaching out to anyone who could help. Do you think your family can do something?” Mia responded.

“I’m not sure my mom and aunts are discussing it now” Maybelle said.

“Let me send you the video link” Mia answered.

Maybelle clicked the link Mia had sent her in their chat box. An image of Cora appeared on the screen and Maybelle listened intensely as Cora talked about her plans to take down the civil service leaders.

“Is she insane? She’ll get herself killed” Maybelle said.

“Just listen to it” Mia urged.

There was nothing about Cora’s location that could be revealed from the video. Behind her was a black canvas, most likely a curtain set up to not show any clues in case the civil service got ahold of the footage. Maybelle kept watching at Cora explained she needed help from anyone who would see the footage. She shared the location where the leaders would be and what kind of horrible acts they committed there. Maybelle wanted to throw up from what Cora shared on the video. She felt her anger build up as her face became more and more red.

“This is disgusting” Maybelle said into the headset microphone.

“We have to help” Mia said.

Maybelle set the laptop on the bed and got up before walking over to one of her bookshelves where she took out a large rolled up map. She rolled out the map on her bed and studied it closely.

“She’s talking about the factory buildings between subcity four and subcity five” Maybelle said.

“How far away from you is that?” Mia asked.

“Far” Maybelle responded.

Maybelle grabbed a pen from her nightstand next to her bed and marked the factory buildings. She drew a long line all the way down the map to where she lived.

“But we could do it” Maybelle added.

“Excellent. I gotta run Belle. Talk to your family and I’ll call you tomorrow, same time” Mia said, before hanging up.

Maybelle took off the headset and threw it on her bed. She rolled the map up again, closed her laptop which she put back under the bed, and headed downstairs to her family. Her legs ran down the stairs, this time without Moon following because she had fallen asleep on Maybelle’s bed. As she came charging back into the kitchen her mom and her aunts were still in the middle of a heated discussion.

“I’m telling you Pix, if you bring that incident up again so help me” Aunt Lory said in an angry tone.

“I’m not the one who insisted on using daddy’s blow torch Lor” Aunt Pixie snapped back.

The women were so busy arguing they hadn’t even seen Maybelle come into the kitchen with her giant map under her arm. Maybelle grabbed the coffee and poured herself a cup while still listening to her family arguing. She couldn’t understand exactly what they were so upset about, but she could bet it had nothing to do with what the conversation started with. These women had special talents when it came to talking about one subject and then ending up arguing about something completely different. Usually what would happen was Rickie saying something that set Maybelle’s mother off, which caused her to say something to upset Pixie, and then Pixie would always drag Lory into it. Sometimes Maybelle would wonder how they hadn’t killed each other yet. She was also kind of happy her mother never had more children, even though her childhood had been lonely in terms of not having other kids her same age to play with. Of course, having all these women around had always been a blessing in Maybelle’s mind, but every once in a while, she had hoped one of them would have some kids just so Maybelle could have someone to share looks with when they all argued.

“Guys” Maybelle said.

The women continued arguing without even acknowledging Maybelle. She took a sip of coffee from her cup and decided to put another pot of coffee on while the women argued. Maybelle placed her rolled up map on the counter and grabbed the coffee pot. She walked over to the sink and rinsed the pot out before filling it up all the way to the top and walked back to the coffee maker where she poured all the coffee into the water cylinder. Maybelle then opened the cabinet above the coffee maker and grabbed a big metal contained where they kept the ground coffee. She scooped coffee into the already placed filter and pushed the on button.

“That is so typical of you Bebe, you always act so special because you are the only one of us who has given birth” Rickie said.

“Hey guys” Maybell tried again.

“Well, giving birth is kind of a big deal. It’s one of those things you can’t really know until you experience it” Bebe said.  

Maybelle rolled her eyes. Her mom would always pull the birth card no matter what the argument was about. It was the one thing she had over her sisters because none of them had kids. The funny thing was Maybelle already knew her mom didn’t really want kids at all, she had gotten pregnant after an affair with an inappropriately older man and only kept Maybelle because it would piss her parents off. The man paid Bebe to keep it quiet and they had never seen him again. Her sister had been nice enough to gather around her when no one else did, so Maybelle never understood how her mom felt like she could somehow get on her high horse with them. Maybelle thought about it as if she had four mothers, all equally as hard working and important to her. The only thing setting her mother apart was the actual giving birth part. She didn’t care so much when they started arguing and brought her into it, but she always tried to defend her aunts against her mom. Then by the end they would all have to admit giving birth is a magical and powerful experience which truly was something you had to feel on your own body before being able to understand it. For a few seconds her mom would feel like she won, and then Maybelle and her aunts would break out in laughter about the fact that they never wanted to feel it on their own bodies. As much as they liked to fight, they all truly loved each other more than life itself, and all jokes aside they admired any woman willing to make the sacrifice of childbirth.

“GUYS” Maybelle yelled.

Suddenly all the women went silent and looked at Maybelle standing by the coffee maker. They all had the same look of surprise on their faces, as if Maybelle hadn’t heard this fight one hundred times before.

“Sorry baby we didn’t see you” Bebe said.

“I don’t care, I have something to show you guys” Maybelle said dismissively.

She grabbed her map off the counter and spread it out on the kitchen table in front of the women.

“The woman they are after, she’s headed here” Maybelle said, pointing to her pen marking.

Her mom and aunts leaned closer to the map looking at the place where Maybelle had marked it with the pen.

“Okay, what’s you angel here toots?” Pixie asked, looking at Maybelle.

“We could help her” Maybelle said.

A few seconds went by without any words being spoken. The women looked at each other while Maybelle looked at all of them at once.

“That’s easier said than done sweets” Bebe said.

Maybelle pulled a chair out and seated herself between them.

“Look, I know it’s a stretch, but we could help her. She released a video earlier; you guys wouldn’t even believe what she said these men do. They need to be stopped” Maybelle said.

“How do you even know all this” Lory asked.

“She released a video, I just told you that” Maybelle snapped back.

Another few moments went by without so much as a movement from the ladies. All that could be heard was the sound of the coffee maker gurgling away behind them. Maybelle’s mother drew a big breath and grabbed ahold of her daughter’s hand.

“We would love to help this girl. But this is too dangerous” Bebe said.

“Not if we are smart about it. They are planning a big event at the turn of the moon, that’s only a few weeks away” Maybelle insisted.

“I think we should do it” Aunt Pixie said.

Maybelle smiled at her aunt Pixie who winked back at her. Bebe gave a look to Pixie which spoke volumes around the table.

“You guys are insane. This girl is on a suicide mission” Aunt Lory said.

“She is doing something rather than sitting around a god damned kitchen table arguing about childbirth” Maybelle said.

“Maybelle!” Bebe said sternly.

“I’m with your daughter on this one Bebe” Aunt Rickie chimed in.

Bebe got up from the table while shaking her head. She headed over to the coffee pot and made her way around the table filling everyone’s cups.

“We may have been able to help one or two runaways but this? This is way beyond what we can do” Bebe said, while pouring the coffee.

“Mom, this is what we have been preparing for. Don’t you get it, if we make this happen, if we save this girl, we could end all of it” Maybelle said, pleadingly.

Maybelle looked at her aunts who were all also looking at each other. Bebe walked back to put the coffee pot in its place and stayed with her back turned to the table for a few seconds. She turned back around to see the rest of the women all facing her. Aunt Lory looked scared while the rest of them had looks of determination. Bebe rolled her eyes while simultaneously shaking her head. She let out a loud sigh of frustration.

“I guess I’m out voted” Bebe said, walking back to her seat around the table.

Bebe looked over at her daughter who smiled back at her. Maybelle nodded in her mother’s direction and felt a sense of achievement coming over her. This was it; this was her moment; this was when she would prove her worth to her family.

“Okay, we have a lot of work to do, so let’s get started” Maybelle said.

Maybelle started telling her aunts and her mother about the horrible crimes the leaders of the nation were committing right under everyone’s noses. They all flinched as Maybelle told them what the leaders of the nation had been doing, and for each word she said their wish to put an end to it grew. They all studied the map as they listened to Maybelle go on. The energy in the room had changed and all the women were in agreement that the situation needed to be solved. They had little to no clue how much more complex this case was, which might have been a good thing at that point, because if they had known they would have never dared to set out on this journey.

End of chapter four.

What now?

Cora gazed out the living room window looking at the slowly rising day. It was as grey as it always was, just like yesterday, and the day before. All she knew now was the various grey tones of the day. From that living room window she could see the fence, the guard towers, and some of the crammed together buildings of the other side of town. It amazed Cora how much she could see from those big windows compared to her small kitchen window. Her uncle walked into the living room with two cups in his hands and handed one of them to Cora.

“Thank you” Cora said, as she took a deep sniff into the cup.

“It’s the cheap stuff, sorry” Her uncle said.

The two of them stood there for only a few seconds both looking outside. Cora closed her eyes and took a small sip from the hot coffee and felt her body warm up as it went down her throat. The house was dead silent, not even a faint sound of a radio could be heard.

“Come one. It’s not safe here” Her uncle said.

Cora’s uncle gently touched her arm taking her away from the window. She followed as he led her out of the living room, through the hallway, and down into the basement. Cora had never been down there before, she assumed it was full of junk or used for storage. At the bottom of the stairs they met another door with three heavy duty locks on it. Her uncle proceeded to unlock all of them. As the door opened a new world entirely revealed itself to Cora. Warm lighting, the smell of lavender and coconut, and the sound of music met her senses. Her uncle walked over to a big table which had two computer screens, a printer, and lots of papers flooding it. Cora lingered by the door looking around at the big open room she had just walked into. The floor was covered in beautiful Persian rugs and the walls were filled with pictures and bookshelves. On the opposite side of the room from the table with the computers there was a big couch with a coffee table in front and two recliners on each side. A small tv set stood along the wall on a small table with wheels.

“This place is amazing” Cora said, still in awe.

Her uncle didn’t look up from his screens.

“Thanks. Can’t be too careful” Her uncle said.

Cora walked over to the table and took a seat on the other end from where her uncle was sitting. She allowed herself to get lost in her coffee cups and thoughts of a better life as she sat there feeling safe for the first time in a long time. She was worried for her uncle, he seemed so different, distant in a way Cora had never seen before. She looked over to him and could see the reflection of the screen in his glasses. He was reading something, most likely the newspapers from other nations, as they were more informative than the controlled newspapers coming out of their nation. Cora reached for the USB she had tucked under her shirt and held it in her hand.

“If I show you this there’s no going back uncle” Cora said, staring intensely at the USB.

Her uncle finally broke his concentration from the screen to see Cora sitting here with the USB in her hand.

“What’s on it?” Her uncle asked.

“Evidence” Cora said, coldly.

Their eyes met across the table. Cora raised herself from her seat and walked over to her uncle. She stretched her hand out and handed him the USB which he proceeded to plug into the computer. A folder popped up on the screen with the name “XILO” and her uncle clicked it to reveal a video. He clicked the video but was met with an error message.

“It’s encrypted. I just need to get access” Her uncle said.

His concentration went back to the computer screen, so Cora stepped away from the table to le him work. This was what her uncle did for a living before it all happened. He worked for the government with computer safety and would help them find people doing illegal activities online. Cora folded both her hands around the coffee cup and walked over to one of the walls filled with pictures. So many pictures of her uncle and his wife and their children. They were all smiling holding each other like a family was supposed to. Cora hadn’t seen her cousins in too long to even remember. She turned her head around to look at her uncle who was still locked into the computer screen. His face had changed a lot since these pictures were taken. There was a darkness about him, and Cora had a nagging feeling she knew why. She turned back to the pictures and stared at his beautiful wife smiling back at her. Cora walked along the wall of pictures to the bookshelf filled with books from top to bottom. Several of them were old textbooks her uncle used to teach new recruits at his former job.

“Video is up” Her uncle said.

“Turn off the sound if you ever want to sleep again” Cora responded, still facing the bookshelves.

Cora’s uncle got a growing concern on his face. He looked over at his niece mixed with sympathy and concern for how emotionally stunted she seemed. The video started playing on the screen and Cora’s uncle took off his glasses to rub his eyes.

“Is that the civil service president?” Her uncle asked.

“Sure is” Cora responded.

Cora took her eyes away from the books and headed over for the couch. She took a seat facing her uncle who was covering his mouth as the video kept playing. She knew exactly what he was feeling in that moment because she had felt it herself when she watched the video.

“Jesus Christ. They can’t be older than ten years old” Her uncle said, distraught.

Cora said nothing. Tears started streaming down her uncle’s face and Cora took a deep breath. He abruptly got up from his seat and took a few running steps behind him to the trashcan standing in the corner and started throwing up into it. Cora walked over to the computer screen and forwarded the video to the very end where she stopped it on an image of three men in uniforms. Her uncle threw up again before falling to the floor. Sweat and tears ran down his face as his breath heaved inside of him. Cora turned around to face him still carrying the same dead look on her face. She saw a box of tissues standing on the shelf next to the table, so she picked it up and brought it over to her uncle. He accepted the tissues and wiped his mouth.

“I’m sorry I had to show you that” Cora said.

There wasn’t any real regret in her voice, but she did mean it. She wouldn’t wish anyone to see what she had just shown her uncle, but she knew it was necessary.

“These three are the ones responsible” Cora said, pointing to the computer screen.

Her uncle closed his eyes and squeezed them together. He reached for the bucket again as his cheeks puffed up, but he didn’t throw up again he just stayed on the floor holding on to the bucket. Cora watched as his breath started returning to normal levels while her uncle was still holding on to the bucket.

“Do you see the cylinders in the back?” Cora asked.

Her uncle nodded his head as he looked at the screen. He pushed his feet towards the floor forcing his body up. Finally letting go of the bucket Cora’s uncle leaned his back on the wall behind him.

“It’s the old factory building right outside of the town limits” Cora continued.

“Why are you telling me this Cora?” Her uncle asked.

Cora crossed her arms over her stomach and straightened up her stance.

“I’m going to put an end to it” Cora said determined.

Her uncle gave Cora a confused look. He scoffed as he used his hands to push himself up from the floor and walked across the room over to a door in the corner leading to a small bathroom. Cora heard the sink turn on and waited for her uncle to come back out. As he returned, she saw the fresh water dripping off his face and, in his hand, he had a towel.

“How exactly do you plan to end anything involving the most powerful people in this nation?” Her uncle asked, rubbing his face with the towel.

“I’m going to kill them” Cora responded.

Cora’s uncle froze with the towel still covering his face. He slowly pulled the towel down to see Cora standing firm in her spot with a stone-cold face.

“You are going to…” Her uncle started.

“Kill them. Yes, that’s correct” Cora said, still determined.

Her uncle shook his head and walked over to the couch where he took a seat and covered his face with the towel again. He rubbed his face in the towel as if he was trying to rub away the entire image he had in his mind, or like he was rubbing away the entire situation. Cora watched him from her spot by the computer which was still frozen on the image of the three men.

“If they are on the outside of the city limits you will be killed before you even make it there” Her uncle said.

Cora nodded firmly and walked over to the couch, taking a seat on the coffee table right in front of her uncle who had lifted his head from the towel.

“They are planning a big event on the upcoming moon eclipse. Basically, everyone will be there leaving the coast trail almost unmanned between 1am and 6am. That’s my chance” Cora said.

“You really planned this out” Her uncle said.

He looked up at Cora who was staring straight into his eyes. He could see she was being serious and not in the least bit scared as he would have expected from his niece when she was talking about killing several people. Cora saw the confusion on her uncle’s face. She got up from the table and walked back over to the computer where she removed the USB and put it back around her neck and tucked into her shirt.

“I need someone with me to pull off a distraction once I get to the building. I had a partner but he, uhm…” Cora started.

She kept her back turned to her uncle. Cora felt tears starting to push their way to the front of her eyes. She squeezed her eyes tight and drew in air through her nose before opening them and turned around to face her uncle again.

“Obviously I never wanted to put you in this position. You got Marina and the kids so I understand if you can’t go” Cora said.

Her eyes moved away from her uncle and down to the floor. She could feel her uncle’s eyes on her, and she feared he would reject her straight away. Her uncle threw the towel on the table and rested his elbows on his knees. His gaze went down to the floor as he folded his fingers together.

“They left about three months ago” Her uncle said.

Cora’s head shot back up to look at her uncle. She had no clue they were gone or how he was still able to live on this side of town when his family was gone. Any guard who got a feeling someone was living by themselves on this side would report it immediately, especially someone who lived so close to the fence.

“Shit, uncle I’m sorry I had no idea” Cora said.

She walked back over to the couch and took a seat next to him keeping a little space between them. Cora usually didn’t want anyone touching her when she was upset so she didn’t want her uncle to feel she was too much in his space. Cora slowly reached her hand out to place it on her uncle’s shoulder.

“What happened?” Cora asked, softly.

“A few of the people in the neighborhood decided to make a run for it during the last raid. There was a guard who helped, he had a truck going two towns over for supplies” Her uncle said.

“Why didn’t you go?” Cora asked.

Her uncle shook his head slightly before letting out a big sigh of frustration.

“If everyone left, they would have known. Some of us had to stay so we help each other out whenever we need to prove we have a family” Her uncle said.

Tears started falling from his eyes as he talked. Cora wanted to hug him, but she was afraid if she allowed herself to feel the emotion, she would never be able to stop feeling. For what Cora had to do there wasn’t any room for emotions.

“No one can know about what I told you” Cora said.

Her uncle nodded. He turned his head slightly to look at his niece. She still had her hand on his shoulder, but her look was still lacking any real feeling. He looked at her searching for the niece he had once known. There was no trace of her left from what he could see, and he was almost jealous of her seeming lack of emotion. Cora heard a pinging noise coming from her uncle’s pocket followed by a vibration sound. Her uncle fished out his phone from his pocket and Cora watched as he squinted at the screen.

“Shit” Her uncle said.

He abruptly got up from his seat, walked over to his computer screen, put his glasses on and typed something in. Cora heard the voice of a news reporter coming from the screen and she walked over to join him.

“As of this morning we are issuing a warning to all family residents about a possible dangerous suspect who has crossed the fence. The suspect is a woman, possibly joined by a gang, and she is considered very dangerous. Her offence is assaulting a civil service patroller and we are putting in all our efforts to find this dangerous woman. That’s the statement released by the civil service early this morning. We will be back later with any updates” The reported said.

Cora and her uncle looked at each other.

“Fuck” Cora said suddenly.

“You assaulted a civil service patroller but left him alive?” Her uncle asked.

Cora started pacing back and forth along the side of the table.

“I recognized him it threw me off” Cora said.

Her uncle was somehow relieved that there was still some humanity left in her, even though this put them both in serious danger.

“It’s only a matter of time that guard saw us together by the fence” Cora said nervously.

“Those guards are dumb as toast he won’t put two and two together for weeks” Her uncle said dismissively.

Cora continued to pace back and forth not feeling the least bit comforted by what her uncle had said. Even if he was right Cora knew they would figure out eventually if that patroller was talking about her. Why had she left him alive? Just because she saw something familiar in his eyes and recognized his name? there were probably many people with his name, why did she have to have a moment of sympathy for that patroller? Cora continued to pace back and forth while her uncle watched her.

“We’ll be safe here Cora. At least for a while. We can start laying out a plan for how we stop this shit” Her uncle said.

Cora stopped pacing for a moment and turned to her uncle.

“So, you’re in?” Cora asked.

“What do I have to lose at this point, right?” Her uncle said, with a slight chuckle.

She gave her uncle a small smile, felling slightly better, before she went back to pacing back and forth. She had too much on her mind to stop moving but she was finally feeling a little better about the situation. She knew what they had to do, and Cora was fully ready to make any sacrifice she had to. The fate of their already destroyed nation was on her shoulders.  

End of chapter three.

Protocol

Pax Harrison had only had one dream growing up. He was going to make a difference. As a young child his mother had told him to always follow his heart no matter what anybody said, and when his mother passed away when he was only thirteen years old he vowed to never forget what she had told him. Pax had never known his father besides being told that he was a soldier for the freedom army, which had been demolished when Pax was a baby. One picture was all he had as proof that his father existed, and Pax always carried it with him. The picture was so old you could barely make out his father’s face, but Pax didn’t need to see his face clearly, he had always been so inspired by his fathers’ uniform. When he first saw that picture, he knew he would one day wear a uniform just like his father before him.

The day when Pax was sworn into service for the civil service patrol, he felt a proud presence of both his parents, as if they were there next to him telling him he was doing the right thing. It was about a month into it that he had realized he had no idea what he had gotten himself into. Having grown up on the rich side of town before the divide Pax had always assumed the poor side was to blame for the own demise. Then one day when he was still in training observing on the side of a senior patroller, he had witnessed a kid no more than eight years old being shot for being out past dark. Pax had never been the same since. While he had started to question what side the good side was, he had to stay in his position unless he wanted to be exiled for leaving without cause. Now his life consisted of forcing himself to perform at a job where he didn’t want to be, while saving as many souls as he could without being noticed.

For a long time Pax had been able to get away with not killing anyone by either purposefully directing other civil service patrollers to where the people were, or by delivering them to a safehouse run by an old friend of Pax’s mom. Never, not even once, had he been knocked unconscious for his fellow patrollers to find. Pax knew this night would stay with him for the rest of his life, because from this point on there was no turning back.

At the end of a long grey corridor stood two civil service guards in front of a black door. Pax felt his forehead start to heat up as he took another step closer to the door and the guards. There was a growing feeling of concern inside his gut telling him to make a run for it, but somehow his feet continued to move forward towards the door. When he was only a few steps away one of the guards reached his hand out opening the door so Pax could walk on through. On the other side of the door was a big open room, grey like the hallway, with several doors on all sides. Pax knew exactly which door would lead him to the supervisor waiting for him. This room was were they brough civilians to test them. They would tell them to wait in that room to see how long it would take for them to try one of the doors. Some of them led to more hallways and some to offices. The one Pax had to go through would lead him straight to what he now considered to be hell, because he had no idea if he would ever make it out of that room again. Pax twisted the doorknob and pushed open the door on the far right.

The office Pax had entered had tall shelves filled with books and publications from floor to ceiling. It was small with dim lighting and one single desk in the left corner where Pax’s commanding officer was hunching over some papers. Commander Ashby was an older man with white hair and deep concern wrinkles between his eyebrows. His glasses rested on his nose as a few strains of hair hung down into his eyes. Ashby lifted his head slightly to see Pax come in and gestured for him to take a seat in front of him. Pax swallowed hard and took a seat.

Not a word was spoken between the two for a few seconds, Pax started to feel the sweat between his shoulder blades, as Ashby sighed and shook his head over his pile of papers. Pax swallowed again so loudly he was sure Ashby could hear it.

“So, what are we going to do with you Harrison” Ashby said finally.

“Excuse me sir?” Pax answered questioningly.

Ashby stood up from his seat and slowly removed his glasses from his face, dropping them down on his desk on top of the papers, and he moved away from behind the desk. Pax kept his eyes locked forward as if Ashby were still sitting in front of him.

“My officers tell me they found you unconscious. Would you care to fill in the blanks?” Ashby asked sternly.

Pax rubbed his hands on his knees a few times trying to think of how he should spin this story. He knew he couldn’t come straight out and say what happened, but he also knew too much lying would expose him.

“There was a group of young adults Sir. They came out of nowhere must have been watching me” Pax said.

 Pax could hear Ashby coming back towards the desk and he tried to adjust his face to not look guilty. Ashby took his time moving around the desk again to take his seat. In his hand he was holding a book which Pax couldn’t see the name of. The stern look on Ashby’s face was still present.

“Mhm. Go on” Ashby said.

“Sir, I do apologize but I cannot recall much else” Pax said.

Ashby dropped the book down on his desk creating a fairly loud noise as the book hit the wooden desk.

“Is that so? Because they…” Ashby started.

Ashby flipped through a few papers in the pile in front of him and lifted one of them to read from.

“They knocked you out with your own gun and then took the bullets but left the gun” Ashby continued.

Pax felt a cold shiver go all the way from his neck to his tailbone. He swallowed yet again feeling the lump in his throat as if he had swallowed a big piece of gun and not his own spit.

“That is what I was told Sir” Pax said, slightly ashamed.

There was an energy inside that small office which Pax couldn’t exactly put his finger on. Was he about to get fired? Arrested? Killed? Maybe he should have just stood up right there and left the room, left the civil service patrol for good and never look back. There were a million thoughts going through Pax’s head at that moment, but it was as if he couldn’t pick one from the crowd, like they were all just floating around at the same time without any clear direction.

“What did you notice about the kids?” Ashby asked.

Pax adjusted himself in his seat slightly before regretting it instantly. He cleared his throat trying to sound secure in himself, but he was afraid he was rather starting to show how uncomfortable he was in the situation.

“They were all dressed in black. Must have been teenagers they were almost my height. I think they were heading for the fence sir” Pax said, making things up as we spoke.

Ashby leaned back in his chair and raised his feet placing them on top of his desk. He folded his hands together and placed them on his stomach as if he was ready to listen to Pax tell him a long story. Pax was struggling to find more information he could possibly lie about. Ashby nodded towards him for him to go on, but Pax had no idea what he could say in that moment.

“I’m afraid that’s all I know Sir. It was still dark outside and…” Pax started.

“You can’t see well in the dark Harrison? You know that’s one of the key tests you go through before taking this job? I believe you aced that test in the field did you not?” Ashby said, cutting Pax off.

“Well, yes Sir I did but…” Pax started again.

“But you just didn’t see that well this morning?” Ashby asked, cutting Pax off again.

“Yes Sir” Pax said, bowing his head in disgrace.

Ashby shook his head before taking his feet off the desk again. He took a deep sigh as he picked up his glasses from the desk and started moving around some of the papers in the pile in front of him.

“This isn’t the first time you have been perceived as lenient Harrison” Ashby said.

Pax picked his head back up to meet Ashby’s eyes.

“Lenient Sir?” Pax asked.

Panic started to set in inside Pax’s gut. He knew this day would come sooner or later. There was always the chance that they would realize he didn’t want to kill people. He didn’t even want to hurt people and that didn’t fit into the civil service profession. Pax could feel his chest get heavier as his breath sped up. No matter how hard he tried to calm himself down it seemed as if his insides refused to stay still. Ashby kept picking out sheets of paper, no doubt papers telling the story of Pax and his leniency. Pax’s organs were all shaking with a growing feeling of fear rising in his throat. Pax thought he might throw up right then and there, so he swallowed trying to push the feeling down.

“In your years here, you have the fewest kills out of any civil service patroller, you hardly have any arrests, and you have never even been interested in moving up from your position. I mean am I wrong Harrison?” Ashby asked.

“Sir, with all due respect I don’t think violence is always the answer” Pax said, instantly regretting the comment.

Ashby slammed him palm down on his desk making Pax jump out of his skin. The feeling of having to throw up came rushing back to his throat but stopped midway up his esophagus.

“If you don’t think violence is necessary, I would ask you to take a walk down the street and look at what those thugs out there have done to our city. We have fought to take it back, but our work is far from done Harrison. Frankly if you are not a team player you can feel free to take a position down at the dock, is that what you want?” Ashby said, fume coming from his ears.

Working at the dock was the lowest position possible for a civil service patroller. The dock was crawling with people who had not received proper treatment for their mental health issues which caused them to become violent. If you had been placed by the dock it meant your life was no longer of value, as most of the civil service patrollers down there would be killed within their first month. If you were one of the lucky ones who didn’t get killed that fast you would eventually die from the disease coming from rats and roaches down there. The civil service was impossible to leave once you had taken the oath to serve, and even if you tried to escape they would find you and kill you before you could make it anywhere. It was almost as if they knew you were planning to escape even before yourself. Pax had never met anyone else like him who didn’t want to hurt anyone, everyone else just seemed to accept their job.

“No Sir” Pax said finally.

Ashby shook his head again looking as Pax with disappointment. He moved from behind the desk again and walked over to the door. He opened it just as someone on the other side handed him a folder and Ashby quickly closed the door again. He walked back over to Pax and his desk where he dropped the folder in front of Pax.

“Harrison this is your last shot. You will write a detailed report on what happened, including everything you did wrong, and you will be stationed in that back ally every night until we find these criminals” Ashby said.

“But Sir, I…” Pax started.

“I don’t want to hear it. Let me make this very clear for you. You will shoot anything that moves until we get the right people for this, you got that? And when I say anything, I mean anything, I don’t care if you see your own reflection and shoot that, but you will shoot anything and everything” Ashby said.

Pax felt himself become very flustered at the thought of what Ashby wanted him to do. He felt the lump in his throat come back again.

“What if I shoot a civil service patroller Sir?” Pax asked.

Ashby’s eyes turned red for anger.

“I don’t give a shit. When you sign on for a position here you accept that you will give your life one day. And if we have to have you shoot a few colleagues to understand your role here then that’s what you have to do. What makes you think you would be able to shoot a civil service patroller anyway? You could not even shoot a few kids. Pfft what a joke” Ashby said.

“I’m sorry but she…” Pax said, before stopping himself.

Ashby’s eyes widened and so did Pax’s.

“She?!” Ashby screamed.

Pax quickly tried to come up with something to save himself, but his mind had gone completely blank from fear. The words kill and kids were ringing to loud inside his skull he wanted to shoot Ashby right then and there. No doubt the world would be a better place without someone like him in it. Even though he had always known this whole place was a waste of time in was in that moment Pax realized he would have to make a choice. Either he would have to accept the brutality of his profession or he would have to try and join the resistance. If he did decide to join the resistance, he would undoubtedly be killed but at this point he didn’t see any point in continuing to live.

“You’re telling me a girl did this to you?” Ashby asked, braking Pax’s concentration.

“Sir I didn’t…” Pax started.

“Save it Harrison. You will go to the sketcher before you do anything else and you will describe in detail this girl, do you hear me?” Ashby said.

“Yes Sir” Pax answered, lowering his head.

“Get out of my sight you’re disgusting” Ashby said, as he sat back down in his seat.

Ashby swung his chair around showing his back to Pax. Pax slowly raised himself up from the chair and started walking out. He could feel the tears behind his eyes start to push their way through. What had he just done? Had he just exposed the young woman from this morning? The civil service was especially cruel to women, in particular women who tried to fight them, and Pax had always tried to be careful to never hurt any woman. He felt trapped inside his own mind and body. If this is what his life was always going to be why was he even there? Why had he ever wanted to be a part of this service and why didn’t anyone ever talk about how horrible they were.

As his feet led Pax back out through the hallway, he slowly lost more and more hope of this world ever being a decent place. With each step it was as if someone took more and more away from him. Pax felt himself becoming something he no longer recognized, and he felt he had no one left to turn to. The only thing he knew now was that he didn’t have too much time left.

End of chapter two.

In an Alternate Universe

It was so early in the morning the only people awake besides Cora were the people who hadn’t gone to bed yet. Sunrise was still a couple hours away which meant the outside wasn’t safe yet, but Cora needed to go now before it was too late. Last night had become a complete blur. She knew that if she took the back passages through town, she would be able to dodge the civil service patrols on the main streets. Her uncles house was on the other side of the city, in the community clusters where families and rich people lived. Cora had a room in one of the group buildings for those with low income and single people, which meant the rich people didn’t necessarily want her coming over before curfew was over in the early morning. Her mission on this fateful early day was too important to care about the risks.

She peaked out of her kitchen window to see if the back ally was cleared. Occasionally, the civil service patrol would do a sweep of the back passages and Cora had been watching them to become familiar with their schedule for the last two months for safety measures. She knew that they would most likely not do another sweep this morning meaning she had a clear path all the way to her uncle’s backyard. The USB she had received the night before was in the shape of a ninja, with a sword across his body that doubled as a attachment clip, so Cora had secured it with a thin leather string and placed it around her neck on the inside of her shirt. There was a voice inside of her telling her to go right away so Cora turned off her lights and slowly made her way outside.

When she had moved into the building she could choose between several apartments, but Cora knew she wanted the one closest to the back exit. That gave her the chance to move in and out more freely without any of the building cameras catching her. Ever since the time of the division security around this part of town had stepped up to such an extent Cora as beginning to fear she would get caught one day. It was a long time ago since she became comfortable with the sacrifice she would ultimately have to make when she would either get caught one day or her life would get lost in the crossfires. Death was not something unfamiliar or scary to Cora, most times it seemed she was closer to death than anyone else. That didn’t mean she wanted to die. There was so much work to be done still, especially in her own neighborhood, and she needed to be alive to help.

As she made her way out of her building, avoiding all the cameras by partly climbing down the outside of the building, she could hear the distant sound of civil service patrollers laughing. There was no one she hated more than the civil service patrol. They were a group of people who had power problems and unfortunately their jobs made them able to abuse their power on people outside when the curfew was in session. Cora had already had a run in with civil service patrollers a few years ago now which had ensured her hatred forever. Three newly appointed patrollers at the time had caught her one night when she was delivering food to a group of homeless people nearby. They were a couple of families who had all been expelled from their houses without warning, which happened a lot, and Cora was part of a foundation that delivered food to whoever they could find. She had been searching for them for five days when they finally found them. The patrollers had been breaking their own rules taking a piss in the ally at the time Cora came by. They gave her a beating and violated her and told her the next time she would be done worse. Cora never told anyone.

She could move without making a single sound now. Many hours had been spent practicing and studying several forms of combat sports to the point where she felt secure, she could defend herself in any situation. Of course, she also had to consider that she was a small person, and it was not uncommon for people to just pick her up in a fight. That set her off more than anything else, which is why she now had little knives on the back of her shoes so she could fight even when they picked her up. Her size made people underestimate her which did work to her advantage when her little gadgets were used, because people never expected her to be that prepared. Cora would often think to herself that its what happens when you have felt a punch to your face with the strength of a power tripper behind it, you do anything to make sure that never happens again.

Cora stayed close to the wall when she hurriedly made her way up the ally ways. There could be civil service patrols on some rooftops who would not hesitate to shoot her right there. Everything was under surveillance making it hard to even get messages across to people. Phones had already been surveilled for decades and now they had become completely controlled by the official telecommunication services. During the nighttime, any message would be read and if you sent a message during curfew hours you would be placed on automatic surveillance. Cora had stopped using her phone for anything but her alibi.

Just ahead of her a group of drunk homeless men were making too much noise so Cora stopped in the shadow where she could see them without them seeing her. She spotted up to her left that there were a few civil service patrollers up on a roof who had already caught them in their sights. She could see them set up their weapons to take them all out. Her eyes went back to the men who were laughing too loudly. She wondered why they would do such a thing. Without a doubt these men knew what would happen to them if they were seen. She wanted to warn them somehow but there was no way for her to do that without being killed herself. She knew what would happen and she had to stand there and watch the events take place. Her gaze went back to the rooftop to make sure she couldn’t be seen. Her dark clothing kept her completely hidden in the shadow parts of the ally. The men on the rooftop said something into the shoulder talkie. Most likely they were telling the patrollers on the street they needed to come clean up after them. Cora looked back at the men and took a deep breath.

The first shot went off right into the head of the first man. The next one went down before being able to react to the first. Then another went down while letting out a last scream. Then another got two shots because the first one didn’t do it. The last man tried to run but didn’t make even one decent leap before his lifeless body hit the ground like a pile of bricks. Within seconds the ground patrollers came and removed the men, throwing them into vans and driving off. The ally was empty again and Cora had to keep moving.

Some of the back passages were narrow and windy making it difficult to know what would be around the next corner. Cora knew she just had to make it through this stretch of narrow paths, and she would be fine. The following streets after that were easy to navigate before the fence that separated the poor from the rich. Through the narrow streets she had to move slowly enough to not bring attention to herself, but she also had to move fast enough to make to her uncle before sunrise. The memories of what life had been like before the division were starting to fade from Cora’s mind. She didn’t have any family left besides her uncle. The rest had either been killed or had gone off the grid which meant they would have had to deny any family members. Going off the grid had been popular for years because it was one of the few ways to escape the entire nation. Once you went off the grid you were never allowed to contact anyone still part of it and you could never return no matter what. Since the news going in and out were so unreliable a lot of people had started saying there was nothing off the grid, they believed it was a ploy to get people to think they were escaping when in reality they were sold into labor or possibly killed. Cora liked to imagine going off the grid was real, and she liked to imagine her entire family there somewhere, on the other side in a peaceful place.

There was a sound of glass on the ground in the not too far distance which made Cora freeze in place. She had just made it out of the narrow passages, and she could see the fence still ways up ahead of her. It wasn’t that much further if only she could run a little faster without being noticed she would have been by the fence already. There was silence, but Cora could hear someone breathing and she crouched to the ground. Her eyes moved fast between the dark walls trying to see anything that would reveal where the sound came from. This was an area full of civil service patrol groups because it was so close to where the rich neighborhood started. One wrong move and her life could be over as she knew it. Cora placed her back flat to the wall, still in a squatting position, calculating each movement of her feet on the ground. She was moving sideways so she could have the most vision of the entire street at the same time. As she was coming closer to the corner of the building, she was sliding against she could tell the sound was coming from right where she was headed. She was hoping her calculations were correct in that there was only one person waiting for her, and if she was lucky, they hadn’t even noticed her yet. Her eyes were fixated on the corner as her face was almost right at the edge, ready to reveal whoever was hiding.

A foot stepped out from the corner and Cora threw her right leg straight out and swung it to the side tripping the civil service person. They fell hard to the ground with a thud and Cora jumped to her feet with her fists clenched out in front of her body. The civil service person quickly got back up clearly startled by Cora, luckily for her they had also not been able to reach for their weapon. As soon as they were standing upright Cora thew a punch right at their jaw, with her metal padded gloves stinging the insides of their flesh. She threw another punch at the civil service person, but he grabbed her fist before it landed the hit. While still holding onto her fist they landed a powerful punch right on Cora’s left eye. Cora and the civil service person threw several punches at each other, each one more powerful than the last, neither one of the fighters showing signs of slowing down. Core felt her anger boiling up inside of her. She hardly had any time left and now this idiot was slowing her down even more. Her insides started growling as she threw her full force ahead and leaped slightly while landing a solid hit right at the side of the skull of her opponent making him stumble backwards. As she landed Cora swiftly lifted her right leg in a high kick hitting the civil service person right in his nose. Cora kicked him again in the stomach with her left leg, which revealed his gun on his hip. Her hands started throwing quick punches in his stomach to distract him before she landed one solid punch to his face while grabbing his gun with the other hand. His body fell backwards to the ground as Cora pointed the gun towards him.

The civil service patroller looked up to see his own weapon pointed at him and he raised his arms for protection. Cora stared at his face which was partly covered by blood. He looked scared which made Cora feel powerful. There was something familiar about his eyes, as if she had seen them before up close, but she couldn’t remember where. She knew that he could make one sound at any moment and have the place flooded with other civil service patrollers. Her fingers were squeezing the trigger lightly, but the look in her eyes made her hesitate to take the shot. Cora heard his walkie start to beep making his eyes widen with fear. Before thinking Cora struck the civil service person across the face with their gun hard enough to make him pass out. She emptied the clip and the chamber and took the bullets but left the gun on top of him. There was a name on the jacket that had Cora stop for a few seconds. It said “Harrison”, but Cora still couldn’t remember what was so familiar to her. The walkie made another noise and Cora got back to her feet continuing on her way.

To be safe she ran the next few streets to get far enough away from the civil service patrollers who were undoubtedly flooding the ally. There was an opening in the fence that separated her from her uncle’s neighborhood, but she would have to get through there before the fence guards noticed her. Her uncle’s house was one of the houses closest to the fence and all she would have to do is get across the fence. It was starting to become light out and she was almost completely visible making her a walking target in these streets. Cora pulled her lavender scarf over her black hair and started looking for a safe place to wait so she could see where the guards were.

At the fence there were several large towers where guards would always be standing , as well as the ground guards who walked along the fence in intervals. If she had any hope of crossing it, she would have to make sure neither the guards in the towers or the ones on the ground could see her. There was a guard on the other side of the fence heading towards Cora so her chance would have to be once he had passed her. Cora threw a glance up at the towers on each side of her. The tower on her right was luckily full of guards who were watching some kind of sporting event, so they were not paying attention. On her left however, the guards in the tower all had their positions looking out in each direction. Cora had on grey clothing which made her hard to see in the early day break lighting, but that also made her look completely dark and blending in with the shadows while nighttime was still in session. The lavender scarf was light but sheer which made it great for protecting her hair as the dark color blended with the scarf especially in that early morning light. Cora grabbed one side of her scarf and wrapped it around the bottom part of her face. The guard on the ground passed by where Cora was hiding. This was the only chance she would get before it was completely light outside, but the guards in the tower would not leave their positions. One of them would see her right away if she tried to make a run for it. She pulled out a small grenade like explosive from her side pants pocket and removed the splint before throwing it as hard as she could behind her, throwing it over one of the buildings so it would end up over in the main street in the hoped that all the guards would direct their attention in that direction. As her hand let the grenade go Cora quickly looked back up at the guard tower and waited for the loud bang.

Cora had her eyes fixed on the guard tower as the loud explosive sound went off behind her. She saw the guards all move to the front side of the tower to see what was happening so Cora made a run for it towards the fence. She got low to the ground and crawled over to the opening, pushing the fence open and crawling through. She felt her scarf get stuck on some of the wire as her pulse started rising. Cora tried to calm her breath as she silently told herself she would be fine. She quickly closed the fence opening behind her to make sure the guards wouldn’t reveal the passage was for the next person. Once on the other side Cora crawled further until she felt the asphalt with her hands, and she got to her feet. She used her hands to dust off some dirt from her clothing before she started casually walking down the street towards her uncle’s house.

“Stop civilian” A deep dark voice said behind Cora.

Cora’s heart stopped for a few seconds as her legs stopped cold. She heard the guard prepare his weapon as she slowly turned to reveal herself to him with her hands already in the air. Any civilian knew that they had to put their hands in the air immediately when a guard talked to them. Her face felt like it was telling all her secrets and the guard looked like he was ready to not believe whatever she would say.

“Where do you live?” He asked.

“Up ahead” Cora said.

“What’s your business at this hour child?” He asked.

“I heard the explosion and I…” Cora started.

“That’s none of your business civilian” He said sternly.

The guard came closer to Cora and she felt her breath become heavy. He towered over her with his weapon still pointing at her, aiming at her chest, their eyes interlocked. For one second Cora’s eyes drifted away as she caught sight of a small piece of her scarf stuck in the fence where she had crawled through. Her eyes quickly returned to the guard who was still staring at her.

“Cora? There you are! I have been looking all over for you” A familiar voice said.

Cora held her position as the guard’s eyes wandered behind Cora to look at the person calling her name. In the side of her eye she suddenly saw her uncle standing next to her smiling at the guard with his hands in the air.

“I’m sorry guard. This is my daughter, she’s so curious, I’ll take her home” Uncle said.

There was a feeling of relief inside of Cora’s body. She could feel all her muscles start to let go of their fighting instincts and return to a relaxed state. The guard looked annoyed but relieved he wouldn’t have to make a bigger deal of the situation. Cora could tell he was suspicious, and she feared he was studying her face so he could remember her later.

“Alright Sir. Keep a better eye on her next time. It’s not safe for a sweet thing like her” The guard said.

Her uncle smiled and nodded without saying a word. Speaking up to a guard could be seen as a threat even if it was a comment of support. The guard walked away back to the fence to continue his patrol. Cora let out a big breath as she and her uncle turned around to walk to his house. The two of them didn’t say a word until they were further away from the guard and the fence. They walked up the path leading to the garden and up the walkway on the grass leading to the back door.

“What the hell are you thinking Cora? You’re lucky I saw you from the window” Uncle said.

Cora looked at her uncle but refused to say a word while they were still outside. She did feel very lucky he had shown up when he did, but she knew he wouldn’t be feeling so lucky when she would show him what she knew. They stepped inside the house which smelled like a real home. Cora locked the door behind her and finally removed the lavender scarf from her head uncovering her mouth.

“Uncle, we have trouble” Cora said.

End of chapter one.

Lessons

dedicated to my devastatingly gorgeous best friend entering the last leg of her twenties.

With your last years in being a twenty something ahead of you now there are some lessons that might assist you on your way. Women way before me laid the path, and women coming way after me will create their own, but for now let’s take a moment to remember what we have done so far!

Trust me I don’t really want to be the one to tell you all these things. Your twenties is an endless dark hole that drags you further down than you could have ever imagined, and you think the beginning of your twenties are hard, but sadly you haven’t seen the worst yet. As you move further into those dark years the people around you will find new ways of letting you know that you are failing. The trick is to spend this time to focus on your mental strength so that no matter what anyone says you won’t waver.

1. Stay focused. While it might seem sometimes like you have left the worst behind this is only the beginning. Keeping your mind busy and staying focused on your goals is one of the greatest ways to let go of twenty something anxiety. Use this time to remind yourself what you want out of life and fight your way there. You might see people around you are reckless and “living life” but the truth is most of them are just hiding from reality. Partying is fun and encouraged but don’t get lost in the “yolo” of it all (I threw up in my mouth a little using that expression).

2. Be open to change! Being a teenager and an early twenty something can sometimes be your biggest enemy when you reach your late twenty somethings. You have spent that time fighting so hard for your opinions and your view of life, so now when change comes it is easy to be negative to it at first. Try to open yourself up to change and open your mind up to new pathways. Especially when you hear something that makes you mad! Instead of writing that statement/opinion off as “wrong” or useless to you try to understand the person and their experiences behind the statement (unless they are racist that fucking shit should be punishable with jail time).

3. Learn to let fucking go. Now this is a big one folks. There are times in your early (and probably many times in a lifetime) twenty somethings when you want to hold on to something so hard you will destroy everything else around you. Learning to let shit go will save you time and energy and as a bonus when you learn to swiftly let go you will notice how much growth you can do in such a short time. The world will falsely tell you that holding on (to bad friendships, to bad marriages, to your outdated opinions) is somehow a sign of being strong, but it’s truly a sign of being afraid. Your fear is what makes you hold on to the familiar, the fear of the unknown, and the fear of loosing who you are. You will continue to grow while still being who you are at your core if you are open to change, and open to letting change into your heart and your mind.

4. Learn to be selfish but not self obsessed. Teaching people to be selfish is one of my greatest passions in life. I think we all need to be more selfish for us to be better people to others. See the thing is guys that learning to set your own boundaries and learning what you need to feed your own soul is not a sign that you don’t care about anyone else. It is a sign that you value yourself and the relationship with yourself. After all that relationship is the only one you will have your whole life. Start to say no when you want to say no (I mean don’t be a dick if your friend needs help moving the couch) and start becoming comfortable with simply saying “no this is my time with me” and watch as your mind will flourish. We live in a world where self-obsession is so normal, we hardly even think about it anymore, but self obsession is what happens when you think you are somehow responsible for other people. To give you an example think about all the parents out there who say having children is the meaning of life (placing your life’s meaning onto another individual is not okay) and simultaneously they will make a lot of statements about what their child will NOT be allowed to do. These children now have to grow up with the pressure of being someone else’s meaning in life (like what the fuck does that even mean) but at the same time they aren’t allowed to think for themselves. That’s self obsession from parents! The parents are so obsessed with themselves that they are literally creating little copies of themselves who they are controlling to not grow and evolve but rather directly dictate whatever mom and dad wants. The biggest gift you will give yourself now in your late twenty somethings is to become the kind of person who treats themselves well, allows themselves to make mistakes, accepts the changes they are going through, and most of all learns how to not be self obsessed.

5. Stop blaming your past! This one goes hand in hand with the one above ladies and gentlemen. You see you have now entered the time when excuses aren’t valuable anymore. You might have been able to blame your parents and their toxicity, or blame your troubled teen years, or even blame your own stupidity as a child. Not anymore. While it might be tempting to tell yourself (and others) that you are the way you are because of so and so nobody gives a fuck now. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) had a shitty time at some point during the adolescent years so why the fuck do you think you are so special?! Learning to not just let go but also starting to practice not using excuses anymore will help you greatly in life. There is no cushion to land on if you keep being an asshole but excuse your behavior with your past there is only the hard brick wall of being punched in the face by reality.

6. Accept your own responsibility. Many say that forgiveness is a sign of growth, and I absolutely agree, however I also believe accepting your own responsibility is a bigger sign of growth. When something truly shitty happens to you it’s natural to get stuck in the misery a little and it feels like you will never be able to get back up. It feels like the world has crashed down on us and we want to hide under the covers or at least train our minds to just forget what happened. Learning to move through the trauma in your life by accepting your own responsibility will help you understand that everyone carries trauma with them. It hurts like a bitch and it might take a long time to get there but oh my the rewards are endless when you understand your own part. You will start to listen to other people and realize they are still not accepting their part because they are still placing blame on outside forces. You will recognize how they are throwing their own issues onto other people just because they haven’t been able to take some of the responsibility.

7. Stop making excuses. This one might look like “stop blaming your past” but this one is a different kind of lesson. This lesson is about alllllllll those little excuses we make as to why we can’t do this or that. We blame everything else before we admit (if ever) that the only thing standing in our way is our own uncertainty. Your late twenty somethings are the perfect time to stop making all kinds of excuses because this lesson will help you with alllll the other ones. You see when you complain, and bitch and moan, you are sending a signal to yourself that you are unhappy. That unhappy feeling then manifests itself inside of you and continues to grow each day until you are so comfortable in your unhappiness that you don’t even notice it. While there of course are some things we just have to bite down on and accept for the time being, try to manifest the life you are working towards and manifest the happiness you want to feel before you are there. The secret (which isn’t really a secret people just don’t fucking listen) is that your mind is actually what controls everything in your life. Being able to control your mind and not let it control you is the key, but it is not going to be easy. Most people find it much more comfortable to live in ignorance so don’t become one of them. Stop making up excuses to why you won’t change your life, either make a change, or shut the fuck up and quietly work towards your goals.

8. Keep things to yourself. Woven together with my last point is this one. There is nothing more devastating than hearing other people tear down your ideas and dreams. Learn how to keep them to yourself until they are ready to be lived fully! I am always a big supporter of having friends or family to talk to, but you shouldn’t tell them everything. Again, you have a relationship with yourself before anyone, so how would you feel if your closest friend started telling all your shit to other people? Exactly, not good so stop your mouth from telling all your minds secrets you guys are in this together. It’s easy to fall for the temptation of getting praise but the praise will be even bigger when you show people what you are made of when they had no idea you had that in you.

9. Stop the comparisons! Your late twenty somethings will bring even more tempting ways to compare yourself to others. We as people are all on different paths in life and even though we have people around the same age as we are does not mean they are going down the same path. Your path might look stupid and broken to someone else and vice versa but there is no need to compare yourself to them. The same goes for how we look! Our bodies are unique in their own ways just like our minds are, and we need to love our own. Tell your body and your mind that you love them. And tell your body and your mind that you will accept their flaws even when other don’t. Forgive your body it needs it!

10. Create some great habits. The entire twenty something adventure is just ten years of not really understanding what is going on. Our whole lives we have been told to go to school, get a job, get a life. But then your twenties are there, and you suddenly realize it has all been one big lie. School won’t be more than that place you once hated, but now you kind of miss it because you didn’t have any responsibilities, and then higher education is just the same except you are now somehow responsible for yourself at the same time! This is the time to rip out all the pages in your planner and start with new blank pages and set your own rules. Creating good habits and routines will help you keep your focus and you will discover what you value I your life. It doesn’t matter what your habits are just create some good ones that make you feel good, maybe some habits you have always wanted to have but never did, or something your thought you would never be able to do. Nothing feels better than doing something you can’t do, practicing and honing, and then discovering you have learned a brand-new skill you always dreamed of having.

11. Learn to listen instead of giving advice or matching the feeling/experience. There are many times when we want to give advice to other people, because they are complaining or venting their feelings, but learning how to stop giving that advice might be the greatest thing you will ever learn. Sometimes all we want is to vent our feelings and say out loud what we feel inside but that doesn’t mean we want advice on how to “fix” it. It’s tempting to be the person who can fix problems for others, but there is a whole profession for that called psychiatry. And the funny part is, even a psychiatrist is mostly there to listen! Many seem to think that a therapist is the one who is supposed to have the solutions. No, the solutions are inside of you but if you keep expecting other people to hand you the answer you won’t ever find it. The same goes for your friends when they complain about life. They aren’t looking for the answer or the “fix” they are looking for someone to say I hear you and I am here for you. Being there for another person means accepting them as they are, accepting that they will not do what you would do, and accepting that if you bother to give advice most likely they won’t follow it! And you probably did the exact same to the person who tried to give you advice at one point. We can so easily see the problems with other people, but we are the last to know about our own. Learn how to say “I hear what you are saying and I am here if you need to vent more feelings” and then actually do it instead of offering friendly “advice” or even sharing a “similar experience” because sometimes that only tells the other person that you really didn’t listen you just compare yourself to them and it undermines their feelings. That doesn’t mean offering similar experiences doesn’t come from a place of love, but in the end we all feel like our own experiences are unique and having a friend tell you they aren’t could build resentment. Practicing this skill now will allow you to let go of so many insignificant problems that you didn’t even know you had. It truly amazing how many things we are holding onto just because we tried to “help” a friend.

12. Understand that your friends don’t have the answer for you. So, kind of the same thing as the previous but flipped back on you. You will have problems and issues where you tell your friends and then they offer advice or say I did the same and you will feel like you got nothing from them, actually it even made it worse because now you feel like you are complaining for no reason. This is the time for you to understand that if you need (and there is no shame in that) to speak to someone then you might want to speak to a professional. We all know that for people with low incomes etc it can be extremely difficult to find help, but if that is what you need then find it! These days you can pay around $40 to have a whole psychiatrist on your phone so you never even have to leave the house to get help. Not to mention the help lines you can call. Many people might think this is a waste, and maybe you feel like nah you can figure this out and just talk to some friends, which is awesome for you. But if you happen to be someone who finds it frustrating when your friends just don’t listen because they are too busy comparing their lives with yours then the problem is actually yours and you need to change who you talk to. Friends are great for so many things in life, but this ain’t one of them!

13. Start speaking up! To finish off the list I want to say a little about learning how to speak up. This lesson has so many parts to it it’s almost hard to begin. You need to speak up for yourself and you need to speak up for other people. Speaking up for yourself is what I talked about in the point above this one. Speaking up for others is when you unpack your own privileges and decide to start using yours to help those who don’t have them. You have had the experiences you have had; no one can take them away from you, and no one can tell you they didn’t happen. But listen, there are so many people out there who would kill for even a chance to have some of those experiences even though they might have been hurtful for you personally. It doesn’t make your experience less valid or less important, but it means that you have had opportunities and blessings other people haven’t had. You have to understand what situations it is inappropriate for you to speak up for yourself and what situations where it is more important that you speak up for someone else. One does not exclude the other. Silence has done too much damage for way too long, so this is the time for you to start using that voice for something useful. It will be hard at first, and people will tear you down for it, but when they do that you have to go back and remind yourself what we talked about in our lesson of understanding when other people are projecting themselves. You will be called names and accused of a lot so the trick is to stay strong in your mind and remember that simply because someone is hurling insults at you doesn’t not mean you have to retaliate. Stay grounded, stay strong, and most of all stay loud because the silence is what kills.

A part of me wishes this list could have been more positive but the truth is that your last years of a twenty something person aren’t years for positivity and comfort. We learn from the times we fail and if you are spending your twenty somethings only having a great time without failure then life certainly has a few things in store for you. Take this time to fail and be in pain because honestly being in your twenties is painful either way. The more you fall the higher you will eventually climb if you just keep fucking going. Now stop being a little bitch, strap on your safety equipment (your mental health) and go out into the world who is waiting to tear you back down!

The most important lesson perhaps is to understand that life is completely unpredictable. My lessons are in no way a “how to” list which can give you all the answers. You must go out and fail, to gain the tools and mechanisms that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

With love and understanding, and especially no judgement, I wish you safe travels as you start to wander through the last years as a twenty something.

10 Feelings You Have As A College Senior

foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going directly to heaven, we were all going direct the other way” – Charles Dickens

1. Excitement

Going into your senior year at college should first and foremost be exciting. You are finally at the top of the food chain, you are so close to the end, and your whole future is in front of you.

2. Determination

Think about it, you have spent three years asking all the question just so you can get to this point of knowing how all systems work. It’s like being on top of a mountain right before a bear punches you in the stomach and brings you back down to reality.

3. Exhaustion

For the fourth year in a row, you are sleep deprived except now you have to juggle your future job on the side. The sentence you hear the most is “you look tired” and you have no idea if you remembered to put on underwear this morning.

4. Utter annoyance

“Yes mom, I’m still single and unemployed” is how you answer the phone now. You also have to be prepared to answer “so, what’s your plan after college?” any time you meet someone you haven’t talked to in a while. For those of you asking this question; here are the three answers we have for you:”grad school”, “hopefully get a job”, and “I have no fucking clue, Bob.”

5. Lack of determination

It’s seriously like a freight train that just hits you at the worst time during the semester. Nothing seems possible, nothing gets done, and you use all your absences just because you can. Also, this is the time you realize how many shows there actually are on Netflix.
6. Sleep deprivation

Why point out this when I already mentioned exhaustion? There are not enough words in the English language to explain to you how little sleep you get as a senior in college.

7. Extreme sadness

At some point, you will realize that it’s all coming to an end. The people you have grown to love so much will no longer be a part of your everyday.

8. Jealousy

Yes, you love your friends, but you also kinda wanted to find a job before they did. This is a perfectly normal feeling guys, my advice; bite your teeth together and just smile until they go away.

9. Absolute fear

If you’re still not completely sure what you want to do with your life yet, and you don’t have a good job, reality starts setting in. We already have enough loans to pay back, and will grad school really make a difference? I.Hate.Everything.

10. Deceit

People have told you your whole life that college was the answer, yet here you are emotionally damaged, poor, with knowledge in something that may or may not be relevant in the future. Let’s face it, someone deceived us at one point.

May peace and the job market be with you, my fellow travelers.

Dear Tomi Lahren

Your hate will never defeat us

You don’t know me but I certainly know you. Ever since the first time I saw one of your videos I have been wondering one thing, why are you so angry? I know a lot of people ask you this question but seriously what is it? Please don’t give me any of the “I’m a very happy person the rest of the time you just don’t see it” because, Tomi, if you have to defend this a lot, it’s probably time to realize you are a really angry person. I just want, to ask you why you feel this anger? What happened to you to make you so angry at the world? Is it the fact that no one likes you? Because I could understand that but you make it very hard to like you, Tomi.

Let’s talk about your anger a little bit more. Did you know that saying positive words to yourself in the mirror every day can help you be more positive as a person? You might find it awkward at first but I promise it gets easier over time. Maybe you want to tell me right now that you don’t need this help, but Tomi we both know you do. You see, when angry people spew out their hatred the way you do, all you’re accomplishing is creating more angry people, and not for the right reason. I mean do you listen to yourself sometimes Tomi? Getting mad about a person simply not going down on one knee, you spent hours spewing your hate about that. You also spend countless hours spewing out more hate about the fact that people state their opinion, and you told them to shut up when you are doing the exact thing yourself. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is the definition of hypocrisy, no? If you didn’t understand that one I’ll use a phrase you might want to look up, “the pot calling the kettle black”.

So Tomi, tell me, what are you actually passionate about? Even though you probably claim to be an informant of some important message you feel the world should know about, you never tell anyone what that is. Is it anger itself? Is that what you want to tell the world, to be angry? I can assure you there are plenty of causes to be angry in this world, and yet you waste your breath on simple issues that won’t solve anything. So you think your helping? Is there something up there underneath that very bleached hair of yours that tells you that what you are doing is helping? It’s not Tomi, you are making it worse. While you sit there, hating everything under the sun, the rest of us are trying to do something valuable with our time. We are trying to heal. We are trying to heal after someone came into our homes and took away our feeling of safety. We are trying to heal after the world shut us out. We are trying to heal, and the only way to heal is with love.

You need to understand something right now Tomi. You can either choose to start loving, or you can continue on the hate. If you continue the hate, which I already assume you will, I, unfortunately, have to tell you that hate will eat away at you until there is nothing left. Hate will take away every piece of you and replace them with pieces you don’t recognize anymore. Love, however, love can heal you. Love is something that grows stronger when we stand together, and love will grow into even more love.

I know this will be so hard for you to swallow Tomi, but the first people to walk this earth were black. Yes, that is right. Please look that up if you don’t believe me (but btw the Pope even admitted that evolution and religion can go together and the Pope is pretty much the highest power when it comes to Christianity so let that sink in) however, I can save you the time and tell you once more. First people on this earth, black people. You know what that means Tomi, that you have to thank black people for being alive, and actually being able to sit there and hate. Also, the women’s march that you seemed to hate so much, you do realize that if it wasn’t for women marching you wouldn’t be allowed to have opinions at all right? Have you forgotten that we, women, had to fight to be able to go to school, vote, or even be allowed to work? I’m guessing you have gone to school, you have voted, and you have had some kind of job? If you have, thank your foremothers and the rest of us marching women for that.

Despite what you do every time you hit record on your video camera, I am not trying to be mean. Honestly, Tomi, I am just trying to understand you. Right now all I can think is that you are yet another blond white girl who will do or say anything for fame. Is that you? Because if it is then just go back to school and learn how to be good at something else. I know this is a foreign concept to you, but there are people on this world who are actually suffering. These people have given everything they have just to live anther day, while you have been handed all you have without working a day in your life. I’m sure you got really offended by that and you want to post an angry video about how hard you have worked right? Please do it Tomi. Prove me right and make yet another angry video. I think your real problem is the fact that you don’t get enough attention. You seem kind of jealous of all the people who get attention on the media, because they get something you don’t have. Well Tomi, like is unfair isn’t it? Life is so unfair in fact that life will come right up to you and strangle you because you have a certain skin color. Life is so unfair that it will divide families simply because of what they believe in. Life is so unfair Tomi, that it will make uninformed, angry, racist people like yourself get more coverage than a poor girl in Malawi who died from suffocation because she had her period. I’m sure someone like you would criticize the girl for being a crybaby right? That’s what you call people, crybabies?

I usually never write anything so personal as this Tomi, because I want to lead with love and I find it so hard to feel anything but sorry for you. This will be the last time I give you any kind of attention. I fight for the people who deserve it, and let me tell you, our love for each other will triumph over the hatred you and others like you have in their hearts.

Are You A Real Woman? Find Out Here

Yes, you read that headline right.

So it’s safe to say that various issues piss me off on a daily basis. Racism, ignorance, bullying, and general technical issues, to name a few. Today, I would like to talk about the issue of “real women” and how to define them. You see there are a lot of theories out there about what makes a real woman and I’m afraid that if I keep my mouth shut any longer, the rest of you might die uninformed about what a real woman really is.

Let me throw some known meme phrases at you so you can really build up for the rest of this article. “Real women have curves,” “real women have big boobs,” “real women can hold a pen under their boobs,” and “real women are skinny.” Are you angry yet? You should be.

Here’s the thing ladies, the phrase “real women” are used daily to force you to feel or think some type of way. Even worse, these phrases force young girls to think there is such a thing as a “real woman” ideal to live up to. What is the secret about these real women you ask? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN IDEAL REAL WOMAN! A real woman would never tear down any other woman just to feel better about herself.

You may have guessed it, but yes I am pretty fucking pissed off about this. Maybe I’m pissed off because I don’t have these curves or big boobs I’m “supposed” to have in order to be a real woman, but perhaps I am mad because I have known several actual REAL women in my life, and they would never make these statements about other people.

I don’t know who you are posting these memes, I don’t know about your issues, but please hear me when I tell you that posting this will absolutely not make you anything but a petty female. If you are in fact not female, perhaps just a little boy who thinks he knows what a real woman is, to you dear boy I say this: One day, you will meet a female who you didn’t even know you could love that much. She will surprise you and you will grow because of her. She is your daughter, and one day some asshole of a guy will break her heart and say something like “real women have big boobs” and you will know the pain of seeing someone you love that much be hurt by someone just like you (no matter how big or small she is).

Let me tell you what a REAL woman is. A real woman is someone who cares for the people around her. A real woman is someone who works hard for what she has, and she can do it alone if she has to. A real woman is a person. Real women can be slim, thick, skinny, fat, with stretch marks, without stretch marks, with makeup, without makeup, long hair, short hair, curly hair, straight hair, big lips, thin lips, flat ass, big ass, no boobs, some boobs, or big boobs. She can wear dresses or pants, or high heels, or flats, tight clothes, or loose clothes. She can have sex, or choose not to, she can be with one guy or many guys, she can also be with other girls, she can love food, or hate food, she can have fake nails, or real nails, fake breasts, or real ones, and she can certainly make her own choices.

Ladies and gentleman, there are enough problems in this world so let’s not add on by shaming each other. At the end of the day, the people that love you will never care if you look a certain type of way (and if they do kick them the fuck out). Embrace who you are and how you look, and equally important stop trying to prove you are something your not. Next time you want to post about real women, take a picture of your mother, I’m sure she raised you way better than trashing other women. *Flipping you off*

My Pact Mentor, My Hero

Have you remembered to thank your PACT mentor recently?

During my college years, I have had exactly two PACT mentors, and they have both saved my life on more than one occasion. For those who don’t know what a PACT mentor is let me make it easy for you, they are your lifeline!

Before I came to the United States to study, I had no idea what a PACT mentor was. All I really knew was that a person with this title was helping me already before I got on a plane. My mentor was the person who knew how to put my very first schedule together, something an international student like myself very much appreciates. I was lucky enough to meet my mentor during the orientation weekend at school. Everything was brand new and I had left everyone I loved behind, and here was this person helping me with issues I didn’t even know I had. What classes do you want to take? What classes do you have to take? How early are you willing to get up in the morning? Will you have school on a Friday? All these questions were foreign to me considering I was used to school being a set schedule for everyone and choosing anything besides what clothes to wear was not my job.

The first description of what a PACT mentor was came during one of the first days. I was informed that this person would help me out with choosing what classes I needed, as well as let me know how I was doing in all my classes. We were informed that we would receive emails calling us to meeting to let us know if we were doing a good job or not. This was terrifying to me. I was always the child who got called to the principal’s office and yelled at for having too many absences so I could already feel my shoulders creeping up under my ears in fear. Of course, this fear was short lived. I wasn’t in high school anymore (in fact I was 24 and hadn’t been in high school for a long time) and I loved all my classes (maybe not all of them, but let’s just say that). The only time I got called into a meeting I was told I was doing great in a class I didn’t really know I was doing great in, and from that day on, my PACT mentor was someone I loved to have meetings with.

As a college student, your PACT mentor is your most valuable tool. This is the connection between your professors, the administrative department, and your future after college. Think about it this way, in the olden days when phone calls had to go through a central in order to connect you to the right person, your PACT mentor is that central. If you use your mentor in the right way, they will make your life so much easier you won’t even believe it.

Say you are a media student like me. While my professors in the media department can help me out with what classes I have to take for my major (your PACT mentor also knows this) they might not know what general education classes you need. This is where your PACT mentor is gold. During my very first semester, I was looking at my degree page trying to figure out what classes I wanted to take, and what classes I had to take. I wrote down all the classes I wanted, and then I wrote down the ones I saw that I needed. When I showed up to my mentor’s office (they might be in cubicles but I see them as offices) I had already prepared myself for what to ask. This is another tip to all of you students out there who keep complaining about your mentor, they are not your mom, they will not do the laundry for you, but they will assist you every step of the way as long as you do your part. Doing some simple work yourself will make the mentoring process so much more efficient for you. The PACT mentors already know how to do their job, however, they can’t do yours for you.

My PACT mentor also helps me with removing classes that I do not need. When I saw that I had to take a basic computer class, I said to myself ‘why do I have to take a class I already know?’ and asked my mentor the very same question, she informed me that if I felt this class was unnecessary I could try something called a placement exam. This turned out to be such a huge favor because I passed the exam and didn’t have to sit through a class I already knew. When the time came for my mentor to move on I was frightened because I had to get a new one. I had heard so many stories from fellow students about being sent from mentor to mentor until they could find one specific one and I was dreading having to be shipped from person to person. To my joy, the first match was a good one.

While my first mentor might have taken care of the basic questions and introduction, my second one has been my therapist, my mother, and my best friend all in one. He has never failed to calm me down when I send him just about ten emails freaking out about something, he has supported me and made me feel like a proud child showing my drawing before it got put up on the fridge, and he has been cheering me on like a true friend. While some of you might be thinking ‘you have the strangest PACT mentor I have ever heard of’ I assure you I am the strange one. He might not even know this, but he has supporter me at times when everything seemed hopeless. If I am being completely honest, none of the PACT mentors receive the gratitude they are entitled to. You might feel the urge to tell me that this is their job and that you shouldn’t expect anything less, but this is where I point out that PACT mentors are in fact human after all.

So here is to you, all of you, and a couple in particular. I raise my glass to you, I thank you, and I assure you part of my degree, and part of my success is because of you.

From the bottom of my stressed out soul, I thank you.

My Sincere Apologies To All Technical Support People

I know I take my anger out on you, and you don’t deserve that

Let me set the scene for you: Me, my Netflix, my phone, and three days of holiday left before my last semester of college starts. Main characters: five different technical support people and me. The enemy: A bad fucking Wi-Fi connection. Got it? Good. I’m sure many of you knows how it feels to have just a small amount of “me” time left, and then something happens to ruin it.

Once upon a time a girl was having her last days of vacation, filled with a whole bunch of Netflix and coffee. This girl had only a few days left before her last semester of college started and she would have to start thinking about the future and life after college. She woke up, she made her coffee, she brought her blanky to the couch to start the binge. Only a few seconds into her episode, the internet stopped working. The girl checked her phone and her computer to see if they were having the same trouble, and to her dismay they did.

The girl brushed this off for the day and went out for some coffee with a friend, however, the next day would turn even worse.

The next day started the same as the one before. Except on this day, she was prepared. The girl logged onto her computer and connected to a bad guest Wi-Fi so she could contact technical support. She logged into her account and started her chat with a very helpful person. Although the girl started off being a little bit angry, she was able to keep her cool.

Chat one:

Girl: “Hi my Wi-Fi is falling in and out and I really need it to work. I work from home (yes, she lied) and my boss does not understand”

Tech person1: “I will help you. Let me do some magic from wherever I am and it will be fine again”

Girl: “Thank you, you are a life saver”

Tech person1: “I have done something with the signal and it should be working now”

Girl: “Yes (tears of joy) it’s working”

Before the girl ended the chat she danced a dance of joy, however, her joy was short-lived when the Wi-Fi went away again.

Girl: “Wait, it went away again help me”

*There is no person connected to the chat*

Girl: “Noooooo”

Confused and even more angry, the girl was able to connect to a different bad internet and went on the chat again, however this time she was prepared.

Chat two:

Girl: “Hi I have just been cut off from my previous connection, the person did something to the signal and channels but now my internet is gone again and I need this to work blah blah blah more lies to get sympathy”

Tech person2: “Yes I will help you, give me a few minutes to help you”

Girl: “Thank you, I will wait”

*There is no person connected to the chat*

Girl: “Noooooo (face is red from anger)”

The girl was determined not to give up, she was furious and she was missing valuable hours of binge watching.

Chat three:

Girl: “Hi *tells the whole story one more time except she states that this is the third time she has tried and she is getting tired of this and missing work and all that crap*”

Tech person3: “Of course I can help you just let me…”

*There is no person connected to the chat*

Girl: “Aaaaahhhh noooooo”

As you all can imagine the girl is getting pretty sick of this at this point, however she does not give up.

Chat four:

Girl: “Hi *writes a really long paragraph about all her troubles in life and how she will almost have no reason to live if her Wi-Fi doesn’t come back on soon and this is the fourth time she has done this and she is getting really mad and want to punch someone in the face soon or throw her computer away*”

Tech person4: “Hi, I understand and apologize for this. Can you give me a number with a difficult name and too long to ever remember that you will find on the back of your modem router thing?”

Girl: “Yes! *Jumps up and runs over to the router* I can do that

*Girl turns the box upside down and starts typing in the number and she is also smart enough to take a picture of it just in case she needs to do this again*”

Girl: “Long number here you go”

Tech person4: “Thank you just give me 1-2 minute…”

*There is no person connected to the chat*

Girl: “Gaaaahhh aaaahh nooo *furiously pulls her own hair*

The girl had lost her motivation and was starting to realize she might never get the answers she was looking for. She wanted to give up right then and there, but nevertheless she was able to connect to the chat one more time.

Chat five:

Girl: “*sobbing* Hi *gives full explanation again, includes the long number thing from the last chat, cries, eats some cookies, eats some chips, cries some more and continues to write*”

Tech person5: “Hi yes so sorry about that, let me check that right now. Give me 1-2 minutes”

Girl: “Sure, you’ll probably loose the connection like all the others, so whatever”

Tech person5: “I understand how frustrating this can be, here is a link you can use so you will always be connected to me in case it happens again”

Girl: *Glimpse of hope in her eyes* Thank you that’s actually very helpful

Tech person5: “I actually see the problem and I have fixed it now, if this ever happens again contact me and take the router in to a store to get a new one”

Girl: “Thank you *cries from joy* I don’t know how to repay you, let me name my first child after you, or something, you are magical”

Tech person5: “Ok that’s pretty weird but thanks. K bye”

*Chat ends*

The girl wipes away the tears from her eyes, and starts Netflix. The end.

Disclaimer: The conversations did not happen the way described here, however they all happened, and (most) was all true, you can guess yourself what is true and what’s not. I want to thank all the five different tech people that helped me, they all got me one step closer to the solution and I do apologize for lying to you and for being so rude. You are the true heroes in this world!