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04 August 2016 @ 08:06 pm
For Always Roaming with a Hungry Heart - Much Have I Seen and Known... (1)  


Let's take it back. Way back. Back into time.








Life in 'Starlettown' wasn't all it was cracked up to be. At least it hadn't proved so for sisters Lilly-Bo and Flo-Flo Chique.
A gig here, an uncredited walk on there, fewer and fewer auditions...Well, dream or no dream, a girl had to eat.

Lilly-Bo shocked the hell out of her sister one day when she came home and told her she'd taken a job, full-time, with some fledgling fashion
consulting firm.That was almost 2 years ago now and about 6 months ago Flo-Flo followed suit. (Pretty much their same pattern, like, from the womb.)

Their boss, Tiffany, was kind of a pill...sometimes, but she was also smart and ambitious and she believed in empowering talented young women.
So here they were. City of Twin Liberties.

"Hey, I can help with...something. Want me to carry—"

"Johnny, no, stay. I want a word. Girls, you go on. The door is always open between the hours of 8 & 8, I'm told."


Tiffany smiled, looking her son over. He was looking more and more like his father, that same chiselled resolve...

"Mom?"

But he would always be Her Little Man, she thought, cupping his chin in her hand. But wait—she grazed her knuckles under his jawline, is that..."Is that a patch of peach fuzz growing in?"

"Mo-o-om!"

"You're going to be a grizzly, just like Daddy."

"Mom, could you not?" he said, furtively glancing to see if the girls were looking back and laughing at him.


"Right. Business, Johnny. In a moment we will both be at work. Let's go over the 3 Ps of professionalism. What are they?"

"Be punctual."

"Yes."

"Be proactive. Be—"


Poisoned!
Ugh. Curses upon the House of Tequila. And the House of Rum. And, oh, all the rest. Betrayed by her once true and faithful friends. O-oh....

Refusing to remove her sleep mask in the face of an all too bright new morning, the woman of the house was at that moment groping the wall as she baby-stepped down the stairs.
Step down, one, together, another step, dwa, together, drei...Ah, doggie, doggie, gooot doggie, she told herself, petting the painting, knowing now where she was relative to the bottom.


"Uhmm..."

"Who goes?" she demanded, "Which one are you?"

"Good morning, Mrs. Mashuga," Flo-Flo made an educated guess, "we are from Pish Posh—"

"What is—"

"We're Tiffany Burb's personal assistants," Lilly-Bo jumped in.


"Burb? Oh, zhes, yes, yes, the fashion woman. For der Valence, zhes?" she asked, finally lifting her mask to take them in.

"Uh, zhes—"

"Je-u-ust so," Flo covered for Bo.
The woman did not look like she was up for jesting about her zhesses just yet

"Ah, vell, it is—enh, time, time, der time? Zhes. Half ten. Vell, right now der Frank-furter is still on first. You will wait not so long, though.
The yellow room is upstairs. You can go dere and set up. You are early, poshy pits, but no matter. It is already waiting."


She walked off, yawning, and leaving them both to wonder what the what?
(A not entirely undesirable response.)


"Now, it is okay to be a little enthusiastic, a little," she said, adjusting a wrinkle in his sleeve. Pristine white tee, check. "But you don't want to look like you don't belong, I know.
And this is a thoroughly unionised industry so for goodness sake don't touch anything they tell you expressly not to touch. I'm serious. But otherwise, be—"

"Proactive. Yeah, Mom, I got it."


"Be cautiously proactive. Be enthusiastic but don't act too impressed, be—"

"Not a smart-mouth. Because your loving mother is not above putting you on time-out."



She tweaked his nose—jeez—and finally led the way in.

But Johnny was super excited at the chance to be even a fly on the wall and witness how production comes together firsthand,
let alone having a hand in it himself, so his mom's momness was more than a fair price to pay for getting to be there.



"What the hell is this?!?"


"You heard me—Unless you've all gone deaf as well as blind! We're shooting Valentine Hart, for fuck's sake! Not goddamn Goopy Gilscarbo,
that scenery-chewing has-been, in one of his borderline porn adventures! This is not the set—where the hell is my set!" Frankie screeched.



"No, no, no, you don't get to stand there looking stupid! You tell me what happened?"

"Guess we just got our wires crossed is all."

"Is that all? Got your wires crossed, eh? Like that's what the fuck I wanna hear from a gaffer!"

"Yo, I'm a grip, boss," Gordo casually tossed out.

It was like bait to the beast that was ready to jump outta his skin and maul his stupid face, his in particular just for being so stupid.
"Then what the fuck makes you think I was talking to you!"

"Boss, look—"

"Buh-buh-buh, I'm talkin' here, Rem. I expect the same level of care and attention to detail no matter what the job is. You guys agreed to be my swing gang on this project,
the both of ya, knowing it'd mean doin' double duty and maybe more. That's where the extra scratch comes in. It sure ain't no goddamn bonus for bein' so pretty, is it?"



Whoa!


Not entirely sure what came over him but at that moment Johnny didn't know what to do but SALUTE.


"Ha! Ha-ha-ha. Hi there."

But Johnny didn't budge, for fear of lookin' at the wrong place and getting called a perv.


"At ease," she told him and touched his arm as she glided on by.


*The pose, yes, I did that but Johnny's face! Oh my. No idea what came over him but angling the camera around and catching that expression was priceless.*



So she really did mean yellow room and not green. Like, literally.

"Okay, so, like, I'd heard the Mashugas were eccentrics, 'kay, but I just have to say it: Alligator slippers."

There was a pause for dramatic effect, a mock moment of silence, before the sisters burst into a fit of the giggles.
Yup. Alligator slippers.

Flo snickered again, everything about that woman..."But wait, aren't alligators the ones with the pointy tip jaws?"

"Way to ruin a joke, Fluff."

(*And she was wrong, fyi*)

"I'm just sayin'. Those were totally crocodiles, dudette."

"Crocs? On the feet? Pish," Bo imitated their boss. "Gator has class, at least. Haute fash-i-one. Crocs are just...stupid.
Now, c'mon, Fluffer, we've got work. You know Mme. Tiffany can't function unless everything is Just. So."


Apparently, everything was not Just So. But that there was not their responsibility, not their problem.
So it was kinda funny listening to those hardly-the-best boys getting chewed out.

"Guess that's him, huh? FM?"

"Yup. Make sure you make ol' Tiffer do the intros, too. Like, real, proper intros, or I will myself, Flo.
Cuz he may be on the outs today but he's always in the know. And this assistancing shit is for the birds."

"I don't know, it's not so bad. Especially on a day like this, all up close and personal."

"Yeah maybe, but we've been up closer and personaller. You more than me. You really should've pressed Tiffany to let you be the girl, Flo. I don't know what you were thinking."


"It wasn't her decision to make, Bo. She had nothing to do with casting. Plus I like being 'the girl' with 'the clipboard'."

"Yeah, well, better you than me, junior employee."



Johnny finally closed his mouth but couldn't take his eyes off her. As she walked away, even underneath
that big towel of the flag he could still make out the outline of her own ol' glory swaying and sashaying.

"Gawd Bless America*," he mumbled to himself.


Whoops.




"Here you go, miss."


Bo wasn't the least bit shy but she was a lot bit nosy. So she didn't think twice about approaching while the big guy was still foaming at the mouth.


"I'm making tea. Would anybody care for a cuppa?"

"I might like—"

"What? No." FM dismissed her offer.

"All. Right. Follow up question: Where do you keep your cups?"


"Why don't you Check. The kitchen," he said, imitating her flippancy but in a tone that warned 'be gone before you piss me off'.

Bo heeded that warning, content to think she'd at least gotten herself noticed. No more freezing up for this girl, nope.
She was all grown up now, so to speak, and so much more comfortable in this skin of hers.



"Uh...mind if I ask you something?"

"Sure," she said, reaching a hand for the towel still in his.

"Oh, uh, sorry," Johnny fumbled. He didn't really mean to hold it hostage, it was just, um, well, anyway. "Here you go."


"Thanks. So? Shoot."

"Oh, okay, it's just, uh, I was wondering, like, how'd you get started? Did one day the right somebody see you—you know, like, how beautiful you are—and figure
out that if a lot more people could see you—an audience, customers, that kinda thing—that, you know, they'd be ready to buy any whatever you were selling."


"And what exactly is it you think I'm sellin'?"

"Oh! I, uh, I—"

"Chill, kid. Breathe. I'm only playing with you. But, to answer your question: nah. I never got 'discovered'. Not like that."

"But...but, I mean, I'm not saying it had to happen exactly like that but it had to be somebody, right, or a lotta somebodies? Somebody who, who first noticed you."


"Listen, the only cats ran that kinda line 'bout makin' me a Star were total frauds, just tryna gas me up so I'd give 'em some. That's not the guy you wanna be."

"No, no...I would never—"

"Good. Cuz that's super weak and you'll strike out 9 times outta 10."

Whoa, he wasn't even thinking like tha—wait, but that means, uh, the 10th time, uh, what...happened then?
No, no, be cool, Johnny; he physically shook the thought away and reminded himself again to be cool.


"But...Okay. But what I'm sayin' is, like even before you landed your first job, to even go for it, you had to know, right? You had to already know you were, you
know
," he circled both arms outward to encompass all of...uh, her, that whole package, instead of fumbling for words and coming up short. "I mean, it's not exactly a
modest profession, is it? So you had to have some idea, more than some really, to believe you could make it your career. I don't, uh, I don't see how else it happens. Because
it takes a lot to put yourself out there for stuff, it really does—I know I woulda never tried out for the team at my new school if I didn't know for a fact I'm a pretty good pitcher—and
with, like, what you do where it's just...you, you as a package, I mean, nobody would wake up one day and do that to themselves if they didn't already know that they had it. Are IT.
Like you. Am I wrong? And how else would you know, like really know, enough to bank on it, if nobody ever told you?" Johnny asked. "Maybe a lotta nobodies." He laughed. "Like me."

"You're adorable. And kinda slick, too, don't think I didn't notice. You some kinda talent scout slash agent-in-training?"

"Uh, maybe. Kinda. For the right client."



"Oh, is that so. Well, hate to break it to ya but I've already got an agent, babes."

"That's okay, you're outta my league anyway," he joked, "For now."

She shook her head, smiling. He was a cute kid, confident, that would work well for him in this industry, actually.
And that glow of sincerity? Hell, it would be like a superpower if he could hold onto that as a grown man. He could set up his agency calling himself Clark Kent.

"Who you here with anyway?"

"I'm with the crew," he said but she wasn't biting, "and, uh, my mom."

"Ohh, right. So that's moms."

Johnny twisted 'round, worried that she was already behind him. If his mom had actually come down looking for him, like he was some lost little boy
whose hand she was gonna take and lead him away...oh man. That woulda been crazy. "Whew," he said out loud and they both laughed.


No need to worry, though. Tiffany was at that moment (s)mothering someone else, a stranger, but her Johnny was proving more distractible
than she had expected of him and she was determined to know just how long this parade of the itsy bitsy bikini brigade was going to last.

"How many more of you are there?"

"Uh...none? I'm the only me I know, ma'am."



"Havin' the look helps, for sure, but it's not everything. And makeup can work miracles, let me tell ya. Talent is cool, too, but it sure ain't necessary for a project to get the green light, plenty go
forward without anybody involved being good at what they do. Connections. Connections are key. Where you are right now...Don't be fooled cuz it's in the wrong city. Take a good look around. And then
remember that this is only one of FM's bases. He's on the outs now, today, cuz, well, cuz he's like that but they'll all come calling when they need him so he's not even worried. To be honest, I don't know how
you got so lucky, kid, but don't sleep on this opportunity, I'm tellin' you. Just like you're doing with me, talk to everybody. And especially, especially FM. Only never while he's working" she told him. "Cool?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, definitely. Definitely. Thanks for, you know, taking the time and all."

"Not a problem. In a few years when my agent stops takin' my calls I'm gonna come and look you up, okay. Is it a date?"

"Heck yeah, I'll be ready and waiting!"

"Bet. Later, babes."



Johnny couldn't believe his luck. How many guys got a chance to be this close to some gorgeous, half-naked model? Ever? But here he was. Be nice if his
once-in-a-lifetime didn't happen to happen when he was still some goofball kid, without a prayer of being seen as anything more, but hey, you take what you can get!


"Hi!"

"Uh, hi."

Okay, so maybe twice-in-a-lifetime.
Boy, when he tells the guys back home they're gonna swear he's lying. But who cares, Johnny lives in the Present.


Tiffany did not want to embarrass her son but she was two seconds away from marching down there to retrieve him when he finally re-emerged around the corner.

Get. Over. Here. She pantomimed.

Wow, Mom really needed to chill out.

"Have a good, uh, swim," Johnny said and the blonde girl giggled. "Uh, where is the pool, anyway?"

"On the roof."


"That is so boss."

"Yeah, it kinda is. Hey, you seen my friend? Fancey. Did she come out this way? She's kinda hard to miss."


More than kind of. "Fantasy! That her name?" Johnny got excited.

"Fancey. And only sometimes. You know." But, no, he really didn't. "She uses it like a first name sometimes. But depends on the day. On the gig."

"Oh." Well, he liked Fancey. He was gonna think of her as Fancey from here on. It was probably better than Dream Girl.
He wished he'd asked for a picture but...that woulda been pervy for real, wouldn't it? But why, though, it's not like she was really some girl on the beach or at the pool; it's what she does,
it's what she had just been doing; and he's not some random guy either. So it wouldna been pervy, not pervy at all. Just...embarrassing. Not to mention completely unProfessional.


His mom stamped her foot. She meant business. Johnny couldn't ignore her anymore, he'd better get over there.

"Fancey went that-a-way." Johnny nodded behind him.

Another lesson learned: remember to always get a girl's name up front so he wouldn't have to depend on a lucky break to know what to call her.


" 'Lis, 'Lis! Omigod—omigod—Oh My God, 'Lis!"

"What?"

"I can't believe it, FM just said, omigod, and Yes'm yes ma'am-ed it! They're gonna let me read for the new Barbie movie!"


(Pretty much everyone knew Frankie as FM but SMM (Sylvia Marie Mashuga) was a mouthful and quickly got perverted into either
S&M or Yes'm depending on the bent of the hearer, at first, but now mainly on how they knew the Mashugas and who introduced them. Also,
depending on the mood of the speaker or the 'tude of the Mashuga, FM might be pronounced just so or contracted to sound more like 'eff 'em.
)


"Isn't.That.So.Freakin'.COOL!!" she said, shaking Melissa with each syllable.


"That is so cool," she concurred with herself.

"Very cool, Ahn."

"I'm a Barbie Girl**. In a Barbie Wo-o-orld!"

"So for what part?"

"Life in plastic. It's fantastic! Huh?"


"What part, Ahn?"

"The lead, of course! Duh!"

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I mean, I...think...so..."


"Sure it's not for Skipper? Or something? Cuz, I mean, ya look just like my l'il cousin's Skipper doll—"

"That is so mean!"

"—and you've got that whole excited kid sister thing—how the hell is that mean?"

Anya pouted.


"I swear, Johnny, do you know how I argued your father down, told him that you were too mature to get frazzled by the atmosphere here, that you understood
that work was work, and then before we've even gotten through the front door you go chasing after, after a pair of bouncing bosoms passing by."

"Mom, I didn't!"

"Well, in case you're confused, Tucker disappearing for days on end to roam after every bitch in heat that he gets a whiff of is one thing."

"Mo-o-om! Jeez."

"Because Tucker's a dog. You, mister, must learn some self-control."



"Eep!"

"Whatsa matter, Mom?" Johnny asked, barely muffling a chortle at her reaction.

"Oh, these artistic types. Always pushing the boundaries of taste and in the strangest places.
But if he's supposed to represent the butler at the door then I'll keep my coat and hat, thanks. Come along, Johnny."


"Uh, yeah, sure." He gave one more backward glance through the door but he couldn't see his Fancey or the other one from there.
"You know, for the record, Mom, I was only bein' a gentleman. The wind blew her towel off so I went to get it and give it back to her."

"Oh, yes, the wind did it. A likely story."

"A true one, too," he echoed his dad's favoured response. "And, you know, I was thinking, I mean she's not as, uh, grown up yet, but pretty as Jenny is—"

"No." Tiffany nipped that idea in the bud. She would like to nip every idea he had about that girl in the bud. Oh, a mother knows. "Jennifer is a pretty girl, so far as
that goes," she said, "I'll give you that. They usually are. But she's not remotely bankable. Now that brother of hers, whatever his name is—it's impossible to keep
track of all the new neighbours and their children, but whatever they call him, he could make a mint! With those hungry green eyes and all that...cockiness."

*Snerk* Johnny didn't even try to muffle the chortle at that one.

"Grow up, John Burb. And remember, mind your Ps."



"I'm happy for you. I'm just sayin' when it comes to your business don't leave nothin' to chance, or to one of FM's freaks of fancy."


Anya snorted. "I thought that was you."

"I...What?"


But Melissa was not about to stand there looking stupid with her feelings all exposed. Not her. Not now, not ever.

"Looky here, I was just tryna help your dumbass—" she lashed out, but, wait, nope, nope, Melissa told herself.
She wasn't 'bout to go there either. She was not gonna let this little wannabe take her out her zone. 'Relax. Relate. Release.'


"Uh-oh. You're mad mad—I didn't mean it."

"Whatever, l'il girl." Melissa turned her back. "I'm 'bout to be 5000," she said, on purpose because she would never understand.

"Wha-a-at??"

Mm-hmm. And with that Melissa walked away.

" 'Lis, wait—omigod, is that really, that's how much you made today? 'Lis? 'Lis!"


Gord didn't see why they were getting all the guff and that nephew, or whoever the hell he was to FM, got none of it.


Nepotism was a bitch.
But King Gordo was the bitch-master, dude, so he was gonna set him straight himself since Uncle Money wouldn't.

"Rem, look, you're my guy, right? You have to be Leadman, at all times. If the shit doesn't look right, call 'em out."


"Because it's your ass on the line."




Son-of-a-biscuit, what was this?

Not what they discussed, that's what it was, not at all what they had discussed!

"Mr. Mash-uga!" Tiffany mispronounced his name, flattening out the first syllable and giving it all the emphasis. And that's what he was, after all, he had made a mish mash of their vision.
True enough, she'd had no actual say on set design but she knew the direction Valence wanted to go with their brand and she'd been entrusted to make it so. "Mr. Mash-uga!"

"Uh, FM. The lady's callin'."

"What now..." He left off with Rem and went to meet her. "So. Who are you, anyway?"

"Tiffany Burb."

"Right, right, right. You're early, I think, yeah? We're still fixing up the set..."


"Why don't you ease up, Gordo, that's enough. Lewis..." That was his name, right? He answered to it, anyway. "Lew, you can start rounding up those expendables..."




" 'Lis! Aw, c'mon, hey, I said I didn't mean it, 'Lis. I'm sorry."



"Melissa!" she called after her, "Melissa Fancey-panties don't be so mean!"



She'd halted at her name and let Anya catch up to her.

"You are so mean to me sometimes and you never let me get one back on you! It's not fair..."



"But all I was sayin', anyway, is that Yes'm did agree so it's not just FM being FM, y'know. But...they didn't say what role. I should check, right?"

"Uh, yeah. I think you should."

"Okay."

"But if you don't get the answer you want, push him—and don't let FM bullshit you, it's totally his call. FM and S&M hold the keys to your Malibu Barbie beach house."

"Yeah, okay, I'll go. But don't leave me, 'kay."

"I'm-a-be down by the grotto. 5000 means 5000, though, so get an answer and get a move on."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Or I'll leave you," Melissa added before letting the side door bang shut behind her. But they both knew she wouldn't.
She was a meanie but a sweet one, if that made any sense. Whatever, she wasn't gonna leave her.




"Okay, Gord, listen up cuz—"

"Is he gonna—?"

"No, shut up, we're cool. I took the heat and he's cool again but we got a lotta work to do. All over again."

"Ehh...shit" he growled. "Okay, fine, let's do this. But that skinny, limp dick nephew o' his better do his share o' the heavy lifting this time. Or we're gonna have a problem, R.E.M., a real problem, man."

"Gordo?"

"Yeah?"

"Shut up."
They had a lot of work to redo and Remington was not getting fired because of his lazy, big mouth friend.


Okay. So his mom had kinda left him to fend for himself. He couldn't interrupt her while she was talking to Frankie Mashuga. But who...what...argh!


"Heya, John Boy."

"Oh, Lilly-Bo, great! Uh, Mom's kinda busy right now, can you tell me, like, who I'm supposed to talk to. About getting started?"

"Hmm, have you met FM?"

He shook his head.

"Maybe...nope, maybe not."


"Tiff, Tiff, Tiff, I told you, I'm handling it."

"My name is Tiffany, Mr. Mash-uga."

"The boys made a mistake, which was an oversight on my part," he took the blame on himself instead of leaving it to settle on Syl
(where it belonged), "but we're fixing it. Bing, bang, boom, you'll see. They're quick and they are competent so, no worries, doll."


"Do not call me Doll, that's not my name. My name is Tiffany. Ms. Burb if you can't handle that."


"Relax, already. You need to take a chill pill, Tiffany. Seriously. But really seriously," Frankie cocked his head
toward her, "whatever your chill is...Valium, I think," he said, looking her over, "talk to Syl, she'll fix you up."

"How DARE you!"

"Oh, I dare. I do dare. That's why I'm the visionary," Frankie said. And on that note he tried to step around her but she blocked him at each step. Tiffany was not done with him yet!


Johnny's neck and shoulders tensed up when he overheard his mom's voice hit that pitch, that bitching out pitch; he didn't want any part of it. And she never needed a bit of help
once she was at that level, except maybe help taking it back down. But he still didn't turn around.  He looked to Lilly-Bo for his cue as she threw covert glances over his shoulder.
So long as she was cool then he was cool. And maybe later on, on the way back or at home with dad, he'd needle his mom about the 3 Ps of professionalism.

"Your mom's got balls, I'll give her that."

Yeah, no, don't. That didn't sound right.

"Anyways. You're helping out the crew today, right?"


"Hey!" she called out to a guy in a plain white tee. Like his. Shoot, that should've been a clue, shouldn't it. Ah well.


"Uh, hi." He came over, brushing past Johnny but that was cool. "You wanted me?"

"Yeah. What's your name?"

"It's Lewis, I'm Lewis. And yours?"

"You can call me Bo. And this is Johnny."

"Nice to meet ya, kid. Nice to meet you both."

"Johnny's going to be working with you guys today. Think you can show him the ropes?"

"Oh. Yeah. Y-yeah, sure I can."

"Thanks a mil, Lewis." And with that Bo skipped off.




Anya sighed and leaned even farther over the edge of the wall. She couldn't see 'Lis from here but that was good cuz it meant 'Lis couldn't see her either, see that she still hadn't budged.
Maybe she was a Skipper, it's not like that would be so bad. No, it wouldn't. So long as she got a part, any part, but with, like, lines and stuff. She didn't have to be the star.
But since she made such a big deal about it she couldn't just back down now and tell Melissa that she was too scared to even ask FM, just cuz he might say what she said.


Okay, here we go.


Oops. Uh, FM's busy. She'll, uh, she'll check with him later. Much.


Well, all right. Gotta get it gone somehow. So...let's do this!


That, ugh, Mashuga eased off before Tiffany was nearly done having her say because he saw some car or other through the window.
She didn't see it herself but could only assume it was someone 'important' by the hop in his step. Probably their 'supplier'.
Since he was so cavalier about recreating. Such nouveau riche crassness. She couldn't stand it.


"Move along, young man!"

Johnny jumped, but she wasn't talking to him.

"My assistant is not a piece of meat for you to devour with your eyes."

"But I sure would like to—"

"I said get moving!"

"Ay, listen, lady—"

"Gordo!" Rem called from the back and motioned for him to back off and head on downstairs. "We need that brad pusher, too."


"Yeah, yeah," Gordon mumbled.

"Don't you think that was a little harsh? The guy was just flirting."

"He was idling. And I've about had it up to Here with all these lackadaisical loafers. Need I remind you that this is a huge contract
for us," she added once out of earshot of nosy listeners. "I'm not about to have it fall apart because of some tattoed buffoon. In jackboots."

"And a wifebeater. Don't forget the wifebeater!"

"I know!"

Bo burst through the straight face she'd put on and laughed, at Tiffany, at the whole thing. And her boss mellowed out and chuckled along with her.
Yep, that's how you do it. Two years had taught Bo a lot.



Syl was...Frankie didn't know where the hell Syl was, he hadn't seen her since he'd hopped outta bed. But no way one of them wasn't going to be front and centre to welcome in the man of the hour.

"Hart, my man, my main man, Mr. 40/40! Can I tell you—can I tell you, I watched the tape of your game, the one that put you at the 40 HR mark—Incredible. Just incredible. I don't
usually get effusive over sports but I actually jumped up, ask Syl, I jumped up. Did the wave or some shit. It was bee-yoo-tee-ful," Frankie said and he meant it. "If I ever do a
baseball flick it won't be one of these bullshit feel-good deals they keep pushing but something that really captures the musicality some of the greats have. You artist-athletes."

Valentine appreciated that, coming from him.

"So how was it getting in?"

"Not bad."


"Good, good. Never done the drive myself but I hear it's not so bad. If you've got the patience. We fly."

Ah, that was a dig, wasn't it? But Val didn't want to fly. So he didn't. Came straight on, though, and made pretty good time.
"What are you...lookin' at?" He turned around to find out what FM was bobbin' his head all around to see. "Expectin' somebody?"

"There's no entrance from the garage so your people will have to come up and around this way to get in. But we don't have to wait for them, someone'll point 'em in the right direction."

"Them who, FM? Ain't no them. No entourage for me if that's what you're thinking."

"You're shittin' me. Seriously? What about your driver?"

"Nope."


"It's just me, myself, and I."

Enh. What can you do? The man's a bonafide superstar, one about to crossover to an even bigger market, and he wants to go around like Joe Schmoe...who was he to tell him no?

"Drove yourself, eh? Some of you guys, I don't know...but I guess you make up with those other perks..."



"Oh, good, Mr. Mashuga—good morning, Mr. Hart—there doesn't seem to be a steamer in the yellow room. Or the green room, I checked. We probably
won't need it but just in case. And it'll be good to have on hand for smooth sailing. Also, I believe there's a props closet that the boys need to get to but they
don't have the key so if you've got that on you I can pass it along, before," Flo leaned in confidentially, "before the door winds up with its lock picked."



For fuck's sake. All right, all right, okay. "Tell you what, you know your way around pretty good, eh? Why don't you
show Hart to his dressing room while I go scare up the damn key and see if Syl can get you a—what was it?"

"A steamer."

"A steamer, yeah."


"Sure. This way, Mr. Hart."

"And I'll catch up with you later, Hart."

"All good by me."

"Thanks, you're a peach. Yeah, you, too, Hart." Frankie gave Val a nudge and turned back to go track down his fucking long-lost wife!


All right now, the statue or the painting would've been unremarkable on their own, simple piece of art for the décor, but Val was noticing a theme.

He could just hear Angel, in her best snooty WASP impression sayin': Love the ding-a-ling motif!

Might even mean it, come to that. If she'd been there.

"Some interesting art you've got, FM."

"What? Oh. Ha-ha. Thanks. Syl likes it." Frankie clicked his tongue, like they were both in on the joke, husband to husband.

Hmph. Maybe they were.





Sylvia Marie tilted her head back slightly and sniffed out the change in atmosphere as he approached. "There you are," she said.

"There you are. And, what, you can smell me now? I smell foul?"

"It is our animal attraction, Frankl. You smell like my mate, my rightful life mate...And the Homme du Monde I got you for your birthday."

"Okay, Syl—"

"I smell like you, too. It lingers on your coat of smoking."

"Yeah...So care to explain why you're still not dressed? What are you even doin' back here.
I need you on the ball, babe, out there. It's a work day. Not play. So go put on a shirt and let's get rolling."

"I tried..." she languished. "All the shirts, they were against me."

He rolled his eyes but it was kind of a waste since she couldn't see it, unless she really was a psychic.

"But I did find my way into a bra, Frankl."

"Congratulations." He rolled his eyes again.
Okay, okay, okay. He'd wade in, just a little ways, to get her. But she'd have to meet him half.
"What's goin' on with you, today, Syl?"

"Der Blaue Engel. Evil...evil." ***

"Der. Blaue. Engel?" he repeated. "You mean the green fairy?"

"Blue or green, I see her and she poisoned me."


"Poisoned!
Sylvia Marie arched her back, lifting it so high off the table it looked like she might snap, gasped like it was her last, and collapsed.

Frankie tried not to laugh, he did, because that would only encourage her but, shit, he couldn't help a little snicker.
"All right, all right, end scene, Tallulah. Cut. We don't have time for this. Hart's here. Just arrived. Came alone, too, so we didn't even need to stock the green room."

"Den maybe I stay without shirt, eh. We motivate our star."
She started to sit up but, "o-ohh, I really am not well, Frankfurter. It won't give me rest."

"But you've always had a gut o' steel, Syl."

"My guts don't churn. But my head! Oy."

"Ah. Well, we can't do anything to unscramble your brains this late in the day. But..."


Frankie helped his wife shift up, slowly. "But lucky for you I know how to handle a hangover."

"You do?" she cooed.
Her breathing intensified as she sensed his face inching closer.

"Yep. Hair o' the dog." He banged a decisive fist-gavel on the table behind her.

And dared to pull back without even a kiss! Sylvia Marie snarled and snapped her jaws at the bushy hair from his chinny chin chin as it grazed past hers but she missed.

"Ah-ah-ah, this dog's too fast for you, babe."

"Pfui! Schlechte hund!"


To which he responded by swooping in while she wasn't anticipating him and siphoning off all those tasty fumes of indignation
One furious kiss, to drain her of this stubbornness, and a good grope for motivation. But all play and no work makes them broke.

"Right, you good now? Time is moolah, babe."

"Frankl, my head."

"Like I said: hair o' the dog that bit you. You find that fairy and retaliate. Bite the bitch right on the ass, take a good slug," he said.
"But metaphorically, Syl. Don't go biting anybody, please. This ain't gonna be that type o' party."


"And then put on a friggin' shirt already, wouldya, so you can come upstairs and run production. Like you shoulda before anybody showed up."




"Do you know the Valence people insisted on the Mashugas. Even after that kerfuffle with the studio, they were adamant. I can't understand it."

"By 'the studio' you mean Conrad LeBaron. And his wife. And his girlfriend..."

Tiffany shuddered in disgust.

"Make that one of his girlfriends."

"Hmph. Well, tacky people do tacky things."

"LeBaron or," Bo lowered her voice, "our hosts?"

But Tiffany couldn't bring herself to condemn anyone as important as Conrad LeBaron, he was the new head of Maximus Studios. Not out loud, anyhow.

"I...don't know all the details. But," she cut Lilly-Bo off before the girl happily filled her in, this was not the time or place...they could have a nice chat about all that later, "but it was extremely
unprofessional. And now I see. I mean, really! So I can't understand Valence not backing out. They probably could've squeezed Maximus but good to get it done on schedule. Why follow them?"

"Uh, let's see: Rip/Tide...Chicken Butt...Almost Confidential. I know you liked that. Hammerspace 1, 2, and 3—which was actually
better than the first, and that never happens; all those hilarious Burly Earl commercials and he also did that one for Atalanta..."


"Hmm, yes. Is that my tea?"


"Well? Yes, no?"

"Yeah."

"Thank you. Milk? Two sugars? Infused with my—"


"It's your tea, Tiffany. Your special blend. Made just how you like it, like always. So anyway, I think blasting anybody for what goes on behind closed doors is brutal. That's what's unprofessional.
Especially when nobody gets an invite without knowing full well how those 'zex-y pahties' go, 'dahling'. And Everybody knows. It's not their fault he—Whoops. Okay, I'll shut up about it now. "

"Much appreciated. Lilly, really."


"Ooh, that papaya looks good. Anyway, update. Guess who has arrived."


Instead of guessing Tiffany simply said, "It's about time. What does she look like? Blonde? Brunette?"

"I think his hair is black. Matter of fact, I'm like 99% sure it is."

"Valentine? Here already? That's awfully punctual of him. You know, that is a very sexy quality in a man, girls."

"Punctuality?" Bo expressed disbelief.

"Absolutely! Punctuality is a sign of thoughtfulness and resolve and...integrity."

"Or it could be a sign a guy's neurotic. Not him, obviously, but other guys for sure. Trying too hard is as bad as not trying at all. Maybe worse."


"Bite your tongue. And raise your standards, child!  Being respectful of your time is not trying too hard, it's trying just the right amount."

"Hey there, cutie pie."


Tiffany and Lilly-Bo actually stopped talking so Flo-Flo peeked over her shoulder. "Who, me?"


"Who else. That your sister?"

"Oh, yes, Bo, I mean Lilly-Bo—"

"She looks like you."
Valentine winked at the one in the glasses...even though he was wearing shades himself. Force of habit.

"So dope," Flo gushed, half under her breath. Cuz most people didn't see it but she loved hearing herself compared to big sis...or vice versa. Loved that he was one of the ones that recognised the Chique mystique!
And right off the bat, too. But what else could she expect from Valentine Hart, right? "Um, so, um, Lilly-Bo Chique...please meet Mr. Hart. And I believe you know Ms. Burb..."

"Mornin', ladies," he drawled, nodding at the other two with all due gallantry and the expected smirk while deftly taking possession of Flo's elbow and inching her closer.

He wasn't really ready to be on, not for all of 'em, not yet, there was still somethin' he had to do first.

"So I need you to do me a solid, cutie pie. There don't seem to be a phone in my room. Think we could rustle one up?"

"Um, yes, of course, Mr. —"


"Valentine! Well, well! Tiffany," she said, as though to jog his memory, although they hadn't actually met yet. "Tiffany Burb. I can't tell you how thrilled we are to have you onboard to launch the new Valence line."

"Thank you."


"I think it is absolutely the perfect fit. As snug as, well—"

"Excuse me, Ms. Tiffany, if you don't mind. I just need to borrow Flo here real quick. Real quick. I'll bring her back, I promise."

"Oh, of course, of course."


"Okay, Mr. Hart, if you'll follow me. I know there's a phone in the library, one in the hall, one in each bathroom...so I'm sure we can find a more private extension for you."

"Library'll be fine. Fair to assume nobody's traipsing up and through there today?"

"Not so far as I've seen." Flo smiled back at him. "But I'll make sure you're not disturbed, of course."

"Hart. There you are—everybody's all over the place today.  On my personal line, call came through for you. Guess iit must be important so I came on to fetch you. Myself."

FM was sounding a little put out.


"Um, okay, then. Lucky coincidence. But if there is anything else I can help you with, Mr. Hart, or you, Mr. Mashuga, just give me a shout. I'll be floating around."

"Thanks, cutie pie."

FM gave her an approving once over himself before clapping Hart on the shoulder and leading him off.


"You might wanna steal her away, FM."

"I know. Might have to, too. Had a run of shit PAs for months. But me and Syl know better than to blame bad luck. Was fucking sabotage, 'at's what it was."

Sounded crazy. But that didn't mean he was wrong.
From what Val knew of those two everything tended to go a l'il bonkers around them. Other folks got caught up and responded in kind.
But what did they expect?

"So who is it on the horn for me? Agent or the wife?"

"It's the missus," FM said, though by then both of their voices were trailing off and Flo-Flo couldn't hear anymore. But she had heard enough.
Wife, duh. How did she forget that fast the man was married? Sure, Valentine Hart had a reputation—Valentine Hart was a reputation—but he also had that gorgeous wife. And kids! She'd even forgotten about the kids.

Here Bo was s'posed to be the starstruck one cuz she wanted to be one so bad herself while Flo was usually the level head!
She crept over, not even begging pardon for butting in, and whisper-asked "How many kids does Valentine Hart have?"

"Two," Tiffany and Lilly-Bo both said in unison.

"Oh yeah."


Frankie led Val through to his office.

"I told her I was gonna go get you myself before I put her on hold so hopefully she's still there."


Frankie glanced down at the phone to confirm, "yeah, she's still there. So, uh, take your time, we won't need you for a little while." He caught Val's eyes scanning across his desk
and pausing at all the goodies. "And if you fancy a nip or a smoke go for it. There's cognac up top." Frankie pointed to the shelves behind him and added, "but go easy with my Rémy."

Val nodded and picked up the handset. It was as good as a gesture shooing him out of his own space. But FM took the hint.


"And...I'll give you some space. You remember the way back? Or should I send that little dollface for ya in a few."

"I think I can manage."

"Suit yourself. It's not a maze after all...Don't know why the damn maid still gets lost."


Val waited for the door to click behind FM before he pressed down the button by the flashing light.

"Baby! Hey! I was just about to—"


"...Whoa. Now hold up, hun. What's with the tone?"


"Angel? An...A...A..." Valentine sighed. "But I...Yeah, and I did. An...Angel!"

Val reached over and twirled the half-full bottle like a top while she was going on and on and stopped it on a dime when it was time for him to interrupt.

"Baby...Yes, we were but it was a change of plans...You know why...Angel...Angel, what the hell is this, I'm gone all the time and you
never even blink and now you're gonna gripe about a weekend?...Uh-huh, convenient how you didn't say nothin' before I left...Woman, you
sound crazy...Damn right that's what I said, because it doesn't make a bit o' sense...Yep, loca, that's it, just as loca as you wanna be..."


"See and now there you go. I don't know who the hell all that's for no way. You know good and damn well I don't understand a damn word of it when you get
to fussin' an' cussin' me out in Spanish like that," he told her, feeling more exasperated by the second. "So why even...What? No, yeah, I understood that one."

God-damn. That woman and her mouth!



Lilly-Bo did like her job if she was honest. She was good at being 'Ms. Burb's' right hand, and getting to come on a shoot was unbelievably awesome because this
was not at all what they typically do at Pish Posh, but all the same she took the first chance she got to slip away because ol' Tiffany was even more Tiffany today.


"Have you located that woman yet?"

"Um, that's going to be difficult. Unless she has a car phone, for some reason, because she must be on her way by now.
If we're lucky she'll think to stop at a payphone and let us know her ETA but, either way, we just have to wait."

"If she's smart, you mean. That would be the professional thing to do. But goodness knows since we had no hand in the selection process."

"Did you...expect to?"

"Well, no. But my faith in our hosts", she borrowed Bo's term, "is diminishing by the moment. Speaking of whom..."


"...that's the woman I was actually asking about. Where on earth is his better half?"


"She certainly can't be worse," Tiffany declared. "Has anyone even seen the woman yet?"

"Oh yes. Well, when we first arrived and a few minutes ago I found Yes'm—I mean, Mrs. Mashuga," Flo caught herself when Tiffany's eyes bugged out,
again, "in her own office, at last. She's the one who gave me a copy of the call sheet just now and, believe it or not, we are still very much on schedule."


"She also gave me the breakdown, if you want to see it. And somehow I ended up with copies of the performer contract—not Mr. Hart's, though, and the audition report.
I've signed my fair share of these and I actually still know a lot of these names but there's one on this list..." Flo-Flo said with a lilt and dangled the paper in front of her.

"F-lo, I'm surprised at you!" Tiffany feigned, eagerly snatching the sheet from her hand.


Johnny couldn't tell if this was a good time or if this was a 'don't bother him while he's working' moment. So he just stood there.


"Yeah?"

"Uh..."

"Spit it out, kid."


"I was just wondering...I'm John, by the way, John Burb," he remembered that they hadn't exactly been introduced (and since he was taking the
initiative he sure as heck wasn't gonna call himself 'Johnny' for a first impression) "uh, how do you choose your projects? Cuz they seem so—"

"All over the place? Easy. I just follow the money."

"Oh."

"That was a joke, kid. I see you've got your mother's sense of humour."


"Okay. Two actors, a rabbi, and a pimp walk into a bar..."



"Look, I'm about to do this thing and I need to keep my head. You're fucking with me for no reason and I don't appreciate it...What?...Angel,
don't start that again, there's not a damn thing I can do about it now so I don't wanna hear it. Are the kids nearby?...No, I'm not accusing you
of bein' a bad mother! Now you're just reachin' for stuff, I just wanna...Fine. No, fuck it, fine. Yeah. I said fine already. Uh-huh. Yeah, bye."


"Love you, too," he spat as the sound of the dialtone filled the air.


Man, oh, man.

He didn't even know how that happened. Sure as hell wasn't the conversation he was expecting to have.


And he didn't even get to hear what he needed to hear.

Val plopped down into FM's chair. But what'd he do that for? He shoulda just gone back.

He looked around at the spread before him and tried to focus on something else. Not a bad setup for a cat who'd just got run outta town.

Val picked up that old screenstar album and tossed it back. Cuz she was another one, wasn't she? Using what she got to reel 'em in. ****
And then, once they were caught, it was down to the really real. Chew 'em up and spit 'em out. Only to reel 'em back so she could chew 'em up again.


Aw, what the hell was he even talkin' 'bout?
Maybe he could use a sippy-sip.

To calm his nerves.

Just a, just a l'il nip.

Couldn't hurt.


*




*So. Given the state of crazy in the US right now I could not post these pictures of a scantily clad black woman draped in the US flag without comment (as I'd prefer) and definitely not with only Johnny's commentary, even though within the context I think it's funny. Yes, it is set in an earlier time but certainly not a simpler one, the 90s delivered on their share of insanity, too. The historical points of contact between the real world and the one my sims live in are entirely arbitrary but they're not incidental. So, without veering too far from the simness of it all, I will just say that Frankie (and Syl) see art, or at least the potential for art, everywhere but that hardly means he only sees beauty and he's not one to shy away from being challenging, controversial, or just plain confrontational. On or off the lot. (That's why they had to uproot to their home studio back east last minute.) Could be Melissa and Anya were just shooting some beer commercial that morning, could be anything since it happened off-screen, but one way to read the visuals regardless is as silent affirmation that just like her blonde, blue-eyed counterpart, Miss Fancey is as American as apple pie. And sweet potato pie (which she prefers).


**A 90s song is a 90s song to me but I did go ahead and look up the release date and Barbie Girl is from 1997, way later than these scenes even though I wouldn't pin down a year for them beyond 'early 90s'. Not that it matters except to say: Anachronism Alert! And likely many more.

***Der Blaue Engel is an old movie (1930) starring Marlene Dietrich. Oddly enough, I've only seen the German version.
Suffice it to say, Sylvia Marie is no Dietrich! Her accent(s) explained in next part. (No ETA on that.)

****Get it? Get it? Reel. ;-P
 
 
 
quinndominionquinndominion on August 5th, 2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
Bonus Notes
1-Melissa Fancey is one of a handful of all-time favourite townies but even after making a new skintone for that bodyshape (after I swore I wouldn't) because I just couldn't take the face texture on the original, and re-shooting the close-ups, I never noticed that I'd made her a shade darker! Not until I was done and scrounging for old pics of Melissa and her cousin - a real sim, btw, Cherise Fancey lives in my Pleasantview although she's not a child. I mean, I love this tone on her but how on earth did I miss that? (I also didn't realise until after the fact that I didn't need to change her tone at all because she's Never Naked. *headpalm* But since I did need a 'showerproof' skin for Val and she'd somehow become his colour, it all worked out. I just linked them.)

2-Yes, that "irregularity" at Val's collar drove me Crazy. I'm just amazed that I resisted fixing it and re-shooting his scenes, too. This was the first outfit I converted for his shape (aptly called "ValBody", lol) and I had no intention of using it anymore so I never got around to making the needed tweaks. But when I got him on lot I realised his original 1st 'everyday' look wasn't going to work so I'm glad I left it in. Because otherwise he's got an exact number of costume changes, I didn't make any extras.

Most of the notes fit into the main post, barely, so I think that's it.
*Happy Simming*
Peni GriffinPeni Griffin on August 5th, 2016 05:48 pm (UTC)
Looks as if LJ may give me trouble posting comments again, so in the expectation of having to redo it I'll keep this one short.

Val, please don't pick up that bottle. (He will, though...) Since you made a point of establishing that he only has two kids at this point, I'm guessing that either the thing he wanted to talk about, or the thing Angel's bent out of shape about, has to do with her getting pregnant again.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 5th, 2016 07:54 pm (UTC)
Aw, that stinks. The ease of commenting was the one thing LJ had going for it. Shouldn't matter what login you use if they recognise it.

The bit about the 2 kids was mainly to establish the timeline, abstract as it ultimately is. Little Goldie's not on the horizon for a while yet. (For the story. That doesn't mean I didn't grab some shots of that little face, though!

Angel is a hothead. And because Val isn't, really, at least not verbally, that only ramps her up even more. But fighting is essential to their dynamic and she's an expert at picking her moments. Val is out of his comfort zone so he's a little more vulnerable than he's used to feeling and that is definitely not the conversation he was looking for from his baby.

On the surface, she's upset because this wasn't one of his scheduled "away" times. The shoot was supposed to be done right there in their hometown but the Mashugas...the Mashugas. The deeper reason rests on the fact that Angel had always wanted fame in her own right. Her plans to be right there in the mix with him were shot when they changed locations and he didn't invite her to go-with. Ultimately, she's jealous because he's out there living her dream now as well as his own, while she's just getting spillover perks.

Goodness! I've been living with this little side story for a while now so having it out there brings out the wordy in me. Hope I didn't reveal anything too soon...hmm...don't think so. Thanks for the comment!
Peni GriffinPeni Griffin on August 5th, 2016 10:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think it was LJ's fault. I think my computer just randomly logged me out. When I opened my blogspot dashboard, which automatically logs me back in so I think I'm always logged in, the posting went fine.

I'm always interested to see how people envision Angel. She certainly had to be hot-blooded to keep up with Val! And I'm sure she'd love to know Flo thinks of her as "the gorgeous wife." Flo shouldn't feel too bad about forgetting he's married-with-kids. At this stage of his career, Val's "forget-all-the-reasons-not-to-flirt-me" aura may not be perfected, but it's presumably in a good solid stage of construction.

Frankie will understand the lack of entourage better if he gets to know Val better. He can be his own entourage, thank you very much, and he's probably got a really nice car he likes to drive and wants full control of in case he needs the back seat.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 6th, 2016 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, you know him too well. With my love of cc, yes, Val has a very nice ride, indeed! I had never even opened a car mesh before a few months ago but while I was making a bunch hood deco ready I went ahead and tweaked Val's wheels to my liking (there was just a little something that looked weird to me though that may mean it now looks less like its real world inspiration, meh, so be it). So before this is done you'll definitely get a glimpse of him with his other baby.

Angel's face can be challenging to make over but I loved the way she looked in that first batch of pics I did and I think she's quite striking this time around, too. And, of course, she never tires of hearing her beauty complimented. One of the ways she holds her own in this marriage is by being just as obviously desirable and also obviously desired. He's not allowed to forget that, off the field, anything he can do she can do. Better. Whether or not that's always true - as he's got so many more opportunities but she's got the emotional leverage - is one of those things that either adds a little spice or a little strife to their marriage, depending on which way the "wind" blows.
Peni GriffinPeni Griffin on August 7th, 2016 02:14 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't put it past Angel to find an excuse to just show up - it can't be that big a trip if Val drove down in the morning. Probably without kids in tow if you're keeping the timeline loose. They can certainly afford a nanny, and there might even be a grandparent in the picture, this long ago. But we shall see (relatively soon, I hope?). I'm trying to work out plot developments based on the themes and characters you've set up, here, and it could get real complicated real fast, Angel or no Angel. Sylvia-Marie barging in on Val looking for doghair is so obvious a next scene, you might not do it.

Given the Valentine we're used to, relaxed at the top of the heap no matter how sad or annoyed he is, hearing him sputter and get conversationally stomped by Angel is a bit startling. And enlightening. I don't think Daytona'd like knowing that the only person in Widespot who ever puts him on the defensive like that is Mary; fortunately, there's not much chance of her finding out.

Unfortunately, there's not much chance of Mary finding out, either. That she could have had Valentine if she'd worked herself up to fight with him is not knowledge directly relevant to her life anymore - but it might shine a light on how best to go on in the life she more or less chose.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 9th, 2016 06:20 am (UTC)
I wouldn't put it past Angel either if it were closer but that line about Val coming straight on was a bit vague since what I really meant was that he didn't make any unnecessary detours along the way rather than that he was able to do it in one straight shot. She's not quite at the point of pissed-off-edness to hop on a plane either, this time, but with sufficient motivation, no, Angel is not at all above causing a scene.

I could see her and Syl getting along famously, if they don't butt heads at the off, that is, because they do operate on different wavelengths. Pretty much everyone is on a different wavelength from Syl. It's probably impossible to notice if you're not looking for it (and pretty much everything else you can see, besides Frankie & Syl, is a reflection, so that may be even more disorienting) but in one pic from their scene together you can see one of their well-stocked bars set up in the corner. So 'hair of the dog' is closer to hand than Val is.

And remember, not all of the players are in place yet! I didn't initially intend to split the day but I knew I'd have to once I started playing. I thought about holding this one back until I had both parts done but, well, for one it took longer than expected so I was just happy to have it done, and I also figured that'd be way more than anyone would read at once anyway. I think this is already more than most simmers care to read nowadays but this is the way I wanted it rather than broken into smaller bits for tumblr, which had been another one of those 'before I played it through' thoughts. I'll try to have the next part up as soon as I can! But realistically it'll be at least 2 weekends away.

I'd almost forgotten exactly how far back I'd left off with the bacc posts but Val and Day do have 'a moment' in store and it doesn't follow the path either one of them would've predicted. Mary's also poised for a kind of make-it-or-break-it moment of her own but I've been mum for this long, I'm not going to spill all and ruin my main incentive for getting back to it. I'll just say that marrying Junior did not free her from her entanglements with the Harts and in a town that small she never will be free of them so she's going to have to reconcile her feelings about the past in order to be able to really grab hold of the kind of future she wants.
Peni GriffinPeni Griffin on August 9th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure there's dog hair all over that house, but she could easily decide that the only thing that'll do is Frankie's Remy.

Given that I can see people marathoning through my old Conquering Nose posts from my dash, I think people are as willing to read long entries and stories as they ever were; they're just having to set aside time for it when they're on the right device. A lot of the short-format stuff is popular because people can read it on their phones in the grocery store checkout, but you wouldn't want to read a proper story that way. And something like this with the meticulously detailed pictures would be a total waste on the phone. Tumblr's format in particular is a good one for chucking things down and arranging them quickly and I'm very happy with it for sharing gameplay pictures; but I wouldn't want to write, or read, a novel that way.

It's probably better to split it up into chunks anyway, though, given the fits LJ was giving you with transmuting punctuation into long strings of code and counting the code against the character limit. I'd rather see it done right than done tomorrow; just so you remember that Perfect isn't a thing and we'd rather see it with a few flaws than wait forever for the Perfect version.

You don't become a professional party guest by not knowing how to handle the people with the long purse strings, so I'm sure Angel can either get along with or win a head-butting contest with Sylvia Marie! But the implication here is that she's not perfected her skills in her particular area of expertise to the same degree that Val has at this point (stick/ball dynamics being much simpler the interpersonal dynamics even between two people) so perhaps it would be a learning experience. But I guess this episode is all about Valentine's learning experiences as he enters into a phase and level of celebrity that is brand-new for him, for which he hasn't trained.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 11th, 2016 02:07 am (UTC)
Well, anything's possible. And I did deliberately leave off the House of Cognac from Sylvia Marie's rambling maledictions. Whatever was going on the previous night it wasn't a 'top shelf' occasion.

While slow 'n steady may get me across the finish line, finally, I still much prefer the quick burst. “Bing, bang, boom.” Done. That's what I'm hoping to get back to with the next one and every other update to follow. But the bing and the boom are relative since I only focused on this part and have to start back at the pruning pics phase. That will always take time. Doesn't have to be perfect, no, doesn't have to be anything in particular, really, which is what I love about simming. I have no perfect version in mind toward which to aspire (which is oh so liberating!) so each episode simply is what it is. I didn't even read this one through myself until a couple days ago. (Though not because of the length, of course. And LJ did only fight me a little bit. *sigh*) Happily, there seems to be nothing missing or out of order and only one typo that I noticed. I don't write up the captions sequentially, though, so the one thing it does need to be is complete, as a whole. No stopping midway to post what I've got and finish the rest later; it's an all or nothing deal.

Angel is kind of Real Housewife status until after Goldie has come along. I don't watch those shows so I don't know what the criteria are beyond being married to a man of means but if a talent for “drama”, so called, is a prerequisite I'm sure she could've held her own in that department. Within reason. Candy's the one who could take that torch and really shine on cable tv or reality tv/unscripted drama as they're now calling it. And all without overexerting herself, which could only further antagonise her fellow housewives. ;-} With Angel's connections she definitely didn't need to work her way up the ladder so she's got time before she finds her niche. Fortunately, she was of a generation before this reality television craze. Val would've resented the hell out of her trying to bring cameras into their space. And, ultimately, Angel and Val both learned a lesson about the unanticipated, hidden fees for that fabulous, free-wheeling lifestyle of theirs, almost as if they'd made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin...and never caught his name. Meanwhile, their firstborn, despite being at the centre of it all, didn't learn a damn thing.
braxenbraxen on August 7th, 2016 11:00 am (UTC)
This took me a while to get through, because I had to go back and forth and ogle all the details in the settings and the posings; the art, the view from the windows, the buffet table for the crew, Tiffany holding her cup of tea - not to mention how you manage to make Maxis template faces into original looking people (and real people at that), like the crew on the set. You know I love your attention to detail. :) Also I love all the clues to things that might be going on under the surface, even if I probably miss at least the half of it - the same goes for the references BTW. Reading you updates mostly makes me feel puzzled and entertained at the same time (and often has me googling for information on things I think I've picked up on). Since I never played The Sims, I had to google the Mashugas. Am I right in thinking that you're using Kalisa's Sims 2 versions? What a couple! And so right for the movie business. What I know about that, is of course what I've learned from movies (but meta is a theme here anyway), but to me your set-up and all the interactions seem spot-on. Also very entertaining. I thought I'd seen Melissa before, but it wasn't until I (as per usual) read through yours and peni's comment exchange that I realized who she was. Like I said, I don't know anything about The Sims but I don't know much about most of the pre-made characters in The Sims 2 either (not to speak of The Sims 3). The townies I recognize the best are the ones in Pleasantview. One could think Riverblossom Hills, but since the story I wrote (and that hood got corrupted not long after I finished the story), I've been playing my own custom-made Riverblossom hoods, and they of course don't have the right townies. Comparing John Burb to Clark Kent made me laugh out loud. Yes, he is that kind of guy, isn't he. And I admired his mother for taking no bullshit from FM. Actually I really loved that little exchange. And you gotta love Val for being Val (and looking the part). Of course he has no entourage; what is he, as sissy? No, he is his own man.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 9th, 2016 05:28 am (UTC)
And here I thought this one was so much less busy than some of the other posts since it all happens in one location and there are no time jumps, except for that one big leap backwards to start. I do hope it was more entertaining than puzzling!

The Mashugas were so perfect for the role; it was one of those ideas that just *clicked* when I decided I needed a director and didn't want to create a filler sim for the purpose. The only non-premades, so far, are Anya Modelle (because I just needed any ol' model) and Lewis Grip. Remington London is the pizza delivery boy and Gordon King the best-known burglar of Pleasantview (as he's built into the start-up stories). It is entirely possible that they may still end up as such if things don't work out for them with this gig.

I played the Mashugas for maybe a day or so in TS1 but that's still more than any of the others. All original Hood 1 and Old Town sims were immediately dumped so I've only got a passing familiarity with them myself. I think I've got genensims TS2 conversions scattered across my uberhood but here that is indeed Kalisa's Sylvia Marie only with a different Frankie, made by Aegagropilon.

Tiffany Burb and FM were pretty much destined to clash, they are so different, and yet both far too stubborn to give way easily. And Johnny...Even when surrounded by half-naked women at every turn and very determined to enjoy the privilege as much as he can, there is still such a wholesomeness to him. But, of course, even though he entered the scene later, it's still all about Val. Imagine him voluntarily travelling with a bunch of dudes, on his downtime! Not happ'nin', cap'n. He's a ladies' man, through and through, and not only in the bedroom. I'm sure he fed off the energy that comes with being part of a team from all the guys when it was game time, but he gets his biggest boosts from the women in his life. Kind of craves that feminine touch. But as you can see that Angel was no 'angel in the house' (in the Victorian sense) it's definitely not just about deference and adoration to soothe his fevered brow...but now I'm getting too far ahead of myself. :-)
braxenbraxen on August 9th, 2016 06:02 am (UTC)
I went to have a (short) look at your Tumblr account yesterday, and realized that I have missed out on a lot. I will have to go back and read up on it. My work related problems have just let me spend four weeks of vacation in utter fatigue – and now I’m back at work again. I hope to find an out soon – because this is my life going down the drain. Sorry, for that outburst – but that is the reason to why I can’t find the energy to actually follow the few people I’m still in contact with in the sims community. Not for lack of interest. I am always tired.

Ah – Gordon King! Yes, of course. I should have recognized him immediately since I’ve actually included him in my gameplay. And Remington! Yes, I recognize him too now. I loved the bit about Goopy Gilscarbo: Not goddamn Goopy Gilscarbo,
that scenery-chewing has-been, in one of his borderline porn adventures!” Ha ha! One of the things I missed to comment on because I’m not taking notes. And it is of course much more entertaining than puzzling. The latter is because I know to little (and for example haven’t been reading your Tumblr posts).
quinndominionquinndominion on August 9th, 2016 06:56 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear that your work situation still has not improved. I hope that you can find a good out soon and feel replenished instead of drained. Stress is unavoidable but I'm sure we could all do with less of it in our lives.

For me that means trying to make more time in my life for fun, and simming is definitely part of that, but sometimes - often - that's easier said than done.

I use tumblr mostly for the extras and outtakes that I accumulate from my confirmed habit of going overboard. There are a few more from this scene that I still want to post. And despite being completely irrelevant to everything that was going on, Goopy managed to make his way among them. He and Frankie are enemies in game (they used to be friends) so he stalked the lot the entire time!
braxenbraxen on August 9th, 2016 07:50 am (UTC)
The outtakes and extras provide a lot of interesting info (ah- there are Gordon and Remington too) so I really must go back and read more throughly. I'm at work now, so I really should go back to eh.. well, working. Thanks for the kind words. Sorry for bringing the whole theme up again, I just felt the need to explain why I'm so bad at keeping up. And things actually are going in the right direction here, but I certainly had more energy at 30 than at 50. I used to bounce up and down, there is not much bouncing going on anywhere now, he he. On the other hand I don't hurt or get confused the way I used to, experience has a lot of advantages. One can easily understand the "Youth is wasted on the young" quote though. If one only were able to combine the neverending energy (I kind of had too much) with the experience, that really would be something. :D I spend far too much time on playing The Sims of course, also for the same reasons: Escapism as medicine. I'd like to make time for more constructive activities, but in my free time, "having fun and forget about the troubles" has a way of finding its way to the top of my list.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 11th, 2016 01:28 am (UTC)
Ah yes, “si jeunesse savait, si vieillese pouvait” although I never had much in the way of youthful vigour myself so even the ideal merger of the best of both might not give me all that much of a boost, lol.

Having fun and forgetting about life's troubles sounds like a pretty good priority. I ought to try it more often, maybe it'd stop these impertinent grey hairs from multiplying! And playing The Sims might be escapism but not always. Just like pretty much anything else – books, films, sports – we can use it to opt into a certain kind of experience as well as for opting out of dealing with whatever it is we don't feel like dealing with. Playing out a story, whether it gets written up or not, or developing a world, (whether it gets to a fully playable state or not, sounds like constructive activity to me.
braxenbraxen on August 11th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
You really have the gift of saying things that are kind and memorable at the same time and give fuel to hope and positive thinking, so thank you - once again. As for "youthful vigour", in my case it is more a matter of a VERY intense personality that has had me acting like a cat on a hot tin roof more often than not. It's quite a relief (both to myself and others probably) that it has mellowed out with time. ;-)
quinndominionquinndominion on August 28th, 2016 02:34 pm (UTC)
It's very kind of you to say so! So sorry for the super long delay in response - I had to go away unexpectedly - but even though I've surely missed the window I still wanted to acknowledge that I've seen and appreciate your comment.

And while I'm going to have to reread this thing to jump start work on the next part your 'cat on a hot tin roof' analogy brings me right back to it because it touches on one of those tiny little details I never expected anyone to notice. That's Elizabeth Taylor in the book open in front of Val, at least I think so, it looks blurry to me now but that's the assumption I was going off of when I wrote it and that's the basis for his musing about chewing 'em up and spitting 'em out (that's definitely Gregory Peck on the next page but Val wouldn't know anything about that even if he'd noticed). And there is a cat, of sorts, who has yet to make an appearance...(and who, in the course of this little sequence will show no signs of mellowing out with time) :-D
braxenbraxen on August 28th, 2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
Ha ha! I guess Val would be indifferent to Gregory, me on the other hand not so much. ;-) And I thought that looked like Elizabeth - my choice of metaphor was completely unintended though. But I my thoughts went briefly to Ms Taylor when using it, that is unavoidable.
quinndominionquinndominion on August 28th, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC)
;-) Definitely me not so much either. (What a sentence, not a verb to be found, I love it. And I love Gregory Peck!)

Also, hooray for happy coincidences! Especially because I'd started a little side project soon after posting this (yep, another one) and I was going to pick up with that first as it's fresher and can be finished quicker (relatively) but now I'm remembering all the other story stuff that might not pay off if I put off the follow up for too long. So, guess I'll get back to the picture sorting.
braxenbraxen on August 7th, 2016 11:11 am (UTC)
Extra, because I forgot to comment on that (and a sh--load of other things I thought about while reading through this post - I should probably think of taking notes). The whole world is going crazy right now it seems. Mankind has this sad habit of going round in circles; no matter how much the world changes, the same bad choices are made over and over again. What is with people and their need to divide the world in "we" and "them"? And then of course choose their leaders accordingly. I firmly believe in democracy, but the views of the majority often makes that a very hard thing to hold on to.
Peni GriffinPeni Griffin on August 7th, 2016 02:18 pm (UTC)
The world is always going crazy (though 2016 is shaping up to be a real piece of work). The problem with democracy is not that the majority are so bad; but that the bad are so loud they make themselves into a social majority when they're a numerical minority compared to the mediocre and the good. Also remember that bad news travels fast and good news gets buried and both get misreported a lot.
braxenbraxen on August 7th, 2016 02:22 pm (UTC)
That is a very comforting point of view. I also believe that people in common are more good than bad - but the loud have a knack for taking the scene.
MDPthatsmemdpthatsme on February 16th, 2017 07:34 pm (UTC)
Ooh! I love seeing the Widespot sims. Great story!
I was hoping you could tell me where you got Sylvia's smoking jacket?

Edited at 2017-02-16 07:42 pm (UTC)
quinndominionquinndominion on February 17th, 2017 03:32 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I just saw your post about the smoking jacket over on tumblr so I replied over there. The short of it is that I cobbled that one together just for Sylvia Marie. What I didn't say was that it's meant to look like she's wearing Frankie's "coat of smoking" so while the waist is cinched and it's slimmer overall, it isn't fitted exactly to her frame. But if you want it, let me know.