6th Jan 2020, 9:06 PM
Go straight to the concert

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Go straight to the concert
...No.

If you start playing a game, it's going to be too easy to convince yourself to keep playing it.

No putting it off.

You need to do this.


...Maybe just one round of--

Plaire.



You take a deep breath.

You check to make sure you have your house key, money and ID card. Your library books are left sitting on your desk.

You leave the house, locking the door behind you.

You wait a little longer than expected at the bus stop, but you are eventually picked up.





"Good evening, Plaire. Going to the concert?"

"Y... yeah. Yeah, I am." No going back now. This is happening.

As the bus heads on down the road, you lift your head to ask a quick question. "Hey... do you know where the laundromats in this town are?"

"There's only one left," the bus replies. "Inside MondolMall."

You squint a little. "...Seriously? They ran all the other laundromats out? That can't be a huge money maker."

"No, it's not likely to be worthwhile financially for MondolGroup," says the bus, "but it does incentivize people to visit the mall."

...Huh.

You scratch your head. Yeah, that makes sense. You've been avoiding visiting MondolMall thus far, but when you need to do laundry Mondol's kind of forced your hand. Incentivize isn't even the word for it, they're practically forcing you to walk past and look at their other stupid stores. Or buy your own laundry equipment.

...Which MondolGroup probably sells.

Hmm.

You're once again a little surprised by how candid the bus is being about all this. Before you can formulate a coherent and maybe not... rude...? way to ask about it, though, the bus reaches their destination.

"Follow the sidewalk to the corner," the bus begins, "and turn right. You should be able to see the crowd from there. I've been asked to stand by, so I'll be close if you need me."

"Th... thanks." Thanks... bus? Thanks, Chariot MT?

Wait, asked to stand by? Asked by who?

By the time it even occurs to you, you have already stepped off the bus and the bus has already left. Amazing.

You face forward.



You take a breath.



You walk your way to the corner and turn right. There is indeed a small crowd starting to form halfway in and out of someone's garage.

Your heart feels like it's going to explode out of your chest as you force yourself towards the gathering. You can hear the band tuning up, not having officially started yet. You got here just in time.

There's at least... three people there you don't know.

Four.

Shit. What if this was supposed to be an exclusive thing?

They wouldn't have been sticking up flyers if it was exclusive. The flyer didn't say anything about needing to be in a particular group or paying membership or whatever.

Wait, no.

No.

You didn't check the back of the flyer, did you?

Fuck. Fuck! People put shit on the back of flyers all the time, right?

You're already halfway there from the corner. If you turn around now and start walking back the other way they're going to see you and you're going to look like an idiot.

You could walk past them.

Act like you're headed somewhere else and that you passing by the concert is a total coincidence. Complete accident. You had no idea there was a concert going on tonight, how quaint, hohoho you, Plaire Stevens, were on your way to an unrelated engagement somewhere else entirely

yes

fucking perfect

your alibi is air tight

FUCK, what if they're some kind of cult or gang or Mondol's mafia or something?! Just PASSING BY THEM TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE might be enough to get their attention--




You see Cici, walking toward the concert from the opposite direction.




Holy shit.

Breathe.

You slow your pace down so that you and she will arrive at roughly the same time.

"Hey," says Cici.

"Hey," you reply back, nonchalantly, like you weren't about to just start screaming in the middle of the street.

"Shit!," yells the voice of Biggest Shrug's lead singer through some rather meager speakers. "Cheese it, it's the cops!"

"That's not a cop, bro," says a portly teen in the crowd. "That's a librarian."

A blonde woman chuckles, and turns back toward Cici. "Were you ever a cop, Cici?"

Cici grins and shrugs. "I mean, they did give me a badge! That's gotta count, right?"

A young man toward the front adjusts his glasses. "I do believe animal control officers are considered police in this jurisdiction, yes."

"Well, there you go," concludes Cici. "I'm an ex-cop."

"The only good cops," grumbles a man in biker attire.

You feel... slightly better with Cici seeming to know these people.

"Alright, alright," says the lead singer, "let's get this show on the road."





What follows is... definitely a concert.

It turns out that Biggest Shrug

uh

kind of sucks...?

Okay, the drummer's not bad. He has a very entertaining amount of enthusiasm, and it's not like he's off beat or anything, he just... you don't know. He's not very ambitious? There's no rad drum solos or crazy sequences or anything, he just... drums. He has a lot of energy, but you can't help but think by the third song he's gotta be getting bored up there--there's just no... oomph to the drums in these songs.

The frontman, who is also the bassist, is probably the biggest issue. He's... trying his best...?

Scratch that: he's trying a little too hard.

He sounds like he's doing a bad impression of every nu metal buttrock vocalist in history. He's trying--really hard--to sound anguished and/or tortured and it's not at all convincing, not in his voice or in the lyrics themselves. It's... all very cliche and forgettable. His bass playing is... well, he's playing bass.

The band's only real saving grace is the guitarist, who also does some secondary vocals on a couple of songs.

It's like she's from a completely different band.

You're not an expert by any stretch (you've never actually picked up an instrument), but in your musically uneducated opinion her guitar riffs are fucking insane. She barely does any solos, but when she does it almost makes you forget how mediocre the rest of the show's been. At the beginning of the songs where she actually sings, the entire room leans forward--like these are the moments the crowd's been waiting for, and she does not disappoint. Her voice has authority, passion, anger you can feel. She has lungs like some kind of heavy metal banshee. There's points where she's visibly struggling not to overpower the rest of the band, or possibly melt the faces off anyone in a sixty foot radius.

You have no idea what she's doing here.


About five and a half songs in, a police car pulls up on the opposite side of the street from the concert.

"Oh, shit!" yells the frontman. "It's the real cops! Cheese it!"

He's already bailing out the garage's side door as the guitarist leans toward her mic. "For fuck's sake, quit saying cheese it. Alright, folks--this isn't really our garage, so if we could all haul ass in a calm and orderly fashion..."

You look down the street. Another cop car has pulled up along the side of the road.

Men in uniform are stepping out.

Everyone in the crowd begins to rapidly scatter, stumbling over each other as they take off in different directions. The guitarist has already ran out the door. The drummer is hesitating, torn between a clean getaway and trying to save his equipment.

Cici immediately turns to you.

"I'll hold 'em off! Run, find a place to hide!"

"What?!" Holy shit. This is happening. "Cici, no, I can't just--"

She grabs your tiny arms with her very large hands. She looks you dead in the eyes.

"Plaire. I know all the cops. They're not gonna hassle me! Go!"

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average rating: 5

6th Jan 2020, 9:15 PM
Trust Cici, tell her to stay safe, haul butt. (Once we're safe, Definitely call to make sure she is.)
6th Jan 2020, 9:32 PM
Get away from the scene, make your way back to the bus stop, and above all, maintain your composure. Don't panic.
6th Jan 2020, 10:02 PM
6th Jan 2020, 9:31 PM
Lunar Waffles
+1, but Plaire will have to ask for her phone number tomorrow at the library if she wants to give Cici a call
6th Jan 2020, 9:37 PM
Limrix
+1. We have a phonebook, we could probably look it up. Pick a direction that doesn't have cops, and run. Prioritize breaking line of sight and take branching paths to avoid being tracked.
7th Jan 2020, 11:45 AM
Hari_Seldon
Do we have a phonebook? I don't see it on the Journal page. Maybe the phonebook is at the library. I wonder if there is an internet phonebook (yellowpages.com?)
7th Jan 2020, 3:46 PM
Heroshima
+1. a full-on sprint might make us look suspicious, though.
7th Jan 2020, 10:48 PM
FourString
+1, while making sure to keep an eye on wherever that badass guitarist went. You definitely want an autograph from her when the coast is clear.
6th Jan 2020, 9:17 PM
6th Jan 2020, 9:17 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
... Huh. Well that was a thing. Time to book it around the block and duck into a side passage to go back to the bus. -_-" got the feeling it'll still be there for some reason.
6th Jan 2020, 9:44 PM
+1, bus was asked to stand by, so... Should be able the get on quick.
6th Jan 2020, 11:53 PM
7th Jan 2020, 12:10 AM
+1, while avoiding running straight into the cops obviously.
7th Jan 2020, 3:46 PM
6th Jan 2020, 9:17 PM
6th Jan 2020, 9:33 PM
undeadDreamer
Can you safely carry a drum and run? If so help the drummer. If not just cheese it. Cici knows what she's doing, we don't. Trusting Cici and running away from trouble sounds like a good idea doesn't it?
6th Jan 2020, 9:55 PM
Snervalton
No offense but we don't know any of the people here very well(not even Cici) and could that not be misconstrued as attempted theft?
6th Jan 2020, 11:26 PM
undeadDreamer
I'm assuming Plaire knows how to say "let me help"
7th Jan 2020, 8:32 AM
Snervalton
Could be seen as suspicious even, maybe especially, from someone professing to help. Even worse, if uncoordinated Plaire were to accidentally drop part of the kit while running...just doesn't seem like the way to introduce yourself to people in a new town is all I'm saying...
6th Jan 2020, 9:34 PM
Snervalton
If possible, run in the same direction as the guitarist, she seems to be the most interesting person(besides Cici) to talk to in this situation. I also have this bizarre suspicion that her day job might be mayor of the town?
6th Jan 2020, 9:40 PM
Book it! Away from the cops preferably
6th Jan 2020, 10:19 PM
Wait a minute, if we're with Cici, surely we should be fairly okay. What does "hold them off" mean? Why is Cici acting like we're going to die? The cops aren't going to just start shooting on sight, right? ...right?
6th Jan 2020, 11:27 PM
undeadDreamer
We just don't want to be caught being part of this hooliganery.
7th Jan 2020, 3:19 PM
Cici knows the cops and SHE'S THE ONE TELLING US TO RUN!

Clearly, just being near her won't save us or she'd tell us to stay close.

That said, if we're not going to just immediately flee and hide, we should help the poor drummer.
7th Jan 2020, 12:09 AM
Damn, face-melting guitar skills are hard to find these days.
Another one to add the The List(tm).
7th Jan 2020, 9:27 AM
Snervalton
Yeah, pretty intense, huh? Definitely somebody we should get to know better. I'm wondering if that's the kind of person who would come out swinging against a bunch of Mondol cops?
7th Jan 2020, 12:16 AM
We could try washing our clothes by hand in the sink but that'd take up a sizable chunk of our time and energy(and is just unappealing(why am I even posting this(too many parentheses(aaargh)))).
7th Jan 2020, 8:01 AM
pkrankow
Keep visual contact with Cici.
Get to bus stop.

Stay calm. This is just a noise violation... unless there are illegal substances about. Even then, stay calm, out of sight, with an eye on Cici.

Ok, meeting the guitarist who can play might be a good idea instead of keeping tabs on Cici.
7th Jan 2020, 3:14 PM
Some places have unlawful assembly laws to care about as well.
7th Jan 2020, 3:39 PM
Snervalton
Good point PurpleKetchup! While we're on the subject of laws, maybe Plaire could reflect on exactly how much trouble a situation like this could get someone into in this world? I mean, could they be dragged away and never heard from again? I can't help but suspect that a world with private test tube cops is a little bit dystopian. We know that a mayor of this town was elected recently, but electoral politics can be used to mask what's really going on politically...
7th Jan 2020, 4:20 PM
pkrankow
O-o

Right. Let us get out of sight. Toss up on keeping tabs on Cici and following the guitarist.

Eh. Follow the guitarist.

(Side note: I bet the lead and guitarist are siblings)
7th Jan 2020, 12:33 PM
Now I understand why the bus was asked to stand by. I'm guessing someone from the crowd is going to use it as a getaway. We should try our best to make it back to where the bus dropped us off.

And on another note, I'm guessing that Cici being a former animal control officer explains why she was fighting mutant wolves before.
7th Jan 2020, 4:29 PM
Plaire did not know she was going to need a getaway and, more importantly, doesn't know the area.

I'd recommend helping the drummer so Plaire can go run off with him. Ideally, he knew this was going to happen and has an actual escape plan.
7th Jan 2020, 4:46 PM
Hari_Seldon
Good except I worry Plaire's noodle arms may not be strong enough