252: Pitching A Fit

on July 13, 2008 in Book 9

In Which Two Goes Off

The girl who was at the coat check when we were getting ready to leave was really snippy with us for some reason.

She seemed pleasant enough when we first came up to her, and she smiled when she took our claim ticket and she returned our coats, but then as she was retrieving our weapons off the back wall, Ian pointed to a jar of coins on the counter and asked me how much I thought we should tip.

“That isn’t a tip jar!” she shrieked, whipping around and waving his sword belt in one hand and my pitchfork in the other. “That is a donation jar for the potion fund! Donations… like I donated my time to person this stupid box for the stupid dance so you two could play teenage romance while I have to put up with stupid come-ons… people who throw their coats at me… people who can’t find their claim tickets… people who I see throw their claim tickets away before they even get five feet away from me… people who throw their weapons at me… people who think it’s funny to give me a spectral weapon that’s about to expire… and this stupid fucking hick thing always getting in my way.”

She lifted her left hand with the pitchfork in it as she said this. She looked like she was about to start frothing at the mouth, or even jump over the counter and attack us. Ian and I looked at each other in absolute, total mortification… she was seriously going off.

“Do you have any idea how many times I tripped over this fucking thing tonight?” she asked. “How many times I had to move it out of the way?”

“Well… we’ll just get it out of your way, then,” Ian said, taking the items from her.

“Uh, thanks, and… have a good night?” she said.

“Did you really have to bring this damned thing?” Ian asked as we headed off through the crowd to look for my dormmates. “It’s too big, it’s ugly, and it makes us look like a couple of rednecks.”

“Well, it’s not a showpiece, but it’s mine and I like it,” I said, reaching out and taking hold of the haft.

“Honestly, Mackenzie, you’re such a stupid fucking cunt sometimes,” Ian said as I took the pitchfork from him.

There were people milling about all around us in the area around the entrance, and more than a few of them were paying extra close attention to us after the outburst at the counter. I knew people had heard it. Whatever little jolt I might otherwise have got from the “c-word”, I was still reeling with embarrassment from the claim check girl’s tirade, and so this kind of attention wasn’t doing anything good for me.

“Not that I don’t appreciate that, but… save it for when we’re alone, okay?” I said.

“Uh… yeah, sure,” he said, blinking in surprise. “Sorry.”

“I don’t mean to jump on you,” I said. “I love when you talk to me like that… mostly… though I’m not sure how I feel about ‘stupid’… but, anyway, I think it’s a time and a place thing.”

I looked at him, searching his face for clues about how he was taking this. It could be so hard to coax that kind of language out of him. I didn’t want to kill the impulse by sending a lot of mixed signals.

“I’m sorry, I was just thinking… I don’t know what I was thinking, actually,” he said. He put on his belt, then took the gladiator flyer back from me. “Maybe I need this more than I thought.”

“Or maybe you need to think it through some more,” I said. “I mean, I know you’ve said you could handle yourself in a fight… and, okay, you can handle me pretty well… but you’re talking about going down into the arena with trained fighters.”

“Look, it says all experience and proficiency levels are welcome,” Ian said, holding the sheet up in my face.

“But.. what about your band?” I asked.

“Well, it’s not like I’m going to quit it… yet,” he said. “But if things don’t come together…”

He shrugged and let the thought trail off. My heart lurched. Ian was good… but much like Steff and her drawing, he’d never see it as clearly as I could. Why couldn’t they see how talented they were? I wasn’t the most self-assured person in the world, but I knew I was a pretty decent writer. I mean, I didn’t go all falsely modest when I sat down in front of a piece of paper or a crystal ball and turned out something that I knew was actually pretty good.

Any response I might have come up with was forestalled by the arrival of an exuberant Oru, with Moeli shifting around uncomfortably a little bit behind her.

“Hey, guys!” she said. Her mottled green skin was shiny with sweat, and she was talking a mile a minute. “Wasn’t this a fun dance? I had an awesome time… I can’t believe it’s over already. It seems like we just got here, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why humans say that time flies when you’re having fun. I heard that in one of my Tuesday-Thursday classes, and I think the professor was being sarcastic, but seriously…”

“This was the most boring night of my life,” Moeli said loudly to nobody in particular… but in particular, not Oru… and he turned away and started heading for the door without another word.

Oru looked like she’d been slapped.

“I… I thought it was going well,” she said.

Before either of us could figure out what to say or how to react, Moeli was out the door and she’d gone charging after him.

“Um… we should probably follow them,” I said to Ian.

“Yeah.”

While we’d had to struggle to keep from getting too far ahead of Moeli and Oru on the way to the dance, we fought the urge to catch up with them on the way back. Moeli was moving with determination if not speed, resolutely ignoring Oru who followed and tried to get a response out of him. She had a really unfortunate resemblance to a small puppy yapping at somebody’s heels. Ian and I stayed about twenty feet back, sharing awkward glances and not really daring to say anything.

Soon after we got to Harlowe, Oru broke down in the middle of the first floor hallway when she saw Moeli disappearing into the stairwell on his side without sparing a glance back. She threw her head back and began to wail. I’d thought that Two sounded like a child when she was upset, but Oru managed to get about four times the sound out with only half the lungs. It would be a wonder if the seniors couldn’t hear her up on the second floor.

Ian and I just stared at her, not knowing what to do.

“Poor Oru,” I said quietly. “Well, thanks for a nice night, anyway.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Um, is she going to be okay?”

“I really don’t know,” I said. “I’ll try talking to her… but you should probably go.”

“Okay,” he said.

Not wanting to start making out in front of a crying person even if her back was turned, we shared a very quick kiss and said our goodnights, and then I turned and walked with more than a little trepidation to the bawling goblin.

“Um, Oru?” I said timidly. “Are you okay?”

That was the logical question to ask somebody who had enough tears streaming down her face to water a whole town’s crops, of course.

“Would you like to talk to me about it?” I asked her, coming closer.

She turned and said something, but either it was in her own language or the sobs just made it impossible to make it out.

“What was that?” I asked. “I’m sorry, I can’t understand that.”

She tried to bring her sobbing under control, then took a deep breath, opened her mouth and lunged across the few feet that separated us. Her jagged teeth went right though my jeans leg to close painfully around my calf, and she held on.

“Ah, Oru!” I yelled, trying to shake her off without hurting her. Her teeth couldn’t break my skin, but she had a fantastically powerful jaw and it felt like my leg was being chomped in half. “Let go of me!”

I got ready to kick the little shit against the wall hard enough to make her let go. Then we’d see how well the dungeon rat could bite people if she didn’t have any teeth… or a lower jaw. Or a head. That would teach her to ruin my sexy new jeans just because she couldn’t keep a man.

She bit harder, and my legs buckled. The pitchfork clattered to the floor. I howled in pain, crying as I tried ineffectually to pry Oru off. Finally, after giving my leg a fierce shake, she let go and fell back, panting and sobbing.

“That really hurt,” I said, or tried to. It seemed like it was my turn to blubber incomprehensibly. “I was just trying to help.”

She seemed to have calmed down all at once. She got to her feet, took a handkerchief out of her dress and wiped her eyes then blew her bulbous nose.

“Don’t ever speak to me again,” she said, and then she stomped past me towards the girls’ staircase with her nose in the air, leaving me alone with my tattered jeans and the shooting pain in my leg.

In order to let her get a little ways ahead of me… and because I couldn’t fucking walk yet… I waited in the hallway for a little bit before I headed up. I leaned on my pitchfork for support, replaying the memory of that ugly little monster with her fright-mask face and hideous forest of braids leaping at me like some kind of animal.

What the fuck made her think she could get away with that? And then, to add insult to injury, she’d looked down her fat nose at me and tried to tell me to fuck off. Something would have to be done about that.

When I got to my room, I leaned my pitchfork on the door while I dug my key out of my pocket. The sound of knocking at the end of the hall caught my attention, and I looked to see Oru standing in front of the shirelings’ room. She’d let her hair out, and it looked like a badly wilted bush. She just looked sort of deflated overall. I felt terrible for her… I couldn’t help if Moeli was interested in me, and I didn’t even know if that was the reason for his lack of interest in her, but I felt unaccountably guilty all the same.

I quickly looked away when it looked like her head was turning towards me, not wanting to add to her embarrassment.

The door opened up in front of me and my pitchfork pitched forward. Two caught it before it could fall, and then stood there in the doorway looking at me expectantly. I thought she’d started to smile when she first saw me, but the lower half of her face was impassive and her eyes were slightly narrowed.

She was wearing one of the sets of gauzy see-through undergarments that were among her more disturbing examples of “pajamas”. Actually, they seemed to be new… or at least, I didn’t recognize them. It was more than a little bit disturbing to see her standing there with my pitchfork in hand, still as the clay statue she had once been, with her nipples and other private areas clearly visible through a thin curtain of peach-colored fabric.

“Um… is something wrong?” I asked her.

“You could say hello first some of the time,” she said.

“Oh,” I said. “Sorry. Hello, Two.”

“Hello, Mack! Also, I really would like it if you would stop leaving your clothing on the floor,” she said. She turned and moved away to let me into the room. “I suppose you are going to want me to fix those jeans, too.” I shut the door behind me and she went to put my pitchfork in the closet, talking as she did so. “And I would like to know why the lunch room cannot put a label on the gelatin so that I could tell if it was cherry or strawberry before tasting it.”

“Isn’t the cherry a little bit darker?” I asked her as she slid the closet door shut.

“A little,” she said, turning around with the big smile I’d missed when she first opened the door. “But sometimes it’s hard to tell. Did you have a nice date with Ian?”

“Yeah, mostly,” I said. “I mean, it was good. Ian was great. The ending was just a little… surreal. I think I’m going to take a bath and go to bed.”

“Okay,” Two said. “Just leave your jeans on my desk.”

“Thank you, Two,” I said, and I hugged her. “I don’t want you to think I take you for granted.”

“You’re welcome, Mack,” she said. “I don’t want you to think I take you for granted.”

Feejee was lightly snoozing in one of the bathtubs when I got to the bathroom, so I changed my plans and just had a long, hot shower instead. She was still dozing when I left.

Two had already turned out the light and gone back to bed when I got back to the room, so I tiptoed quietly to my bunk, pulled the curtain back, climbed in, moved the pitchfork aside and curled up around it.

I was asleep before I knew it.


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17 Responses to “252: Pitching A Fit”

  1. someone else says:

    oh these subliminal pitchforks everywhere 😀

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      i remember a huge discussion on the matter of subliminal pitchforks, i kind of wonder if it actually moves itself to be noticed more often, hence the coat check girl constantly tripping over it

      Current score: 4
      • Ceri Cat says:

        Hmm kind of reminds me of the One ring from LotR, it seemed to possess a sort of intellect itself pushing itself towards new owners. Not uncommon though for powerful magical items to exert themselves causing trouble. I do have to wonder though if the curse on the pitchfork has a radius effect not purely contact.

        Current score: 3
      • Anon says:

        Well if the previous instances were too subtle for you, right here Two put it in the closet and then Mack curled up in bed around it mere moments apart.

        Current score: 5
  2. pedestrian says:

    some people are susceptible to subliminal messages

    some people just get varying degrees of headaches from them

    some people are deaf or blind to S.M.

    Current score: 0
  3. pedestrian says:

    I am wondering, it appears that TWO is not effected or affected by the dual-tined-curse? Or at least not as susceptible.

    Perhaps there is an innate quality against curses for golems in general. Or specific to TWO, because as a wizards assistant, it would have been useful to include in her programming defenses against evil effects? TWO seems very knowledgeable about magic.

    Then again TWO has been accomplishing a lot of personality development. She is maturing at an impressive rate. Lot faster then a bunch of whiny over-indulged college kids. Plus the meditation and psychological healing she has been receiving from Dee, could also be a bolster to her defenses.

    Current score: 0
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      Two is just as bothered by it. She was a bit out of character when holding pitchy after all.

      Current score: 6
    • Erm says:

      Two is very much affected:

      “Hello, Mack! Also, I really would like it if you would stop leaving your clothing on the floor,” she said. She turned and moved away to let me into the room. “I suppose you are going to want me to fix those jeans, too.” I shut the door behind me and she went to put my pitchfork in the closet, talking as she did so. “And I would like to know why the lunch room cannot put a label on the gelatin so that I could tell if it was cherry or strawberry before tasting it.”

      By Two’s standards, this is cold fury.

      (Also: Aw, pitchfork cuddles.)

      Current score: 10
      • Anthony says:

        Yeah, Irresistable Rage!Two is absolutely adorable…

        Current score: 4
  4. Arkeus says:

    Wow, how come Mack can ignore what was going on? That’s incredibly obvious, especially as she was told what the pitchfork does.

    Current score: 4
    • Maesenko says:

      Mackenzie IS horribly unaware of her surroundings, after all.

      I swear, if she wasn’t so physically invincible, I’d say she’s Too Dumb to Live.

      Current score: 2
    • zeel says:

      I think she is too far under its influence at this point to notice what it’s doing. When delvers encountered it, they likely noticed that the one holding it was going crazy immediately. But since it seems to have less direct effect on Mackenzie, nobody noticed. Now she is so far under it’s power, and so unobservent in general, that she can’t really tell.

      Current score: 0
  5. Anonymoose says:

    BEHOLD:

    The Pitchfork of +3 Irritability.

    Current score: 9
    • Jechtael says:

      Goes well with Hazel’s +2 Rolling Pin of Smiting. Now we just need Amaranth to have a +1 Hoe-ly Avenger and Steff to have a shovel that gets a +4 bonus to speed when digging up graves and we’ll have the complete set.

      Current score: 2
  6. Anon says:

    Two is filled with Bottomless Rage. She would like to request that you not leave your dirty laundry lying on the floor quite so much, if it isn’t too much trouble.

    Actually, Bottomless Rage-filled Two comes out to just about the right level of assertiveness to be functional in everyday life in the outside world. Having her carry the pitchfork around some of the time might solve several problems. Best to keep her away from, say, Maliko though, so as to avoid giving the curse any real ammunition.

    Current score: 2
    • P says:

      I don’t usually comment on older updates, but Boundless Rage Two is still super cute. Though if she carried it around ALL the time I imagine she would object whenever she’s uncomfortable with something, which stops being useful after a certain point even if her boundless rage is reserved for things like gelatin labels.

      Current score: 0
  7. fedback says:

    Bits back to lovecraftian……and bits me por es the putchfork actually a positive influence en two.

    Current score: 0