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User Journal

Journal Journal: New Jagism!

Jag said this one last night. He asked if he should go to bed, and I replied, "No, stay up, drink a lot, and act goofy!"

To this, Jag said: "I am coming off of a low biorhythm, so I do not think I should abuse my body as such; therefore, I am going to bed."

That "as such" is particularly funny, but I'm not sure why.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Latest New, Fresh Jagisms! (Mixed Metaphors Edition)

Since I need to think about something other than how tight things are financially right now and how sucky working the "extended hours" is going to be (I'll get off work at 12:30 am--which means by the time I get home no one will be awake), I'll post some funny new things Jag has said.

"It's just a punctuation on the road to insanity."

"You're on the right track, but you've got the wrong voltage."

"You make an ad lib shelter for the night..."

User Journal

Journal Journal: New Jagism

Jag was really tired and he couldn't access the word for "apron." So he called it a "kitchen robe!"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Matrix , Armpit Hotdogs, and a Bad Dream 1

Today started out sucky, as I had a nightmare and woke up with a ton of bad chem in my system. You can read my nightmare and my other dreams here. I had overslept, and had only a fewminutes to get ready for work!

After work we went to the late showing of Matrix: Revolutions. It had a lot of weird parallels with our game-universe! Jag bought three hotdogs but only ate two. He put the third in his armpit (to keep it warm, apparently), a fact which came up in a hilarious conversation on the way home.


Journal Journal: Cephalopod News Network (incomplete) 2

Chapter One

Karen is sleeping restlessly in her rocky cave. Slow, sinuous waves of green roll over her exquisite body. Every so often a flurry of red flashes and a twitch of her eight shapely arms show that her dreams have become troubled; then the green pulsing returns to her smooth grey skin.

Karen is not enthused about tomorrow. Back when she was just beginning her newscasting career she would have grabbed at the chance to interview the President, but not any more. The current President, besides being from the party Karen despises, is widely known to be a complete boob. In Karen's other interviews with him, she had discovered to her horror that he couldn't cope with even simple questions unless one of his aides supplied him with an answer. And this one was going to be live--what on earth were his handlers thinking, sending him onto a live show?

Karen wakes from a dream in which the entire country hates her for asking the President a question that he can't answer, something like, "What did you have for breakfast?" That's the thing, he's the most popular President in twenty years and the public won't stand for anyone being harsh on him. I should have just refused to do it, Karen thinks--but no, that would leave the opportunity open for that bitchy Lispeth Emerson.

Karen can't get back to sleep, so she decides to do something she hasn't done since her college days. She is going to a bar.

Pi-R-Squared is a small, rather upscale bar across town from Karen's condo. It's been getting good reviews and she really could use the exercise. Karen flows out of her cave and jets through the dark water. When she enters the bar, it's almost empty. Only a few late-night types are still here, drunk on intoxicating jellyfish. Karen orders a couple of by-the-wind sailors and sits at the bar.

While Karen is waiting for her jellies, she idly scans the room with her beautiful dinnerplate-sized eyes. The décor is tasteful, relying heavily on opulent anemones and even live coral. Small alcoves allow privacy for patrons there on dates. Karen notices that each alcove has one real live-coral wall; that has to be expensive to maintain. A flash of orange catches her eye from deep inside an alcove. Two guys are in there talking. " we can't tell him," the older, larger one says with an irritated puff of ink.

"Why not? The voters deserve--"

"The voters? Get real! They didn't elect him, they elected his ad campaign. He couldn't wipe his own ass without a script," the older male flashes rather loudly.

They're talking about the President, Karen realizes. They must be off-duty staffers! She pays more attention. You never know what you might learn in passing.

"Look, we tell him, he won't be able to keep his skin blank about it. Remember the fiasco at West Point? And what about the Summit? We can't have him doing that with the cameras rolling," the older male says. "This is just the kind of B-movie crap he loves. He'd be all over it and when it turns out to be nothing but volcano gas bubbles he'll look like an idiot. Again."

Gas bubbles? Karen wonders. What the heck?

"Sir, more than fifty percent of the public already accepts--"

Karen's eavesdropping is interrupted by the bartender arriving with her jellies. They're very high-quality. Karen isn't a connoisseur, but even she can tell these jellyfish are primo. Imported, probably from Guam. She bites through the outer membrane and starts to eat the strong pulp inside.

After a few minutes, the President's staffers get ready to leave. Karen waits until they are on their way, then quietly slips out of the bar to follow them.

Maybe this is crazy, but Karen senses there's a story in the current. Damping the glowing spots above her eyes and using her ability to blend with the surrounding rocks, Karen follows the President's aides. She can catch a word or two of their conversation as they make their way through the darkness, but what they're saying makes no sense. They keep talking about the volcanoes in the Deep Rift like there's something important about them. But sheesh, the Rift volcanoes are always grumbling, sending up gas and stuff, and besides the protective barrier this gives the country against the Soviets, they're of interest only to science geeks.

Unless...Karen almost flashes out in surprise. Have the Soviets come up with some weapon that can shoot across the Rift? Maybe that above-water torpedo there have been rumors about? Holy shit, that would be the biggest story she's ever seen.

Karen jets ahead to keep up with the Presidential aides.

Chapter Two

On the northern edge of the Deep Rift, mussels are opening. Fish begin to sing, scallops fan their way through the water. It's morning; the tide's coming in strong, and for the tiny town of Parker, that means good business. Parker's a little, old-fashioned town, founded on the rift-combing industry, and that is still the town's main source of income. It's tough, dirty, dangerous work; the men perch on the edge of the rift bank to grab whatever comes up with the tide. Problem is, sometimes what comes up is a cloud of dangerous gases, and the alert system doesn't always work. Every year a few rift-combers die in accidents, but for the ones who manage to snag something really valuable it can be a decent living, and this is what keeps Parker and the surrounding scattered towns in business.

Inside a small room in a run-down neighborhood in Parker, Faith is lying in bed. She shimmers green in the slow rhythm of someone enjoying very restful, deep sleep; between the pulses her skin is pearly gray, and you would have to look very closely to notice that it isn't exactly blank. Undertones of pink and yellow chase each other just under the featureless gray, displaying the secret: she isn't asleep at all.

Faith has done this so many times that she's mastered the art of appearing. Deep in the hidden part of her mind, she is aware of everything going on around her, her sister's genuine sleep-rhythms, the clatter of the alarm, her mother awakening to get her ready for school, and the fading scent of the night's adventure still hanging around her arm. She breathes it in again, the summery, fresh-bloom smell of distant warm places, and nearly yellows with delight. This had been one of the best nights yet.

Chapter Three

Karen shuffles through the stack of approved questions the President's aides have given her. All nice, scripted questions sure to be met with scripted answers. They certainly aren't taking any chances today, she thinks as the President enters the studio accompanied by some of his many handlers.

"Here?" he asks, pointing at a chair.

"Yes, Mr. President, that one's your seat," Karen says. "Welcome to American Morning. The cameras will be on us in a few minutes, so you have a chance to get comfortable."

The President arranges himself in his chair facing the cameras. One of his aides, a tired-looking guy, hands him his answers--today's script. The make-up guy dusts the President's glow-spots and applies concealer to a tiny colorless patch of skin near his beak.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Postscript to "Hunting Rabbit" 3

"Rabbit," aka Edward Manuel, pled guilty to attempted homicide and was given ten years' probation.

To date, no one knows whether his claim of having killed twelve women was true, but this much is known: he did intend to kill me. I have no doubt that he would've killed somebody eventually if it hadn't been for his amazingly bad choice in victim-selection.

And now I find myself wondering how many other killers are out there unsuspected, looking just like ordinary people, quietly pursuing their "hobby."

The Courts

Journal Journal: Hunting Rabbit (Part Five) 3

Through the next few weeks, I led Rabbit to believe he was manipulating me further and further into suicidal depression, until finally I told him I'd had a huge fight with my parents and had finally decided it was time to "be done."

Rabbit delighted in the news. Almost immediately he started giving me security advice--how to make it look like I had just gone for a trip so that no one would suspect suicide or murder.

We agreed on a tentative date in early January. I told Rabbit I wanted to meet him at a bus station. Jeff cautioned me that Rabbit might try to change the plan at some point in an attempt to regain control; but he never did. I suggested to Rabbit that I wanted him to bring me yellow roses to welcome me to Texas. He thought that was a nice touch.

Finally January arrived. Jeff sent me plane tickets, and I was on my way to the Special Crimes unit to help with the bust. In the very last IM conversation, Rabbit asked me to tell him if this was a sting. I assured him it was not.

Once in Texas, I got a crash-course in the procedure we'd be using for the meeting and arrest. There was a police officer assigned to keep me safe, another assigned to intercept Rabbit if he tried anything aggressive, and a bunch of others with various tasks. I was given a digital tape recorder to capture any conversation with Rabbit. We went over the plan for the next day several times.

That night, I had a hard time sleeping. I was nervous--what if I did something wrong? What if Rabbit just didn't show up? I tossed and turned until daybreak, when our plan went into action.

Two undercover officers and I boarded the bus to Houston. We carefully avoided giving any sign that we were together, in case Rabbit had an accomplice on the bus. I listened to my headphones and tried to look casual.

At the Houston bus station, I stepped slowly down the bus's stairs. I was watching for Rabbit and simultaneously wondering how many of the people milling around were officers assigned to the case. I had only gotten a short distance when a white-bearded man approached. "Little one?" he said.

"Rabbit!" I exclaimed. "It's really you!"

Rabbit put his arm around me and hugged me. "Welcome to the big city," he said. I'm told I looked like a deer in the headlights when he touched me. All I could think was, This man wants to kill me. This man wants to kill me.

"So, lucky 13?" I said, trying to get him to say something incriminating on tape before the arrest. "Twelve before me?"

"We'll talk in the car," Rabbit hissed as he tried to hustle me down the hallway and out. I noticed he was keeping his head down, trying to avoid security cameras.

Just then there was a voice behind us. "Excuse me, sir." Someone touched Rabbit's shoulder, and we both turned.

A badge flashed, and an officer quickly pulled me out of the way. I saw the look on Rabbit's face: incredulous, shocked, terrified.

And it was over.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Hunting Rabbit (Part Four)

Now it was only a matter of going through the appropriate contacts in Texas's state Department of Public Safety. After a few emails, I was communicating with Jeff, the sergeant I'd be working with on this case.

Jeff liked the way I was chatting and gathering information without being obvious about it. "You sound like you've been doing undercover work for twenty years," he said at one point--a compliment I still hold dear. He agreed that I should keep talking with Rabbit, getting as much information as possible. I suggested that I'd be willing to come down and act as bait in a sting, but Jeff cautioned me that such civilian involvement was almost unheard-of.

It wasn't long before Rabbit let slip a disturbing piece of information: he was planning a killing for January. The investigation got a little more urgent; there was now a deadline. I stepped up the depressed tone of my conversations with Rabbit, and he responded by pointing out even more reasons to feel down on life. I let Rabbit think he was beginning to manipulate me toward becoming his willing victim. "Just don't do anyone before me," I told him, "I want to be Lucky Thirteen."

Jeff contacted me with excellent news. Based on some of the clues Rabbit had given me about his personal life, the investigators were relatively sure they knew who he was. Now they just had to catch him...and that was where I would come in. My job for the next few weeks would be to get Rabbit to tell me, in detail, how and when he intended to kill me, and to get him to suggest arrangements so we could meet.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Hunting Rabbit (Part Three)

My interest in detective work goes all the way back to when I was a kid reading Agatha Christie novels. Sometimes this fascination with all things forensic leads me to learn things that are a bit less-than-savory--like what happens to a person's body during the death process. Just to be sure I had my facts right, I did a little extra research before asking Rabbit my next set of questions. I'd already told him I was a fan of Law and Order and Forensic Files, so I hoped my questions would not make him suspicious.

"What happens when your clients die?" I asked.

Rabbit accurately described the appearance of a woman's face during strangulation. "What about the eyes?" I asked.

"Their eyes stay open," he replied, "and right at death, the pupils open all the way, and stop moving."

Fixed and dilated, I thought. "Is it true that the vaginal muscles spasm?"

"They flutter," he typed back. "It's the ultimate thrill to feel that."

I now had enough detailed information to be certain that Rabbit had seen this happen first-hand. Now...where was he? "It sounds like an ultimate sexual thrill for the woman, too," I remarked.

"You should try it sometime," Rabbit replied.

"Maybe I will," I said. "How far away from me are you?"

"Where are you?" Rabbit asked.

"The northern Midwest. How about you?"

"I'm in Texas," Rabbit typed.

I had him.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Hunting Rabbit (Part Two)

"Aren't you afraid of getting caught?" I asked.

"It's all part of the thrill," Rabbit replied.

"Well, it's not like I could get you in trouble," I said, "I'm just a crazy lady who doesn't even have custody of her own kids. Nobody would believe me."

"That is true," Rabbit typed.

Over time, I convinced Rabbit that I was no threat to him or his--as he put it--"unusual hobby." I mentioned that I watched a lot of detective shows and that I read about serial killers and was interested in them. "Do you mind being called a serial killer?" I asked him one night.

"If the shoe fits," he replied drily.

It wasn't long before Rabbit was giving me details of the murders he claimed to have committed. He preferred to strangle women with his bare hands, but he'd also helped one woman mix a cyanide drink for herself, and he had done a couple of hangings. All his "clients," he said, were suicidal, and consented to their killings, and to what came after. "The body goes so soft and erotic after asphyxiation," Rabbit said.

"Did any change their mind?" I asked, imagining that at least one prospective victim might not have been entirely willing.

Rabbit told me of one woman, whom he said he had met at a hotel. At the last minute, she decided she wanted to live. "But she had seen my face," Rabbit said. "So I waited until she was asleep, and my little black cord did her."

I asked a few very detailed questions about the death process, and Rabbit gave answers that convinced me he had either been there while someone died of strangulation, or he had read as much about the process as I had. (I'd been doing some homework in a quest to figure out if this guy was for real or not.)

Still, the question remained: Where was Rabbit, and was he just some relatively-harmless role-player pretending to be a serial killer to impress people?

The Courts

Journal Journal: Hunting Rabbit (Part One)

Now that the case has come and gone, with the suspect pleading guilty to attempted murder, I can finally write about the way this year began with a Great Adventure.

The story really starts with serotonin, the neurotransmitter that some people lack. When I don't have enough serotonin in my brain, I start believing that the world is a lousy place, people will never like me, I am worthless and just a drain on everyone else's life, and that there is no hope of anything ever improving. That's depression. Naturally, and with perfect logic given these basic first premises, I start thinking about how much better it would be if I were dead. That's suicidal ideation.

Last fall, after I had partly recovered from the radiation but before I was well enough to resume an active lifestyle, I sunk deeply into depression. My serotonin level must have been very low, since I hadn't been able to take my antidepressants while my mouth was too sore to swallow them. Besides that, I'd just lost my husband and kids and my home in the Pacific Northwest, and I was facing a terrible future of pain as my teeth and jaw, decalcified from radiation, disintegrated.

I was deep into suicidal ideation. Mostly, I was sure I'd never do it; but out of fear of the future's impending pain I wanted to be sure I could if things ever got too awful. So I joined a mailing list for similarly suicidal people, and posted a couple of questions.

Not long after that, an email showed up in my inbox. It was from another member, a lurker who went by the name Roger Rabbit. After exchanging emails with him for a while, I started talking to him on Yahoo's Instant Messenger. And then the fun began.

In one of our first IM conversations, "Rabbit" asked me why I felt suicidal. I explained the situation to him, including my long-term, chronic depression. Rabbit replied that he, too, had a mental illness.

"Which one?" I asked. He replied that he was emotionless and homicidal.

"Have you ever killed anyone?" I asked.

"I won't answer that," he typed...

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