Sunday, October 10, 2010

Roadside Velvet part nine

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Four

Roadside Velvet

part nine

Another rainy day, another misspent afternoon of D&D.

“I don’t see why the king’s guards won’t let us into the palace,” Gordon said, “we completed his damn quest.”

Adrian looked up from behind the Dungeon Master’s screen, “They don’t recognize you guys. What do you expect?”

“We just came back from the Tomb of Horrors,” I said, “there’s no way you can survive that thing without changing your gender and alignment at least twice.”

Daniel nodded sadly at his character sheet, “I went from having a blood thirsty, demon worshipping Anti-Paladin that looked like Rutger Hauer to a hot chick that likes long walks on the beach and holding hands.”

But our Dungeon Master wasn’t budging, I think it was partially sour grapes because he had expected us to die in the Tomb of Horrors but he hadn’t counted on our combination of bad ideas and dumb luck to carry us through the day.

Harry of course was barely paying attention, he was tinkering with our host’s new computer, “Cool Mac Plus.”

Adrian preened, “Yeah, its got 4 megabytes.”


“Hey,” Daniel said. “What’s this thingie over here by the keyboard?”

In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, Daniel was Adrian’s best friend. They looked almost like brothers and quarreled exactly like sisters. Daniel had been a year behind us in high school and had just graduated. He planned to attend college in the fall but was still torn between being a computer programmer or crime fighting adventurer. Personally I didn’t think our high school had appropriately prepared him for either option.

“That’s a mouse,” Adrian tapped the object Daniel was looking at. “It’s an optional thing. I’m not sure if I’ll ever need it.”

I whistled admiringly, “It’s a sweet machine.”

Adrian nodded, “My girlfriend got totally turned on by it.”

Daniel gave him a hearty thumbs up, “All right!”

“Really?” I asked.

“Oh totally,” Adrian said. “An Apple computer is a status symbol, like a Ferrari.”

Gordon rattled his dice, “Can we get back to the game? I am through talking, my sexually confused halfling wants to kill.”

“What are we going to do?” I asked, “Attack the guards while we’re in the middle of a heavily armed fortress?”

“Hell yes!”

Daniel shrugged, “Ok, but my Lawful Good hippie chick will shed a tear before she starts stabbing.”

And so the running battle through the fortress of King Freemantle began. We cut a path of destruction through the stone hallways, leaving bodies and utterly befouled tapestries in our wake.

“My character is running low on hit points,” Gordon said.

I shook a finger at him, “I told you this was a bad idea.”

“Gripe. Gripe. Gripe. This is what Chewbacca would do.”

Daniel sneered, “I don’t think Chewie would use a scullery maid as a human shield.”

“I think it’s implied.”

“Hey Harry... Earth to Harry...” I said, “We need your cleric here.”

Harry’s eyes were fixed on the computer screen, “Sure. I heal everyone.”

“Who first?”

Adrian drummed his fingers on the Player’s Handbook “Let’s move it along, I have a date in a few hours.”

The thought of Adrian getting dates annoyed me, “Really?”

“Yes, I told you all about her.”

“So you’ve got a girlfriend that is putting herself through college by stripping.”

He raised an eyebrow, “Jealous?”

“No,” I lied, “I just find it hard to believe a girl like that would be all hot and bothered for a guy that still lives in his parents’ basement.”

Adrian’s expression became sour, “I only live here because the cool air helps preserve my comic book collection.”

“What is it with you Al?” Daniel said, “Isn’t his word good enough for you? Do you need him to show you the pictures again?”

“Please don’t.”

“Is it my turn yet?” Gordon asked but no one paid attention.

Adrian clapped me on the shoulder, “You know what your problem is Al?”

“I bet you’re going to tell me,” I sighed

“You’re problem is that you don’t understand women.”

“Is that so?”

“No offense,” Harry said, “but you’re the one crying himself to sleep over some girl you hooked up with in high school.”

“You see Al,” Adrian leaned back in his seat, “women aren’t like men…”

“Brilliant!” Daniel said.

“…women aren’t as evolved as us. They’re still in that primitive state of mind where they’re looking for the alpha caveman. You know, the best provider. That’s why you see so many hot chicks with doofy looking rich guys.”

I nodded, “And you speak from experience with this?”

Adrian just kept right on talking, “So the first thing women are drawn to is money and power- of which you Al have none. The second thing women are drawn to are bad boys, guys with a bad attitude and an edgy personality like Axl Rose or Sean Penn-”

“Or me!” Harry said.

Gordon’s voice was pleading, “Can I just make a to hit roll?”

I was getting close to losing my temper but I tried to stay civil, “So, what you’re saying is that under normal circumstances no woman will be attracted to me. Is that it?”

Adrian nodded, “You have one hope, one thing no woman can resist.”

“This should be good.”

“Synchronized breathing.”

I did one of my classic double takes, “What?”

“Synchronized breathing,” Adrian repeated. “If you’re talking to a woman and synchronize your breathing with hers she will slowly become aroused and view you as the source of that arousal.”

“Synchronized breathing?” I said again.

“It’s a subtle form of hypnosis that women are very susceptible to. It has something to do with their unconscious yearning to have a baby in their womb,” Adrian explained.

Harry turned away from the computer, “Are you serious?”

“Yes,” Adrian said.

“Ok,” he turned back.

“So…” I couldn’t believe I was hearing this, “I just breathe in time with the object of my desire and it will be an aphrodisiac.”

Daniel nodded, “That’s what the man said.”

I thought of Athena’s legs wrapped around me and shrugged, “Well. I’ll try anything once.”

Gordon grinned, “That’s what Orville said.”


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