Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Four Stars Chapter Twenty Three

Previous chapter: Ponderous Morning.

Chapter Twenty Three: Ponderous Afternoon.

After the Lion Twins went to work, Hera got up from the piano and headed to her room. "Ah, a long day of gaming without either of them nagging at me," she thought. "Plus, Francesca's too young to nag on their behalf, even if she's their cousin. She's officially nineteen. Simple birthday for herself, she's not too fond of the hubbub."

Hera turned on her computer and stared at the game collection on the desktop. "Now, should I pick the Sims as made by early Maxis, Firefly's Stronghold, Fallout 3, or Call of Duty Black Ops?" Hera ran through the options and counted their advantages, "Sims nostalgia, Stronghold's awesome soundtrack, Fallout and Black Ops guns... I feel like nostalgia today."

Hera loaded the Sims and picked a household at random. She was engrossed in making the miniature people run about on their little errands when a fire erupted from the greaseless barbecue machine. The Sims jumped up and down, screaming for help.
"Oh really now?" Hera sighed. "Why can't these Sims draw a bath and throw the bathwater on the fire? That's what I'd do, except for electric and grease fires."

The people in the game continued screaming about the fire, so Hera forced one of them to call the fire station on a landline phone. Eventually, the fire was brought under control. Hera muttered, "And to think I started with the third game in the series, where bad cooking brought bad food instead of guaranteed fire."
In the meantime, Francesca printed out a draft of several short stories and compiled them. She made sure the tales were arranged properly before heading out of the door.

Francesca put the manuscript in the mailbox, then put the flag up. "I haven't got the time to go to the post office these days," she thought. She proceeded to water all the bluebell bushes in the front yard. It wasn't long before she spotted a problem. She glared at the flowers.
"Bad flowers!"
"Bad flowers! Bad bad bad! Ungrateful cheeky things!" Francesca fussed and pointed at the bluebells. They were drooping although she had watered them. "What? Go away! Don't look at me like that!" Francesca said peevishly to nobody in particular.

She stormed back indoors after ranting to the air, then ran into her room and started using her computer. A quick browsing of her favorite game site revealed that the administrators were abandoning SuperheroQuest due to shifting focus to their pantomime game. They were not going to update the previous game, nor maintain it until people started paying them more for it.
She groaned at the news.
Francesca groaned, "So they're just going to waste the potential their superhero stories have? Isn't that one of the biggest sins a fiction creator can make? Is it easier to take a bit of funding from their celebrity game to support SuperheroQuest? Oh me, oh my, woe is me. To think they are following the big game companies in every way, good or bad!"

She logged into the game for the last time to take some screenshots of her character, a chestnut haired strongwoman in a deep purple dominatrix outfit that didn't reveal more than her limbs and half her face.


Evening found Francesca jogging on the treadmill. She had a long face from what she had seen in the last few hours.

"Ooh, I hate running," thought Francesca. "Even though this world has no room for gloom at the moment, it's all bring on the celebs, let the fun begin... Ignore all the haters, why waste another minute? Step this way, it's time for us to play, we might pull this game the very next day so pay up cash while you can!"

"Fran, you wouldn't know singing if it bit you in the rear," Attie said in a sharp voice. "That's an enormous area for singing to bite."

"So what?" replied Francesca, as she waved her hands around. "I can't help it if I have a bountiful behind."
"Bring on the happiness! Vadish, vadish."
"You're a distraction when you run," said Attie. "The way you wave your dainty little hands when you talk, sheesh. Lots of men will be staring at your gestures on the treadmill."

"I thought you were going to say other things are distracting about Francesca," said Hera. "If the creepy old man she complained about was any indication."

"If she was wearing red or black lipstick, I would. Bubblegum pink suits her, as her mother told mine," Attie replied. "Besides, if I told you what's really distracting about her, you'd turn green," Attie whispered to her blue eyed friend.

"I think I'll ask my mother if I want to turn green, thank you very much," Hera said stiffly. She glanced at the door as Isabel came back from the museum. "How's work?" asked Hera.

"It's fine," Isabel said. "I have to go over color theory for my first teaching practice. You know how light and dark colors usually provide contrast? It's more detailed than what was taught in middle school."

Next chapter: Francesca's Cry For Help.

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