Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Command

I've been working to make a lot of changes recently.  I've replaced Eternity, and Screwtape and Poe needed replacements.  I traveled the Path in hopes of guidance.  The Path is...unusual now that I've lost my sight.  I can sense things there, and I have a vague idea of what things look like.  It's like dreaming: I can't see anything, but it's like I'm accessing and acting out a memory in my mind.

It's difficult to adjust.  I've gone from being on the bottom of the rung to a high-ranking official.  Tempest isn't entirely comfortable that I outrank her now, but she's being professional about it.  There's also the fact that I'm Oracle to more than one division.  I'm going to need to learn more names, which is going to be even more difficult now that I don't have faces to put them to.  On top of that, the loss of my eyesight has changed my entire life.  Since I can't exactly do much work with computers for most of my life now, I've lost all my old income opportunities.  It's a big change, and it hasn't been easy.

I've talking to Tempest and Jacob about our courses of action.  We've needed a lot of replacements.  After all, we lost two Trackers and a Messenger, and since Eddie has been relocated, we needed a new Handler, too.  Fortunately, we've gotten everyone replaced now, and one of our new Trackers may be a familiar face to some of you.  At the same time, Muad'Dib and Holiday, respectively our Pilot and one of our Sweepers, have picked up blogging.  If you still feel the need to keep an eye on this division, they're probably your best options.

As for the position of Messenger, it's been passed on to an old friend of mine who goes by "Ratatoskr."  He has not decided to work as part of this division yet, so Jacob is not currently funding him.  However, Annabel and I had funds saved up from when we were planning to run, so I'll be paying him out of my own pocket for a while.  There is also now a blog dedicated entirely to reports, eulogies, and obituaries that I began working on in my final week as Messenger.  I'll have one of my aides fill things out a bit more.  Ratatoskr will help with filling that out, too.

I've been visiting her now that Eddie's been transferred.  TE-119H.  Not Poe.  Not Annabel.  That's all she is now.  Just an identification number.  She'll almost certainly never recover.  And it's...painful.  Painful to be around her.  I can't even forget what she looks like, due to the visions.  I'll sit with her and hold her hand but she won't even react.  She doesn't recognize me anymore.  Never will again.

Oh yes.  The visions.  There are some memories I constantly relive relive.  Failures.  Hardships.  Disasters.  The most frequent one is finding her broken, but there are other things.  Every vision is a hell for me.  And I see them all vividly, like I actually have sight again.  While the Path is a reality that feels like a memory, the visions are memories that feel like realities.

It's strange.  None of those things happened to Justice.  But they still happened to me.  I've changed who I am, and yet, I'm still the same person.  I'm not The Messenger.  I'm not even Alan.  I'm Justice now.  But I'm still the Messenger.  I'm still Alan.  And I'm still not entirely sure of my identity.

Identity.  A strange thing.  You wouldn't think it's that complex.  But with who you were, how you change, who He makes you be, and who you pretend you are, it's not an easy thing to figure out.  I guess that's our curse, though.  We can't know who we are.  Maybe we're like Caper and hide behind a mask so thick that we become a completely different person.  Maybe we're like Alex and emulate a character, hoping to follow their story ourselves.  Maybe we're like William, scraping up what little identity we can find and clinging tightly to it.  Or like Poe, Annabel, and TE-119H, unsure of who exactly we are.  Like Nee-chan, embracing a characteristic and amplifying it into a persona.  Or like me back when I was the Messenger, stupidly pretending I could remain as someone I used to be.

Who am I?  Who are you?  Who are any of us?  Can we even know?

But I'm rambling.  Forgive me, friends.  I feel a compulsion to talk.  Like I can't quite abandon this.  I know that there's no coming back here once I've said my last words.  I suppose I'm still clinging to a bit of The Messenger.  He was a troublemaker, though.  An idiot who didn't know what he was doing, unthinkingly spilling truths when so many of us speak in half-truths and lies.  I envy his naivety, but it's best for me not to cling to him any longer.

Very well.  Let's end this.  Nice and brief, now.

Goodbye, my friends.  May His whims favor you long enough that you live another day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The Path took me somewhere today.  It's the only time it's taken me to another location.

I emerged in the church I first met Eternity in.

He was there.

I had known this, of course.  I had come dressed in a simple dark cloak, in contrast to his flashy robe, intending to mock him.  To let him know that I would be the one to end him.  His arrogance had driven the organization into the ground and I would pull it from its disrepair.

All his previous bravado was gone, however.  He still wore that purple robe over jeans and a t-shirt and looked about the same as always.  But he reacted...differently.  He was far more serious about everything.

"I've been expecting you, Alan," he said.

"So you know I'm here to kill you."

He closed his eyes and smiled, but the smile wasn't smug or sarcastic.  It was...somehow genuine.  "Yes.  Just as I intended to kill Azrael.  You know why you're here now, don't you, Alan?"

"To take your place."

"And you know why I call you Alan now?"

I nodded, pieces of a larger puzzle I had not quite been able to grasp slowly interlocking in my mind.  "Yes."

"So, Alan.  Tell me."  He looked up at me.  "What shall I call you now in my final moments?  Who are you?"

Another piece fell into place.  "I am Justice."

He nodded somberly.  "Good.  Good.  I've been waiting to hear that name for months.  You've finally found it.  Are you willing to listen to a dead man's final words?"

"Go on."

He took a deep breath and started started speaking, pacing slowly as he did.  Slowly, but with deliberation.  Not flourish.  "I'm incredibly sorry for everything.  If there was another way to do things, I would have.  But you had to break.  It was the only way.  You had to see the darker side of those close to you.  You had to lose people."

He sighed.  "You came here to kill me.  But you won't.  I didn't kill Azrael, though I wish it was that easy.  The Slender Man will come to claim me, just as he came to claim Azrael.  Just as he'll come to claim you when your successor comes.  He'll also come for something from you.  I'm sorry, Justice.  I wish it weren't so.  But you'll have to pay a price.  Some lose a limb or two.  Some lose an emotion.  But every Oracle pays a price."  He fell silent for a moment.  "I had to as well.  You have to be a broken man to be an Oracle.  You have to break yourself."

"And what price was that?" I asked him.

He was silent for a moment.  "I used to be in a situation like yours, Justice.  I was a noncombatant in all of this.  Removed from any major conflict.  And like you, when the time came, I knew what I needed to sacrifice.  I asked...I asked them to bring me a homeless person.  Someone not on our side or their side.  An innocent.  A bystander in this whole war, but someone whose absence wouldn't be missed.  They...brought me a girl.  She couldn't have been more than ten years old.  I knew I had to...I had to give up my innocence.  I had to make myself a murderer.  A monster.  And I had to...I killed her with my bare hands."  He started laughing, his hand gripping half of his face as he looked at me with one wild eye and his mad laugh's crescendo grew.  "But that's not all.  Noooooo, that wasn't all I did.  I had to make sure I was really truly broke her.  So before that, I raped her.  I raped and killed her.  By my own choice.  I hated every second of it but I forced myself to do it because I knew I had to.  And every month I killed another.  Did brutal things.  Because that's what I had to give up.  My innocence in all of this.  And you'll have to give something up too.  Something to break yourself."

I fell silent for a while.  "I've already lost plenty."

"That helps.  I lost almost nothing.  But what you've already lost won't be enough for him."

"I killed her.  Worse.  I forced her into a fate worse than death."

"As much as everyone blames you and you blame yourself, you're not the only one at fault.  There has to be something, Justice."

I paused.  "She's still alive.  But I'll never see her again.  I can't let myself."  I looked up at him.  "He'll take my sight."

He nodded.  "And you know the visions that will come with that?"

I gave a heavy sigh and nodded.  I knew what would happen if I lost my sight.  "Yes.  I know."

"Good.  That will do."  He turned so I couldn't see his face.  "I know I've failed.  It went well for a while but ultimately, I fell like we all do.  So now I have another price to pay.  It's your time now, Justice."  He began swaying slightly.  "He's...he's coming.  I can feel it.  It's time for me....  I know you'll do well, Justice.  Good luck."

And then The Boss appeared before us, stepping towards Eternity, his body swelling and swallowing the man's up.  He then turned to me, and everything faded to black.  And I struggled to regain consciousness until I revealed that I wasn't asleep or dreaming.  It was reality and my sight was gone.

I am Justice now.  I am Messenger no longer but an Oracle.  I'll need an aide now to help me with a few things, but for now, Tempest, my old Handler, has agreed to type this up for me, now that my world is dark.

I have to go for now.  I have a lot of work to do.  I'll be back, though.  There are still things unsaid, but I need to take care of some business before that is possible.

But only once.  The Messenger is gone.  His replacement should be showing up soon.  But me?  Justice?

I have no reason to have anything to do with you people anymore.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It is Decided

This organization is a fucking mess.

Everyone is fighting and dying and the whole thing is collapsing.

I know what I must do.

Time to begin my final preparations

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Meeting Justice

I met a man.

The Path led me to a small shelter.  Just a crude hut.  I entered and saw a man sitting on a bench, dressed in a dark, hooded cloak, a small scale sitting on the table near his right hand.  He looked up as I entered, and as the light penetrated his hood I saw a blindfold across his eyes.  The blindfold read, in capital letters, "JUSTICE."

He smiled faintly, cautiously.  "Oh.  So it's you."

I looked at the man.  Something about him seemed familiar.  A sort of deja vu.  Maybe I had met him before or maybe it was one of those times where I hadn't met him yet but I knew I would.  Time on the Path doesn't make much logical sense and isn't easy to explain.

"Who are you?" I asked him.

"I am Justice" is all he said.

"Are you...?"

He nodded.  "Blind?  I am.  But on the Path, things are a bit different.  My eyes are closed, but my mind can see, like a dream.  I wouldn't call it sight, exactly.  More like remembering an event that's happening right now."

And I did not understand, but still I spoke because I knew I was supposed to.  "And what is your nature?"

"I am an Oracle," he said.

"And are you a vision, or are you on the Path?"

He smiled sadly.  "I, like you, am on the Path."

"And," I asked him, "will I ever meet you?"

He replied, "We will never again meet face to face."

"Then when are you?  Are you Oracle before or after my time?"

And he simply smiled before telling me "Neither.  I am Oracle during your time.  And I'm afraid that now our time is up, and you must go.  I know that you do not understand.  Such is so often the nature of prophecy.  But you will remember this conversation.  Be sure to write it down, for you will need it again."

And the world around me began to fade and I woke up again.  I came here and I wrote down every last word exactly.  I remember it perfectly.  The conversation is still there, safe within my mind, a memory etched in stone that feels as if it is a part of me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I see things.

I find myself sitting alone in my room far too frequently now.  It's not like there's anyone who'd come by anymore.  Not even Nee-chan visits now, because "you're too gloomy, Messi-kun."

I sit.  That's all I do.  I sit.  I hear his voice, that alien urging in my mind that I find so unfamiliar.  And I listen.  I've given up trying to drive it out, because it's not going away.  So I listen.

And I see things.

I close my eyes, and the world fades away.  The temperature in the room drops, and I feel a slight breeze.  Not like I've left my window open, but like I've left all four walls, floor and ceiling open.  When I open them, I don't know if I'm awake or asleep, but I know that what I see is real.  I find myself on a dirt Path in an open, endless field.  The sky is Black, but it's not night.  If it were, I could see the moon and stars.  The grass is a sickly shade.  And lining the Path is a row of dead trees, on which Leaves bud, emerge, and fall, all in a matter of seconds.

Black Leaves.

And it dawns on me that I've seen this place before.  Once, months ago, I watched as a city alley became this Path, and a young athlete calling herself Atalanta ran into the heart of it.  I didn't believe it could exist then.  And I don't believe it can exist now.  Even as I stand in it, it feels like I'm awake, but dreaming.  As if what I see is not quite the reality, but an illusion forged by my own mind.

I pick up one of the Leaves.  It's soft, like velvet, but just touching it makes my head buzz and causes me to feel ill.  If I forget about the Leaves, I can barely see them, even as they're falling around me.

I left the Path once.  Only once.  As soon as I did, I felt terribly sick.  My head started spinning, and darkness started closing around me as I forced myself to stay upright.  I awoke in my apartment, sprawled on my carpet, lying in a pool of my own vomit.

So I walk.  I walk along the Path, and I see where it takes me.  The trip is never long.  Sometimes, I meet the dead.  Sometimes, I meet the living.  Sometimes I know them, sometimes I don't.  But it's never someone close to me.  And I never remember more than what I need to know--which is, most often, simply that I encountered them.  Sometimes I remember a word or two.  Sometimes it's a code or password that helps me with my job.  But more often than not, it's nothing.

Sometimes I find things.  Things I'm supposed to have.  Things I'm not supposed to have that The Boss wants me to have.  A small trinket of some sort.  Sometimes, it's something I'm not supposed to have.  It's a clue.  I don't always know what it's a clue for, but I always figure it out by my next trip into the Path.

I'll see things, and then I'll Black out, waking up in my apartment.  If there's something I was supposed to have, I'm holding it.  But it always fades back into my apartment.  Never anywhere else.  Why did The Messenger cross the Path?  Clearly not to get to the other side.

On my most recent travel, I finally found the Tree.

As I reached the peak of a hill, I saw it in the valley below.  Even from the distance, I could see dark blood oozing out of it like sap, a body on every branch.  Most bodies I recognized.  Hyde's.  Caper's.  Alex's.  Screwtape's.  Donovan's.  Kyle's.



My own.

I increased my pace, even though I wanted to turn around and run.  I've never run away.  I've never been able to.  The Path doesn't work that way.

And then I reached the foot of the Tree.  The image wavered, and for a second, the branches became arms and the Tree had a body and it was Him, it was The Boss, or maybe it wasn't, and then The Boss stood before me, separate from the Tree or maybe He wasn't.  And he looked at me and I saw His Face, he had a Face, but also had no Face, and I saw it though it wasn't there or didn't see it even though it was.

And He looked at me.  And He spoke.  Four words, spoken aloud, echoing through the air but also in my mind.

"Now Do You Understand?"

And I did.  I understood, and I still understand, even though I cannot describe or explain or put it into words.  I don't even understand what exactly it is that I understand.

But I do.  I understand.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


There are voices in my head.

I know what it means.  It means I'm going crazy.  That I'm breaking down.  Only these aren't just some imaginary voices, they're his voices.  They're whispers that sound like spiders crawling through my brain and gnawing holes in my thoughts and crawling into them.

They come and go and I don't even realize when they do.  Sometimes I'll suddenly start hearing them and I'll just brush them off but sometimes I'll be sitting down staring at my computer screen and suddenly realize that I haven't touched it in an hour and then I'll realize that I can't hear anything and it's because he's there and I know he's there I can hear him, I can feel him and I'll turn around and he'll be gone.

They're gone.  They're all gone and he's all that's left.

Monday, April 30, 2012

He's killing me slowly

I'm not okay.

Everyone I care about is gone.  And it's...everything has been getting worse.  I eat once a day, and barely.  I just can't work up an appetite.  My nightmares have been getting worse, and it's been hard to sleep because of it.  I'm starting to see things and hear things and then when I blink they're not there or I'm realize that there's nothing to hear.  I think I might be losing it some.

It's been bad for a while.  Worse than I've let on.  The nightmares have been almost nightly for months, even when things were going better.  But pills have helped some.  Sleeping pills.  Antidepressants.  Painkillers.  But they've been working less and less now that I've been getting worse and worse, so I've been taking more.  More potent stuff more frequently in higher doses.

I've been drinking more too.  It helps.  Helps me forget for a bit.  Makes things easier.  I drink too much, I think.  Never been a drinker.  Body's still not used to it.  Hangovers mean more pills.  Sometimes the pills and alcohol don't mix.  Zombie's had to bail me out twice now.  Twice that I almost died.

I sat at the table with a knife against my wrist for half an hour today.  Not doing anything.  Just staring at it.  I wanted to finish it.  But I couldn't.  I don't know if I'm clinging to something for some reason or if I'm just too much of a coward to finish it.  Or even if he won't let me.  But I just sat there.  Half an hour.  And then I broke down crying.  Dropped the knife, collapsed to the floor and just started sobbing.  Cried myself to sleep.  Had a dream where Screwtape was beating Poe and then he looked up and it wasn't Screwtape's face.  It was mine.  Woke up.  Checked the clock.  I slept for half an hour at most.

I can't take this anymore.

Friday, April 27, 2012

You sicken me.

Weak, self-serving assholes, all of you.  I'm self-serving, yes, but I've always at least served the people I care about, and made no pretenses otherwise.  To the rest of you, I bore no grudge.  It was business, and you just happened to be outside my monkeysphere.  Nothing personal.  I protected my own, but I wasn't about to take the weight of the world on my shoulders, either.

But you.  All of you.  You're vicious beasts masquerading as a group of heroes.  The world has its antiheroes, yes, but they tend to be pricks.  And a world full of antiheroes is a disgusting one.  You know why Robert never found his Hero?  You know, that crazy idealistic man who thought that he was in a fairy tale and that The Boss could be killed if a knight in shining armor swooped in on its charger and saved the day?  Assuming the theory Robert based his own upon was correct, it was actually pretty clever.  But it never would have worked.  Do you know why?

Because you are all scum.  Not a single one of you is a hero.  None of you are genuinely good people.  You're all selfish bastards, weaklings who cower in the corner, know-it-alls who don't know shit, or idiots who refuse to grow up and realize that your life is not some action movie you're starring in.  You're willing to help your friends at the expense of others.  You think that, just because something's trying to kill you, that gives you free reign to stop being a person.  I knew one genuinely good runner.  Donovan may have been a prejudiced ass when it came to my side, but at least he tried to actually care in a way that mattered.  And you know what he did?  He tried playing a hero.  He tried pretending to be a hero instead of actually being one, and it shamed him so much that he couldn't stand to face anyone anymore.  Donovan died long before Screwtape killed him.

Same thing happened to Zero.  He tried pretending to be a hero.  And you know what happened?  He became a fucking villain.  None of you are hero material, and in the end, it's not even going to matter anyway.  Robert's theory was fucking stupid, because this isn't Lord of the Rings.

But back on topic.  None of you are heroes because you're disgusting human beings.  You claim to be the "good guys."  Maybe you are.  But you're not really good.  Look around you.  We're not divided into two sides.  We're not even divided into three.  We're divided into the side I'm on, and a bunch of small little guerrilla factions.  You runners fight among yourselves constantly.  Sure, you might work together at times, but the enemy of your enemy is not automatically your friend.  That's a logical fallacy.

I'm not going to say that we're the good guys.  Because we're not.  Let's face it, we're the side with most (but not all) of the psychopaths, the crazies, the murderers.  You don't have to be crazy to work here, but you will be by the time you retire.  And we're not even one big, happy family.  There's a lot of fighting between us.  I'm pretty sure that I've proved that plenty just on my own blog.  But you know what?  We're stronger than you, because we have a leader, and we don't fucking question his authority.  We have a sense of comradery.  We might hate each other, but we're stuck with each other.  We're a family.  A dysfunctional one, but chances are, we're more likely to target a runner we respect than another proxy that we hate.  When we break that unspoken law, there are consequences.

Who holds you accountable?  No one.  You know nothing about comradery.  You think you do, but you're confusing it with friendship.  You argue with each other, disrespect each other, sell each other out to protect yourselves and your friends.  You're a side divided.

So go on.  Play at being heroes.  See what good it does you.  When it fails, I'll be here to write your name down and put it on my list.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


It's funny, really.  Most of the time when I see a runner referring to someone on our side, it's in one of two contexts, depending on who's saying it and about whom.

Either we're soulless monsters who deserve to die
or we're good at heart and just need to be shown the light and brought back to the "right side."

I'm sick of your bullshit.  What makes you think that we need to be "redeemed?"  What makes you think we're on the wrong side?  Are you all so fucking presumptuous that you think you can preach right and wrong?  If you're perfect, go ahead and let me know.  I'd love to see it.  Never broken a law?  Never hurt someone else?  Never had a selfish motive?  Go ahead, raise your hand.

No?  No one?

See?  None of you are good people.  So what gives you the right to act like you're better than us?  You're not angels, so why do you get to call us demons?  Who are you to judge good and evil?  What do you call "evil?"  Killing someone?  Have any of you ever killed someone under any circumstance?  I know some of you have.  Maybe it was out of anger.  Maybe it was out of self-defense.  Maybe it was even accidental.  Well I haven't.  I've never killed someone.  Does that mean that I'm better than you?  Am I better than Zombie, a kid who does terrible things because of someone he loves?  Really, I did the same thing.  My crimes are just less severe.  Is he a better person because he's willing to put himself through more, or a worse person because he agrees to put himself through more?

Am I a good person?  Am I a bad person?  I'm neither.  I'm a person.  You're all just people.  You're not good and you're not bad, so don't fucking act like it.  Don't treat me like some amazing person for enlightening you to our situation.  Don't treat me like a villain for being the selfish bastard I am.  I'm not a martyr, and I'm not the devil.  Stop acting like I'm either.

What the fuck gives you the right to say that any of us need redemption?  Maybe we're right?  Have you ever thought about that?  Maybe we're the ones who are right.  Maybe The Boss isn't such a bad guy.  Maybe he's after you because you're a bad person.  Maybe he's after you because you decided to go after him.  Maybe he's not even trying to do anything, and any insanity you suffer is born through your own paranoia or through preexisting conditions.  After all, he sure seems to do a lot of standing around just watching you.  Maybe, just maybe, you're the ones who are wrong.

But maybe you're not.

Maybe I am the bad guy here.  Maybe you are better than me.  But are you sure?  Are you sure that your way is the right way?  That it's the only way?  That I'm wrong enough that you need to save me from myself?  That everything will be okay if I just turn away?  No.  I don't try to convert you to the First Church of Slenderology, so why the fuck are you trying to convert me like not working for The Boss is some sort of religion?  Hail Mary and Eternal Salvation and My Soul Needs Saving?

Fuck no.  Leave us the fuck alone.  You do just as much to us as we do to you.

We're all messed up people.  Don't act like you're not messed up because you acknowledge the existence of some all-powerful identity whose motives you can't fathom and you've decided to arbitrarily decide that he's evil instead of neutral or good.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moment of Decision

I've done some thinking after Kyle's death.  I know that this is a crucial time.  Kyle was basically my only reason for being here.  All the people I care about who need me here?  They're all dead.  Gone.

I really have no reason to be here.

And I know what you're wondering.  You're wondering what I'm going to do now that my only reasons for being here have vanished.  Honestly, if I wanted to, I could take off and go on the run right this second.

But I'm staying.

I know.  Maybe not what you expected.  But I've been evaluating my options the past few days.  Kyle's gone.  Maybe the car crash was just an accident.  Maybe The Boss went back on his word and he's fully responsible for it.  But in the end, it doesn't really matter.  Kyle's dead, and the choice I make won't bring him back.  It's my choice, and his death shouldn't have an impact on it.

I'm involved with The Boss now, whether I like it or not.  I could run, yes.  But where would that get me?  I've said from day one that the position I'm in is safer.  Am I a selfish bastard because of it?  Maybe.  But nothing's stopping you from making the same choice.

I could run.  I could try to escape him.  I could take my chances.  Maybe I'd be running into the open arms of a welcoming family of bloggers.  But you know what?  I don't want that.  To be perfectly honest, I don't much care for any of you.  I'm in this for me, not for you.  I can shoulder my own burden.  I don't want you to shoulder it for me, because I know that you'd expect the same of me.  I don't want any of you dragging me down.  I don't want that obligation.  I don't want to have to shelter you and risk you bringing The Boss to my doorstep.  I don't want to donate funds or equipment to someone who might end up dying tomorrow.  And I sure as hell don't want charity from you.

So that's the answer.  That's my decision.  I'm staying.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just got the news

Kyle's dead.

I just got the call.  My mother filled me on on what she knew.  He and some of his friends were working on a video series about The Boss.  I've talked about this before, a long time ago.  They wanted to get most of it done before they released it, because they had to learn video editing and whatnot, and they wanted to make sure it was good.  It was...they were filming the last bits of footage they needed when it happened.

Kyle and three of his friends were in a vehicle together.  There was...there was an accident.  No one survived.

He's dead.  Gone.  The brother I was protecting by getting involved in all of this in the first place.

Hyde is dead.
Caper is dead.
Schrödinger is dead.
Donovan is dead.
Rachael is dead.
Poe is dead.

And now Kyle is dead.

Everyone around me.  Everyone I cared about.  They're all dead.  All within a year.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reports: Elaine and Mitch

Two reports that went up recently.  Mitch of 11 Minutes to Midnight and Elaine of Take the Myth.  Also one of ours called Angmar died, but I guess he's not important, huh?

That's not just me ranting.  No one found him particularly important.  And nobody thinks too highly of the memories of people who kidnap kids.

So what can I say about these ex-ladies?  Both were...fairly assertive personalities, I guess you could say.  Both died in pieces small enough that cremation is about the only option (And Elaine's halfway there already, though I guess she might end up accidentally getting a little Angmar in her urn if that's what whoever disposes of her body decides to go with).  The former went out with a whimper while the latter opted for a bang, but both were violent, gory deaths.

I don't know.  What do you want me to say?  I didn't really know either of them.  Two more names for the list.

I need to update that list.  Can't really find the desire to, though.  So much to do.  So many people dying.

I don't know how much longer I can keep all this up.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Picking up the Pieces

It's been a few days now.  A few days since the woman I loved ceased to be.  Her body may still function.  But Annabel?  Poe?  Whoever she ultimately was?  She's gone.  I have to face the fact that she's never coming back.

I killed her.

It's all my fault.

And now I have to give up.  Eddie's told me there's no hope for her anymore.  And I don't want to believe him.  But this is his job, and he's been around for longer than I have.  I have to trust his word on this.  So I've written up a eulogy for her and posted it to her blog.

I never cried.

Not once.

I don't think I have tears to cry anymore.  I killed them long ago.  I just feel dead inside.  Even more dead than usual now.

When Caper died, the two of us spent the night drinking together.

She's gone, and I spent the night drinking alone.

And the day.

And the next night.

You get the picture.

Nee-chan came by to try to cheer me up.  I didn't let her in.  She's all I really have left here but I didn't let her in.

So I have to forget her.  I have to forget that I killed her so that I can stand to live with myself.

It's time to move on.

Elaine's dead.  I have a report to write.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Everything is falling apart

When I woke up this morning, I checked all the things I normally check online, including the blogs I follow.

This was waiting for me.

I went to check on Annabel and she was just sitting on her bed, completely unresponsive.  She didn't respond to her name.  I tried using Poe's name and she didn't respond to that either.  So I called Zombie.  I brought him in and had him look at her to try to fix whatever was wrong.  And he took a few minutes and then looked at me.  He looked defeated.

Z: I'm sorry, Messenger.  She's gone.

M: What do you mean, "she's gone?"  She's fine.  She's going to recover.  She recovered before, when Screwtape sent us Donovan's head.  This isn't anywhere near as bad as that.

Z: It's not the same thing.  It was a completely different reaction that time.  She showed a lot of signs of an acute stress reaction.  Shock.  This is something different.  I'm not sure what's going on exactly, but I don't think she's coming back from this one.

M: You're a doctor!  You're supposed to know what's happening!

Z: I was studying to be a doctor, yes.  But not a psychiatrist.  I know how to mend bodies, not minds.

M: So you're just going to give up?  Help her!  Help her, dammit!

Z: Messenger--

M: Do something!  Fucking help her!

[I kind of lost my head for a moment.  I grabbed his shirt and jerked him around before he broke free of my grip.]

Z: Messenger!  Listen to me!  I can't do anything!  I've seen what they're like when they're like this.  It's too late for her.  I'm really sorry.  Believe me, I am.  But you're just going to have to accept that she's gone.  [He sighed and shook his head, and in that moment I noticed just how hard this was hitting him as well.]  I'm calling Eddie.  I'm sorry, Messenger.  There's nothing we can do now.

[He gave Eddie a call then.  Sat at the table afterwards, eyes closed, not doing anything.  Thinking, probably.  I sat with Annabel and held her.  She didn't even seem to notice I was there.  She was shaking slightly.  Skin was a little clammy.  All I could think of was how I couldn't lose her.  I still don't think I'll lose her, but I have enough clarity now to admit that I might be in denial.  Anyway, after a while, Eddie showed up.  Zombie let him in and showed him to her room.]

E: I'll take it from here, Messenger.  Go.

M: Eddie...look, I'm sorry....

E: I said go!  This is in my hands now, and I want you out of here.

M: Let me help somehow!

E: You want to help?  Then leave!  This happened because you tried helping!  I told you there would be consequences, Messenger.  And now we're all feeling them.  And Poe?  She's feeling them the hardest.

M: Annabel....

E: She's not Annabel anymore!  She's not even Poe anymore!  Don't you get it, Messenger?  You tampered in places you shouldn't have, and now, the closest thing she'll have to an identity is a designation number.

M: I'll...I'll come by to visit her.  Every day.  Anything to help.

E: No, Messenger, you won't, because you're not welcome anymore.

And he took her.  He took Annabel.  He took Poe.

And now I'm never allowed to see her again.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Friday, April 13, 2012

Eddie's Confrontation

I've been really busy lately spending time with Annabel and trying to help her through all this.  It's difficult for her to remember things sometimes, and struggling to do so sometimes leaves her exhausted, so I've been sticking around and keeping an eye on her.  Through all that, I've kind of neglected to visit Eddie and the Husks.  I decided to change that yesterday.  It was maybe a bad idea.

Eddie looked up at me as I entered.

E: Messenger!  I've been wanting to talk to you.

M: Well, I'm here now.

E: Yeah.  Look, Messenger--what the hell?

M: I know, I know, I'm sorry I haven't been here lately, but--

E: That's not what this is about.  This is about Poe.

M: Annabel.

E: Poe.  You'd be better off leaving her as Poe, Messenger, trust me.  Do you have any clue what the hell you're doing?

M: She wants to be called Annabel, Eddie.  And yes, I know what I'm doing.  I'm bringing her back to how she used to be.

E: [He gave an exasperated sigh.]  Messenger, no offense to you.  I respect what you've done and what you're trying to do.  But you're also the most thickheaded dumbass I've ever met.  This isn't what she needs.  It isn't what she wants.

M: She was the one who asked for it, not me.

E: Yes, but you pushed her and guided her towards it.  And now, you're going to end up destroying her.  I saw her latest post, Messenger.

M: So?  If anything, it just shows how much progress she's made.

E: She's slipping, Messenger.  Things are slipping through her fingers.  Things she should know.  She's confusing herself, and it's not healthy.

M: No offense, Eddie, but I know what I'm doing.

E:  Messenger, you may have been spending time around her, but you don't know her worth shit.  Donovan knew Annabel.  He spent time around her and got to know her.  Caper knew Poe.  He's the one who helped her forge that identity in the first place.  Hell, Screwtape knew her better than you!  You saw the way he was able to get into her head.  She doesn't need this, Messenger.  Don't force it.

M: Trust me, Eddie, I'd love to have Caper and Donovan around to help.  But they're gone.  And don't tell me what she needs or doesn't need; you don't even know her.

E: [His voice started to rise, the hard look in his eyes becoming almost manic.] I don't know her?  I don't know her?  I was there when she first arrived, a broken, battered shell of a woman.  I was there when Caper helped her reconstruct a personality as Poe.  I've seen her struggling to hold on to Annabel and the pain it caused her, and I've seen what she had to give up to become Poe.  I took care of her when she couldn't even take care of herself.  I've fed her, clothed her, protected her, calmed her down, bathed her--which means I've, through no desire of my own, had to see her completely naked, and I know her well enough to know that's more than you've seen.  All these broken souls have been like children to me, and I've done my best to provide for them as much as I can.  And you have the nerve to tell me that I don't even know her?

M: Look, Eddie, I--

E: Out, Messenger.  Get out.  You're not welcome here until you've given your idiotic plan up.

M: Whatever.  I'm out of here.

E: [Yelling after me as I leave] If you hurt her, Messenger, trust me, there will be consequences.

M: Fuck you, Eddie.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dodged that bullet....

Well, I was expecting April Fool's Day to be a disaster.  After all, you all remember Screwtape's Valentine's Day "gift."  Being around a bunch of socio/psychopaths on a day designed for pranks is just asking for trouble.

Fortunately, it went better than planned.  With Theta not really striking me as the pranking type, Screwtape and Caper dead, and nothing but silence from Eternity, the only person I was expecting a really dangerous prank from was Nee-chan.  Who was, once again, visiting to watch anime.  It's been a while since she's done that, and now that things have calmed down, Annabel and I figured it was a good idea to invite her over again.

She brought a full backpack, which kind of worried me.  After a while I forgot about it (no use being paranoid), and we stopped paying attention to her.

It turns out Nee-chan likes pranks.  But isn't very creative.  After she left, I realized that Annabel and I had to spend the rest of the day cleaning up the toilet paper strewn all over the kitchen.  And the Saran Wrap over the toilet seat.  And the water that spilled all over the floor when I opened my bedroom door (none of the water actually hit me--only the bucket).

So happy April Fool's Day, I guess.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Big News

It’s been a bit, I know.  You’re probably all starting to get worried.  But now that I’m reporting, it’s nothing but good news.

About a week ago, Poe came out of her room and started talking to me.  She told me that she was scared and she didn’t know if it would work, but that she wanted to continue what we had been trying to do with Donovan.  She wanted to try to become who she was before.  She said that she couldn’t undo the things that she had done, but that if she could become who she used to be, that would maybe make up for some of it.  That she wouldn’t keep doing what Poe had done if she wasn’t Poe anymore.

I looked at her for a second.  “Let’s do it,” I told her.  And then she smiled.  A real smile.  Not the forced smile.  The smile that I’ve only seen before when she was drunk.  Not Poe’s smile.


So we’ve been working on that.  There have been changes.  Small things.  She’s still acting largely the same.  But she’s started dressing in jeans and a t-shirt instead of those gothic dresses she always wore.

Oh yeah, and one more thing.  The first time I called her Poe after she came to me that day?

She just smiled at me and shook her head.  “Call me Annabel from now on, Messi.”

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I know there's been some silence for a bit.  I'm just posting to give you all an update on Poe's condition.  As the post title implies, she's stable.  Still withdrawn, but Zombie says she's doing all right.  She leaves her room, and when she does, she seems okay.  She's eating.  She moves around the apartment on occasion.  She's mostly in her room, but at least she doesn't lock herself in it.

I think she's going through the mourning process yet.  I've tried talking to her a few times, but she's been telling me that she doesn't want to right now.  That she still needs time and space.

Nothing too serious, it seems.  Give her about a week, and she'll be right as rain.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Marathon's End

And here's the one I've been putting off.  The one that's difficult to write.

Donovan was...he was a man with a hatred of our kind.  "Proxies."  At least he had respect for the husks.  Overall, though, he was a pretty good man.  A bit of a coward.  Maybe not the best person.  But a person who tried.  A person with a good heart.

I'm going to miss Donovan.  He...helped us.  He helped Poe and me.  Even though he was suspicious of me, he put that aside long enough to try to help Poe back to being Annabel.  He was a good man.  And then he was killed by Screwtape.  Screwtape put up a report himself immediately afterwards.  It was...I want to change it.  I want to delete it and put my own report up.  Donovan deserves better than what he received.

But that's not my job.  That's not what I do.  It'd be an abuse of power, and if I start here, it's just a slippery slope.  So I'm leaving it.  Not because that's what Donovan would have wanted.  Not because it's what I want.  Not because it's what Screwtape would have wanted.  But because it's right.

Donovan told me that he...tried being a hero.  Tried helping people.  Ended up hurting some.  Couldn't face himself, much less the world.  Stopped updating his blog.  He knew.  He knew he was going to die when he started updating again.  He'd done enough running to know that his time was up. 

He...he was trying to come to New York.  He was going to meet us here.  He never got here.

Well.  Part of him did.

There's not much else I can say.  He wasn't even a friend, but he was a man I knew and could respect.  And even though we weren't friends, he still agreed to try to help.  He was a good man, and Poe and I owe him a lot.  He'll be missed.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Friday, February 24, 2012

Two down, one to go

The second of these three reports is for Screwtape.

Again, there's already a report for him.  I'm not going to bother linking it because, if you've been reading my blog, you've already seen it.  Poe killed him.  Pretty brutally, to be honest.  But that's not a matter for this report.

Personally, I think the bastard what he had coming to him.  His death was fitting.  Just.  He pushed Poe to her limit.  Tried breaking her.  In the end, she broke him.

I guess I should remain unbiased in this.  If nothing else, Screwtape was dedicated.  Very dedicated.  Fervent.  He did whatever he needed to, and went above and beyond what was asked (perhaps even needed).  He was responsible for the deaths of many, and for the pain of even more.  I guess that's something he'd consider something to be proud of.

I'm glad he's gone.  It means Poe's safe.  Good riddance to him.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

The Set has been Struck

I...never really knew Rachael.  I thought I knew her, and then it turned out that she wasn't a guy named Maurice.  She shared her story with me, though.  I held on to it until she was able to get it all out into the open.

She's dead now.  I guess you could say that her curtain's come down.  Her show is over.  She was killed by...I'll be honest, I'm not even sure.  Brian, maybe.  Van Helsing, maybe.  Either he or Rachael was not quite right in the head.  Maybe Van Helsing is Brian, and he's just too far gone to realize it.  Maybe Van Helsing isn't Brian, and Rachael was just batshit insane.  Neither would surprise me, considering the mad world we're living in.  Either way, Brian Helsing provided a report that is, as far as we've been able to gather, accurate.

It's been a while since someone I've known personally has died.  And now three have.  Rachael was the last to die, chronologically, but I'm putting hers first because it's less personal.  It's not as hard for me to write, and there are people out there who knew Rachael better than I did.  They deserve this report as soon as possible.

Rachael was obviously a troubled woman.  Clearly not in full control of herself.  I think...I think Poe could identify with her because of that.  I think that's why she made me stay and listen to Rachael's story.  I wasn't particularly fond of Rachael.  I never got to know her well enough for that.  But I respected her.  I held on to her story for her until she could tell everyone else out of that respect.  I's a shame that did what she did.  That she lived that sort of life.  That she had to go through what she went through.

She will be missed.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poe's Return

Okay.  Things have settled here a bit.  A few things: I've got three reports to write up: Donovan, Screwtape, and Rachael (aka Maurice).  I'm ready to write them up, but this comes first.

That post...went up on Poe's blog before she got back.  That was the first contact I got from her.

She showed up a little later that night.  Wasn't covered in blood or anything, so she obviously cleaned up beforehand.  I looked up as she came back, and there was immediately a sort of tension between us.  We could both feel it.  Worry.  Fear.  Maybe some anger or other feelings.  Just...tension.

She looked down.  "I'm back," she said quietly.

"Yeah.  Hey.  Welcome back."

She just stood there for a few seconds, not moving, not talking.  I was...she was still Poe.  I managed to tell myself that.  She was still Poe.  Not someone else.  I had no reason to worry.  Stood up, walked over to her.  Gave her a hug.

She instantly put her arms around me, clinging to me, and it's like...that was enough to trigger her.  Snap her out of it.  She started crying into my shoulder.

"You okay?" I asked her.

She took a few deep breaths.  "I...I don't know.  I don't know how I feel.  Happy.  Sad.  Relieved.  Scared.  I don't know, Messi.  I need some time to think."

I held her while she shook and cried.  I don't blame her.  What she did couldn't have been easy on her.  I mean, she completely lost control of herself.  Told her it was okay.  Screwtape was gone now.  She didn't have to worry about him.  She was finally safe.  And I was scared, yeah.  I was worried for her.  I still don't know how to treat the issue.  But I think she’ll be okay.  I hope she’ll be okay.

I held her while she cried for a while.  Let her get all that exhaustion and the pent up feelings out.  Stayed with her until she calmed down.  “Messi?” she said.  “I’m going to my room.  I need some time alone right now.”

So she’s locked up in her room again.  But this time she’s herself.

I hope she’ll be okay.

-Don't Shoot The Messenger-

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dr. Cairo

Well, during Poe's disappearance, I figured I'd take my mind off of things by transcribing a file I've been sitting on for a while now.  Didn't seem particularly pressing, so I've been holding on to it since New Year's Eve.  Anyway, I got it transcribed and since I have the file handy on my computer and everything, I figured I'd put that up as well.

Anyway, some of you may have heard of Dr. Cairo of CompileTRUTH.  He happened to be in NYC and contacted me.  The following is the conversation.

The audio file.

Messenger: All right, so…did one of my asshole friends send you my Skype on Chatroulette or something?  Who the fuck are you?

Cairo: Messenger…we’ve got a bit of a problem here.  This is Dr. Cairo.

M: Okay, I was gonna ask how you knew my name, but you’re…Cairo, one of the, uh, vlog guys, right?

C: Yes.  And I also work for your Boss.  As you should know--or I figured you would know.  Listen, you’re in New York, right?

M: Yeah…?

C: Can you see Time Square from here?

M: Uh…I’ve got it on the TV.

C: Do you see strange numbers on the screen?

[A pause]

M: It’s…it’s New Year’s Eve, you dumbass.  Of course there are numbers on the screen.

C: No, not those fucking numbers!  Big, black screen, red ominous numbers counting down…not the frigging New Year’s countdown; something else!  I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m seeing them, my camera’s seeing them, nobody else can.  What the fuck is going on?

M: Hey, look, I’m sorry, kid.  I can’t help you there.  I’m, uh…I’m really sorry, I’ve got nothing.  Can’t see anything.

C: So I’m the only one who’s seeing it, then.  What the fuck is this supposed to mean?

M: Well, that’s a good question.  I’m not the person you want to ask.

C: Well, unfortunately, I don’t have any way to call him, and even then, he doesn’t exactly talk, now does he?

M: The Boss?

C: Yeah, The Boss!  Who do you think I’m talking about?

M: Eh, just clarifying.

[Another pause]

C: This is fucked up right now.  I just…I’m seeing three hundred something days up there on this countdown.

M: Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a countdown to the New Year, then.

C: No, it’s not.

M: So you, um…you work for The Boss, then, you said?

C: Yeah, I assumed you knew already.

M: No, I’m behind on so many things.  I thought you were one of those runners or something.

C: No, I’m a mole.  Kinda.

M: You play for both teams then, huh?

C: Not exactly.  It’s not like I want to be spending my life doing this shit, but it’s better than the alternative.  I think you’re about in the same boat, am I correct?

M: Uh…don’t know what the boat is, but…brother or something?

C: No.  Parents.  Grandparents.  Plus the self-preservation.

M: Yeah, that sounds about right.  So as long as you’re calling, you mind if I ask a few questions, then?

C: Not like I’m going anywhere.  There’s how many…what, a million people down there right now.

M: [chuckles] Sorta in the habit of interviewing people.  So how exactly did you get involved in all of this?  Like…first find out about it?

C: You ever have someone tell you that TV Tropes will ruin your life?  Pretty much.

M: Yeah, think I’ve heard of that site a couple times.  TV Tropes, then?  Really?  Hmm.

C: Yeah.  All these dumbasses seem to think this is all fiction and make a page like that, and do my job for me to an extent.

M: Still more likely than my roommate’s story.

C: Really, what was it?

M: Uh…you ever heard of Concrete Giraffes?

C: Yeah, I’ve heard of Concrete Giraffes.  Talked about it in my April Fools video.

M: Yeah, that’s, uh…that’s what introduced her.

C: “Hey, guyyyyys!”  Oh, man, can you imagine if he’d seen that video, how he’d react to that? [Part of me’s almost glad that he went off on that tangent.  Kept me from having to talk about it more.]

M: I dunno.

C: It’d be a lot simpler if he was like that.  But no, he’s fucking passive aggressive, that’s what he is.

M: So, uh, how did you get involved with…with him, exactly?  On, you know, this side.

C: Well, you know, the usual bullshit happened.  He followed me, started seeing him everywhere.  And at some point or another--my memory’s a bit fuzzy--he cut me a deal somehow.  I don’t even remember it, that’s, like, the one thing that bothers me: I’m fuzzy on the details.  But I agreed to…spread the word, and he’d leave me and my family alone.  It’s not that bad…edit a couple of videos, and then it’s schmuck bait and they go for it, and I don’t consider it blood on my hands if they’re dumb enough to fall for everything.

M: Heh…yeah, we’ve got a lot of idiots on both sides of the fence.

C: Ugh, tell me about it.  I should send you some stuff from my inbox sometime, you’ll get a chuckle.

M: Eh, fortunately I don’t get any from any like that.  Though there was this one asshole who tried linking me to Lemon Party once for some reason.

C: Not sure what that is.

M: Yeah, don’t look it up.

C: I won’t.  So can I ask you a question?

M: Yeah?

C: Well, you hear things through the grapevine, I assume, and you get information from runners and stuff, like, about different things and shit.  Ever heard of somebody called the Herald?

M: Uh…not really…uh…which side is he on?  Or she on?

C: I’m not entirely sure, because whoever he is, he hacked my Twitter and YouTube.  He also got his hands on footage that I deleted and erased somehow, and that hard drive never left my side, so I don’t know how he got it.  He blew my cover, so I assume he’s not on our side, but who on their side has hacking capabilities like that?

M: Hmm.  I think there’s…one?  Although she doesn’t fit the profile, really and she’s…dead, or something?  I dunno.  Jeez, everyone throwing around all these pretentious bullshit names.  Sometimes they pop up now and then.

C: I know, but I need to figure out who this Herald guy is.  Talk to him.

M: I haven’t heard anything.  Speaking of which, are you…a part of some sort of organization or are you…freelance, I guess?

C: Uh, the latter.  I mean, you’re honestly the first person I’ve had to talk to.  It’s easier that way.

M: Yeah, how did you get this Skype, anyway?

C: Uh…long story, involving a chain of contacts….

M: It was Eternity, wasn’t it?

C: …Yeah, you got me.  Sent him an email asking….

M: Ugh, the guy’s a fucking prick.

C: I figured I would come to you first to look for information, ‘cause you’re kind of in the same boat as me with, you know, not being completely behind on all this stuff, know what I mean?  But if I have to look elsewhere, I’ll look elsewhere.  Don’t wanna have to deal with the crazy crazies.  Just the mildly crazies.  Sanes.  Mildly crazy to sane.  It’s a spectrum.  I’m dealing with it.

M: Yeah, well…don’t come visit then.  I know this chick who, I swear, she thinks she’s from one of the animes or something.  She has dyed her fucking hair pink.  She doesn’t seem to realize…and on top of that, she is batshit insane by normal standards.  I have seen videos of her cutting people up to ribbons.  It’s not…ugh, be glad you work alone, lemme tell you that.  Be glad you work alone.  I eat a fucking rainbow every night.  I mean…shit.

C: Well, I think I’ve just figured something out.

M: What?

C: I had this hunch, so I took out my phone and went on the calendar and everything; I did the math.  It’s counting down to the winter solstice.  If this is accurate and if it doesn’t change, it’s gonna hit zero on the 2012 winter solstice.

M: The sol--wasn’t that a big thing a, like…a couple years ago?  People still believe in that?

 C: I don’t know, I’m just telling you what the numbers say.  And see, here’s the thing.  I mean, yeah, the winter solstice was a big fucking thing two years ago, but you know, this particular winter solstice is also that Mayan shit.  This is not happening!

M: Oh yeah…people actually believe that shit?

C: [He sort of starts disjointedly babbling about how stupid the theory is and how he can’t even believe that the calendar has some link for a few seconds.]  What the fuck?  I…I need another beer.  I’ll be right back.


M: I still can’t believe people honestly believe that whole Mayan thing.

C: I dunno.  Whatever this is, I don’t think The Boss is behind this.

M: Huh.  Why not?

C: Call me crazy, but it’s a bit too overt for him.  He’s usually a lot more subtle with this shit.

M: I dunno, man.  I don’t see him much myself so…I dunno.

C: Well, there’s another lead I can look into.  I’ll have to head back west tomorrow.

M: So, uh, what exactly is it you do again?  It’s, what, you just spread information?

C: You know how most people are safe from him because they don’t know he even exists?

M: Yeah, that seems to be the case.

C: Basically, I make videos so more people find out about him one way or another.  And the more they know, the easier it is for him to get them somehow.  I don’t know how exactly it works, but it works.  I’m not, you know, going Clockwork Orange on people and forcing them to learn about Slender Man.  They’re digging their own grave; I’m just providing the shovel.  Shovel salesman!

M: I see.

C: I think I’m gonna head out, because--

M: Wait, can I ask you one thing quick?

C: What?

M: How do you deal with it?

C: I’ve…never really liked people, Messenger.  They’ve all been kind of stupid to me, and like I said, if they’re too stupid to figure out that I’m a double agent, it’s their own damn fault.  I’m just keeping myself safe and…dealing with the rest as it comes.  To be perfectly honest, after some of those inbox messages, there are some people in specific who I wouldn’t mind running into in a dark alley someday, because they’re that damn stupid.

M: You’re a cynical bastard, Cairo.  I like that about you.

C: Well, cynicism keeps you alive.  And I think I’m going to head out now.  I’ll contact you again if I need more information or whatever, but I don’t exactly want to get buddy-buddy with people in this business.

M: Trust me, I share the sentiment.  I share the sentiment.

[End call]