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Thread: Rough Sketches Of A Happy Ending

  1. #1

    Rough Sketches Of A Happy Ending

    (NSP: I made this chiefly for my own amusement, so I'm not concerned if it's only me furthering this thread - having said that, I always welcome input and involvement in my internet works.

    I don't know, I just guess there needs to be a little variety round here. Fantasy/sci-fi battle epics are great fun, and I wouldn't give up the NeS or the other stories for anything, but I like to think that as I write here I'm improving my skill somewhat, and to do that I realistically need to try other genres. Hence, this story.

    This is just an abstract idea of a series of surreal romance/comedy/whatever stories I was thinking of. The loose theme throughout the stories here is the need for a happy ending, closure in people's lives, and the extraordinary and irrational lengths they go through to find it. It primarily gives me a chance to explore characters and dialogue without the contextualisation of a fight in the background. I'm going to also post, along with the text itself, a song or several songs that inspired the writing and could ideally be played as a sort of backing to the screenplay adaptation, absurd though that may be. You don't actually have to download the songs to get it, it's just that you might add a layer to your experience if you do

    Where am I going with this? Nowhere, probably...but if I get to nowhere through a refreshingly interesting and complex character journey, then I'll sleep all the better for it.)

  2. #2
    (The Whitlams - No Aphrodisiac)
    Alone in my room again. It's not so bad, but I like to think it is.

    Downstairs, the party rages, all pretty colours and substance abuse by now. Most of my invited guests were losing themselves ecstatically in drink or more illicit measures, with no tact or social regard. Don't blame them, actually. In point of fact, I admire their conviction to depravity: I'd join them, but I don't have the heart for it right now.

    Not with her here, anyway.

    I had to dodge Steven as I walked up the stairs to get away from it all: looming large above me, his heavy frame had teetered, swayed, then collapsed into an obscene rolling heap that cannonballed past me and landed in an awkward and no doubt excruciatingly painful position on the marble floor, the physical discomfort offset by his manic giggling. My other friends saw the display and started to laugh too - a gale of good humour that blew over and around me as I climbed up the stairs, leaving me a sort of monument to the irony of my disposition. I cursed them all half-heartedly, then continued onward.

    ----------------------------

    What kind of a justification is "not here", anyway? "Not here" - it seems to be a self-fulfilling statement, doesn't it? Of course not here, if you say so...it isn't really a justification, either. It's a stall! A patent procrastination, demonstrative of an immature mindset, an unwillingness to behave like an adult! A responsible adult!

    And yet...if she hadn't said it, I would have.

    (The Whitlams - Unreliable)
    I walk to my window. From my vantage point in the house, I see so many things. The entire backyard, for example. I can make out everything: the dim rust on my father's ancient toolshed far out in a disused corner; the amorous couple leaning against it, oblivious to me or, I would challenge, anyone but each other; the few mercifully unconscious revellers dotted around deckchairs and tables; and in the middle of this leisurely carnage, she sits with friends, obviously drunk but as relaxed as Cleopatra on a chaise.

    "Aaron!"

    I freeze up for a moment - but I'm only startled, not worried. The slur in that voice is too prominent to represent a serious problem to me. Slowly, as patronisingly as I can, I turn and attend to Michael, another cheerfully wasted patron. His protests and rebuttals are hazy and incoherent, and after a few minutes I leave him to slump to the floor outside my doorframe.

    I light a few candles in my room, giving gentle illumination to rock gods and childhood idols that somehow still decorate my walls. A bottle of spirits rests on my desk - dutifully, I pour myself a stiff drink and sip from it absently. It is a night I should be grateful for: the sky is a dark canvas studded with faint, hopeful lights, while here with me the feeling of comfort and camaraderie is all around. I have complete license to end the night now in a messy, bissful binge. I can rid myself of every pain in the world, for however short a time, and leave it to some other self to clean up.

    But I don't. I feel...compelled to her. Obliged to her, and her stubborn, beautiful rejection.

    And as I look down at her, securely flanked by her friends but nonetheless intangibly vulnerable, I decide that I have one last thing to do tonight.

  3. #3
    (The Decemberists - I Don't Mind)

    You never called, my friend.

    That's it, that's what I've been meaning to articulate for the last few years. But I could never manage it into a phone. It doesn't matter that you could rebut this weak argument - could say that I never called either. It just matters that I wasn't the only one at fault. I don't want to be the only one anymore.

    I came to visit you today. Did you notice me? I doubt you did...I don't think you could notice me anymore if you tried.

    I sat there, waiting for you, and I thought of two kids chasing each other around hollowed-out sandpits with farcical machine guns. I looked at the sky and dreamed the taste of party pies and sausage rolls, of bittersweet cola and fairy bread. I miss these feelings and thoughts dearly, I realise that now. And still...still I never called. We never called.

    I don't understand why that is, my friend. I don't even understand how it is that two people can share in each other's lives, can grow up together and yet, in the race to grow older, just lose touch. Apathy is the most tragic aspect of the human condition, I believe. In a way, it's far worse than any malicious damage we could have done to each other, because we didn't mean it. There was no animosity in our falling out, no great sin against which there could be no friendship. We just didn't talk.

    We should have talked more.

    I sat there waiting for you today, and then I couldn't sit anymore. I found a spot where I could lie next to you, while leaves blew around us both and nostalgic music from another world breezed over us, and I remembered. I remembered our childhood, and growing into men: I remembered first loves and lost loves; I remembered tears of laughter and unspeakable words of sorrow. And at the end of it all, I accepted it all.

    I remembered you.

  4. #4
    (Rammstein - Stripped)

    Her naked fragile frame lying on the bed seemed out of place, alien to this world of cheap motels and watered-down booze.

    She turned her head, eyes closed.

    Sleeping. Still sleeping.

    The wallpaper hanging in loose shreds from the walls, some sloppy abstract picture nailed above the bed. A wooden chair stood in one of the corners, constituting the rest of the room's furntiture. A sport bag on it. A sport bag filled with two hundred thousand dollars. Two hundred thousand dollars and a gun.

    Andrew looked at his girlfriend one more time. She was beautiful, yes, perhaps too beautiful, even. No man deserved such grace.

    He slipped his hand in the bag and felt the cool of the revolver, the grip jumping into his palm almost on it's own accord.

    Two hundred thousand dollars and gun.

    Andrew closed his eyes.

    His finger found the trigger.

    She was an alien to this world of cheap motels and watered-down booze.

  5. #5
    (Coldplay - The Hardest Part)

    Why?

    That's all i can think of now. Why. All these days passed in silence, nothing to keep me company but my own mind. This place used to be so happy, the two of us together.... Why?

    Well, i know why, don't I? Two months ago. The two of us, strained at jobs, and me just starting my new career. All i asked was one favor, a few mintues. Just to come and see me that night, before my first performance. Nothing. You never came. Again, the question rears itself in my mind. Why? I never stopped to ask. That's what left me here, once again in this room, wondering. I just left that night, out of the club, out to my home. My phone rang three times that night. I never picked it up. Again, and again, i ask: why?

    We were one of the happiest couples. All our friends said so. We never fought, at least not that they would know. We liked the same things and we never had to argue about what to do. And yet there was always something underneath. What? looking back, i can never see why i did what i did that night, why i couldn't face you again. Or do I? Oh, god, i can't even think straight any more. Memories and sensations flow and change with the shadows crawling across the floor.

    That night, after the club, laying on my bad. I was staring at my ceiling, trying to memorize the dots on the ceiling tiles. The phone rang. I knew who it was. It was you, calling to apologize because your office held you in late. i didn't want to hear it. Not again. You were telling the truth, i knew, but i couldn't hear it. I didn't want to hear it, because it was true. It would be so much easier if, once in a while, you would lie, at elast so i could get angry at you later. But never, you always told me the truth, there was never any good reason for me to let out my agression, to damn you for your perfection...

    I never thought that before....

    Is that really what i thought? I can't be!.... But i know it is...

    How could i have ever thought that? Why would i... So now i see. I damn you for what i was not, for being better then i wanted to be. And it tok me until now to see...

    I should call now. I should see if you would take me back. Perhaps you can forgive me for my imperfection in damning your perfection...
    A Knight's Tail
    Exile: A Tale of Light in Dark
    The Never Ending Story≤
    "I consume the life essence itself!... Preferably medium rare" - Mauldis

    -----@%

  6. #6
    (Mike Oldfield - Oceania)

    The silk white robe warped his body, its loose ends flapping in the wind. The thin fabric barely concealed Yoshiro's muscular torso, accentuated the contrast-black sheath on his hip, Yoshiro's palm lying softly on the sword's handle.

    He was smiling.

    He was standing in front of the sea, waves gently rolling onto each other, playfully reflecting the rays of the rising sun. It was smooth, calming. Even in its fury, the sea was always stable, it was always there. It never cheated Yoshiro, never told him a lie. Never judged him. The sea, a poet's dream, nature's beauty that is there for you, asking nothing in return. It has no stories to tell. Its stories are that of eternity, beyond the minds of feeble human beings.

    He unsheaved his sword.

    A strip of metal, glimmering in the sunlight.

    He was a wealthy, educated, respected man. His wife adored him, his essays and books published all around the world. A philosopher of the modern age. Just a 47-year old man standing on the seashore, a sword in his right hand. Yoshiro was smiling, ready to take his life. To put a dot in his final, and his most important work of all.

    But what is beauty to the sea?

  7. #7
    (Kidneythieves - Dyskrasia)

    Guitar riffs, the Stratocaster strings, intimate connection.

    A crowd, long hair, black leather, sweat. Everyone's lost in motion, crazed eyes, lips following the lyrics.

    This is fun.

    This is not the sort of just-because-everyone-does-it sort of thing, this is pure bliss. This is almost mass hypnosis, the collective flashback to tribal dance.

    She's a queen, a goddess.

    She's found her place, her purpose. Complete. Her long fingers make one with the music, black hair over her eyes, a gothic image for the teens, a part of who she is at any given period in time. But she doesn't care. Why would she?

    She's complete.

    A goddess.

  8. #8
    (Anathema - Empty)

    My name is...

    I'm standing in a line, the CONCRETE walls tearing through MY EYES and stabbing at my soul. I'm pathetic, you're pathetic, this morning filled with the word "OBEY".

    It's minimum wage, it's a pick-axe, it's a hell.

    Waiting in line, thirteen people in front of me, each to get his standard-issue instrument, a dirty helmet, and maybe a word of encouragement, maybe a tap on the shoulder.

    Working in a cave, no sun, dirt and sweat, and I've got no future but the one I make myself by chipping rocks, day to day, my fellow coworkers by my side, slaves each every one of us, blood and cigarette smoke our LIVES.

    The line clears out, I get my pick-axe, the descent into the shaft. Pulsing veins, anger, I never learnt to SMILE. I'm pathetic, you're pathetic.

    Revolution is my name.
    Last edited by Koobie; 06-28-2005 at 04:49 PM.

  9. #9
    (I think I'll be trying a post or few with this thread, but I need to ease into it, so I hope you don't mind me doing a bit of a rewrite of sorts. It's based off of a story post I did long ago in The Shadows of Darkness and if you want to read the original, you can find it here.)

    (America - Only In Your Heart)

    The air was light, up in the mountains, and breathing filled her with intoxicating freedom. The night cool only added to the buzz in the air. It was beautiful, up in the mountains. It was a view straight out of a painting. She could see far and wide to the horizon, all the troubles of the world below her, so small... so distant. Life was so serene here. No wonder he liked it here, she thought.

    Tessa drew in a deep breath. Her chest was heavy with cares. Inside, where the man she was with lived... she would have to go in. The night was growing late, and they would sleep soon, but not together. She couldn't... that's not why she was here. And yet, when her cares were about to close in so much as to choke her, there came a humming. A light melody that was at home with the air and the mountains, a melody that hummed from the man inside. She could see him though a window, his heavy hair sheltering his face from the outside. He was alone, like her, lost in thought as he looked at a uniform he wore long ago. Tessa breathed out, released her cares, and made her way inside.

    He was now sitting on the bed as she entered. She greeted him with a smile, and he returned the smile in reflex as he lied down on his bed, which was little more than a cushion from the floor. Tessa turned her back to him, her foot leading her hip into the turn, followed by her shoulder and her head. There was a modest distance between them, but she did not hide herself from him. His musical humming encouraged her to dance ever so slightly as she undressed and redressed into an evening shirt that was once his. Respectful as he was, she knew he was watching. It was as it was. She moved as she was meant to. She moved to the side of his bed, and knelt down beside him.

    "Hey," she started, "I just thought of an idea."

    The man sat up, using his elbows to support himself. "Yes?" he asked. Tired and weak though he was, he offered what little of a smile he could for her. How selfless of him, she thought... Tessa closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. She straddled herself on his waist, her arms at his sides to support her weight.

    "I was thinking... that you could teach me a few things," she said in a lower voice. Her shoulders rose, she looked down at him, she drew close. She moved as she was meant to. He looked with incredulous hope at her, then looked away in thought.

    "Well, I should let you know," he said in a cool voice as he tried to hide his blush, "I've never taught anyone before..." Then his eyes changed as he turned to look into hers. "But I suppose I can teach you a few things in self-defense."

    This was not what was meant to happen, Tessa thought. He was not meant to care for her like this. He was not looking at her the way a man looks at a woman he wants for himself. There was that selflessness again. There was weakness and lonliness in him, there was hatred at himself. It would not take much to break him, and yet here he was, offering a helping hand, offering a happiness free of conditions. Even now, his eyes offered to help carry her cares that were rising again in her. "Then we could move on to other things of interest," he submitted.

    Perhaps it was the air getting to her head, but Tessa couldn't help but smile. Her future was still very dark, its path undoubtedly more dangerous than before, but she would not be alone. She would help him.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 06-30-2005 at 07:21 PM.

  10. #10
    You all can blame Geb for bringing me back if you don't remember me. I'm really suprised the account is still up .

    ďAs I left thunder rolled across the open field and lightning arced across the sky. It wasnít raining yet, but the clouds hung so thick and heavy that the midafternoon looked like midnight. I always loved that kind of weather. It makes everyone else uneasy but it never fails to bring a warm smile to my face. It also seems to be the worldís way of consoling me on days like this. But as much as I loved a good storm there was work to do. I went to my car and set off. The drive was better than usual. The streets were empty, the sky dark and everything was calm.

    When I got to the coffee shop it was empty and the rain was pouring. I walked in and pulled out a slip of paper. I read some archaic words from the paper and was rewarded with a scalding hot, aromatic paper object. I paid and left, protecting the thing from the rain with my coat. I reached my car and drove off to see my friend, who was too sick to go out for her customary cup of coffee. It wasnít a surprise visit, Iíd been every day that week. But it was a trip worth making.

    It was however a short visit. Work remained, and I had to tend to it. When I got to the theatre I was already behind. The steel frame of a very strange set was slowly being assembled on stage. I threw my coat aside and jumped in to lend a hand. Moving steel frames from shop to stage was no simple task, and the size of the fames necessitated a certain amount of blind moving. As we were bringing one frame out I spotted a bewildered actor standing in the way. I dropped the frame and jumped into the doorway as it was being shoved though. As the frame smashed against me it stopped short of the actor and fell on my foot, leaving a deep gash on the side. It didnít feel serious, so I grabbed some tape and cloth and kept working. When everything was done and after I had made up for a few hours of lost time I grabbed my coat and limped to the car.

    The storm had passed but the sun was set. One thing left to do. I never was good at dealing with problems when they were my own, but this had to be done. I made this decision before I ever met her, and I promised her that Iíd still be there no matter what she did. As I drove I let my mind run across all the ways in which I was stupid for doing this. I thought about how it wasnít fair. How I should just walk away because there was nothing left for me here. All the things she should have done- she could have at least said she wasnít interested. Hadnít I said that was ok? No matter. I should still be walking away. After running through it all a dozen times I was at the end of my drive. I brought back my resolve. ĎYou swore you would do thisí I told myself. I hid my limp as I walked up.

    She still looked awful. This was a really lousy day for her. I didnít want to be there, so I was direct and to the point. I told her about all the times I stood by to pick up the pieces left by guys like him. I told her about all the times I had watched her situation unfold. I shared what I had learned from the hard experience of close friends and from my own darker perspective. And I reminded her that, true to my word, I would always be a loyal friend. It didnít seem to help, but I hoped it would protect her from worse days to come. I left, wishing I could do more. When I got back to the car my foot was numb from holding it tense. I couldnít drive, and since I didnít have a deadline, I walked.

    Thatís what Iím doing out here at this Ďungodly hourí, and if youíll stop beating your drums and waving your damn flashlights at me, Iíll gladly help you with whatever you want too.Ē


    Thatís what he thought as the mob of brightly colored safety rioters eyed him hobbling through the shadows. He wanted so much to tell them about his day- so much to explain that he wasnít out here to be scary or hurt anyone. But they thought at least they were fighting evil. He didnít want to discourage them or steal their thunder, no matter how much they scared him.

    Non res forte viri he thought, smiling bitterly at the pun, and kept on walking.






    So there's not much in the way of music inspiration to this one. It's in first person partly because there's a trend in this thread of first-person and I'm too lazy to think of a name, and partly because most of it is only half-fiction that I've bastardized to give some kind of flow (what kind of flow I have no idea, but it is a step up from random words in non-grammatical order) so it was real easy to write it from first person.

    If you really want something bardy to go with it some of the same events were rolling around in my head when I wrote this:

    Once to the sea was given
    A warm and gentle heart
    Who from the earth was riven
    Indifferent for its part

    And to the saline depths it went
    And as the shadow grew
    It whiled all the time it spent
    Expanding what it knew

    It learned of everything
    Which drowns us in delight
    It learned of all the things
    That make the soul take flight

    Until at last upon the floor
    Of dark and shady sea
    It knew it had seen more
    Than it could ever be

    It saw the rocky floor was bare
    And shadow hid the sky
    It soon grew to miss the air
    And longed that it could fly

    And as it looked across the stone
    From which it had been rent
    It knew that it was at last alone
    And realized what it meant

    Every flitting thing it saw
    On the voyage here
    Which had inspired noble awe
    Now filled the heart with fear

    That beauty from the sky would fall
    Without a leg to stand on
    So from itself it built a wall
    For everything to land on

    The heartís resolve was sure
    And ever upward shoving
    With every dreamer now secure
    It lived a life worth loving


    -Bais Blackfingers (The sissy poetic side of Sem)
    In Soviet ISB, NeS writes YOU!

  11. #11
    (Metallica - St. Anger)

    He's a banker, she works in a fast food joint.

    She's sex.

    They made a promise, a long, long time ago. They promised they'd be together. Always. They said they'd start a new life, be free, be happy, be themselves, make their dreams come true. But promises are made to be broken, right?

    This was years ago. Many, many years.

    He's married now, he's got a flashy car, he's got a position. A status. A condition he worked so hard for, mechanical operations substituting for passion, a wall he built around his heart, a wall he's too afraid to shatter.

    Maybe the day he hits 50 he'll hang himself. Maybe he won't. Maybe his precious wall will be blown to bits in a momentary nuclear explosion, freeing him from his chains. Maybe it won't.

    He's a banker, she works in a fast food joint.

    He's a prostitute.
    Last edited by Koobie; 07-03-2005 at 05:34 PM.

  12. #12
    eh, sorry for not keeping with the HAPPY ENDING theme, i'm just writing stuff under musical impression. so bear with me, heh.

    (Rammstein - Keine Lust)

    The world is cold.

    So cold.

    Wind, snow, spit freezes before it hits the ground. Nate's limping, a bullet stuck in his thigh, sirens screaming in the background. Noone ever broke out of that prison and lived. Noone. He's in the woods now, the dogs on his trail.

    Well to hell with them. At least he won't die caged.

    He makes it deeper into the woods, snow glimmering in the moonlight, each footstep producing blood-freezing noise. Too loud. Way too loud.

    *CRUNCH*
    *CRUNCH*
    *CRUNCH*

    He tries running but can't. It's the bullet. Just CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, and maybe a prayer. And then, he hears a howl. And it's no dog howl.

    Wolves never hunt alone.

    It's cold. So cold.

  13. #13
    (The Whitlams - Ease of the Midnight Visit)

    The night is long as I slip into your room, as well-practiced and gentle as a summer's breeze.

    There is no sound, from the moment my hands grasp your storm gutter to the final dexterous step through the window onto your soft carpet. Behind me, the moon seems to be sparkling in pure brilliance, surrounding me in shafts of light as I raise my head. I look to your bed, and then I do make a sound: a long, slow exhalation that just barely avoids qualifying to a much louder noise. My eyes widen in shock, but only slightly: they remain half-slitted as I strain to see what I don't wish to see.

    You are laid artfully over your sheets, one elegant knee bent slightly upwards toward the ceiling. Your hair is long, unkempt, spilling over you and your pillow. Despite the coarse description I use, you look beautiful, peaceful and composed...in other words, the usual figure that I steal away to on these errant nights. But -

    -but there is someone already with you.

    Just some man you met at a cafe, perhaps? His form appears well-muscled as he turns in his sleep - the soft light from the moon bouncing off hard edges and countours of his shape. Perhaps he's your personal trainer? A marathon runner?

    Does it matter?

    But I can tell you one thing he isn't, my dear. He isn't me. He's not like me at all. He didn't wander the streets, encouraged by the silence, to glide through your window. This man, whoever he is, is not an intruder into your life. He was invited. Had you grown tired of my midnight sojourns? Had my love, compelling me to walk the darkened streets to your door, become sad routine? Was it possible that I hadn't noticed a cold reluctance in your bedside embraces?

    I regard you both for a moment longer, standing over you as resentful and sorrowful as a devil sick of sin.

    Then, without a single word, I am gone. Back through the window, as insubstantial as my entrance. Back to the streets, where the silence is no longer encouraging and hopeful - it is, to me, singing dull emptiness in my ears.

    And though I finally return to my home, my heart will walk those dark, unfulfilled streets forever.

    The ease of the midnight visit/
    It takes a leap of faith/That you will be alone...

  14. #14
    (Go West - King of Wishful Thinking)
    (Man of La Mancha - The Impossible Dream)
    "He was a romantic in his own harsh way... yet he was also realist enough to know that sometimes love actually did conquer all."
    ~The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three
    Scene: an off-white canvas.

    Tch-tch-tch...

    A young man. Tall, yet small. Wise, yet inexperienced. His eyes gaze with hesitant hope towards...

    Tch-tch-tch...

    A young woman. A diamond in the rough -- a kick in the clichť. Her eyes aim past the young man towards...

    Tch-tch-tch...

    Another man. Cute with clean-cut confidence. Ideally normal and nameless. His eyes glance towards hers knowingly...

    Sch-sch-sch...

    Tch-tch-tch...


    The young man is no longer between the young woman and the other man, but behind her. The young man continues to gaze, hurt yet hopeful, his arm ever-so-slightly extended towards her...

    Sch-sch-sch...

    Tch-tch-tch...


    The young woman is now closer to the other man. She hides her strength, yet shows her soul. The other holds her hip with one hand, and her face with the other, and her eyes with his own...

    Sch-sch.

    Tch.


    His eyes look elsewhere.

    Sch-sch-sch-sch-sch...

    Tch-tch-tch.


    The other man is no longer there. His marks are left on her. A tear runs down her face.

    Sch-sch...

    Tch-tch.


    She turns to look at the young man.

    Sch-sch-sch...

    Tch-tch-tch...


    The young man is now closer to the young woman, his arm still extended ever-so-slightly.

    ...sch-sch.

    Tch.


    His arm is extended a little more, close to her hand...

    Sch-sch-sch...

    ...

    ...tch-tch-tch.


    The two hold each other's hands.

    (For those of you who didn't get it: the characters are meant to be portrayed as drawings or literal sketches. The "tch" sounds are pencil marks being made, and "sch" sounds are the eraser sounds. The young man likes the woman, but she is initially interested in someone else, who appears to love her, but then leaves her, leaving both the emotional marks and the leftover physical pencil marks that won't quite erase off her. She turns to the guy, he continues to offer her his love, and the end, while left intentionally vague, is meant to be optomistic. I felt the need to be artsy, so sue me.
    EDIT: I changed the scene to open up with a "scene" in hopes of making the sound effects and all that jazz clearer, and changed one like to "kick in the cliche" -- I feel it still needs a qualifier, but I don't know what.
    )
    Last edited by Gebohq; 10-03-2007 at 07:03 AM.

  15. #15
    (Blue October - Congratulations)

    "Are you happy?" he asks. And she sighs and rolls her eyes. "No," he says. "I mean it. Are you happy?"

    She looks away for a moment. "Yes. I'm happy."

    "Let me get you a drink." He leaves the table. She watches him go. If she could see his face, she'd know that he is not happy. He wants to be happy, but happiness eludes him. He passes many people on his way to the bar, their faces glowing with excitement. He doesn't notice. A single tear breaks free from his eye, and he quickly wipes it away. He asks for two martinis, and turns back towards her. She's looking away now, receiving the congratulations of one of her guests. He takes in a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. Slowly, he returns to the table.

    The guest is just finishing up with her. He greets him and then takes his seat. She asks, "Are you happy?" as she takes a sip from her martini.

    He tells himself to lie. He doesn't. "I'm trying to be," he says.

    "What do you want from me?" she asks.

    The only thing you can't give, he thinks to himself. He remains silent.

    "I'm sorry," she says to him.

    "Well, you know what they say..."

    She nods. She does, indeed, know what they say.

    "Thank you for inviting me," he says. "I'm happy for you."

    "Thank you, I'm glad you came."

    He stands. "I think I'll go for a drive."
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

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