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World of Darkness: Attrition - Gone Down to the Protest [Randy Edison][FIN]

Adrian Moss

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(October, 10th 2011)

Randy was moving across campus, another boring day of Comparative Religions gone by. At the moment, he was contemplating testing out of the next semester because he already knew most of the shit and how to bull his way through the rest. Too many instructors wanted to be told "you're right" instead of really handling opposing views. Campus sucked. Randy was trying to figure out just how his day could get any worse when ...

"Hey! Randy!"

'Oh hell,' Randy thought, 'It's Hyper-Bunny!' There was no place to hide and the idea that he out-run her across campus was ... unappealing. Besides, she knew where he lived. Randy turned her way, glowered, and gave the barest of nods.

Monica ran up to him breathless. He adequate bosom heaving, she stood before him with her peach colored wife-beater (where do girls get these things), red hoody zipped open, sky-blue biking shorts, knee socks with the UCLA logo, and worn tennis shoes.

In contrast, Randy was in slightly worn jeans, Marine Corp issue red T, Jean jacket (more worn than the jeans), and hiking boots. He wasn't sheathed in black, but he was hardly putting for the friendly vibe.

"Glad I found you," she gasped.

"Monica, you know my schedule. I caught you looking over it weeks ago."

Monica blushed. "Well ... I ... (pant) (pant) ... want a big favor."

'Please say, "I want you to shoot someone". Please, please. Even assisted suicide would be okay.'

"Yes?" he said with as much of the passion sucked out of those words as possible. Hyper-Bunny ignored, or totally de-clued on, it. Randy bet Vegas House Odds on the cluelessness.

"Great!" she said as if he had already agreed to something, "I want us, " (big beaming grin with pearly white teeth) "to go to the protest downtown. It will be Great! We'll have fun!"

Randy was vaguely aware of the protest movement going on across the country. As long as his student loans kept coming through, he didn't care. That anyone would expect him to want to go to a protest was beyond him. Monica apparently thought he did. Monica probably believed in Santa Claus too.

"Let me think about it," Randy said. "Aahh ... No. I think I have to dunk some puppies in Liquid Nitrogen."

Monica looked like I planned to dunk her puppy personally ... for about three seconds.

"Kidder," she grinned as she started dragging the bigger man toward south campus, "You wouldn't dunk puppies. You're too wonderful for that."

If Randy had held a pistol on his hand, he would have shot her in the back of her head, rationalizing that he was doing her a favor, sparing her form life's multiple disappointments. With no pistol, he simply gave in.

"Were are we going?" he said with a deep sigh.

"The bus!" (yes, she exclaimed almost everything).

"Listen you," he wanted to say dumb bitch, but that would have been pointless, "I have a car." Randy saw every word but car flow in one ear and out the other.

"A car is even better! Can we pick up some friends?"

"No," he growled, "they can fucking walk." This time he won the argument.

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The Bank of America. They were protesting outside of the Bank of America. They were basically what Randy expected to see. Some unemployed, fed up with the hopelessness, some Commie/Socialist/Radicals, and some Union Organizer types. The rest were people with either nothing to do, or with their own skewed view of the situation. Basically the "Don't Give a Damns" and the Uniformed.

Being Unemployed for more than 99 months was serious suck-age. You could lose a lifetime of hard work for something beyond your control. If Randy had been unemployed, he might have been amongst them. He took some pleasure in the anguish it would have cost his Father.

Communist in America. There was something fundamentally wrong with someone who couldn't learn the lesson of history. USA vs. USSR. Most of it had been before his time, sure, but when some of the old, old timers talked about Reagan and the Wall coming down, it was hard for him to understand how an economic system that had such a Colossal Epic Fail was still seen as viable by goldfish, much less educated people.

From Randy's experience, Unions were a good thing. They stopped their members from having to work too hard ... and yet get more money for it. Less Work/More Money. Of course, Unions could stop your jobs from going over to China. All Hail the Communist Chinese Workers Paradise! And now the Unions were blaming banks.

Randy knew that train wrecks drew a crowd. Some came to loot, other's to gawk, and others to see what kind of trouble they could get in. Essentially they were all trouble. They got in the way, were selfish, and could be relied to devolve into the lowest ethical standard at a moment's notice. Randy was conflicted between what to think: Water cannons, or rubber bullets?

Then came the Uniformed, who could either mean people who had a basic desire to 'help' out and 'do the right thing'. Sometimes they believed in something like 'equality', 'fair play', or 'fair share' without understanding the price of such beliefs. They usually made good 'Mob Fodder. Odds are, if someone got a beat down, it was one of these Sheep. Then everyone was wondering why the police put a club to Your Neighbor's Cousin's Grandmother.

Unfortunately, Monica led/drug Randy into the final group. There were a group of around twenty students or so. One or two migrated over to the 'Red' faction, but the they seemed to be a bit nebulous about things. That quickly ceased to be much of a problem as Monica took him over to a specific someone.


'Clark,' Randy recalled, 'Monica's second ex-boyfriend. Junior - Arts Major. Oh crap.'

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Monica beamed that impossible smile, looking from right to left and back again. It took about six seconds for Randy to figure out Clark didn't give a damn. He didn't want Monica anywhere near him. Randy could agree with that. He didn't want Monica anywhere around him too. Monica couldn't see that though. The two men stared at one another.

"So, are you as pissed off about the whole banking scam we are being made to swallow?" Clark asked. "If you are, come on and hang out. You look like you could deal some damage if things get rough. Monica," Clark barely glanced at her, "you can beat it. I'm done with your shit."

'And you had to go and kick the puppy, didn't ya?' Randy thought. Mind you, the whole idea of this moron telling Randy what to do in a physical situation was ludicrous. Randy could tell this guy would be one of the first to wet himself and run for his Mother. Clark would be more than willing to make someone like Randy fight his battles. Those types existed everywhere.

Very seriously against his better judgment, Randy put a hand on Monica's arm and pulled her a step closer to him. "So Clark, what are we fighting for today?" Randy said in his now-becoming-common emotionless voice.

For Monica, buffered by an insane degree of optimism, a staggeringly obstinate refusal to see life at its ugliest, and the dogmatic belief that everyone was deep down in their souls good, this was a disaster. It had seemed so simple. Clark had mistakenly misplace her (and her number, and her gifts, text messages, e-mails, and tweets) and Randy was going to help them (her and Clark) get back together. Randy was good that way. She had told Randy of this plan (she thought so, maybe ... she might have forgotten) to make Clark see her in a whole new light. It was simplicity itself.

Of course, Monica ran into reality and reality won. Clark really did hope she would fall off the Edge of the World. She was an annoying pest, and substituted eagerness for technique in bed. He could do better. He had told her so. He had pelted her with her gifts, cold coffee, and whatever else was handy. Finally he arranged to have a new girlfriend in his room when he invited her over. His laughter rang in Monica's ears for hours. Monica had run into the arms of someone else, and then someone else when that fell apart.

Then Randy stood up for her in study group and everything changed. The only problem was that Randy had Shadow, so she couldn't have Randy, but Randy could still help her get Clark back. If the plan hadn't been totally disconnected from reality, it might have worked.

Clark smiled at the Randy, the freshman. He didn't bother to consider Randy's look, or how his eyes were darker than coal. Freshmen were for bossing around. That they might have a skill set beyond what they were needed for was of no importance to him. Clark liked being the master of the situation. That's why he only dated underclassmen (women?). They would eat up everything he told them. To Clark, Randy was just some body to fit to a task.

"Randy, do you like Banks? Of course you don't. No one does. They are ripping off everyday Americans so that billionaires can get richer. Today we are staging an Action, but tomorrow we may do some real damage, if you know what I mean," he added with a wink.

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To Randy that translated over as 'I'm going to have you do something stupid, while I sit on the sidelines and claim in my memoirs to have been there when it happened.' Randy wasn't really looking forward to a good ole' fashioned LAPD beat down. He couldn't imagine that any of Clark's cohorts would appreciate it much either. There was nothing like a putting a lower middle class kid in the same room as an upper middle class loud-mouth ass, and you give the poor kid a gun, taser, and pepper spray. The rich kid would soon be praying that somebody/anybody was recording the event so they wouldn't get killed. The greatest joke would be that the cop would be showing restraint and the punk would be thinking that his life was in danger.

"So, we are going to bring down the system? Take over the banks?" Randy said, voice barely concealing his menace. Clark nodded eagerly to his questions. He was chalking up yet another disciple.

"Clark, do you have an economics degree? Wait, your an Arts major, so that would be a 'No'." Clark's expression started to change from smug arrogance to confusion then anger.

"You probably can't balance your check book, can you? And I'm going to give you ten trillion dollars in assets to manage? Clark, I went to college to get smarter, while you've gotten dumber. Hell, you've become a self-absorbed idiot whose brain power wouldn't snuff out a candle." Randy would have said more, but Clark chose that moment to push him. Randy barely budged. He did look down at the spots were Clark had hit him. When Randy looked up and smiled.

"Thank you," he whispered.

Clark had pushed Randy to make him back down. For an instance, there was a smile on Clark's face. Randy's smile stole Clark's from his face. Clark's mind was still trying to race through the situation when Randy moved. The ex-soldier fainted with his left and struck with his right. Clark grasped as Randy's hand closed tightly around his ball sack.

Clark gasped. He gasped harder and jumped up when Randy clenched harder and pushed up.

Randy got up in Clark's face. "Listen up, Fuck-face," he whispered to the upper classman," and listen good. I've killed people ten times more intimidating than you. If you think I won't waste you and then go out with your date for a night on the town, you are sorely mistaken." Squeeze = gasp.

"It isn't like I even hate you. I hate people that matter. You're an insect. Scratch that, I respect insects." Randy kept eye contact, continuing to glare into Clark's eyes. Randy thought that this guy was way too easy to hate.

"Clark, I want you to go home. You aren't coming back. If I hear you have come back, I'll finish doing this," squeeze, "in a more permanent fashion. Are we clear?"

Clark tried to speak, but only a squeak came out. Instead, he nodded vigorously. Randy caught sight of Monica beside them.

"Oh, yeah, apologize to Monica. See her again, you walk away. Not one God-damn word, clear?" That earned another vigorous nod.

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Monica was torn, but not as much as Clark's ego, or lower extremity. The man she had come here wanting was somehow ... diminished. She couldn't quite grasp the reality that she had seen Clark for what he was because that would make her not like him. Monica couldn't hate Clark, she really wasn't capable. What she couldn't understand though was what had attracted her to him. I mean, he was attractive, but he was no Lucien Hunt (having seen Clark naked, REALLY not a Lucien Hunt).

She found herself following Randy back toward his car. She wasn't sure why she was gravitating, but something in her mind saw him as safe and protective. Monica was really emotionally blind, deaf, and dumb . As she moved to catch up, Randy appeared to increase his stride. That was no problem, Monica was used to running after guys. She was at his side and bubbly in no time at all.

'I'm no God Damn Brad Pitt!' Randy quietly cursed. Here was this girl running along at his side, a storm cloud of anger whirling around him. 'What do I have to do? Scrub my face with ground glass?'

"What are we going to do when we get back to campus?" Monica bubbled along. Randy cut her off.

"Why the hell do you think that, after wasting half my afternoon with this Punk-Ass-Bitch of an ex-boyfriend of yours, I would want to spend one more second with you?"

"We could do Ice Cream? There's this great shop in Westwood!"

Mentally Randy stomped a puppy to the curb. He jumped up and down on its bloody remains, then pissing fire on its battered remains. He amused himself by kicking the ashes around.

"Or we could go get some coffee at the Coffee Bean," she rattled on and on. They got to the car and it was only a mistake of convenience that gave Monica a moment to open the door before Randy could hit the auto-lock. Randy started the car and pulled out of the parking lot, paying the hideous fee. Once they were on the road, Randy asked Monica,

"Who knows you are with me? I mean, if you go away, who do I have to worry about coming around to find you," his voice low and serious. Monica giggled. "Silly! I would like a salad! What do you think?"

"I think that I'm about two miles away from ..."

'That's right, Big Man, you going to kill the puppy? Get over it. You've already screwed up.'

Randy looked for an out. "I need to meet Shadow."

"Great! We can make it a threesome!" Her face was totally innocent. When Randy stopped at the next light, he began banging his head against the wheel. Monica reached out and touched him, "Oh! Do you have a headache? Here, let me get you some Advil!"

Randy glared back at her, but Monica's emotional armor was invulnerable. The Death Mage was left with the dark impression of sinking into a black pit of misery with not a limb in sight.

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