Catastrophe Theory Prologue: The Color of Fear

If, Through Loose Ends

        by Kendra Jeong-Espinosa

If, through loose ends, we could resume
Unrav'ling defects from the loom
And soften as the shuttle mends---
Then save for me a few loose ends!

Should ringlets 'bove the brow displace
And settle on a lover's face:
Such charm, to beauty, only lends---
Framed sweetly by those few loose ends!

Through fibers, should a path appear,
By trailing---shown what happened here---
The source from which it all extends,
Then weave my future with loose ends!

If pulling threads should guarantee
A sound suspension of ennui
That purpose warps and naught transcends---
Then, please, leave me a few loose ends!

Kendra stopped bartending and addressed her visitor. “Shu, you got the angelfish?”

“Yeah. Stole it from your brother. I’ve been running around with a nasty-ass fish in my inventory ’cause I love you so much.” The fish occupied a square between a 2019 original Angsty pancake poster in alright condition and a completed worksheet on the point-slope formula that couldn’t be turned in once he aged up. And plants, many of those: he couldn’t be assed to count how many orchids were bouncing around in there—at least 99—but knew exactly how many bunches of parsley he had, which was 34. Originally the fish was from Willow Creek, within shouting distance from the storefronts if lake water didn’t muffle the sound; and weeks ago, betrayed by the promise of a snack, found itself trapped in its own marine-edition Tiny Living situation where it witnessed things it didn’t want to.

Wyatt was already seated. He’d been helping Kendra come up with a list of the least problematic Reggaeton songs well before Shu had arrived. Or rather, listening to Kendra and contributing media analysis when he could. When Shu arrived he clammed up and stared straight forward. Not that there was anything to look at. Before the meeting, she’d moved the poledancing tentacle out of the living room.

“Put the nasty fish in my fridge if it bothers you.” A suggestion he couldn’t follow without awkwardly pushing past her, given her position at the bar.

“It’s not gonna matter. I know it’s there. And it doesn’t decay.”

“And you got the—“

“—Yeah, yeah. And also the painting that caused my parents’ divorce.”

“Literally 100% the vomiting-sun painting’s fault.” She decapped the cream cola bottle and took a compulsive whiff. It smelled better out of the bottle. Not much effort went into making a cream cola; it was still her favorite drink even though she always had mixers on hand and kept her bar stocked with five kinds of homemade bitters. “But I kinda get it—something about it ticks me off in a way I can’t explain.”

“Where do you want it?”

“There’s an empty space on the wall in front of Yuggoth’s bowl.”

“There’s a lot of empty space. You want—“

“Side facing the stairs.” Looking forward, Kendra made a karate-chop gesture toward the stairs.

this fucking thing

“Okay. Takes a sec to kick in.” Shu stepped over Yuggoth’s bowl to get in position. Waving his hand caused the painting to appear on the wall in front of him. As he approached the sofa, Kendra noticed—but didn’t mention—that Wyatt suspired and moved to the armchair. Shu occupied the position on the couch closest to Wyatt. If Kendra didn’t know better she’d think he was trying to tick Wyatt off.

She settled next to Shu, gently, so as to not spill her cream cola. “Any ideas on the music from either of you?”

Shu sank further into the couch. “Kenny, for fuck’s sake. This was your idea. You get to pick the music.”

“I don’t know. I was hoping you guys could help me.”

Wyatt leaned forward, still keeping distance between himself and Shu. “So when you’re asking about the music, how much of the message are you hoping to convey in the medium?” A bit wordy, as Kendra expected. Here’s the deal. The base impression of Shu Wyatt’d gotten from rumors was as an eternally dopamine-sick party boy with one hand leading the charge off a cliff and the other in everyone’s pants. But tension hadn’t yet dissipated after the second of Wyatt’s awful parties, during which Shu, first of all, settled an argument about the pronunciation of ‘dishabille’ while using his pocketknife to fashion a red Solo cup into a swan—or at least heroically trying to—and then, fifteen minutes into Wyatt’s prepped monologue to Olivia Spencer-Kim-Lewis on why she needs to watch Synechdoche, New York, dropped in and sold her with “oh yeah, stuff happens that isn’t supposed to and it’s funny.” She tried to remember whether S.-K.-L. was the only one of Wyatt’s crushes Shu had slept with. That swan stayed on Wyatt’s coffee table until a week before Harvestfest. “Opera for gravitas? Heavy metal for emotional consistency? Or the ironic route: you want to put on a pop song that sounds like it has fitting metaphorical implications but isn’t meant to be dark?”

“I thought about it, you know, and I think I want Katamari Damacy vibes. You know, I want something so bizarre in the background that when people hear about what I did, they’ll be like ‘fuck that’s insane,’ and then their friend will say, that’s nothing, you have to know what she was listening to when she did it.”

“So, nonchalant,” Wyatt said.

“Exactly that. I want the kind of thing you spend hours planning but it sounds like you just hit shuffle in your music library and just ran with it. I want the music version of that sexy-hobo hipster look where you look great in a cardigan over some PJs but the cardigan, and the PJs, each, cost §500. But it’s paying one-k simoleons to look like you can pull any old crap off your bedroom floor and still look good.”

“I still think some pop ought to do it. I mean, I’m thinking you can pick anything well-known enough and ruin everyone’s association with the song forever. Maybe with like a hidden meaning, or one line, so it’s a bit too fitting as long as you look hard enough. Just a sliver of intentionality, yeah?”

“Got anything specific in mind?”

“Uh, like I said, you could make anything work for this purpose as long as the mood’s divergent enough. You could go for ‘It’s My Life,’ stave off the criticism early.”

“That’s an idea.”

“You know—you know, I’m looking at the lyrics and it doesn’t fit perfectly. But that’s the point. You’re picking something that will keep the audience guessing. And this one, the progression of the chorus, the jab of irony at the end—and you could interpret ‘commit,’ arguably, in a way that fits the situation—the battle with the self and its desires, themes of freedom and fear. But you consider the general context of the song, break-ups, and then”—he gestured as if he were flicking water off his fingers, palms facing up—“eh?”

“Yeah, man, I got it. That’s what I’m going for.”

“Or maybe ‘Don’t Speak.’ For some reason, No Doubt’s been on my mind lately. But—nah, maybe I just think it fits because I’m seeing it from the perspective of someone in the room when it’s happening. Wait, wait, no. ‘Bad Girls.'”

“Pussy Riot or M.I.A.?”

“I was thinking like M.I.A. but whatever works.”

Kendra’s theme song is ‘So Fast, So Maybe,’ and Wyatt’s is ‘Ironic,’ of course—and Shu’s would be like if Die Antwoord did a cover of ‘Glitter and Be Gay,’ help me out here—but we’re not concerned with those now

“Damn, Wyatt. You know the M.I.A. one is a religious experience. I can’t not put myself on pause and watch the video the moment it comes on.” Please take a breather here, as Kendra is doing, to appreciate how awesome that video is. She turned to Shu. “Street Oedipus, you’ve been quiet. You got anything?”

“Seems like Wyatt’s got it covered. Why not just use the Katamari soundtrack if you’re so in love with it?”

“Hah! You know that point where you roll up an animal or person and it screams and then you look two minutes later and it’s stopped moving?”

Shu shrugged. “I’ve watched Gen play it like, once. Have you thought about meme music?”

“Oh god I—that’s—that’s fucking horrible. I love it. Whatcha got?”

Wyatt tagged back in. “Meme music like ‘Ultimate Showdown’ or like ‘Crab Rave’?”

honestly confused me for a while until i realized blue cream soda is a thing people have seen. Japanese-style cream soda made me turn off the computer and go lie down

“Meh. I’m not feeling ‘Crab Rave.’ Anything recent and popular’s gonna sound too planned. And ‘Ultimate Showdown’ just calls attention to itself. You have to stop whatever you’re doing until it’s over. Like a show tune, you know? Shu?”

“I can’t get anything to pop into my head except ‘Let Me Borrow That Top.’

Preemptively, 45 oz = 1.28 kg

“Oh my Jesus—for the love of fuck, Shu, what’s wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“That’s so fucking stupid I’m completely in love with it.”

“Really?” Wyatt made the same face Kendra did last week when she was stuck in the checkout line behind a woman in a pillbox hat buying seven 45-oz tubs of margarine. “Really?”

A phantasm of Bernard popped into Kenny’s head, face obscured by a column of black smoke drifting off his immolated suit, fingertips melting from the bone, his eyes black as he recounted how he was now banned from every Yankee Candle in the tri-neighborhood area plus MagProm. “Look, you want something truly disturbing, you have to act like it’s not disturbing. You can scream at the sky about how everyone leaves you, or you could throw it out there like ‘yeah my mom pushed me out a window once’ and then just skip off. The second one is so, so much worse.”

“Hold up.” Shu took Kendra’s empty glass. “I’mma wash this in the bathroom sink.”

Kendra was still holding on to her empty glass, and continued doing so after Shu had reached the stairs, sprawling her body over the couch arm and generally looking like a mother whose appearance is contained to the prologue of a movie, where the vague child-stealing forces of evil were destined to win however tightly she clung to the babe, and the last we saw of her was in a shrinking first-person view being swallowed by the void. That’s what happened when Shu reached the banister. She cursed the heavens and turned to Wyatt. “Been a while since I thought about that channel. What was it? Mid-aughts? Remember when Margaret Cho got in on it?”

“She’s in this one too.” Wyatt angled his phone toward Kendra. “See? That’s Margaret Cho.”

Kendra leaned in towards his phone and confirmed that Margaret Cho was, indeed, in on this one too. In this instance she was colluding with a ninja in hopes of convincing the antagonist and her cheerleader entourage to temporarily part with an item of clothing. It’s worth noting that the antagonist wasn’t wearing this item of clothing at the time, as the ninja said shortly before Cho’s entrance.

Though on other blogs I’ve opined that not all child-stealing is bad, depending on the home the child is stolen from and lack of kidnapping laws in the fictional universe the snatching occurs in, and thought I should just throw that out there before we move on

Wyatt retracted his phone. He continued to mess around with something onscreen, leaving Kendra to examine her nails and become more aware of the growing heat in her core. Heat or weight. Something to keep her stuck to the couch and trapped in her head.

She heard Wyatt gasp. “Oh shit. ‘I’ve already been to heaven. After five minutes I was like, let’s go.’ That’s actually perfect. That’s what I meant by slivers of intentionality.” He waved his phone not so much to show Kendra the lyrics per se but to explain where he got them from.

“Oh shit, I forgot about that part! Bit optimistic if you think I’m going to heaven.”

“Maybe it takes them five minutes to vet you. Five minutes at least.” The gesture was small, but Kendra assumed the upward shift in gaze meant Wyatt was now looking at his phone’s status bar. “Actually, how long do you think this’ll take?”

“Probably a few hours to get going.” Kenny could’ve checked the time on her phone’s own status bar but chose not to. “Ah, right. You’re thinking the song’s not long enough?”

“Yeah, it’s going to last, what—three or four hours? Do you think the song’s gonna end before it happens? You wanna come up with another song or just loop it?”

He’s a sim. Songs are really long when you’re a sim

“Oh, guess we should figure that out now. Huh.”

“Okay. Hear me out. I kind of love the idea of the music stopping by itself and then one of us drops everything to restart the video. It’s like, really? That’s the problem they’re gonna focus on?”

“That’s rich. Almost too rich. It’s already gonna be hard not to d— to fall over laughing with that playing in the background.”

Wyatt scowled at his phone. “Yeah that’s my problem with it, too. Like I get what you’re going for and I have to admit it’s funny, but it’s not like you’ve done this before. At least consider something that goes with the mood, because otherwise it might get damped out and you’ll lose the drama you’re going for. Maybe ‘Killing In The Name’?”

“What, and be irreverent next time?”

I adore spam comments. I leaf through them every so often. On the Hall of Shame is one account who tries to post “Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?” several times a week as a reply to the same comment. But the real reason I bring it up is that one such bot generated the perfect sim name—Cletus Sprinkles—and I have every intention of stealing it.

Shu reclaimed his seat. “Next time. Oh my god, Kenny.”

“What? Next time can’t be as bad, and I’m not going all-the-way all the way. But if what Bernard says is true, I’m probably not going to be in as good a mood then.”

“Okay, here’s a time-saver. Don’t take Bernard at face value. He’s trying to fuck with you. When I was little he convinced me he invented reading. I think he was seeing how far he could push it. And he had me thinking a baby half-brother or -sister was on the way for like, I don’t wanna admit how long. My dad clued me in eventually.”

“Man, I buy that. Fucking Bernard. But that’s not what this is. He was being serious that time.”

“That’s just how his face is.”

“I promise you he was being serious.”

Cletus. Sprinkles.

“What does it matter what Bernard says? This is all speculation.” Wyatt had flipped his palm upward on the word ‘matter.’

“Who else am I gonna ask? He’s the expert.” Her gaze wandered toward the empty spot on her accent table. “Shoot, it just occurred to me. If there’s a next time, that’s uncharted territory. Is it like spicy food? I mean, does it get easier or harder the more times you do it?”

“Huh.” There was a readiness with which Wyatt took to topics lacking facts to prove him wrong, and Kendra wasn’t unfamiliar with that preparatory utterance. “Is it like taking a bit of your health bar each time or are you building a tolerance?”

She widened her eyes and jerked her head left. “Guess we just don’t know.”

Usually facts—such as the correct pronunciation of ‘dishabille’—ended a conversation, while speculation prolonged it. Not now. It only worked if the participants had theories to share. And here, no one wanted to address the main event out loud. Even Kendra herself chilled at the thought, the horripilation conflicting with the burning dread in her gut in a way that made both worse. But if she kept herself distracted just enough, faked it just enough, she’d be golden. In and out of the red. Her aim now was to keep it moving.

“Hey, Shu. What color is fear?”

“I—don’t know.” He looked to the left. “People don’t really talk when they’re afraid. And if I hear a sound that scares me, it’s angry or tense. Red-to-orange. Because it’s not the sound that’s frightened.”

“Uh? Either of you care to catch me up?” Wyatt asked.

“Shu and his dad do this synesthesia thing where hearing sound makes them visualize color. The hue is based on the emotion they associate the sound with.”

Wyatt’s abrupt eye-pop implied this was a better topic than Kendra’d expected. “Holy shit! That’s awesome! I read about that in Psychology Today. What color am I saying now?”

Shu could have received an orchid every time he heard that and he wouldn’t have noticed. It’s still above the threshold. “It was yellow-green when you were talking about Psychology Today and fuchsia-ish when you asked that question. It’s usually fuchsia when someone’s messing around or telling a joke.”

“So you can tell how someone’s feeling just by the tone of their voice?”

“No, it’s just what we think they’re feeling. That’s how I didn’t get that Bernard was fucking with me.”

Having nothing to contribute, Kendra began to fall back into her bodily discomfort. She leaned forward, supporting her torso with both hands, as if to exhale the heat from inside her while bathing her shaking hands in warm breath.

“You alright? Having second thoughts?” Of course Shu would notice.

“See, this is the kind of thing where I’m expecting to have second thoughts. I’m prepped.” Her pitch rose, as did her hands. “But I have to keep going or I’ll never reach my dream! Did the purpose of every kids’ movie fly over your head? Do you hate dreams, Shu?”

“I’m sure there are ways to go about it without—“

Check it, I sprung for the fancy version of WordPress; check this shit out: \Gamma(z)=\int_0^\infty x^{z-1}e^{-x}\,dx. AT LAST, MY RIGHT ARM IS COMPLETE AGAIN! FINALLY I CAN WRITE SIMLIT THE WAY BABY JESUS INTENDED. Wait, it’s an image? Crap. I also tried a MathJax plugin and it wasn’t any better. Also, \Re(z) > 0

“—I need to know. Because the option is there. It’s”—she brought her hand to her temple, fingertips only so as to not get her rings tangled in her beanie again—“not just about the poetry for me. I thought you, of anyone, could understand. True novelty. True connection. We’ve been over this.”

He refused to meet her gaze.

“If you came to talk me out of it, it won’t work. You leave, my lifeline goes with you. Understood?”

Shu nodded downward.

Wyatt took the silence as his cue. “It’s like throwing a finger to the universe. Ironic because you might as well but it’s not a nihilist statement? Or at least nihilist for the opposite reasons people are usually nihilist.”

“Cool, brah, you can write the post-mortem essay.”

Shu still hadn’t looked up. She may have heard him swear to himself. “What did you want us to do?”

“Ah, that’s the thing.” She rose to address them. As she delivered her plan, she stared at a patch on the ceiling. “I was hoping one of you could help get me started, then I’ll do a bit of legwork on buffs—by that I mean I’ll make a Boiler Room and stare at that fucking sun painting until I’m ready to smash it—and we’ll take it from there. Maybe storm through the house to see if there’s something else; Shu, you could cook something if you’re in the mood. Splitting up social interactions so you two aren’t in danger. I’ve got some potions on hand to neutralize it for you two because under no circumstances are you to use Beguile, Shu. So let’s get this thing moving. Wyatt, you’re in charge of the music.”

“Copy that.” He went back to his phone.

“And Shu.”

I’m not fronting: the first two dozen CT posts were formatted in LaTeX, and the advance notes for both CT and Haunted are also in LaTeX for no good reason whatsoever, since I never compile those


“You know your own strength, right?”

He hesitated. “Yeah?”

“Shit, I let the video sit too long and I’m getting an ad again. I’m muting it. Hold on.”

“And you have no misgivings about getting into fights to club music. God, if this song could even be called that. God. Shu. You are fucking nuts for even suggesting it.” She chuckled at the ceiling before turning back to him. “I need you to slap me.”

“Kenny, what the fuck? I thought we were just supposed to bring shit and hold the evil painting.”

Wyatt mumbled. “Dream-hater.”

“Just like, one. To start things off.”

And have also had to delete dollar-sign-surrounded bits from comments I leave on other people’s blogs, because guerrilla LaTeX isn’t socially acceptable. It’s that bad

“Is it really gonna work if you’re expecting it? I mean, you asked me to.”

“Okay, they let me skip the ad but I forgot how long this intro is. It’s still on mute. Hold on. I’m finding where the actual song starts.”

“How the hell would I know? I’m banking on suspension of disbelief; I’m still not sure you’re gonna do it. Saying you’ll do something isn’t the same as actually carrying it out.”

“And you’re sure this is what you want. Hundred percent.”

“Yes!” Somewhat louder than she intended. But that was alright; that would save her some time, put the odds in her favor. She wouldn’t let him see her shaking. “You’re gonna do this right now, Shu? Make me drop everything to comfort you? Really? You think you’re the one who needs reassurance right now?”

“And—got it! Okay, music’s ready.”


“Alright. Wyatt, hit it.”

Wyatt unmuted his phone. Onscreen, a young woman holding a black shirt reacted incredulously to a ringing doorbell.

“Shu.” Said in medium blue.

Let me borrow that top.
A link in case you don’t know or forgot the game mechanics. If you still can’t figure out what’s going on: the sun painting, slapping, and Boiler Room are all Angry buffs.

“Hit me.”

Author’s note 4/10/21: I just learned there’s a patch released 2 months after this chapter where they added a ‘Scared’ emotion, and now fear is the color of Kendra’s hat. Devs? Are you out there? The fuck you ruin my prologue for? Ahahaha.

Catastrophe Theory Prologue: The Color of Fear
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19 thoughts on “Catastrophe Theory Prologue: The Color of Fear

  • November 22, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Hello to that Sweeney Todd reference and that Sweeney Todd reference only.


    Earrings can come too.

    First of all, GLORY BE! I missed this. As I was digging through this chapter my brain was like: yes! we need this! we like it!

    Where do I want to start? Let’s see, jokes/side stuff first then analysis:

    1. Music references were just chef’s kiss. This took me forever because I was stopping to listen and watch each music video. Man, it’s been a long time since I seen that Alanis Morrissette one (yeah okay Wyatt, I see you boo) and then I got to Candide and I was like: fucking Voltaire. Why were the 70s so weird?

    2. In all my years of playing this game I have LITERALLY NEVER looked at that fucking sun painting up close. It is vomiting. What is happening, EA? Blink once if you need help.

    3. It’s okay to steal the child if her name is Gwendolyn and she is perfect.

    4. Psychology Today being Yellow Green just made me laugh for five minutes and I don’t know why.

    5. Sims washing dishes in the bathroom sink, still a fucking problem, patch. Get it together.


    7. What is that moment when your nerdy side hobby becomes a thing you spend actual money on? Also LateX? Bless. I could never lol. I actually don’t have the range.

    8. ” and weeks ago, betrayed by the promise of a snack, found itself trapped in its own marine-edition Tiny Living situation where it witnessed things it didn’t want to.” God, that is a whole fucking mood this year.

    Okay, I will probably think of more things that tickled my funny bone (POLE DANCING TENTACLE LOLOLOLOLOL) but I’m going to cut myself off and move to analysis, which is this:

    I love a Catastrophe Theory chapter because when it starts out, I feel a little naive. And the chapter knows this, so it just chugs along like: nothing to see here, this is all fine, just let it wash over you, don’t worry about a thing. But the thing I’m learning is that you should always be worried. Kendra is delaying, that much is clear. But she is delaying in that way where you plan to blow something up, but first you gotta set up all the lego pieces and backdrops properly. And it feels like maybe, a tiny part of you might be tempted in all that set-up. Like you’ll see something that’ll be so interesting that you won’t need to actually blow it all up.

    But you know you gotta do it. If you’ve collected all the objects (interesting that’s where this chapter starts) and mastered all the careers and the various side quests, you gotta try the big, scary, potentially game-ending stuff.

    Shu and Wyatt are playing along here, though and it made me a bit emotional. Maybe its just the end of a long year that has felt like 10 centuries, but man, that’s some solid DOWN FOR WHATEVER friendship.

    And that last line said in medium blue? Oh that hit me. I sat with that for a long moment.

    Whew. YES. 10/10 loved it. I think this will tide me over until December (lolololol yeah right I’m greedy, I’ll take whatever you post and then still want more)

    • November 23, 2020 at 1:37 am

      YES it is OKAY to steal diabolical children named Gwendolyn. We’re back! Attend the tale! And I wish I could format this whole blog in LaTeX. It would be so much easier.

      And the chapter knows this, so it just chugs along like: nothing to see here, this is all fine, just let it wash over you, don’t worry about a thing.

      Cozy Voice for Catastrophe Theory? Yes. Yes, always be worried. Except when you shouldn’t. But no one’s questioning the Shallot-Lius’ relationship stability—and I can’t come up with a second counterexample—so the exceptions are common knowledge already, I’m sure.

      (Sidebar: my narcissist ass is less than a week away from making a TV Tropes page for her own story. Then again, the alternative is waiting for someone else to do it, and that sounds like a lot of work for someone else, so…?)

      Yay, a hidden message about the power of friendship! I’m still figuring out what dynamics to play up here: Kendra tends to veer gloriously off-topic during emotionally charged conversations, and having Shu or Wyatt around makes it exponentially worse; Shu is having a private Asimov’s-first-two-laws-type meltdown about the whole situation, and Wyatt needs to be saying ‘postmodern’ and ‘ironic’ ten dozen times each in addition to his imaginary pissing contest with Shu.

      Agreed. The sun painting is a cry for help.

      • November 23, 2020 at 7:28 pm

        It’s ridiculous that I’m discovering so many things that I love but can’t articulate are actually a trope. Yes! Make a page! Make a page! I’m a bad influence.

        Yeah, I mean I don’t know what’s next but weirdly, I think I might miss this dynamic when Kendra goes on her trip? Something about their collision works. Maybe it’s because I can pull out of the emotional stuff and focus on wanting to punch Wyatt in the face? Hahaha.

        Eff that sun painting

      • November 24, 2020 at 12:30 am

        Well, now that I have permission…

  • November 22, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Oh man, when I read “prologue” and saw the poem, I’d assumed that was the extent of this update — not a bad thing, because the poem was lovely! — but then I scrolled further and saw we were getting a whole new chapter. Cue excitement. CT is back!

    I love how this manages to be both humorous and gripping simultaneously. I’m not going to quote everything that made me chuckle, ’cause that’d be a lengthy list; what I mean to say is that the wit is on point, as usual, as are the dark, suspenseful undercurrents. How dare you end the chapter on a cliffhanger!

    And how could I comment without mentioning your LaTeX rant? “Guerrilla LaTeX isn’t socially acceptable.” HA.

    • November 23, 2020 at 12:01 am

      I did the same thing, thinking the poem was it. It’s a cool poem. Great structure.

  • November 23, 2020 at 12:06 am

    I love the Sim bits about inventory, S-pop, and washing dishes in the bathroom sink (why? When the kitchen sink is closer and has better hygiene?)
    But what if Claudia doesn’t want to come back? Bernard is OK with it, but she might not be, no matter what music plays.

    • November 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm

      Ooh, I think this is just vague enough to not be a spoiler. Does Claudia have to be involved? Seems like Kendra’s concerned with stacking as many Angry buffs as possible on herself and has an Angelfish and… other things… on hand for… reasons. Might be more of a her thing.

      • November 24, 2020 at 12:06 am

        Ah ha! My guesses might be wrong! That would be awesome!

  • December 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that sun painting before. You had me convinced it was cc at first, haha. What do you know. Throwing up sun. Excellent.

    Right, so initially, with the angel fish reference and the talk of music, I was like, Kendra is planning a seance. But I see she’s doing… a reverse seance of sorts. Bold. Which is of course, what Kendra is. I can’t see many people having that conversation with Bernard and still landing at this conclusion.

    Interesting that she’s choosing anger. I suppose it makes sense to go with amplifying whatever she feels the strongest. Though I feel like what Kendra’s feeling is more nuanced that plain anger. Confusion, or perhaps frustration, more like. I guess anger is the closest to frustration that we have in the game, mind.

    Speaking of nuanced emotions, it is odd that fear does not have a colour indeed. With all the emotions, are the sims not allowed to be afraid. Somehow fits with the ultrahappy universe EA saught to create, but then, a world where nobody feels fear is oddly… terrifying.

    Back to the angel fish… It’s good to see she’s taking measures, but unless Kendra’s a masterchef behind the scenes, this one is hella risky. Very reliant on others, or at least a certain someone who is currently a total wildcard. But who knows, maybe she has a genius plan up her sleeve and I’m just pessimistic.

    Already thinking of next time and possibly bringing up a tolerance to “spicy food”… I’m likimg the consistency in analogies. But talk about getting ahead of yourself, Kendra. Even the totally chill Shu doesn’t seem to be entirely comfortable with that. Oh boy. This should be interesting.

    • December 6, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      Hahaha, the sun painting. Since you’re in on it—someone with special secret insider knowledge read your comment on Haunted 1-1 and said “i didn’t notice the fire-barfing sun. DUDE,” paraphrased—here’s a history of the sun painting that you didn’t ask for. Back in the day (third image), I thought Aileen would take the divorce better if they already hated each other, so I made them look at the sun painting and fight a couple times. It was so damn absurd. That may or may not have come up in Book II. I can’t remember, so I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. It’s also the same painting in S&L that Aileen grabs to stabilize Claudia’s mood. And that’s the complete history of the sun painting. Hahahaha.

      Ooh, a world without fear is terrifying. I’m currently brainstorming about this. Right now my theory is that fear, true fear, is unique in that feeling it causes your survival instincts to kick in and override conscious control of your actions. That isn’t much fun if you’re intentionally putting your sims in scary scenarios. If they felt fear, they’d be compelled to run from the fire or put it out instead of standing next to it yelling AAAAAH—that’s my personal no-fear theory, and I’m sure there are others. Oh, would that be fun to play with in the future.

      It’s true that Kendra’s feeling more than just plain anger at this stage. What the heck is she feeling, indeed? And she is leaning a bit hard on Street Oedipus, which is certainly… an idea.

      ‘Consistency in analogies’ was the justification I used to myself for not coming up with a second thing. Glad we’re on the same page.

      • December 6, 2020 at 4:14 pm

        It did help that I read those two almost immediately one after the other. Damn, that is a lot of history. If one of my sims ever paints that, I will now forever thing of CT 😁

        Ooh, interesting way to look at it! I suppose fear responses are not necessarily the same in everyone too, for some it can be paralysing, and having different ways to react in a single emotion would perhaps be a bit too tough for EA’s emotion system. The other day I did have a fire in a non-story save of mine (volcanic activity lot trait in Sulani, lots of fun) and while they didn’t stand right by the fire, they refused to go out of the bounds of the lot to jump into the ocean – arguably the safest area. Sims logic, heh.

  • January 6, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    ok ok i think i’m starting to get it

    it defs took me a while, but i’m comprehending that wit now. that dry, caustic wit, that at first seems like a subtle paper cut but for some reason you find your finger stinging like hell. that’s me now, reading the story, my mind stinging from the meta/chaotic/trenchant story that this is

    …i think i’m ready for more

  • May 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Kendra’s lipstick is fantabulous. Considering that color seems to be a reoccurring theme in your story (the main photo with the faceless, different colored people faces, Shu’s super ability, GHOSTS, the title, etc.) I’ll bet that the lipstick was chosen on purpose.

    Look, I’ll admit, I’m no poet, and have little interest in poetry, but I’d read the shit out of these poems. It’s fucking gorgeous. It makes me feel sad and filled with despair, but gawd it’s gorgeous. Like, when you hear a beautifully angelic sad love song. That’s this.

    So there’s a nasty fish smell and an angsty pancake painting in Shu’s inventory. Was he the original pancake fucker?

    I’m going to assume the poledancing tentacle is an actual Sims 4 object? Dear Gawd, I had no idea that EA was into soft core tentacle porn. Will Wright, you kinkeh bitch.

    “—Yeah, yeah. And also the painting that caused my parents’ divorce.” SO THIS EXPLAINS THE GALLERY PURCHASE!!! I mean maybe. It might not. Fuck. Timelines and all. Okay, but let’s talk about Barfy Sun. Like what is going on with this? This is what nature thinks about you denying global warming. The sun is literally vomiting on us because you fuckers didn’t take it seriously. Helios is sick of everyone’s shit. Okay, moving on… WHY does Shu have this painting. He says it caused his parents’ divorce. I can’t imagine he hates the thing. They’re hanging it on the wall. Does he really feel that it caused his parents divorce? Because I’m not getting that he is TRULY blaming a painting for that outcome. Either he or Kendra LIKE this painting (enough to see it ALL.THE.TIME) or he likes the idea that it destroyed his parents relationship or destroyed love/marriage. Shu, I’m gonna find a microscope and examine you.

    Yuggoth? When I heard the name my mind conjured up something Tolkien’ish (I have no idea why my mind automatically went with Balrog and then Morgoth, but it did). I’m going to assume that Yuggoth is a rabbit, Willoughby Whippet, or a Tibetan Spaniel. And on steroids to beefcake up.

    Dude. WHAT? I had to re-read this like 4 times b/c I must be reading something wrong, but Wyatt’s impression/rumors he’s heard is that SHU is a party boy/fuck boy? Shu, I SERIOUSLY underestimated you. But I guess that’s only if I believe rumors.

    Okay, Kendra referring to Shu as Street Oedipus makes me wonder if he’s into MILFS. Which is confusing since his theme song is gay and glittery… not clittery. Okay, now to Google “Street Oedipus..”

    “Really?” Wyatt made the same face Kendra did last week when she was stuck in the checkout line behind a woman in a pillbox hat buying seven 45-oz tubs of margarine. “Really?” … I’m gonna take a wild guess that this is a reference to Ms. Crumplebottom. AND I KNOW WHAT SHE WAS DOING WITH THAT BUTTER. Buttering her dried biscuit. Nasty old woman.

    Shu going upstairs to wash a glass is hilarious. That kid is STILL doing pipework in weird places. Neighbors house as a child, upstairs bathroom as an adult. I guess some things you just don’t outgrow.

    I see Margaret Cho and A NINJA are colluding …. and cheerleading squad. I hope this is a prequel to Legally Blonde. Bend and Snap and Clapback.

    Cletus Sprinkles is a beautiful name. Will there be a sister named Fetus Sprinkles? >.< I may have crossed a line with this comment. Maybe they were twins but Cletus ate his twin, and there was no more Fetus Sprinkles. Wow, I’m gonna shut up now b/c I REALLY am crossing lines.

    So I’m kinda lost at what’s going on but I’ll take a STAB that they’re gonna summon LOTOR or SOMETHING using the evil painting and meme-music. Goodness. I’m imagining a Leeroy Jenkins raid complete with the Kool Aid man busting through a wall, and then someone yelling BYE, FELICIA. While doing the bend and snap, obvi. And somewhere, over the rainbow, Cletus Sprinkles will be there…. with Ms. Crumplebottom and her butt….butter.

    • May 26, 2022 at 12:56 am

      God, I wish Kendra’s lipstick were symbolic. It’s just that she’s weird. I mean, yes, it is totally supposed to mean something! And yay! Appreciation for my poems! There are a few spread out around CT and they all took ages to write. Then there’s this from the old days where I thought it was possible to grow an audience for SimLit.

      Shu has fucked everything except pancakes, I think, and yes, the poledancing tentacle is a Strangertown object that I saw and thought “sure, that’s Kendra.” Along with the tequila bottle next to the vet tools, it forms the base of the aesthetics for her apartment. Speaking of aesthetics: you may recognize the barfing sun as an ‘angry’ painting Sims can make when they’re super cheesed off, and when hung in a room with mood effects on, it can induce anger. Back in the old days I thought it would soften the blow if Aileen and Xiyuan’s lavender marriage was already starting to fail before the divorce, so I put this painting on the wall to try and make them fight. So yeah, Shu’s kinda sarcastic here.

      Yuggoth is Lovecraft! Sadly, though, just this imaginary dog. I can confirm 100% for you that there are no Willoughby Whippets or Tibetan Spaniels involved with the site, though it is a good bunny name. Also, associating the margarine with Crumplebottom is one of those ideas I wish I’d stolen. Let’s hope it was her.

      Shu? A fuckboy???? Naaaaaaaaah. A fuckboy with mommy issues??? ABSOLUTELY not. Also, I lied, his theme song is “Nasty” by Brooke Candy. It’s the only song I have on his playlist.

      Ah man, I’m starting to think the situation isn’t as clear as I thought it was. People who followed CT up to Book II figured it out, but maybe without context it’s hard to intuit how much of the CT universe is based on mechanics from the actual game. Looks like I have to add some clarification.

    • July 31, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      Oh! I do remember asking if you’ve read the prologue already. It turned out I was so behind on replying to comments that I forgot.

      Gah, so you know all every writer wants to hear is that their poetry is worth reading—and to have someone pick up one a major theme—from someone who casually drops Helios is sick of everyone’s shit. But I did mess up here. I wanted to at least be able to tell rather than show it, and I tried my best in the final caption, but… Kendra is planning a ritual suicide. That’s why the last caption reminds the reader that Sims can undergo anger-induced emotional deaths, and points out that the actions Kendra is talking about are all things that induce anger moodlets. I was trying to sound it out without spelling it out for the reader—then using that last caption to spell it out for the reader just in case it didn’t land—and failed because a reader who’s only seen the prologue hasn’t internalized how much of the game mechanics CT relies on. So, major OUCH on my part. I didn’t realize this would create a woosh moment, but even some people who’ve been following since Book I missed it at first. I fucked up big.

      Shu does have mommy issues & may be a fuckboy; his real theme song is “Nasty” by Brooke Candy. Does that clear it up? ‘Cause now the gallery purchase makes sense. And good catch that it’s weird for him to claim that the painting wrecked his parents’ marriage: correct, he doesn’t really believe that. But there was a time when I/Xiyuan thought if he and Aileen hated each other it would soften the blow for the divorce, so we painted the angry painting, turned on emotional effects, and put the couple in the same room as the painting so they’d argue. Holy crap, it’s only becoming clear upon reading this comment how much unexplained lore is hiding in the background.

      Yuggoth would be a GREAT! RABBIT! NAME! and is unfortunately just this fictional dog :(. But not a fictional god! Just a Lovecraftian planet.

  • September 18, 2022 at 9:36 am

    Let’s see if this works…
    \item I love how meta this gets, because you follow the rules of the Sims universe, where people carry fish and giant-ass paintings (not to be confused with giant ass-paintings) in their pockets forever.
    \item That painting. It scares me.
    \item You know, you just don’t get references to Ultimate Showdown that often any more. It’s a pity.
    \item Thank you for the conversion to sane measurements! Also where the fuck does one get a tub of margerine that is more than one kilo? Oh, right, America.
    \item MORE GUERRILLA \LaTeX, please!

    • September 18, 2022 at 7:27 pm




      Good point—now that you’ve opened our eyes, CT has a certain lack of giant ass-paintings and I think it really suffers for it.

      I asked the cashiers about margarine lady. They knew exactly who I was talking about. Word is, they’re pretty sure she owned a nearby vegan bakery.

      And lastly, WE WILL NEVER NOT GUERRILLA \LaTeX. Welcome to the non-Discord CT comment section, by the way! Happy to have you.



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