A Kiss Goodbye

Alise lounged against the leather seat of the booth and watched the man she was going to kill. Randy something or another, she recognized him by a picture her boss had given her. She studied him, sleek black suit, with matching pants, new shoes. His cheeks were red with laughter, he’d already had too much to drink. It would be a simple operation, sliding in and out without anyone noticing. Her boss would have to get her a better contract after tonight, and there would be no more questioning her talents.

He looked up from the dark beer at her and gave her a clumsy smile. She hid a shy one of her own and looked down at her hands. He was easily baited, and came quickly, sliding into the booth with her. Pine, whiskey, and petroleum engulfed her as he sidled up to her side.

    “Howdy, ma’am. How’re you this evenin’?” His words reverberating of Texas, slightly slurred, and stinking of alcohol. Alise laughed and leaned forward, the low cut dress catching the overhead lights.

    “As good as a single lady may do in this town,” She sighed, letting a piece of loneliness taint her voice, “How about yourself?”

    “I’m swell,” He drawled and slid a hand across the silky fabric of her dress, “Any chance I could get you a drink?”

    “It’d be a shame to refuse,” The woman told him, another painted smile and a brush of her hands against his, “I like anything with a bit of a kick.”

    Randy jumped at the chance quickly slamming his money against the wood counter. In his haste, he’d left behind his drink. She slid the drink over to herself, out of his sight. Her sapphire ring glittered in the fluorescent light, and she twisted the small knob on the side. Out poured a string of white powder, which she was careful not to inhale, falling like snow into the dark beer. 120 milligrams would be enough to do the job and, if he took it now, it would only about a 15 minute wait.

She liked Strychnine because of this, quick and alcohol soluble-with a bit of coaxing of course. The convulsions would be easy to disguise as pleasure. Carefully, she stirred the beer, watching the particles dissolve. As he was approaching the table once more, she removed her finger and dried it on the napkin.

“By the way, might I ask fer a name?” He slid into the booth next to her, and placed a margarita in front of Alise. It certainly not a drink with as much of a kick as she preferred, but she laughed and thanked him anyway.

“I’m Alise.” She took a sip of her drink, while he reclaimed his own.

“Do you make a habit of stealin’ other peoples’ drinks?”

“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself, I wanted a taste, I hope that’s ok?” She widened her eyes, apologetically and folded a loose strand of blond hair behind her ear. He coughed a bit, straightening his suit, already hooked, she could see, and ready to have his way with her.

“Sure thing, maybe later I can return the favor for ya.” His eyes wiggled like a mesh of squirming worms,“Is there somethin’ in this?”

Her eyes inspected the glass, tiny white spots were visibly floating around, raising themselves up with the bubbly beverage. It hadn’t fully dissolved, but that didn’t mean it was reason to panic. She slid closer to him and peered into the drink before shrugging.

“They were there before, I thought it was just the foam settling in,” She paused to purposely take another sip of the drink, it would be easier to feign intoxication later, “And I do believe you owe me a name.”

“I’m Randy.” He held his hand over to shake hers. His eyes were still focused on the glass, but her innocent excuse won him over and the liquid slid down his throat. As he did so, sparkly white nails ran along the soft skin of his arm. Their bodies were close together, trading waves of heat.

4 minutes of small talk and she ‘confessed’ to forgetting how much of a lightweight she was. A few well placed giggles and flirty remarks and she’d convinced him to come to the back with her. No one noticed the two pass the bathrooms and enter the empty stock room. She feigned a couple stumbles and slurred apologies.

9 minutes left, the countdown continued. In the dark, back room, he pressed her to the wall, kissing her on the neck. Alise was careful not to kiss his lips, as she would prefer not attract any stray drops of poisoned beer. His hands barely had time to run along her skin a few times before the spasms started.

He cried for help, of course, and she pretended to look for it, running out of his line of sight. In the shadows, Alise watched as he collapsed to the floor. The convulsions did not last long, it seemed she’d given him too much. That was a shame, part of the fun was watching them squirm. She relieved him of his wallet and clothes, they would sell for a good price. Freed of his valuable possessions, Alise leaned over and pressed her pinks lips to the top of his forehead.  Soon the staff would find him, no sign or trace of her except for the imprint of lips on skin.  It was a cheap brand, something anyone could buy anywhere. The cameras would show a blonde with a teal dress stumbling out of the bar, the officials wouldn’t be looking for a ginger. Her heels clicked as she walked away, another successful mission.

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Daytime Excursions

Carrie looked again at the ruined project, what was left of a custom stuffed animal for a customer.  It looked like a murder scene. Golden pieces of fleece and white stuffing  were everywhere and they no longer resembled the stuffed bunny. That makes attempt number 6 a failure as well. How was she supposed to make a living when Fish, the stupid cat, kept getting into her things. She’d barely made rent last month and now that damn cat had done her in again.  Her hold tightened on the smooth, wooden handled knife while her eyes watched the digital clock carefully. Hunter, Carrie’s roommate,  was gone for the day she’d left the house five minutes ago which meant she wasn’t going to be turning back for anything. So, at exactly 8:07 pm, Carrie stepped into the tiny living room. All that was left was the cat. Stupid thing always gets in the way.

She clucked her tongue to the top of her mouth, calling to the animal in a sweet voice laced with loathing. There was no response, Carrie had already known that would happen. This cat was crafty in hiding away from her. Stupid Fish, causing her reputation on Etsy to fall because it always got into her projects- destroying her hard work with nothing more than a satisfied nap on top of its masterpiece. This made the projects late to the customers and as a result her reviews went down, with people saying such things like “Great product, a little slow on the production though” and “Wouldn’t really recommend. Cat hair all over the piece and sewing seemed sloppy as if covering up for something”.

She followed the trail of stuffing around the house, coming into the kitchen and spying it. Fish, the two toned cat, sat lounging on the stove, sleeping inside of one a few abandoned bowls lying around. Of course it was sleeping, what else did it do? Nothing, and Hunter won’t really miss you anyway, she’s barely there to care for the cat. Carrie approached the animal, eyeing it as if it would jump at her shoulder and sink its nasty claws in, tearing her apart the same way it did to those pillows a month back.

“There you are,” She scolded it, “Enjoying yourself?”

Fish the cat opened its eyes slowly, looking her over with an uninterested expression. It lazily yawned, then began to clean itself; it did not care that her steps were carefully calculated, nor did it care to note the rage that would have surely been seeping off her like waves of water. Weren’t animals supposed to sense such things?  She raised the knife above it. A simple pull of gravity is all it would take to silence the rabbit-killer. Was she a killer? Maybe, maybe not. There were other ways to get rid of the animal without Hunter noticing, ones that involved less mess for clean up.  Hunter didn’t really love the cat and it would be an act of justice for the mauling of her innocent bunny. Simple, efficient and messy justice. Carrie wondered what Hunter would be more upset by: the death of her cat or the stains it would leave on the grayish white countertop.

The cat tilted its head up at her arms, looking at of the glinting knife, before it met her eyes with a steady glare. The damn cat was taunting her, daring her to do it. She returned it, steeling herself for the blow. It never came.  After a moment or two, Fish meowed and stood up in the bowl, before walking off.  It paused at the edge of the counter, looking back at her with a smug ‘I told you so’ look. Carrie dropped the knife and watched the cat leap out of the doorway, letting out a sigh. This animal was not worth the friendship Hunter and herself shared. Too many late night study sessions and midnight movies to throw away. Carrie didn’t care much for being lectured by her roommate anyway, and she supposed it wasn’t worth the trouble. The cat didn’t deserve that much.

The Art of Stealing-Squirrel Style

 Written by a squirrel for other squirrels.

Lots of people come to Central Park, and let me tell you, it is very easy for them to ‘misplace’ some merchandise and for a simply brilliant squirrel, like me, to hit payday. Since the lot of you less fortunate squirrels have been appealing to my greatness for my methods, I decided to write you a little piece telling you exactly how to get those dumb dumbs to hand over the goods. So, if you all follow these steps to a perfect ‘T’, I can guarantee you will have a much easier time in this art.

a.       First off, you’ll wanna find a place in the park, any park I suppose, where no other squirrel is working. It ain’t cool to run your business on someone else’s turf, so don’t let me catch you doing that.

b.      Second, you’ll have to take a coupla days to acclimate to your surroundings. Pick out the best hiding spots, as well as all the regulars-and I ain’t talkin’ about the tough thug types, more like the bent old lady types ‘cause they always have the best snacks.

c.       Thirdly, clean yourself up. I can tell you how many times a human has given a dirty squirrel something: the number is zero cause it ain’t never happened. So clean is the way to go, fluff yer fur out, groom your ears, get your tail to maximum bushiness and you will have yourself a golden start.

d.      This step can be a little intimidating because you actually have to accomplish stealing. I know, shocker that this step is here but you wouldn’t believe how many mooks I meet who don’t realize they actually have to steal things. Every person will be different and depending on your mark you may have to learn their habits before just jumping in. To get you started, here are a few people you will probably find in your park.

a.       Old basket lady: These are the types who wander into the park to feed the birds and are usually loaded, and I mean loaded, with bread and nuts. You need to wait for them to settle into the scratchy benches, and then slowly approach them. Pause every coupla steps, stand on two legs and twitch nose. Then, almost certainly, they will throw some of that delicious human food at you. Bingo one down.

b.      Hispters: These are the ones with those little rectangles they always carry round. Now all you gots to do is get in their view and approach slowly, again act uncertain. Once you’re in their selfie, you’ve earned their trust. Quickly run up their legs, while they struggle to video you, grab some of the goods and make away before they can react.

c.       The couples: These are the overly romantic duos of humans who are always nuzzling and hugging. It’s easy to grab stuff off them, more so than those old ladies, simply run up when they are nuzzling and take what you want. They will be too busy looking at each other to be irritated by a squirrel that is rummaging through the purse on the ground.

d.      Overweight guy by hotdog stands: More easy pickins’. Simple find them and run around by their feet, grabbing the crumbs that tumble down from the glorious food heaven. Watch out for footsteps, that ain’t never gonna end well.

e.       Foreigners/tourists: Slighlt harder than yer average old lady, but if you know a few tricks- standing on two legs, posing, etc- then you have your happy ending in the bag, as they say. They always have cool items that you can pinch off them that do well on the gray hill markets (them humans would call this black markets).

f.       Joggers: To be honest with yas, these are the types you should only attempt when you are at the skill level I am at. Even I have trouble with these ones some times. They rarely have too much good on them, but anything is better than nothing. Best advice is to watch their feet and wait for them to lap up water from the fountains.

g.      Protestors: You’d this one would be self-explanatory as well. But all yous gotta do is scramble around in front of them, occasionally sniffing their feet. They will usually have snacks on them-and sometimes bracelets and rings- that any squirrel could get if they are fast enough. I’ll warn ya now, some of those hunting groups can get a bit rough.

h.      Hardest of all-The Locals: These guys should only be attempted at the highest level of stealing. The only reason I kept these guys in here is cause you would need to be warned about them. They are smart, they know we are too, and are harder to beg from. Kudos to you if you just so happen to succeed.

There, now you have yourself a little guide as to how to steal things. Don’t go askin’ me where to sell your loot or what to do after. All yous asked for was a how-to guide to stealing. Deal with the rest yourselves. Good luck fellow lifters!

Tips for Success in College Classes

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College is certainly different from high school, and it can feel like you are on your own, but never fear! Here are some tips for succeeding in those classes. While these are aimed more towards English classes, they can be applied to practically any class that you take. Hope you enjoy!

Quizlet:

Quizlet is a notecard site that is easy to use. It allows you to browse thousands of notecard decks regarding your class subject. You can also make your own. You can choose either of these options to then quiz yourself using traditional notecard flipping or playing games to learn the cards. It is a fun, easy way to study for that test with all the terms, or even apply them to notes!

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Google Docs:

This one might seem obvious, but Google docs (or any other online word processor) is good for saving space on your laptop or computer. You can work on these anywhere, and it takes some of the pain of group projects out-of-the-way. This way the whole group can work on it at the same time and there’s no waiting for that one procrastinating group mate to get around to doing their part and emailing you the document. It is also useful for easy transport of documents, as you can just log in at any web browser and there your documents are! Just keep in mind Google Docs does not yet have the best grammar and spelling check. My advice to fix this is to download it and run it through Microsoft Word or reread it.

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Audiobooks

You know those classes that require you to read half a book over a weekend? Not everyone has the time or patience to do that. Or perhaps the book is really hard to get into and understand. Many books today have an audiobook option than you can purchase. The audiobook plays on most devices and can be played while you are doing anything! Cleaning, driving, trying to ignore that one creep who doesn’t know ‘no’ when he hears it. Audiobooks help to focus, you can even try listening and reading along. There are settings to make the book read faster or slower too so it can match your speed. With your brain receiving two kinds of stimuli on one subject, you are then more likely to remember more of it. This one has saved me a couple of times when I lost track of an assignment.

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Scheduling

Speaking of losing track of assignments, it is a very good idea to invest in a planner of some sort. Whether that be a calendar you can hang on the wall, a physical planner, or the calendar on your mobile device. Utilizing any of these can be vital to keeping track of all those due dates. I would suggest, once you’ve gotten all the syllabi from your professors, to look at what is due and when and make a note in your chosen planner/calendar.  It may sound simple or stupid but your brain will actually remember more if you write it down physically. On mobile devices, you can set reminders to inform you a couple of hours or days before an assignment is due. Don’t forget to plug-in some snacks!

Proof-Reader:

Going along with scheduling try (and I do know how hard this can be sometimes, Netflix and Hulu are always calling!) to write your paper in advance. Then ask some of your friends if they will look it over for you. In most cases, your professor will read over the paper and give you suggestions as long as it is a couple of days before it is due. This can help you improve your grade and save you from 4am writing sessions trying to get an assignment done. In my experience, most friends will be willing to read it over at least once although be warned they will probably expect you to do it for them sometime too!

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Tutors

Most colleges have free tutoring to all currently enrolled students! Check your school’s website or ask your professor where you might find them. The tutors are super helpful and easy to talk to, well generally, and they are usually students themselves! They can also help if you are unsure of how to write a paper or get it started. Check it out and save yourself some stress.

Music

When I say music, I am not talking about hardcore death metal or pop music. No, choose something that doesn’t have lyrics. This doesn’t have to be classical music, there are tons of different instrumental songs! If you aren’t familiar with any artists, then try searching for instrumental versions of your favorite songs on YouTube. Then create a playlist of this and play it. You can also opt to use Pandora (one station I found particularly helpful is called New Age Instrumental). There’s also movie and game soundtracks that can be played. Study to the beat of violin dubstep (one of my favorites is Lindsey Stirling). Intstrumental music doesn’t always have to be stiff and boring like many consider classical music to be. Play the music at a moderate or low-level, just enough to hear it but not get distracted. Then begin studying. The music will help your brain focus more on what you are working on.

 

 

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Rewards

No one really likes to study, but we all have to do it at some point in our lives (except those that don’t. I’m always amazed at those who didn’t have to study for things). One way to make it seem like a smaller, more accomplishable task is to reward yourself. Tell yourself you will study for half an hour with no breaks. Then give yourself a break: some food, or a YouTube video, or five minutes to scroll through social media. This way, you are rewarding yourself for learning! It will also help you if you take a break from studying and then return to review the materials again to cement it in your brain.

 

 

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Enviornmental Change

It will seriously help to get out of your room. Go to your school’s library, or to a park, or find the study areas that are found in most academic buildings. Being in a different surrounding can help deter distractions and keep focus. Working in the library always makes me want to get lots done, I attribute this feeling to the studious atmosphere of it all. I would advise finding a spot that is relatively quiet, because this also helps to lessen distractions.

These are just some of the tips out there for studying. I hope these helped, happy studying!