Your name is Dick Rider.

No, it isn't, but it should be.

Your name is actually Dirk Strider, and that particular joke just happened to spark the argument with your boyfriend Jake English that ended with you throwing a halfhearted kick at Jake's demon cat Timmy and Jake storming out with said cat in his arms about an hour ago.

You hate that cat, which is fine because it hates you, too, not that Jake believes you. Little Timmy, who isn't really that little-you swear you've never seen a fatter cat-is absolutely out to get you. The day Jake brought the little monster home it made your favorite shirt its personal hairball collection holder. Two weeks later, you opened the front door to find the contents of your sewing basket shredded and strewn across the living room. As of yesterday morning, you've been nursing a nasty cut on your left hand.

"See?" you declared, shoving the scratch under Jake's nose. "It's taking blood now! Shots have been fired. This means war."

"Don't be such a baby, Dirk," Jake replied.

It's always your fault, a thought that occurs to you as you drain your third beer. Your head is buzzing, and not in a good way, and it doesn't look like Jake's coming back tonight. You decide it's time for bed. Three seconds later you're out like a light, snoring away with your head hanging off the couch and your ass in the air.

You're in the middle of a weird, booze-induced dream involving Lil Cal, a couple of carrots, and a veritable parade of squeaking puppets when a sharp slap to your raised ass sends you flailing off the couch in the least graceful way possible. You yelp like a little girl and your attacker wastes no time telling you as much.

"That was the glirl-girliest thing I've ever heard, Dirky."

You sit up, rub your eyes, and stare with a surprising lack of surprise at the blonde sipping from a glass in front of you.

"What the hell are you doing here, Lalonde?"

Roxy tosses back her drink, throws the glass over her shoulder, and rubs her hands together gleefully. "I'm the ghost of fuckups pats. Pass. Past. And I'm here to teach you stuff or something."

"That's great and all, but I don't really want to learn stuff." After flopping to the side, you close your eyes and will her away. This is a dream, right? But when you open your eyes, she's still standing there, so you sigh. "Come on, Rox. I was sleeping. Can't this wait?"

"You're still sleeping, silly." She nudges you with a foot and you have to catch her ankle to keep her from falling when she loses her balance. "Come ooon, Strider. Unless you're chicken."

Roxy's attempted chicken dance looks exactly as drunk as you expect, but you cave. "Fine. But only so you'll stop whatever that is."


She licks up the palm of her hand and extends it toward you. You wrinkle your nose.


"What?" She looks down at her hand in confusion.

"You just licked your hand. I'm not shakin' it."

"I did? Ew." Wiping her hand off on the front of her shirt, she jerks her head toward the door, almost knocking herself over in the process. "Lessgo!"

You drag yourself up from the floor and follow her to the door. She opens it, grabs your hand, and steps through. Right the fuck into space. It takes a lot for you to not scream as your feet leave the doorstep, but instead of falling the two of you are rising into the air. Okay. Weird, but manageable.

You find your voice to ask, "Where are we going?"

"Jake's apartment, duh."

You duck under a meteor and give her hand a tug to pull her out of the path of another one, and try not to think about the fact that you just did both of those things.

"Jake has an apartment?"

"Yeah, mormon. Morom. Moron. Where do you think he goes when he's mad at your fine ass?"

"I dunno. I guess I just assumed he went to a friend's house or something."


She floats serenely up, up, up until another apartment building fades into view. It's significantly shittier than your own, and you feel a twinge of guilt for ever giving him a reason to leave you for it. The guilt-trip is apparently only just beginning, because she pulls you up to Jake's window so you can watch Jake-is-mad-at-you reruns. You lose count after watching your boyfriend stomp, slump, stumble, and shuffle through that door seventeen times, but he keeps on coming. Man. You never realized the two of you fight this much. An uncomfortable percentage of the time Jake ends up on his bed in tears, and you feel like a-

"Total ass, right?" Roxy finishes your thought with a smug grin. "Good, you learned stuff!"

And just like that, you're back in your living room and it startles the hell out of you.

"What the fuck." You sit heavily on the couch and let your head fall back, eyes sliding shut. "Okay. I've been an ass. I should apologize. I'll do it first thing in the morning. Good talk, Lalonde. Hug it out?"

"Hug?! HUG?! You want me to engage in such filth with a stupid human like you?!"

"Oh, god."

Roxy has completely disappeared and instead you're faced with Caliborn, or at least what you imagine Caliborn would look like. You've never met the guy, after all. He drags you into weird conversations on Pesterchum every once in a while, and a few years ago you decided he must look like the little troll in one of the books Roxy made you read-green and short with red eyes and a perpetual stick up his ass-so that's how he appears now. It's really a lot worse than you thought it would be.

"Listen, man. If you want more tantalizingly dirty porn drawings, you'll have to wait until morning."

You try the trick again where you shut your eyes and hope he disappears, but either your dream-magic powers totally suck or your subconscious is actually trying to make you learn "stuff" in the most fucked up way, because he's not going anywhere.

"As much as the thought just tickles my deepest fancies, fuck you. I am the ghost of fuckups present, and I am here to show you just how shitty of a person you are. Are you frightened?"


"You are, though. I can see it. I can see it in your human eyes. You want to know what I am planning to do to you."

"Not even a little bit."

"But I'm not going to tell you. You will just have to wait and see! Ha!"

"All of our conversations are exactly the same and I am somehow just realizing this."

"Shut up! Come with me."

You groan. "More space travel? Really?"

"No. No. The Roxy bitch is stupid." He snaps his fingers and you're right back outside of Jake's window. "Why would I want to go through all of that shit? No."

The reason you couldn't have just stayed here in the first place escapes you, but you don't bring it up in favor of not having to talk to Caliborn. You lean your forearm on the windowsill and watch Jake pace the room. Timmy is curled up on the bed licking himself. Stupid cat. Every couple of turns, Jake reaches out to run his hand through Timmy's fur and it makes you jealous.

"I'm jealous of a cat," you say to yourself with a bitter chuckle.

"Yes, isn't it sad?" Caliborn sounds way too happy about it and presses his grin to the window. "I am completely surprised he continues to accept your advances, your filthy, filthy advances. I bet when this is over the two of you are going to," he lowers his voice, "kiss."

"You're damn right we are," is your distracted response. You're straining to hear whatever it is that Jake is muttering to himself because you're almost positive you heard your name. You did hear your name, and you hear it again a few seconds later.

"That Dirk," Jake mutters angrily. "Can you believe it, Timmy?" Timmy meows and Jake takes it as an affirmative. "Exactly! He's just so blasted selfish. To think that he took a swipe at you! It boils my blood is what it does. What did you do to warrant such treatment?" He sits on the edge of his bed and drops his head to his hands. "What did I do?"

As the scene begins to dissolve, you grip at the windowsill, trying to anchor yourself there. You need to hear more, need to understand, but most of all you need to let Jake know that the answer is nothing. He did nothing. This is your fault and you're sorry. But of course it makes no difference; the apartment disappears and you're left looking like an idiot clutching at the air in the middle of your living room.

"God dammit."

"Yes! Squirm! Don't you feel awful?"

Caliborn clasps his hands together and grins, so you show him your middle finger and say, "Fuck off."

"Rude," he replies, but his form begins to shift until he's gone and Jane is standing in his place. "Hi, Dirk."

"Hi, Jane. Let me guess. Ghost of fuckups future?"

"Yes." She sets a hand on her hip and fixes you with a hard stare. "I'm going to keep this short and simple, mostly because you're about to wake up, but partly because I don't want to be here just as much as you don't want me to be here."


"Hush. My message to you is: get your act together or Jake's ass is mine."

"Oh," is all you can manage.

"Yes." She smiles at you and waves a hand. "But don't worry. I'm sure you'll work it out." Her smile softens, and she looks to the side and says, "You always do," and it's the saddest thing you've seen all night. "Anyway, I'll talk to you later! You've got some serious thinking to do when you wake up!"

She waves as she and your surroundings fade to black, and then suddenly there is light shining in your face. Oh, yeah. You've been meaning to fix those shades. The sun is streaming in, informing you that you managed to sleep through the night, even if your neck does hurt like hell. You twist around onto your back, rolling your neck to stretch it out, and just when you get settled again there's a knock at the door. You huff a sigh and stand, moving to the door with stiff limbs and a frown that disappears the instant you open the door and find Jake on the other side.

"Dirk, we need to talk-" he begins, but before he can get another word out you're pulling him forward into a tight hug. "Dirk?"

"No, listen for a sec. I'm sorry. I know I suck and I'm difficult sometimes-" At the look on Jake's face, you backtrack. "Okay, most of the time. But I'm tryin'. I really am."

You feel Timmy curl around your ankles, and in a show of reconciliation, you pick him up for a hug as well. You immediately regret it, but at least Jake has forgiven you enough to help you bandage the cuts.

"What did you want to talk about?" you ask as he tucks the end of the bandage in and gives your arm a pat.

He hesitates, and it occurs to you that you kind of really don't want to know what he wants to talk about, but you know you can't keep running from this sort of thing. It's going to catch up to you eventually. You might as well get it over wi-

"Oh, nothing. It wasn't important," Jake replies, and his eyes are sincere. He rests his elbow on the counter and leans forward, scrunching his nose up.

You tweak that nose playfully, grinning in relief. "Love you."

"I love you, too." Jake smiles and closes the distance between you for a quick peck. "But if you kick my cat again I'm going to put a bullet in you."

"Got it."