He was going to say no. If Barkis had a penny to his name, he would have bet it along with his immortal soul that he would say no. Emily's father was not going to let them marry.
Barkis walked the streets glumly, making eye contact with no one, cursing silently to himself. Of course he was going to say no; it would be too much to ask for the universe to let him have what he wanted just this once. Just once, Barkis would like to roll the dice and have it not come up snake eyes, just once. Just one time.
But no; that wasn't to be, was it? The universe hated him and seemed to take great delight in causing him misery. Why? That was all he wanted to know. Why did the universe hate him?
"Scraps! Where are you, Scraps?" a little boy's voice called.
A tiny puppy jumped onto Barkis's leg, barking and wagging its tail, seemingly intent on rubbing his face in the fact that it was enjoying life in all its forms. Perfect: the universe was not only intent on making his life miserable, but also wanted to kick him while he was down. He showed the dog what he thought of its cheer with a boot to the side.
The dog scurried away to its master, a four-year-old boy who stared up at Barkis with unadulterated horror, and hid behind him, whimpering. Much better. Misery loves company, after all. The boy was staring at Barkis as if he had been the one who had been kicked. Honestly, you'd think Barkis had kicked his pup…oh, right, he did. For a solid five seconds, the boy was deathly silent. Then all at once he burst into tears. It was like watching a dam breaking. Wow. Like the calm before the storm, and then the storm…
A woman, the boy's mother, Barkis presumed, came running and tried to get him to calm down, but it was no use. "Victor, what is it? Stop crying, sweaty, and tell me what happened," she cooed. A man, presumably the woman's husband, came and tried to help her with the crying boy, and Barkis immediately recognized him. Van Dort. The merchant who had been making quite a name for himself of late. If Van Dort's fortune grew at the rate it was growing for a couple more years, it would soon be enough to rival proper nobility. Soon after that, he would be as rich as…well, as rich as Barkis once was.
What was the deal here? It was like there was a direct inverse correlation between how much wealth the two men had. Was it witchcraft on the part of Van Dort? No; that would be easy. Having an actual single physical person to blame for his poverty would be too direct. No, it was the will of the universe, stealing money from Barkis's hands and putting it into Van Dort's.
Suddenly, Barkis was glad he kicked that particular puppy. Van Dort was a nothing, worse, a commoner, and yet he had pulled himself up to riches that he so did not deserve. By the time his son came of age, he'd be able to marry into nobility, and then the grandsons and granddaughters of Van Dort would be nobles, proper lords and ladies, or whatever the titles they married into would be. Lord Van Dort. The very idea sent a shiver like a finger of ice down his back. The universe seemed to love Van Dort as much as it hated Barkis, earning Van Dort his eternal enmity.
It wasn't fair. It quite plain and simply was not fair. Barkis was a noble, a lord, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as the proverbial saying goes, while Van Dort was…well, he was Van Dort. He had been born nothing, a commoner, as Barkis had already said in this train of thought. He was still a commoner, no matter how rich he became; in Barkis's mind, he was still nothing. He would always be nothing; he would always be nothing more than a commoner with dreams of looking above his station for his son's bride. But the problem was that he was a rich nothing, and Barkis,--Barkis, a person who mattered--was nearly out on the street penniless. Barkis wondered if there was witchcraft involved (as he had previously in this train of thought suspected) or if the universe was just that cruel (as he had concluded). He decided that, whatever the answer was, he didn't want to know. Whatever the answer was, he didn't want to know. Either way, it was hopeless. Don't answer.
Having exhausted what little satisfaction he had gleaned from kicking Van Dort's dog, Lord Barkis moved on. He had an appointment to keep, after all. He might as well not show up, because he knew what was going to happen, but he had to go through with the motions. He already knew that Emily's father, that wretched, wretched man, was going to have said no. If he didn't go through the motions of finding out what he said, though, it will have turned out that he had said yes; the universe would never give up the opportunity to rub his nose in just how close he had come to victory. Well, he would be damned if he was going to defeat himself for the universe. No, even if he couldn't win, he'd make it fight for its victory, every inch of it.
Barkis spotted Emily. It wasn't hard; she was a beautiful, pale, raven-haired noble born young woman, who inexplicably liked to associate with the common riff-raff. What's more, she actually cared about their problems! In order to woo her, Barkis had had to pretend that he cared one whiff about this garbage, as well, though in truth the only thing poor-related that he cared about was not becoming one of them.
"What did he say, my dearest?" Barkis asked, exactly as if he had hope. Fight for every inch. The universe would exploit every weakness he had if he let it.
Emily shook her head; tears were actually coming to her eyes. "He says I'd do better with a richer prospect. Damn him, money is all that matters to him!"
Barkis frowned, exactly as if the only reason he wanted to marry Emily wasn't for her money. (Of course, he wasn't going to tell her that! What kind of idiot did you take him for?)
He had been right. If he had had money and someone to bet against, he would have won that bet he had made on the way over here (but, of course, the universe was hardly going to supply him with that!). Where were bookies when he had a bet he couldn't lose? Oh, right; the universe hated him.
Luckily, though, he had anticipated this, and so he had a Plan B up his sleeve. "Emily--"
"We have to elope!" Emily said before Barkis could finish his sentence.
Barkis smiled, making it look good-natured. He had a lot of practice in that department. "You took the words right out of my mouth," Barkis said, and it was true, too: ahat Emily had said was literally word-for-word what his sentence would have been. Well, alright, he would have said "We must elope," but it was the same difference. The universe must have given up on this one. Used to ploys like this, however, Barkis didn't let his guard down. It was probably a trap.
"Good, let's leave as soon as we can! I'll meet you tonight in the graveyard," Emily said. She began to get up and leave.
"No, wait," Barkis said.
"What is it?" Emily asked.
"Well, it's just that…and I know these are unworthy thoughts to have at a time like this…and believe me, if I had a single cent to my name, I wouldn't ask you this…but, you see, the thing is, we're going to need money when we elope," Barkis pointed out, sounding as if it was nothing more than an innocent observation.
"Of course," Emily said. "I'll get my family jewels."
"And a satchel of gold," Barkis said.
Emily gave him a curious look. "Why?"
"Well, I just figure that it would be best to delay selling your precious family heirlooms as long as we can," Barkis improvised without seeming to. Suave.
Emily smiled, "You're so sweet, my love."
Barkis shrugged "modestly," "If you say so."
"Remember: meet me in the graveyard at midnight," Emily said.
Strange girl, to want to have their rendezvous in the graveyard at midnight. Then again, there was a lot that was strange about her. So vibrant and alive, completely unladylike. Appropriate, though, that she would die in a graveyard.
Maybe he shouldn't do this. He could elope with Emily for real…yeah, and then what? He couldn't hide who he really was indefinitely. Sooner or later, she'd find out what he was really like. Besides, eloping would mean he'd have to forsake his heritage, his title. After how hard he fought to geek a firm grasp on what little he had, was he supposed to let it go? What happened when the money he had convinced her to take and then the money from her family jewels ran out (and it would)? Not only would he be penniless, but titless as well. He'd be a poor, untitled pauper, he who had been born to the upper echelons of society. The universe would love that!
There she was, exactly where she said she would be. Emily was even wearing a wedding dress, heaven knows where she got it. Her mother's, perhaps, but it was a remarkable fit if so; Emily was radiant. Barkis's breath was taken away for a moment, but he mentally snapped himself out of it. He had come here for a reason.
Moving silently, Barkis snuck up behind Emily. He crept in close, and then he stabbed her neatly between the ribs. It was a precision stab, surgical. Funny, how easy it was to take a life. She did not see it coming; not only that, she was dead before she hit the ground. The funny thing is, she doesn't look dead, Barkis thought as he looted the corpse. It's more like she's sleeping. And it was true, too; it was like she could get up and start walking around any minute now. Wouldn't that be an interesting sight?
Barkis put such thoughts out of his mind, finished his looting, and then he fled the scene of the crime. These jewels would keep him out of the poor house for a while. A dozen years, at least, even using the worst case scenario (that didn't involve him being mugged before getting these into a safe--wouldn't that be ironic!)…
15 years later
It was the apocalypse. It truly was the apocalypse, the end of the world, just like the bible said was going to happen. This was…this wasn't…this was not fair. Barkis was about to finally get what he deserved, and then…the dead were walking. This went way beyond unfair. This was unsporting. It was exactly as if he had finally outsmarted the universe, being a sore loser, threw a temper tantrum and tossed the chessboard on the floor in a fit of impotent rage. If his life weren't in mortal danger, it would be kind of amusing. He had often cursed at the sky, demanding to know if the world would end if he had just one streak of good fortune. It had been a rhetorical question, but now he had an answer to it. It was said that during your last moments, your life flashed before your eyes, but all that flashed before Lord Barkis's eyes was the last couple of days.
It was all going so well, too. All so according to plan. He had found out that the now of-age Victor Van Dort, son of a man whom Barkis never officially recognized as his equal (whenever the conversation came around to Van Dort, he'd pretend that he hadn't heard) but secretly hated, was arranged to be married to the very beautiful Victoria Everglot (what an amazing coincidence with their first names), and suddenly, he had a plan. (He always suspected that the boy of Van Dort would marry nobility, but he thought it would be the ugly cousin of some lesser lord. How did he end up marrying into the Everglot family?)
The marriage would go ahead according to plan. There would be happiness and celebration. Heck, Barkis would even attend the ceremony. After all, he had to get to know the Everglots somehow. Victor and Victoria would marry, Barkis would be a good friend to the Everglots…and then the Van Dorts would have a terrible, unfortunate, and totally unplanned accident. Poor little Victoria would be the widow Van Dort--and heiress to the fortune of said family, as well as her own family fortune. Of course, the poor, childless, grief-stricken young woman was going to have to remarry, and who better than Lord Barkis? The dashing Lord Barkis (his hair had whitened prematurely, but this, he felt, only made him even more dashing)? The kind Lord Barkis, a good family friend, who was there for the Everglots in their time of need, eager to help in whatever way he could? He would then marry the young, beautiful, rich Victoria Everglot--pardon; the young, beautiful, rich Victoria Van Dort--and then he'd be rich again. Not only that, but, as a sweetener to the pot, a good deal of the money in his newfound fortune would be Van Dort's! That would make the spending of it even sweeter. The important thing, though, was that it would be more money than he had ever had!
He went to the wedding rehersal and had his work cut out for him just not laughing at Victor Van Dort's antics. Delicious! Oh, this was going to be good. Could it be that after a lifetime of rolling snake eyes, Barkis's dice had finally come up sixes? Barkis wouldn't count his chickens before they hatched (that had gotten him in trouble too many times in the past for him to make that mistake), but it was about time. After all, Barkis was due for some good luck.
Later that night, he was walking through the streets aimlessly with no particular destination in mind, as he liked to do when he was deep in thought, and he was thinking about Victor and Victoria, their parents, and, most importantly of all, their money. As he walked by the old bridge, what did he see but Victor Van Dort in the arms of a mysterious woman? Barkis couldn't help but to chuckle. Why, that little player! The young man was about to be married on the 'morrow, and here he was, seeing this black-haired beauty on the side the night before his wedding? Who would have thought he had it in him?
I tip my hat to you, young man. After all, why should Lord Barkis care? He didn't intend on letting the young Van Dort live long enough to embarrass himself with this little scandal, and as long as nothing unfortunate happened on the 'morrow (at least not until after the wedding was finalized and Victoria was in place to inherit all of the Van Dort family's money), it won't matter. In fact, if it surfaced later, Barkis could use it to his advantage.
Say, if the mystery woman came to Victor's funeral and confessed, which could drive Victoria to Barkis all the faster… Maybe he could say something to her parents like, It's true; I saw them together on the night before Victor married your daughter. I just didn't say anything because of the scandal it would cause if it ever came out… Something like that. Whatever the situation called for.
Actually, come to think about it, there was something familiar about this woman. He couldn't exactly place it, but it was like she looked like someone he used to know. Yes, definitely something familiar about her…ah, well. It wasn't important who she was.
Barkis would have walked away then and there and forgotten about it, but for the fact that he saw that the town crier had also seen it. He tailed the town crier until they got some distance away from the bridge, and then heard him shout about master Van Dort and a mystery woman, crying it all over the city.
Barkis then realized what was happening, and couldn't help but to grin. The universe, thinking that his plan was about revenge, was trying to prevent Victor's marriage to Victoria and thus foil Barkis's plans. Silly universe. Revenge would have been nice, granted, but the only thing Barkis was after, the only think Barkis truly cared about, was money. While it would have been satisfying beyond words to reclaim the money the universe had stolen from his hands and thrust into Van Dort's (the undeserving commoner!), the Everglot fortune would do. It would do just fine. Van Dort's downfall would have been the icing on the cake, true, but cake without icing was still cake. The only thing that the universe had accomplished was to push up the date for his marriage to Victoria Everglot. He'd best take advantage of this opportunity before the universe realized its mistake.
Barkis got to the town crier and ordered him to come with him. Then he had him repeat what he was saying to the Everglots and the Van Dorts (he was careful to hide it, but he was pleased to see the Van Dorts' reaction to hearing that their son was two-timing, but hid it flawlessly, just thinking, be glad things didn't go according to plan). It. Was. Beautiful. Not only did the girl's parents eat this (true) story right out of Lord Barkis's hands, becoming his malleable pawns, but it seemed to cause Victoria to have a mental breakdown. She was saying some nonsense about Victor being married to a corpse. The pastor said that she was speaking in tongues and of unholy alliances. He was probably right in his estimation.
Barkis didn't know what had brought on that hallucination, but he didn't question it, either. It was fortuitous indeed; the Everglots would be desperate to marry off a mad daughter, the quicker, the better. Almost a first-come first-serve basis, if you will. And Barkis intended to be that first customer. Barkis acted before the universe could rectify its mistake (or perhaps having Victoria lose her mind was its attempt at a rectification), and they were married on the same day that Victoria was scheduled to marry Victor. They didn't even have to bake a new cake.
It…was…beautiful. But that was where the good news ended. They were married that day, but that night…
That night, Lord Barkis was giving a toast at his wedding dinner, an elegant toast, and then, just as he got to the part about no power in Heaven or on Earth being able to tear them apart, the floodgates to Hell burst open. His little speech must have pissed the universe off, because that night, all Hell broke loose. The universe realized that there was nothing it could do to stop him from getting her money, and so it threw a temper tantrum and opened the gates of Hell. The dead were walking. The dead were walking! The dead were walking! People were running; Barkis, realizing that Armageddon was no place to pretend to be heroic, hid under the table. Only Victoria didn't move; the poor girl must have been paralyzed with fright.
Barkis was in Hell. It didn't fit the Biblical description as hell, but it was the same direction as hell (down) and it sure as hell wasn't Heaven. His heart did not beat, his skin was blue--where he still had skin!--he was penniless and untitled, and everyone here hated him. The universe had played him, and played him good.
After the living dead had come and gone, Barkis had gotten up and ordered Victoria (who wasn't paralyzed, it turned out) to get all the money she could so they could leave, and that's when she dropped the bombshell: she was broke. Her parents were broke. They were broke. It may seem odd to care about such a mundane thing as money at the end of the world, but it was what he knew. Hearing that Victoria was broke, that it was expected that it would be her marriage to him that would save her parents from the poor house, was actually more disturbing than seeing the dead walk. He begged, nay, ordered her to tell him that it wasn't true, but even as he did so, he knew that it was. The universe had tricked him once again. It made perfect sense: why else would a family with the pedigree, the titles, the shear standing of the Everglots marry off their daughter to some common-born newly-rich boy like Victor Van Dort. Of course they were broke!
It was perfectly done! The universe had pulled a bait-and-switch on Barkis. Victor had been arranged to marry Victoria, and Barkis had made his plans without a thought as to what, exactly, was the situation the Everglots were in, financially speaking. Then he marries Victoria and--surprise, surprise--she was broke! The thing that galled Barkis was that if he hadn't of come up with his plan, the universe's plans would have changed accordingly. After all, how hard would it have been for a universe to keep an affair hidden, or even break it off completely? The Everglots stayed out of the poor house, the Van Dorts got their title, and Barkis, as usual, got the shaft!
"Did everything not go according to your plan, Lord Barkis?" Victoria asked dryly. "Perhaps in disappointment we are perfectly matched." And she left, leaving those stinging words in Barkis's ear.
Barkis reasoned that it wasn't the End of Days, because the universe was still giving him the shaft, and it would never have been nice enough to cut his misery to an end in such a way. No, if he knew anything about the way that the universe worked, he knew that it wanted him to suffer as much as humanly possible and would tax his every struggling breath until, mercifully, forty years from now, he died an old, miserable man. Still, if this wasn't the End of Days, the Apocalypse, Armageddon, or whatever you wanted to call the end of all things mortal, than what was with the walking dead?
As Victoria left, Barkis was hit with an idea, this mad idea that she was going to go see Victor. It was a stupid idea, a mad idea, a downright crazy idea, probably caused by subconsciously remembering what she had said about Victor having a corpse bride, but that was what he thought. And he was suddenly enraged. He felt betrayed. How could Victoria do this to him? He was her husband! (Barkis conveniently forgot that he intended to kill her later.) He would not stand for this!
Barkis followed Victoria, who was following the walking dead, who were going to the church (and they weren't all that scary, now that the initial shock was over). He got to the church and what he saw didn't register for an instant. It was a wedding. Victoria was spying on a wedding, and it was Victor getting married to the dark-haired woman whom Barkis had seen him with on the bridge. And now Barkis was confused; completely and utterly confused. And then he remembered what Victoria had been saying when she "went mad," about Victor having a corpse bride!
Barkis watched as the corpse stopped Victor from drinking the wine, and said, albeit not in so many words, that he should be with Victoria, and pointed to where the other woman's hiding place was. And that was when Barkis couldn't stand to just stand around and watch this procession any more. He may be surrounded by the living dead, and that confused and frightened him, but what was happening in front of him did not. What was in front of him enraged him enough to put that fear into a little box and caused him to have the shear mettle to draw the attention of the walking dead to himself. He went up there, intending to say all sorts of mean things, and actually got a few of them out, but then…
The corpse bride recognized him! Or rather, she seemed to. Which made Barkis try to recognize her…and then it clicked. "Emily!" Emily, the woman whose hand he asked for in marriage. "But, I left you…" he stopped himself before he said something that would have been unfortunate. Emily, who had agreed to elope with him. Emily, his betrothed, who he killed.
"…for dead," Emily finished for him. Barkis denied it.
The universe was definitely screwing with him. Had to be; how else was this even possible? He pulled a sword out of a skeleton of a midget dressed like Napoleon (could it be possible that he was the real Napoleon Bonaparte?), and exactly what happened after that would always be a blur to Barkis, but the next thing he knew, Emily, who was in front of a cowering Victor protectively, was pulling the very same old-fashioned sword out of herself and pointing it at him. She wasn telling him to get out-ordering him at knifepoint to leave! Someone, a skeleton who looked like he could be knocked over by a stale fart (not that Barkis would ever use such a crude analogy), had said something about being amongst the living and having to abide by their rules.
Whatever condition the skeleton was in, he was right. Van Dort may have Emily's moldering corpse, but Barkis had the very much alive Victoria. She was his wife, whether she liked it or not. There was nothing they could do about it. There was nothing any of them could do about it. It was a Pyrric victory, seeing how he didn't even want Victoria, but it was victory all the same, and besides, it wasn't often that Lord Barkis could unleash the full venom of his character on a public place. He gave them a mock-toast, and then he left--or rather, he would have.
Something was happening to him! What? Poison! How? The wine! But, that was ridiculous. Who in their right mind would poison the wine at a wedding. He looked around him at the living dead that surrounded him, and he knew the answer to that question. Duh. The dead would. What did they have to lose? They didn't have anything to fear from poison; hell, maybe they even liked the taste of it. And the last thing he thought before his heart stopped was that he was annoyed that his death would warn Van Dort as to what awaited him if he drank the wine. Barkis had been the tool of fate, after all.
His heart stopped, but nothing happened. Even though he was surrounded by the living dead, he had expected death to mean oblivion, nothingness. At most, he expected to end up in Heaven or Hell, but he had died, and he was still here! His heart stopped, but he was still alive. No, not alive, not alive at all, but still here, still sentient, not alive, but not dead in the accepted sense of the term. He had even bigger problems than just being dead, though (if that were even possible!), because now that he was one of the dead, he was no longer protected from their wrath…
Barkis dreamed that he was facing down with Victor Van Dort. Barkis was dead; he had been for several months, and it was starting to show. What Hell was this where your flesh just slowly rotted away? The universe had pulled the ultimate coup-de-grace on him.
"You're pathetic," the dream Victor said, exactly as if he had read Barkis's mind. "Honestly, do you always blame others for your own misfortunes? I have news for you, Lord Barkis: the universe did not conspire to kill you. You drank the poison wine of your own free will. Nor did it conspire to make you poor: you just have a real talent for burning off gold, especially at the gambling tables. You were also the one who killed Emily (whom you did not deserve, incidentally), and was going to kill Victoria and myself, as well. It's not the universe with a problem; it's you, Barkis. You."
"No!" Barkis shouted. "No, it's not! The universe hates me!"
"The universe doesn't give a damn about you one way or another. I hate you, though. And Victoria, and Emily, and all the other people who you have wronged. You see a pattern here? It's always you who initiated the negative feelings. It's your fault. You are simply a bad person, and that's how you got here. You made your choices, and these are the consequences of those choices. Don't complain to me that you don't want to suffer for them. It's karma," the dream-Victor, who was way to smart and way too cold to be the real Victor, said.
Barkis glared at him. "How did you win? Just tell me, how did you win? I'm suave and sophisticated, respected and admired, highborn and titled. You are none of these things, and yet…
"And yet, I got the girl," Victor said. "As a matter of fact, when you think about it, I got both of the girls, didn't I? Doesn't it gall you that all the women in your life turned you down for me?"
"That's not what I care about," Barkis said. "I could barely keep my head above water consistently, while you had all the money you could ever want."
"It should be what you care about," dream-Victor said, ignoring every word of what Barkis said after the first sentence. "After all, it's all that really matters. Money comes and goes and possessions are just things. All that matters is falling in love, having children, and not dying alone. Incidentally, by those standards, you didn't do anything worth doing with your life.
"If you want to know how I won, though, that's simple. Like I said, karma. You were the architect of your own demise, Barkis. You can blame Emily or Victoria or myself all you want, but you were the one who made us into your enemies. You had a beautiful, smart, spirited woman willing to give up her family, her life, everything, for you, and you killed her. For money. Which you squandered. Then you were going to kill Victoria, too. Admit it, those were your plans, weren't they? Is the entirety of the universe conspiring against you, or is it more plausible to believe that you're reaping what you sow? Do you hate the world because it hates you, or does the world hate you because you hate it?"
"Go away! Shut up and go away!" Barkis said, almost crying.
Dream-Victor sighed. "Well, I tried. I don't believe there is such a thing as pure evil, you see, and I wanted to help you repent for your sins, but I can't help you if you refuse to help yourself. Have a happy afterlife. You won't, not until you fix your wicked ways, but it's a nice thing to say. After all, why speak ill of the dead?"
Author's Commentary (As If You Care)
It is now 3:22 AM (when I'm writing this, not when I post it), and I'm feeling a bit tired. It's now 3:24; see what I mean? Alright, how do I want to do this. This story is new, but I wrote it in my notebook first because I'm actually typing this on my mom's computer, so it will take me longer than usual to actually write stories in it. Yeah, I say that like it actually means something to you people. You don't know me; I've never posted here in my life. Alright, so that you're up to date with what the heck I am talking about, the first time my computer crashed after I started writing for I started writing stories in my notebook (I still haven't gotten all of them onto electronic medium yet--not even half), and, well, surprise, surprise, my computer crashed again. I'm writing this on my mom's computer.
Well, anyway, I wrote this because I had this idea about Barkis in the afterlife, trying to justify his actions in life. That's not precisely what happened, but hey, whatever. There were also supposed to be breaks in the story where the person he was justifying himself to, some sort of afterlife judge, stopped him to ask him questions. But like I said, that didn't happen. In the end where he was talking to dream-Victor, that was something of a salvaging of the original point. It wasn't really Victor, obviously. I guess that it was me, sort of. Naturally, that means that his estimation of events within this story are accurate. The universe wasn't really ganging up on Barkis, he was just passing the buck in order to excuse his own behavior because he didn't have the courage to look himself in the mirror and realize what he really was. Lots of people do this, albeit not to this extreme.
Look, I really am tired, and I want to post this tomorrow ASAP, so I'm going to wrap this up as fast as I can, okay? Let's see, I have no other stories about Corpse Bride (yet), so since I can't shamelessly plug something that doesn't exist, you're safe from that, which leaves me with the parting.
Bye! Hope you enjoyed my work! Please R&R, and tell all your friends. See you next time I write a Corpse Bride fanfic, though, honestly, I don't know when that will be. I have an idea for a story, though, so there probably will be one.
It is now 3:52, and I am going to save this, go brush my teeth (maybe eating something first), (now it's 3:54) and go to bed. Night!