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don't take no guff
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Three times in a row. 'Hey'. Not exactly that, of course, but something reasonably like it. All variations on a theme. One all too familiar by now, and one that still brought an awful sting wherever he was aware of it. He couldn't help but feel a little angry at them as it popped up, even though he knew it was no fault of their own that he had caught them off-guard. Awkwardness made him vulnerable, made him mortal, made him fallible.

Every time he slipped up, he lost opportunities for growth and advancement, every time he slipped up he lost a chance to do something or make a change in value that was meaningful. Every time he slipped up, his life lost a tiny little bit of potential value, and so did the world, as he feared to think.

Not this time, though. Not here. Think, Wade, think. Why did you come here? What are you hoping to gain from this? What are you after? Think. Be honest with yourself. Be true to yourself.

Of course.

"I'll be honest with you here. I'm looking to tag-team it with someone. You're familiar. One of you is, anyway."

He still stumbled and tripped over the line, it still didn't live up to what he envisioned in his mind's ear. But it would just have to work.
2015: V6 Incident
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They Stumbled Into Faith and Thought · Crematorium Gardens