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Roots of Jade; Calling on Medic
Topic Started: Feb 6 2016, 01:22 PM (1,173 Views)
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Bradley Floyd continued from My Friends Are Assholes))

Oh, they had picked the wrong lane.

Well, it wasn't really their choice. The bowling alley assigned you lanes, based on some complex coding algorithm that was incomprehensible to the human eye, based on scientifically rigorous marketing and space allocation concerns designed to squeeze as much refreshment money as possible out of the clientele.

Probably.

Or they just picked lanes based on random number generators.

Clarice and Kimiko disliked Bradley. That much was obvious, even when Bradley did not understand a word of Kimiko's sign language and did not listen to a word of Clarice's constant whiny blabbering. But from their tone, their expression, their general aura, it was obvious they had a low view of Bradley. And Bradley couldn't blame them for that.

But at the same time, it meant his bowling experience just got a lot more fun.

He grinned like a maniac.
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Of course they weren't going to initiate the conversation. People had a certain illogical dislike of Bradley, one that did not need words to convey.

Actually, it was a pretty logical dislike.

Let's not lie here.

Still, there was no reason not to be civil. Not to be polite. Not to extend a path of friendship. Bowling alleys were social places after all, and interacting with these lovely ladies struck him as a much better idea than just repeatedly calling his cousins with offers to go bowling.

Bradley had mastered the Roman Bellic voice pretty well.

Bradley liked Clarice. She always reacted hilariously to even the most minor of antagonisms. And Kimiko had a trait that precious few of her fellow activists possessed. Which trait that was, he would leave unspoken.

Heh.

"Well, if it isn't Mr Bean and the Incredible Sitting Bull!"

That was a clumsy nickname. Bradley hoped Clarice would get the implied reference to the Incredible Hulk there.

Also, Mr Bean was the only silent character who came to mind. His improv skills were rusty today.

"How are ya both?"
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Clarice was wrong about her perception of Bradley's sense of humour, and if she would have voiced her opinion out loud or Bradley otherwise would have gotten wind of it, he'd have been more than happy to put her straight. The height of humour for Bradley was not a dead baby with a Nazi uniform.

The height of humour was a baby in a Nazi uniform standing over a pile of other dead babies.

Or maybe the dead babies would be the Nazis and their vanquisher would have no such affiliations.

Bradley liked tales to have happy endings, even the darkly comedic ones!

Sadly Clarice did not voice this opinion, so such clarification would be lost on the world at large. The opportunity to articulate, or even construct, such a witty response would forever be squandered, an unknown waste of potential. It was almost tragic, Bradley occasionally pondered, how many of the world's finest jokes would be lost to history or rendered irrelevant by changing circumstances, and he would never realise that that very moment was one of those even more tragic moments, of a comedic opportunity slipping by unnoticed and unmourned.

However, Clarice would soon more than make up for such lost opportunities by providing near infinite ammunition. That was what Bradley liked - no, loved - about Clarice. A very good sparring partner. A great muse for the finest in risque and edgy humour. And such a wonderfully unappreciative audience.

"You got it!" he cheerily replied to her demand to fuck off, deciding not to mine this particular resource too quickly. If he aggravated her too quickly, after all, it might provoke a negative reaction from the management. He didn't want that. The lens of punitive alley management scrutiny, the guilt of getting an innocent person ejected from their bowling alley venture, and the loss of such a humorous target for trolling was an unattractive combination.

He just replied to that 'fuck off' demand with a cheery "not like I was here first or something!"

He held his tongue.

The 'you of all people should be able to sympathise with the position of someone who's been here for ages dealing with unwelcome invaders demanding changes in behaviour' line was too great a weapon to drop this early.

Now that he thought about it, it might anger Kimiko as well!

Maybe.

He didn't really understand Taiwan.

So he returned to his game.

He enjoyed bowling, after all.

But he kept one eye on the more interesting game.

And then Clarice got a split. He couldn't resist providing commentary. "Oh, a split!" he said with a chippy and upbeat cheesiness to his tone. "You know, they call that particular split arrangement of pins bed posts! Or goal posts, but that name strikes me as rather misleading as it applies you want to aim in the middle of them," he mused, deciding to throw in some random trivia.

"So I prefer calling them bedposts. You wanna be a notch on my bedpost, Clarice?”

If either of the girls turned around to face Bradley, they would have been greeted with a wink.
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Bradley believed in credit where credit was due.

That was a perfectly cromulent comeback. Not exactly the most original thematically, but one of suitable savagery and spontaneity that he could not help but respect Kimiko slightly more. Sure, she robbed him of hilarious Clarice rage, but he nodded in approval, pulling that memetic "not bad" face as he admired her handiwork.

"Pretty good comeback," he replied, voicing his critical analysis out loud. "Not the most original or groundbreaking, but a pretty solid effort. Timing coulda been snappier though, although it was a good choice not to use text speak."

Yes, Bradley realised that that comment was a dick move.

But text-based responses to spoken insults almost always suffered in the credibility of their wit and the solidity of their comic timing.

The written response also lost an important aspect of tone, but that wasn't necessary for that particular insult, so Bradley did not raise that criticism. Anyway, her disapproving facial expressions had more than substituted for the lack of verbal nuance.

Yes, comedy critic was a backup career choice for Bradley, before you ask.

He could not pass on one final dig, however, as his eyes turned back to his bowling ball, turning it over in his hands as some sort of unnecessarily unwieldy fidget. "Although virgin-shaming strikes me as a politically incorrect sort of humour."
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"Oh God!" Bradley replied, completely aghast, a look of sheer shame and self-scrutiny in his eyes. He looked to the floor, reflecting on his actions. Their words had truly cut deep, had truly given him a new opportunity for self-reflection. Perhaps his comments had truly been lacking in humour, had truly been hurtful, had truly been devoid of any value?

"You're right!" he replied, looking up to them with feelings of hurt and apologetic intent apparent across his features. "Oh, how could I have been so blind to the hypocrisy of my actions? You pointing out my hypocrisy really has shown me the errors of my ways, navigated me from my wayward path onto the paved roads of socially acceptable good! Like Scrooge, I shall now compensate everyone I was wronged!"

The only part of Bradley's person not participating in this new, righteous, apologetic act were his hands, typing anxiously on the phone. "I shall start by apologising to you girls for my hypocrisy with this humble message!"

Any doubt that Bradley was actually being sarcastic was instantly removed as he brought up a message. The still image of Rainier Wolfcastle with the big bold text 'THAT'S THE JOKE'.

"Seriously, girls, don't be thick. All that spiel about political correctness and shaming was a joke. The hypocrisy was the joke. Surprised you two were too thick to realise that."

"Anyway, Isaac, think it's your turn to bowl."
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After nodding at Isaac, to confirm that his summary of the two's rants were accurate, Bradley turned his attention back to the two lovely ladies.

"Well, girls, a joke doesn't have to be found funny," he said, with as patronising a tone as he could muster, tilting his head to the side and impersonating a chiding parent in his mannerisms. "Shock humour is still humour, and if you don't accept that, then you're just oppressing my culture."

He turned to pick up the ball, before remembering yet again that these girls were seemingly immune to ironic uses of hypocrisy. "Oh, I should add, since you girls clearly do not get irony: I was using the term 'oppress my culture' in a mocking sense, coopting the expressions of social justice warriors so as to take the piss. We okay on that one?" He grinned widely.

"How about we put all this aside and go back to bowling? Bet I can beat your score, Clarice." He looked at the scoreboards. "Gonna go all Andrew Jackson on your ass."
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Bradley was chortling at Clarice's incoherent rage, clearly satisfied with a job well done. Twas a shame Kimiko couldn't talk, as she looked like she'd be a perfect verbal sparring partner, what with her pent-up rage and easily-triggered emotional buttons, but Clarice was a worthy substitute.

Maybe that was true. Bradley didn't know his Native history too well, maybe he could look up some more culturally accurate insults, research and develop some more attuned sly references, really get in there with the insidious remarks and obscure quips. Maybe he could make one arcane and esoteric enough that Clarice wouldn't get it. That'd be a laugh.

But there was a certain humour in how hysterically she reacted to him lumping all Natives into one group.

Definitely an avenue worth future investigation.

Bradley had paused as he pondered such insults, but the need for them disappeared instantly.

In one beautiful perfect moment.

When the great wordsmiths would chronicle this day, this would be the moment of poetic splendour, of aesthetic flawlessness, that would win Nobel Literature Prizes.

"Woop! Keep Jackson on the twenty, because that is a stri-ike!"
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Oh, justice.

It was truly sweet. People said revenge was sweet, but Bradley never cared for it. No. So much sweeter to see the world conspire in just the right way, the butterfly effect to manifest in just the perfect way, someone's actions to bite them in the ass at the right moment. So much sweeter to see the justice of nature.

But Bradley knew he could not dwell on this moment forever.

No. He moderated his grin, ceased his dancing, and temporarily suspended his mockery.

Far better to stand back. Perhaps the wheels of time would deliver more blows of justice.

And of course, Clarice knocked food onto the floor. His first instinct was to smirk. But he managed to suppress it. He had worked out she truly despised when someone took the moral high ground, when someone, whether fatuously or not, claimed to live up to the standards she espoused so vocally. So he looked at the nachos. Looked to her. Stood up straight. Walked in front of their lane.

"You know as well as I do that wasn't an accident. And you know as well as I do that all you've done is given one of the poor employees a bigger workload, and contributed to the food wastage endemic in this country. You're willing to harm innocents just to get back at me for being an unwilling beneficiary of your bad bowling skills."

He shook his head.
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Bradley loved being right. He apologised on Clarice's behalf to the bowling alley employee who came over to clear up the mess. He was normally pretty civil to those he didn't know when there was a patron-employee dynamic at play: he was a comedian, not an asshole, which was a nuance most people seemed to forget. He wouldn't antagonise someone doing their job just for the hell of it.

Clarice had already done that, after all.

He made sure his explanation of what had happened was loud enough, and damning enough, so Clarice knew this poor guy was aware who was responsible for his current predicament. The employee insisted it was nothing, but hell, that was a contractual obligation, most likely: and from the tone in his voice, Bradley's condemnation had hit the right marks.

One more person thought Clarice was a bitch. Heh. He could be happy with that outcome.

((Bradley continued elsewhere.))
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