My Tools and Art Supplies

Since having started drawing early last year I have accumulated quite the collection of tools to use for illustrating, painting, drawing fantasy maps, and castles. Here is where I give a rundown and also links to everything I use and where you could get it from (and where I recommend getting it from).

As a note, I prefer to purchase the majority of my art supplies from either jetpens.com or dickblick.com.

My Travel Pouch

I have a small pen pouch white I use for travelling and also just on the go drawing, I fill it with everything I need to draw and get along day to day and on the go. Specifically it is a small pouch which fits in the front of my laptop bag. Inside it are the following:

  • Rapidograph 0.25, 0.35, 0.5
  • Micron 005, 01
  • 3 General’s Pencils
  • 1 Pilot Precise V5 Black Ballpoint Pen
  • Pilot Pocket Brush Pen
  • 2 Pentel Fude Brush Pens
  • 1 Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
  • 1 Zebra Disposable Brush Pen
  • 1 Non-Photo Blue Pencil
  • 1 Pencil Sharpener
  • 1 White Eraser
  • 1 Uni-Ball Signo White Ink Pen
  • 1 Zebra Mechanical Pencil
  • 1 Red Bic Pen
  • 1 Black Bic Pen
  • 1 Bic Ultra Round Stic Grip Pen (Black)
  • 1 Big Ultra Round Stic Grip Pen (Blue)
  • 2 Tombow Dual Brush Pens (N75 and N95)

The total cost to replicate this bag set would be: ~$175

If you use Microns solely instead of Rapidographs: ~$80


Pens

Pilot Precise V5 0.5mm Extra Fine Ballpoint Pen: these can be bought at walmart, they are precise and pretty great at quick sketches and I often use them when speed is important, as with my technical pens I cannot move super quick and sketchy without the possibility of bending or wearing down the nib. You can also get them in a multicolor pack. While I enjoy using them for quick sketches and find them great for writing (the ink is super black which is something I generally don’t get with a bic pen), I do prefer my brush pens for mapping. Links: Single Black V5 ($1.90), multicolor set ($11.00)

Pigma Micron 01, 005, 02, 03, 08: at this point if you have looked across the internet or seen people mapping I can assume you have seen these technical pens. They have a felt tip which I have found wears down pretty fast for me (I have too much pressure in my drawing hand), this means that you get different levels of precise-ness over the course of use. They are disposable and probably the best bet for entry level technical pens with archival quality ink. They were the first technical pens I got and I have a drawer full of them (primarily the 005 as that is a 0.2mm tip and great for precise detail work). I got the set of 16 of various sizes for about $20 and would recommend it in a heartbeat as a good sampler of size. They also have different colors too (although I have not got around to trying them). They’re great for hatching too! Links: Various Size 16 set of Microns ($24.00)

Uni-ball Signo UM-153: I use this white ink primarily for adding white highlights ontop of finished ink drawings. It is also good for minor corrections of cleaning up rough edges, however I find the ink to be goopy so I prefer to fix bad edges in photoshop. But I can’t recommend this pen enough as a white highlight tool, I have two and since I use them for highlighting I don’t go through them quick at all. Links: Single Pen ($2.50)

Rotring Rapidograph Technical Pens (.25, .35, .5): These are cartridge based technical pens with a metal tip which means it does not wear down over use! They do require you to be slow and not apply to much pressure though (as bending a metal tip can result in permanent damage which would require buying a replacement pen or a replacement nib). The cartridges are about as expensive as a single micron pen but the actual pens themselves can run up to a pretty penny sometimes $35 a pen. They are a high quality pen that I’d recommend if it seems like you burn through microns quick. I use these now instead of the microns because I find the lines to be consistently precise and the ink actually feels the slightest of a tiny shade darker. I use these for all of my city illustrations. They also make refillable ones which don’t use cartridges, however they do require more cleaning as far as I know, whereas the ones that use cartridges I have to clean only after I go through say 3 or 4 or if I left a cap off (always keep the cap on tightly even while switching between pens as the ink can dry very quickly on the tip). Links: Various Sizes (~$35 a pen)

Pencils

U.S.A. General’s Cedar Pointe #333-2HB: These are my favorite pencils for everything from sketching to just basic pencil drawings and shading I cannot recommend them enough. They are literally the only basic pencils I will use that are not mechanical or colored. They feel great in your hand due to the wood, the eraser isn’t complete shit and the quality control is high (also they aren’t crazy expensive and I haven’t had lead break while using one, and none of the pencils I have ever bought have ever had cracks or splits). I have a drawer of these and they also don’t make squeaky scratchy noises when I use them which makes them perfect. I use these for sketching and also underlayer lines when I know I will be getting rid of an original ink drawing. Links: 12 Pack of No.2 ($5.30)

Zebra M0391 0.5mm Lead Mechanical Pencil: These are the mechanical pencils I use for details in pencil sketches prior to inking an illustration. I get them at walmart, they are cheap, and easy to replace. But they also function to the ability I need them too. The only downside is the eraser and that after about 6 months the grip that holds the lead can get worn down enough where you need to swap to a new one. But they are pretty cheap, the metal body and compact form make it nice to hold and easy to throw into a small pen pouch. Links: 2 Pack ($4)

Staedtler Non-Photo Blue Pencil: The non-photo blue pencil is great if you are worried about lifting ink due to erasing pencil marks prior to scanning as the type of blue lead makes it easy to edit out the blue lines in photoshop or gimp prior to final delivery of digital illustration files. When erasing over black ink with regular pencils you sometimes get lift, which means a certain amount of ink just comes off the paper which can cause a faded look, with the non photo blue pencils you don’t need to erase. However, if you do erase non-photo blue after inking, I have found that any ink that is ontop of the blue pencil lines comes completely off so I would not recommend this if you plan on selling the original paper (I find the blue lines make it less frameable). I’ll also mention that I have difficulty getting precise lines due to the the colored pencil lead. Links: Single Pencil ($2)

Prismacolor Colored Premier Colored Pencils: While I don’t use colored pencils often, I do find them useful for adding in lights shades or crisping up edges of watercolor painting. Specifically I have a 24 color tin set and also the 150 color complete box set. I’d recommend using the 24 color set as it has a good amount of variety and is a good gateway to finding out if you’d like to purchase a larger color set. My only complaints with these pencils is quality control, I have a few pencils in my 150 color set with crooked lead (meaning sharpening is goddamn impossible) and cracked wooden casings which mean the pencils can break easy. Luckily I got the 150 color set on sale and you can purchase individual pencils for replacing ones you have used. The quality issue isn’t bad enough that I’d not recommend them, but it is enough that it was worth mentioning. Links: 24 color set ($12), 150 color set ($80)

Brush Pens

Pentel Fude Touch Bursh Sign Pen: These pocket pens are disposable and have a felt tip with enough give that I consider them my thick brush pen (they have a thicker start and finish than all of my other disposables). They are literally tiny brush pens which you could easily carry in your pocket, they also have a variety of colors available. I like to use these for some of my newer item illustrations for the big broad lines as well as for making lines that would have shadows darker by going over them a second time. I also use these for dungeon walls and stones, but not for slight details such as cracks and “doodads”. Links: Available Colors ($2.50 ea.)

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen: This disposable brush pen has a lot of resistance and a small felt tip, it essentially is the micron 005 of brush pens, great for details such as cracks in stone and drawing little plates onto tables, drawing plant life etc. I can’t recommend these highly enough, because sometimes you want some varying weight in super thin lines which technical pens just don’t offer. Can’t recommend these enough for dungeon doodling and drawing details such as shoelaces on equipment illustrations due to the heavy amount of resistance and the thinness of the entire line width spectrum for these pens. Links: Single Pen ($3)

Zebra Disposable Brush Pen – Fine: This is a disposable brush pen I got on a whim to try it out and actually I am quite pleased with it based on the times I have used it, it doesn’t have as rounded a felt nib but a more brush like felt nib (long and slender but still has a good illustrating width). It has by far out of all of the disposable brush pens I have the widest range of width, in that it can go from the smallest of the fudenosuke width to the widest of the pentel fude touch width in the same stroke. The resistance is at a comfortable amount so you won’t accidentally get super wide or super thin lines, however I do have trouble keeping a super thin line super thin. I’d recommend these if you want a more brush like brush pen that is still a felt nib. Links: Single Pen ($2.50)

Kuretake No.8 Fountain Brush Pen: I bought this brush pen after watching a youtube video (this one exactly), it creates some pretty sharp lines and I actually have drawn a few things using it, but besides an orc face, I generally use it as a ink filler or brush sketcher. I don’t use it enough that I could recommend it as necessary, but I think I would recommend it as a small ink filler because of the synthetic bristles means you can walk right up against your technical pen lines then do big strokes to fill in with black. I should use it more, but it hasn’t been in the front of my carry all toolkit lately. Out of all my pens it does have the longest body if that would be a selling point for the sythetic part of it, also when used quickly you can get a sort of dry brush effect which is pleasant and gritty, whereas the pentel pocket brush pen has a higher flow rate. Links: Pen and Two Cartridges ($12)

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen: This is the common recommendation for brush pens, its a small body making it super portable, it uses cartridges which means you do have to buy extras in anticipation of it running dry. It has a fast flow rate meaning you always have heavy black and consistent coverage. I don’t use it a lot, but I do like having it in my travel pouch for quick gesture drawings. Links: Pen and Two Cartridges ($13.50)

Markers

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers: They are great, end of sentence. If you want to add depth prcisely to your maps without muddying it up to much with tons of black lines, these water based colored markers are great (add some nice shadows to those dungeon hallways yo!). I purchased the Grayscale 10-pack and have my eyes on getting the 96 color set when it economically convenient for me to do so. But, the ten pack of grayscale is pretty awesome although you do have to worry about bleed when used alongside the brush pens (the technical pens I listed do not bleed when next to the water maters but the brush pens definitely do to a violet wash which I actually made use of in the John Silence zine illustrations). I also recommend these for hatching outside of the dungeon walls if you want tight hatches that don’t distract too much from the dungeons layout. Links: Grayscale 10-pack ($15), 96 color megapack ($140)

Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers: They were on sale at walmart for $10 so I grabbed a 100 pack of crayola thin tip markers. They are great for just doodling with bright colors and I don’t feel bad if they get wrecked because they were pretty darn inexpensive. I wouldn’t recommend them for professional drawing, but if you want to have fun with colors at the game table or on your own its worth it if they are on sale. Links: Amazon Link ($30 there, but probably cheaper in Wal-Mart)

Paints and Brushes

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box from Sakura: This is my favorite watercolor set that I have, its small enough to throw into the front pocket of a backpack and even has a waterbrush that goes inside the plastic field box. Links: 30 Color Field Box ($25)

Pentel Aquash Water Brush Set (3 pack): Water brushes are awesome for watercolors! They have the water in them and make clean up as easy as just squeezing the brush to flush out the color. Great for travel watercolor drawings and just low prep watercolor painting. I use these every time I paint with watercolors. Links: 3 Pack ($19)

Mudder Water Brush Set: A relatively inexpensive water brush set that also has flat synthetic brushes in the set, I actually have an india ink wash in the smallest tip one for india ink wash type drawings. When used with a water brush of just water alongside it, it makes india ink washes fun and quick to do on the go. This is probably the better starter set of water brushes in the money side of things. Links: 6 Pack ($10)

Simply Watercolor Tubes: This was my first set of watercolors which I bought from wal-mart, their fun to use but I definitely prefer the koi for color vibrance, variety, and portability. Links: 24 set of tubes ($20)

Simply Acrylic Tubes: A set similar to the simply watercolor but for acrylics, again another 24 set of tubes which I got from wal-mart.

Watercolor and Acrylic Brushes: at the moment I has a drawer full of brushes which I got from wal-mart. So cheap brushes which I don’t feel bad about burning through. I would like to try out higher quality ones at some point, but not at the moment because of my current ability level with acrylic and watercolor.

Hair Dyer: This isn’t exactly a paint or anything, but I find it incredibly useful for when I’m doing both watercolor and acrylic painting to speed up the drying process so I can just work on the same piece for hours across multiple paint layers without the huge amounts of time generally needed to wait for things to dry.

Paper and Sketchbooks and Canvases

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch 6″ x 4″ (160 pages): This is a good pocket sketchbook for technical pen drawings, also tons of pages which is nice for a pocket sketchbook. I often do little doodles in the ones I have or draw little maps in them with notes. The pages accept ink pretty well and while there is a little bleedthrough, it isn’t enough to make it unusable. Definitely not for painting in though. Links: Sketchbook ($8)

Canson XL Paper: These are sketchbooks I get at wal-mart (no art supply store nearby sadly) and I tend to like them for watercolor and mixed media stuff. I specifically get the watercolor pads and the various sized mixed media spiral sketchbooks. I wouldn’t recommend using the micron pens on the mixed media paper though as I feel like it just burns through those felt nibs with how much tooth the paper has. Links: Watercolor Pad ($7), Mixed Media Pads ($6.50)

Cardstock: This is the paper I use for just about all of my ink illustrations! Its cheap, it comes in giant packs, and it works well for the technical pens and brush pens I use. The big thing is I can buy alot for a little and it is available at wal-mart which means when I run out its only 5 minutes to get more. I even have a binder full of sheets which I use as a inking sketchbook. I actually plan on getting a nice wire binding machine at some point so I can just make my own sketchbooks out of this paper so its portable and cheap. Links: 150 Pack ($5)

Canvas: Essentially I get what I can find for canvas board and prestretched canvas from wal-mart or random shops. If its on sale it works for me! Gesso generally fixes any problems I have with a canvases tooth.

Software and Equipment

Epson Perfection V600 Photo (Scanner): This is the best scanner I could find online and I love it dearly. I scan everything using it at 1200 dpi .tif before opening it in Photoshop for editing. Links: Amazon ($200)

Adobe Photoshop: Some people love Gimp, but I prefer photoshop since I also use indesign for all my layout needs.

Wacom 13HD Cintiq: This is the wacom I use for when I want to paint draw or edit digitally in photoshop. It’s super nice. Links: Wacom Store ($800)

Kyle Webster’s Photoshop Brushes: These brushes are the bee’s knees and are great if you use photoshop to paint or draw. Links: Webstore ($varies)

Stimnet Junkies

With a drive port on their forehead these sense junkies spend their downtime processing footage, data, media etc so that in exchange they get tokens which can be spent at sim and jack-high dealers for a jump drive with the latest simulated thrill in sound, visual, and physical stimulation. These guys are Stimnet junkies.

stimnet-junkie-2

Specifically these individuals have been body modded with a small sensory simulation computer inside their skull which has a variety of connectors and tubes which can be inserted into your nose, plugged into your ears, stretched to the sides of your eyes, and finally down the back of your spine.

Where you meet them

These guys look over street cam footage, they are customer support, they are the outsourced at home secretaries for tons of corporations and businesses. Essentially they trade their computing power and ability to scan and digest information for time which can be spent enjoying a different reality that is just stimulation.

Loud and pulsating noises, sweet and bitter tastes back to back, a concoction of memory triggering smells, and a constant tapping in the spine to give the sense of a loving touch (or rough one). That is what they do it for and it is how they get paid.

Some details

First off, Stimnet is the online marketplace for where noobies and collectors can look through digital catalogs of simulations and experiences. Giving information including how many copies were made, developer profiles, street value, where you could get a copy legitimately (if a legitimate source is available).

What could their place look like…

Stimnet junkies spend all their time in a seat. As such their are two ways to go about this, the messy way and the streamlined way of living. The messy way involves piles of junk and garbage and empty pizza boxes and moldy cola jugs. The benefits of having a messy way is that it is incredibly easy to hide security cameras and trip traps which could be set off by intruders.

The streamlined way involves a bundled mass of tubes and cylindrical containers full of liquid nutrients which are fed via tube down the esophagus and via needles into the forearm. The positive note here is that people who use this system have very clean houses. The downside is that they are essentially never “here”, waving your hand won’t get their attention, throttling them won’t get their attention. They are wholly gone and the only way to mess with them is to talk to them online or via a terminal.

Because if you cut someone off, they could die from shock. No, really, they could.

What are some things they could be experiencing…

Everyone has an experience that they can afford to simulate but not actually do in real life. Here are some:

  • Fantasy Warrior Fighter Online: Return of the Barbarian Hunters – fighting barbaric hunters in the age of blood, steel, and brutal finishing moves.
  • Edge of the Atmosphere Ski Diving – atmosphere ski diving is way too expensive and way too dangerous, falling to the earths surface from near space (so close your fingers could probably skim the edge of some space junk) while riding on skis is pretty thrilling though and on the TV feeds all the time.
  • 364 Conflict – essentially a first person shooter which allows you to shoot and kill and work together to take objectives to capture the simulated world. Each website and server can be its own randomly generated battleground to fight over. Its like a sense of danger that is always constant that can be played or experienced passively. People pay equally to just watch other people play and feel what their character feels when they play.

If they need to defend themselves…

  • Tiny usb powered turrets – hide them in places, stick them to the wall with a suction cup, put them in the mail box, whatever works.
  • nerve gas – doesn’t affect the people who pay for oxygen! also puts people down on the ground long enough to call up the proper authorities or a local ganger to remove the body (person).
  • digitally simulated floors – fall right through the hologram if you aren’t in the know or don’t check to make sure the floor is real. Usually a cell is down their or a pit trap. Whichever works.
  • sensory overload – blaring audio and lights to over stimulate intruders into crippling state of sensory confusion.

For more my last post on adventurohl, check it out here.

Some roundup time

I frequently stalk artwork on behance, youtube, pinterest, google images, deviantart, tumblr. etc. other sites. And I have previously done a shout outs section (back in my unfinished 30 days of female faces art challenge thing). This time I am just going to blurt out a bunch of cool links to things I have been looking at:

Youtube Videos:

Some books I have been looking at lately:

I recently also read Tokyo Ghost and the second issue of Prophet.

Also on the other side, I added some things to my portfolio site.

 

Monthly Workbook version 0.1

I have been looking at some social media things recently and realized that I need to manage it better, I have so many accounts for too many different things that it is hard for me to keep it all straight most of the time.I had put together a quick handwritten list for me to go over whenever I post artwork online.

I wrote a short list for me to go over whenever I post artwork online. Then realized I wanted to expand it to cover some other things, and I am sometimes upset by the amount of new content and media that I consume. Including short stories, animations, short films, new music, new podcasts, etc etc.

So here is my thing I made, it’s a monthly workbook booklet that I can print out and carry with me. I can print a new one out each month and go through it, it is unfinished but it’ll only be finished after it is done and I stop adding things to it and polish it up a bit.

But until then, take a look at it:

Darkness rolling under my eyes

Going to try to explain something I am starting to do which happenned last night and I’m hoping to try to replicate. Last night I watched a video on how to induce lucid dreams (the kind where you posess more control or interactivity, i think). The steps involved placing your hand on a table ajd moving thebindex amd pointer finger as if you are tapping the table, but for each tap only raising your finger half the height until you are at neglible amounts and then nothing but are down to only the thinking action of moving the muscles.

I did that last night right before I did some quick sletching and it was weird. I could feel it while sketching, like a weird middle ground type thing. Since I focused on the finger movements it felt like I was more aware while sketching. I felt more attached to the pen and each minor and mear nonexistent groove in the paper I was using.

I liked that feeling. It was pretty cool.

So when I went to bed. I shut the curtains, unplugged anything that would give off a light (turned off my phone too as well) and laid down in bed with the blankets over me. Closed my eyes and did the tapping motion with my hand on the sheets, I felt a little tired and had my eyes closed.

Between Sleep

What happenned next (I am unsure if I was fully asleep or just in a weird awareness mode while awake and in between) was a great feeling.

I waved my hands over me with my eyes closed and it felt like they were jointed mechanical things. But that I could tiny weights hanging from them which meant it was a bit of a swaying movement. Since it was completely dark, when I openned my eyes (I think I did at least) it was like swimming with my arms, I made a slight chuckle. The next feeling was disturbing but comforting.

With my eyes open I could feel the darkness, as if it was a tangible cloud, roll into my eyes. Specifically like the darkness was going under my eyes, I could feel it like a reverse waterfall. Now, as I am someone normally terrified of the dark, itbwas weird because it was an enjoyable feeling to have.

After this bit of swimming movement and weird darkness tangible but only with my eyes, I am pretty sure I fell asleep.

Asleep

Then I was definitely asleep. Around me was stone corridors, not too much in appearance but in unseen textures and temperature. Moving forward I looked at my own arms and they looked like they were put of a comic. Skinmy limbs with larger hands wrapped in cloth bandages. Going forward more I found two doors, I openned the first and looked in and there was a single metal torch in the center of the room, it was a dark metal like blackish brownish color. On the walls arpund it danced shadows, like puppets but human in shape, as they danced more and more around the room they became more and more exagerated.

I walked into the center of the room and put the torch out with my fingers, but when I saw it, it was like my fingers were arms with their own hands which clapped the torch off.

I then woke up. And I felt pretty good about it.

Words on it

Besides both imagery being great for tabletip role-playing games, I can’t think of what I would interpret them to mean. I could say that I explored and put out dark evil that was spawned by only there being light?

Yeah, there was no creatures in the room, just the act of their being light (good) there was monsters (typically evil). So theres a thought.

For the swimming in space, I think it was unrelated. As I am almost certain I was awake during that. But I can’t be certain.

As for if I had a lucid dream, I don’t think I did. But I remember it and remember my choices pretty clearly, and the actions feel like they were my own.

I will have to continue this to see what else I can see when I sleep.

This post was written from my phone.. I apologize for glaring typos and such.

Playtesting Runaway Hirelings!

If you weren’t already in the know, then here is what there is to know: Runaway Hirelings Ultimate Peasant Edition has a playtest packet and you can check it out right now.

Here is the base premise of the game (as described in the rules):

“Here you are, your bosses are dead on the floor, blood pooling under their cloaks and mighty swords. A shattered wand is spread like used toothpicks all around the big bad guy. They led you in, they defeated great monsters and solved complex puzzles to reach this, the treasure room. THE RUMORED FORTUNE!

Gold, jewels and the most magnificent fabrics. But, they could not have been prepared for what would wait here, protecting such delicious riches. They fought valiantly, you cowered behind a rock, they were hit with mighty fists, and you hid behind a rock, and they suffered the blasts of explosive magicks! And they died just as the boss monster did, but you survived, hidden behind a rock.

But what now? You have gold in your packs and have buried your heroes, tears have been shed (maybe), and now you must flee back from whence you came. You must run away as fast as you can back to the entrance.

Hopefully the path out is easier when you blindly flail your way forward!”

Playtest Packet Contents

In the google drive folder (https://goo.gl/8gbsvy), there are the following documents:

  • The Hireling’s Handguide; everything that a player would need to know to play the game.
  • The Dunarch’s Manual; all the extra information that the Game-Master or referee needs to read before running the game,.
  • The Needlelands Dungeon Template; a short template for playing a session set in the Needlelands caverns.
  • The Cheater Sheet; think of this like how the basic moves for a powered by the apocalypse game are presented. It is a during play rules reference, also works great for getting new players into the game quickly. One for each player printed out should work well.
  • Character Sheets; 7 half sheet character sheets which have the information for each type of hireling on them. These are used and referenced during play by everyone. On set printed out should work fine.

besides that? Oh yeah!

I am Playtesting!

Yes, that is right, play this game! Send me feedback! Tell me all about it! Shoot emails to me!

Also, I will be running games at a moments notice. Specifically, on Saturdays, I’ll post and ask if anyone wants to play this game! If we get some people, we play! But there are other days too, so here is the playtest schedule as it stands:

  • Wednesdays; 6:30PM EST to 8:30PM EST start time. I will be aiming for at least 2-4 Players besides myself for this game. I’ll make the post at the beginning of the week and then reshare it on the day of the game. Games should last 2 to 3 hours in length.
  • Saturdays; 8:00AM EST to 8:00PM EST start time. I will run games for at least 2-4 Players besides myself. I’ll make the post the beginning of the week (Monday) and then reshare it on the day of the game. Games should last 2 to 3 hours in length.
  • Other Random Times and Days; I can run the game 1-on-1 for a single player. If you want to play (just like with all the other times and dates, follow me on Google Plus). It’s fun and awesome! These type of games are best condensed down to about 1 hour in length, but it is a good shot of Role-Playing to scratch that itch. Or send me a private message there and we can set something up!

So yeah guys! This is getting closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. And it feels soooooo worth it!

 

Notoma Jack (9/19/16)

“Tick tick, notoma? What are you doing you knock dog?” echoed down the street as the neon flickered down to dead, the billboards nearby flashed to black. I stumbled, scraping my knee and palms across the shit ground.

“Back off jonah! you don’t know who i am! You don’t get what your up against! This isn’t whatya think!” clack, clack went the pipe against the gutter, clack clack went the bloodied pipe against the dumpster, tap tap went the pipe in his other hand.

“You need to pay up notoma, I can’t let you go without something being crumpled.” he stood over me, his face looked even more ugly in the shadows, his cheeks will have bruises and I bet he won’t see out that left eye tomorrow after the scrap I gave him.

“I ain’t payin’ for something I didn’t take, laws on my side this time.” I can’t find shit to fight with, couldn’t keep a grip even if I did find something on the wet ground, I hope this is just my blood.

A tight grip nabbed the back of my neck, a clutch and spin then I am on my back again, a swift kick to my already fucked leg. My scream is shortened by the blood coming up my throat.

“Yeah, well, tough shit”.

night.

Are these wires in my head? Not under my hair but in my head, past the ear,. Wait. No. I can see it, weaving through my thoughts, I see Saru, cooking breakfast for me before I head out to meet everybody.

Wait, no, don’t leave. My mind is spiraling in front of me, hundreds of stairs which are impossible to walk on, like a slide from the park. The park, me and gorth always threw dirt on the slide to hear the sound.

Dong. Donk. Dong. Donk.

“You see what is going on right notoma?” gorth looks at me, bandage across his nose covering up that cut from the bars.

“Yeah, we are making noise. Gonna make the wrinkles who took our ball grizzly!” gorth looks at me and motions for me to come over, now we go down the slide and get dirt all over our pants.

“I’m not seeing anything here, well you better just probe harder! We need the words or I’ll bust your skull and stop his,”

“Well we got to be careful, we don’t want to get mud on our pants!” I make a face wth my hands at my cheeks, teasing him. Gorth pushes me down and his face contorts as if he’s laughing, but it is silent.

As I go down the slide, it slows. I hear him.

“Go forward.”

The slide doesn’t end as I pick up speed, moving fast as I am slickened by the mud on my ass (mud?). A wall is coming up, I am laughing, I am having a good time.

My heart beat quickens as I approach a steel wall, I crash through it and the metal tears and bends with the force of my movement. I wipe the metals flecks off my face and away from my eyes to see Saru again, her dark hair is damp. We are at her place, she just got out of the shower and I am counting how many nutritabs we have left. Not enough to pay for dinner and not enough to even eat as is.

I am sad now. Why am I sad?

“We don’t have to go out tonight notoma, I can always get some work done from here and we can head out next friday.” she is hiding it badly, and that makes me feel badly. I have no real job, all I do is bust faces for the…

“Okay, if you say so, Ihave something I really need to do tonight anyways…” I shout out over the screech of the hairdryer as I push the little silver pills into my coat pockets.

Screech.

“Right here, zoom in. Are you saying that you were going to bail tonight anyways?” Saru comes through the doorway, with that look on her face. A bit of sour doubt and sarcasm blended through some charm and dotted with lovely eyes.

I jerk my head up, what?

Screeeeeeeeechhhhhhh…. A tire?

“NO! NO! I can talk! I can talk!” his head is less than an inch from the tire that is about to roll over his face, his shirt is gripped by a hand wrapped in twisted nails and red leather.

“I don’t get why your so mad brother? You just gotta talk right now and quick. No stay of execution for your sick head.” Gorth was holding him. I am sitting on a trashcan, we are in an alley. Where are the signs?”