Dan Teal

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  1. What do you guys think of this? (I'm writing the beginnings of what seems to be a spy novel.) The view from the train window was exquisite. The evening sky was aglow with strokes of pink, red, and orange. It was hard to believe that what one was looking at was indeed the sky and not paint on a canvas. Pine trees seemed to sprint as the train ran past them. Samuel Shepherd was awed. The interior of the train’s dining car was just as beautiful, decorated like a Parisian restaurant. On both sides of the car hung works of Jean-Honoré Fragonard and other Rococo artists. The ceiling depicted putti playing in the clouds. You could almost hear their childlike laughter. With how dangerous his occupation was, moments like these were golden. He made sure to take the time to stop and smell the roses. Any minute could be his last. Such was the life of an MI6 agent. He was a Double-O, just like his hero before him, the legendary Agent Bond—007. He was currently on a deadly mission along with CIA Agent Esther Simpson, in a joint-effort between MI6, CIA, and Interpol. Their task: to protect Secretary General Aleksandr Ivanov—and to determine who was behind all this, who was after him, who wanted him dead. This was Simpson’s last mission. She had just accepted her long-time boyfriend’s proposal and wanted to settle down already. She was retiring to live a peaceful life with the man she loved and raise a family with him. That man wasn’t Samuel Shepherd. Shepherd and Simpson had grown up together in London and were childhood sweethearts. She was the niece and ward of U.S. Ambassador Lucius Simpson. They met when they were eight. She was new at school and he had to lend her his textbook and an extra pen. A friendship blossomed from that encounter, which then turned into love. Esther Anne Marie Simpson was Samuel Shepherd’s Annabel Lee. He always said that he loved her with a love that was more than love. Agent Simpson interrupted Shepherd’s thoughts by asking, “What are you staring at?†“You,†Samuel said with the slightest hint of a smile. “You look as lovely as you did on your sixteenth birthday. You’ve never changed.†“People change, Shepherd,†Esther retorted. “Nothing stays the same forever. You of all people should know that.†“As the old saying goes,†Ivanov interjected, “You cannot step into the same rrriver twice.†“Yes, of course,†Samuel said, suddenly cold. “Now, back to the mission at hand—†Agent Shepherd, however, was interrupted by the waiter coming to their table to collect their plates and to offer them some complimentary desserts and cups of coffee or more red wine. “I vill have...a...tiramisu,†the secretary general said. “And a cup of coffee.†“And for you sir?†the waiter asked Samuel. “Let me try your...spotted dick,†the agent answered. “Typical British,†Esther muttered, with a chuckle and a shake of her head. “Madame?†the waiter asked. “I’ll have a blueberry cheesecake, thank you,†she replied. “Very well,†the waiter said, taking the dessert menu from their hands. “Will that be all?†“Coffee all around,†Samuel said. “And another bottle of pinot noir. Thank you; that would be all.†“I’ll return with your order, then,†the waiter said. “So! The two of you have, uh, known each other since when?†Ivanov asked when the waiter had gone. “We met when we were eight,†Samuel said. “She was the prettiest girl I ever saw in my life.†“Now she’s a beautiful woman,†Ivanov offered. Esther blushed. It was true. She was beautiful. With her pale skin, black dress, and long, silky raven locks, she looked positively ethereal. Almost like an elf, or perhaps a vampire. “Oh, don’t let her beauty fool you, Mr. Secretary General,†Samuel teased. “Behind all that beauty is a sharp mind that can get you out of any scrape. And she’s also a killing machine.†“Why do you think they chose me for this mission?†Esther said with a smile. “I’m the best asset the CIA’s got.†“One thing, though, Mr. Secretary General,†Samuel said. “She’s arrogant.†“Oh, I’m sure all young agents are,†Ivanov said, nodding. “Excuse me,†Samuel said, standing up. “I need to use the W.C.†Samuel Shepherd silently crept towards the train’s kitchens, his right hand in the inner pocket of his dinner jacket, his fingers curled around the grip of his concealed weapon. Slowly, he pushed open one of the double doors, peeking inside. “Do your job well,†an unknown man was saying in his native Russian. “Chernobog is counting on us. Have you determined it was Ivanov?†“I have,†the other answered. “Good,†the older, taller man said. “Good. Come, come. Don’t look so distressed. We plot nothing here.†He could not see the older Russian spy’s face, but Samuel Shepherd was sure of the second, younger one. He was not Russian—but he spoke with a convincing accent. It was the waiter who had served them. To take them out right now would have been a waste of time and energy—time he could spend in creeping back to the dining car and warning the secretary general. Besides, there were too many innocent bystanders. He would have to find another way to expose or take out this Russian mobster’s underlings. So he went back to his seat at their table and loosened his grip on his pistol. “Ah, my friend!†Ivanov greeted cheerily. “Agent Simpson has just been regaling me with tales from your childhood.†“Not embarrassing ones, I hope?†Samuel said, taking his seat and casting a glance at his fellow spy. “Very embarrassing, I’m afraid,†Esther teased. “Well! Just in time! Here comes dessert.†“Blueberry cheesecake for the lovely lady in black,†the waiter said, handing Esther her plate. “Spotted dick for the posh British gentleman over here... And... For you sir, a plate of our specialty tiramisu! Enjoy your dessert. I’ll be back with your coffee and pinot noir.†“Hold on a minute now,†Samuel said, raising a hand. “Would you care to try it? Show my friend here how good it tastes.†“Sir, I can’t do that,†the waiter tried to reason. “I could get fired. That’s against our policy, sir.†With lightning-quick reflexes, Samuel Shepherd had his Walther PPK out and leveled at the minion’s thigh under the table. “You will take a bite of that cake or I swear by bloody Caesar, I will end you.†Shepherd was done playing games. Simpson raised her eyebrow as if to say, What the hell do you think you’re doing? With shaking hands, Chernobog's spy reached for the plate and the fork, cutting a piece off the cake. The moment his tongue came in contact with the poisoned cake, the young man’s limbs went rigid as though struck by some invisible electric current. Then he fell to the floor of the car, flopping like a fish out of water, foam bubbling from his mouth and making gurgling noises coming from his throat. People shrieked, Simpson gasped, covering her mouth, and Ivanov crossed himself.
  2. Brings back memories.
  3. All day yesterday, and today, I was thinking about my friend Yv--no, let s call her "Alex" ( cause she looks like a young Jenny Agutter, plus she s a nurse now). See, "Alex" and I met my first semester of college. We became friends really fast. But jealousy destroyed that friendship. I was a favorite student of most of my professors--only two professors gave me a hard time. I wasn t bright (in fact, my high school grades were average--the only A s I ever got were in English classes), but I worked hard, worked my *** off. And my professors liked that dedication I was showing. So I was getting A s. Now she was getting jealous. She was working her fingers to the bone just as hard as I was but she was still getting B s and C s. One day, I overhear her and a friend (who we will name "Logan" because of his love for the iron-clawed superhero) talking about taking me down somehow, some way. I was angry and hurt at this, that she would go behind my back like that, so I dug some dirt on her and talked about her maliciously, spreading stuff all over campus (which every gossip devoured with delight like collegiate sarlaccs). She was angry, I was angry, she confronted me. And then I realized my mistake. And I tried to apologize. I called her, texted her, left voice mail messages... I bought a "I'm Sorry" card... I did everything I could. She would have none of it. But "Logan" and I managed to fix things between us (and we resumed our friendly Marvel debates and fan theories). To make things worse, "Alex" had a boyfriend (who we will call "David"). He thought I was her ex-boyfriend trying to get back together with her and so they broke up. And she blames me for that too.
  4. Having been stepped on his while life and told he's worthless and can never live up to people's standards and expectations?
  5. I've been hearing that quite a lot and honestly, it scares me. In addition to being short (4'11''), I also have a small penis size, which makes me think I'll never find a woman who doesn't really care. All I've met are the really shallow ones who do.
  6. For years, I have been on the receiving end of rejection (one girl even rejected me in front of dozens of other students in the cafeteria). Tonight, I learned from a mutual friend that a friend likes me. The thing is, he's a guy. And I'm straight. My heart yearns for a woman. Love from a woman. With every fibre of my being. I have been down that road so I know how he would feel if I said what I have to say. How do I not hurt his feelings? How do I let him down gently, not like the bitchy queen bees that have rejected me throughout my life?
  7. I really liked Farrah Fawcett (may she rest in peace), and I like Jaclyn Smith, and Jenny Agutter. Especially Jenny Agutter.
  8. They're the four children who entered Narnia through the wardrobe and became its kings and queens, from C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.
  9. They were actually in a shouting match (the people I saw). They weren't friends. Just some random person overhearing the other talking about Narnia and then the other (a Tolkienian) just had to insult the other camp.
  10. It's like they feel Lewis' or Tolkien's honour needs to be defended to the death! What the heck? Both works are great in their own right. Both authors are great in their own right. What's up with all the fighting and the insults? (I've witnessed a full-on brawl between a Lewisian and a Tolkienian!) The two were really good friends and were part of the same book club--they hung out at a pub called the Eagle & Child. Why do Tolkienians and Lewisians feel the need to fight over who is more superior--as if one was more superior than the other, which is false?
  11. If you lived in George R.R. Martin's world, would you rather be a septa/septon or join the Night's Watch to be a crow?
  12. I see all my friends getting engaged and married left and right (last week, another one of my friends proposed to his girlfriend of two years). And I'm here stuck in Singleland. A female friend of mine (we're all in our 20s, by the way, and she's 23 and just got out of the army) posted a picture of a hot hunk cooking, wearing nothing but an apron on Facebook. The caption read, "I wouldn't mind waking up to a husband like this." This sparked some long-hidden feelings of jealousy and bitterness at how unfair the world, life, and society is. It's men like those who get all the chance--Prince Flipping Charming, tall, dark, and handsome. Not guys like me who are 4'11'' and have Homer Simpson midsections. (And then there's this other picture I see very often on Facebook of a girl frowning and the caption reads, "When he's shorter than you.") Plus I'm a nerd, spewing Star Trek, Star Wars, DC, Narnia, LOTR, and Marvel references here and there, every now and then. All I've ever experienced was rejection and humiliation. A girl I asked out said she would think about it and came back to me a few days later and let me down not-so-gently. In the middle of the cafeteria, no less--where dozens of other students could see and hear. A lifetime of rejection has made me so bitter and angry and feeling hopeless (like the Beast in Beauty & the Beast during the narration "for who could ever learn to love a beast"). I feel like there's no one out there for me and that all women are shallow. I'm pretty sure that's not true and it's just me being bitter. How do I stop being bitter?
  13. Yeah, who cares? Be you! Don't be a sheep. By the way, Doogie Howser is this genius kid who whizzed through high school in 9 weeks, passed his SATs at age 6, graduated from med school at 14, became an intern at 15, and became the youngest doctor ever at 16 at some L.A. hospital. He was played by none other than the great Barney Freakin' Stinson himself, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris!
  14. Mine is Virgil. Daniel Virgil Teal.