The Strange New Place We Live

Monday, July 5, 2010

For the time being, it seemed as if Twinbrook was offering them a renewed chance to be a close, loving family once again. It was certainly not the ideal, romantic getaway that Meredith probably deserved, nor was the house as large and grandeur as Jebidiah wanted to provide for his children, but... It could be worse. At this point, they were willing to take anything they could get -- even if that meant that Jebidiah was working for a small wage to solve the small town's mysteries for them.

But one thing he did not particularly enjoy was the hours.

"Uggh, Jeb, why can't you just shut off your phone?"
"Is there any way to convince these people to not call first thing in the morning?!" Meredith grumbled as they climbed out of bed, after the fifth phone call that morning. "Don't they realize that not everyone wakes up at 5-freakin-AM?"

He missed the night-owl hours of scheming in the old river warehouse, and being able to sleep in until the late afternoon without any complaints from his wife. The early mornings, he felt, were plenty enough punishment for him. But, if he wanted to prove anything to Meredith, he had to keep it up... and the need for Twinbrook's new PI was suddenly evident. It made Jebidiah wonder what had happened to the last one... Probably annoyance at hearing his own ringtone so often.

"If I'd had gotten to keep that gem, I never would have had to work again..."
Jebidiah lamented about what he missed the most, but he tried to take a somewhat positive view; perhaps, with his knowledge of the criminal mind, he'd be able to help Twinbrook out more than they knew. He was, after all, a Master of Thievery -- there was nothing better to catch a criminal than a criminal himself... Right?

Bradley's sure getting the spotlight in those digital frames.
But Meredith was not all too pleased with that sort of talk at the breakfast table. She quickly changed the subject, asking Travis about if he was excited to be starting his new school. "Everyone will be so amazed at how strong you are, sweetie," she commented with a pointed finger at her son's biceps. "I bet they'll be begging you to join their sports teams once they see you play."

"I'll be fine, ma. It's just weird is all."

Twinbrook, where nothing ever seems to stay clean.
As Meredith finished getting Travis ready for his first day, Jebidiah changed into his gear and hopped into their only vehicle: the mommy-mobile Meredith insisted they get. It was certainly practical, but not... perfect. Well. It was humiliating for a man who was used to giving his family everything, and driving whatever type of car he wanted. "Can't wait until we can afford another car," he grumbled as he cruised across the bridge leading into the less desirable parts of town.

He was venturing there to talk to the source of their morning phone calls: it was some man named Juan Darer, absolutely frantic about what he described as some vagrant acts of vandalism.

"If you think what I'm wearing is funny, mister, you'd better go look in a mirror."
When Jebidiah first arrived, he was taken aback -- the man's whole house was burnt down! Finally something untrivial. But, after some careful questioning, Jebidiah discovered that the house remains had been like that for some time. Juan was worried about something else entirely -- someone had been kicking over his trash can! Oh dear Plumbbob!

Jebidiah sighed. Hooray, another petty crime. But, giving assurances to Juan he'd find the culprit, he took some samples of footprints, and was on his way. He wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible... Juan was a rather funny looking fellow, smelled like burnt toast, and was living out of his shed. It was not exactly the place Jeb wanted to be caught hanging around.

"This house could sure use some yard decorations... And a less smelly garbage can. Pee-yoo!"

Juan had given him both the name of his trash can attacker -- or rather, who he thought he saw -- and the address where he lived. It seemed rather odd that Juan would know this, but as Jebidiah became more acquainted with the town, it became obvious why: everyone knew everything about everyone else, and what they didn't know, they were very determined to find out.

"No wonder this place is practically off the map," Jeb found himself thinking. "Everyone here's on the brink of insanity."

Well, he found what he needed to find -- the evidence. Looks like Buddy Bailey was ashamed of what he'd done, and had thrown out the sneakers that had left footprints all over the Darer's yard. Juan may be a dirty, crazy old man, but he was a right crazy old man.

"Ugh, this guy is going to ruin all my plans. When did Twinbrook get a PI?"
At least Buddy was willing to admit his wrong-doing. After shown the evidence, he quickly caved. "Yeah, I did it. The old man deserved it, but it still wasn't right. I'll pay for a new trash can if he won't press charges."

Jebidiah wanted to laugh, but if he wanted to be taken seriously as an investigator, he had to at least attempt to keep a straight face.

"Nice earring, Juan. It matches your delightful patchwork jacket and green plaid pants."
He ended up running into Juan on the way back to his house to share the good news. When Juan heard, he smiled. "Fantastic! Glad to hear that justice as been served."

He paid Jebidiah up, and at that point, Jeb could hardly contain himself -- his payment was more than it would've cost to replace the kicked-in-can. This guy was obviously a luntatic. So far, the people in this town seemed pretty daft, but at least it meant more profit for him!

Looks like someone wants a little somethin-something...

But, now it meant it was back to work trying to catch the dirty between other town residents. And whatever these two Twinbrookians are doing, Jebidiah was sure it wasn't good.

It's a grind, but... It's a job. And, being an anonymous tip to the police department and a self-employer, it meant his name wasn't going down anywhere to track. At least there was that small positive reality to this relatively tedious job.

... But those fingers of his were still itching to pick some pockets.

As Jebidiah found himself making a few spare Simoleans here and there, Meredith got herself to work trying to help out with their new lack of wealth. She'd done plenty of painting and photography as a hobby, but now it was time to put those talents to the test, and try to see how the people of Twinbrook liked her artwork.

"If only this town had some snow to cover up all that ucky garbage..."
It certainly was nice to get back to something she enjoyed, as well. Over the last few weeks, she'd been so absorbed in Jebidiah's mishaps, the children, the move -- and what prompted it -- that there had been no time for herself. It was a refreshing change, and the first hints that things were getting back to normal.

Yes, boys, she's a very pretty lady. Hands off.
On her way home from the consignment store, where she was attempting to sell some of her latest works, she decided to drop off to the park to try and meet some of her new neighbors. Wei Keane and Justin Kayes seemed pretty pleasant -- if rather dorky -- and even shy Meredith found herself struck up in a conversation...

"Yeah, I like to grow flowers. Don't you like to grow flowers? Everyone loves flowers..."
... one that seemed to go in interesting directions once she found out that Wei was just as neurotic as she was.

A little bit more to the left, Juan... That does it... Think you got all the earwax.
Wei was doing his best to keep things friendly, though, once he noticed that ring on Meredith's finger. But, since they both liked conspiracy theories, he felt it was appropriate to point out some gossip about poor old man Juan Darer.

"Did you know that Juan Darer burnt down his house on purpose? Trying to get insurance money or something. I hear he's still living on the property, in his shed... I'd almost feel sorry for the guy, if I didn't know he was attempting fraud."

What's growing on that tree? Actually, I don't wanna know.
Well, Meredith wasn't sure what to believe, but at least not everyone in town was as insane as the people Jebidiah was telling her about. In fact... As she settled down on a swing and looked out over the vast water of Twinbrook's lake, she realized that it may not be as bad here as she had first thought. It wasn't the prettiest place... But it had potential to become home, if she let it.

"Hey, dude, I just came here to swing. Take your chit-chat somewhere else."
"Hey, you one of the new people just movin' in on Savannah Lane?"

Meredith stopped swinging to turn her eyes to the source of the question. "Oh, yeah... Just a few days ago. I'm Meredith. Meredith Kane."

"Oh yeah?" For a moment, the long intense look that he gave her sent chills up her spine. But, after an eerily long silence, the corner of his mouth turned up into a strange smirk of a smile. "Well, m'name's Marc Brandt."

He continued to look at her. Meredith, being thoroughly creeped out, suddenly turned her eyes to his arms, and asked the first thing that came to her mind. "So, uh, uh... where'd you get those tattoos?"

After a brief conversation with Marc, Meredith decided to cut it short and head home. But, after reaching the sidewalk, she decided something else.

It was time for a change.

"Sir, it might help if you moved the needle to where I want the tattoo..." Oh, right.
We all make decisions in our lives that we regret, but sometimes it's best to just push forward and try to make the best with what's left...

One fish, blue fish, koi fish, back fish.
... and often, a drastic change from what we're used to is a step in the right direction, even if it doesn't seem like it at first ...

Luckily, this room gets some touchups later. Looks pretty meh, huh?
... and even just a little push out the door to try and make new friends can help us along the path of renewal ...

"Oh Travis, you throw the football so much nicer than your daddy..."
... and we can't forget that even old friends can be just as good, and should never be forgotten ...

It was a four-eyed, dumb-face, floating Purple People Killer...
... but sometimes, no matter how hard we run from the mistakes that we've made, the attempts to keep it a secret will always find a way to come back to haunt us.

Notes: As the lovely Chrysame noticed, I updated the banner. I meant to do that and this post simultaneously, but I forgot I was going to the movies tonight. Oops. Anyways, I hope it turned out okay!

Also, on this post and all posts onwards I am adding another completely useless yet entertaining addition to each picture: scroll-over texts. Short and sweet, to take the edge off the angst.

Edit: For some reason, the scroll-overs aren't working. Working on fixing that right now. :)

Edit Again: Discovered what I did wrong, rollover text should now work as intended. Phew! 



Anonymous,  July 5, 2010 at 7:54 PM  

Oh oh. Crazy ghost alert. The scroll over text is fun. I read the blog and then went back and giggled. Guffawed? Chuckled? Laughed!

Twinbrook just looks so dirty. And what is up with Juan? *shudder*

Wei, I'm sure you're a nice boy but eat a pizza or something.

Just when things are settling down for them, the ghost of purple past rises up. Talk about a surprise!

Di Al Martini July 5, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

Great update. You have great talent in writing mysteries stories. I am still wondering about Chandra's death and that unknown email..

uh, I'm getting a hard time to comment here.

Unknown July 5, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

It's a problem everywhere, MJ. Looks like Blogger is having some issues with comments right now. I know Marty's having comment issues, too.

In fact, you probably won't even see this comment unless you've subscribed to this post's comment feed. I hope they fix it soon!

Anyways: thank you so much! I've actually never done any mysteries before with other story-telling ventures, it's incredibly fun. But, I'm sure you know that, writing one yourself! I'm still hanging on the cliffhanger on the last post about Rosaline. :)

Dee July 6, 2010 at 6:01 AM  

I have no idea what anyone else said and have to leave soon but do want to comment. Hopefully comments will be showing up by the time I get home tonight.
This is a great update, as always.
Jeb is going nuts trying to live as an honest man and deal with the most ridiculous cases. I found most of them hilarious.

I can't believe Chandra has shown up. She is probably going to cause trouble even in death.

I love the scroll-over feature.

Unknown July 6, 2010 at 10:57 AM  

Yay, it looks like they fixed comments!

@Chrysame: Twinbrook definitely feels dirty, and it's got a lot of realistic touches all over the place if you look for them. To me, it seems like the "Strangetown" of Sims3; Strangetown was really bizarre, in Sims 2.. But this time, no aliens. ;)

@Dee: If the petty cases keep up, he may just lose it. At this rate, he's going to need a mantra... "Doing this for Mere. Doing this for the family." !

Anonymous,  July 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

Comments seem to be working!

Kaleeko, I never played Sims before Sims 3. But, I get the idea behind your reference.

I'm still not sure I want to play in Twinbrook. I feel like I need to give it a chance. It's not the atmosphere as much as it's the lot sizes. There are so few big lots and it's difficult as heck to place new lots because of the terrain.

Whine, whine, whine. I probably just need some chocolate. :)

Unknown July 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

You're not whining. ;) That's a common issue that I've heard people talk about. It definitely is a pain, but since I personally rarely use lot sizes bigger than 40x40, it doesn't bother me. To place the "Oak Grove" house on Savannah Lane, though, I had to oust two smaller lots to make room for one big enough for it. It's probably going to come back to bite me once my town size starts growing and I need places to move kids out to. I'll have to come up with some creative planning, I guess. ;)

Get some chocolate anyways! I think I'll have some too.

Dee July 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

Yep, it's time for chocolate. I don't know about you but I loved some of those cases. Some of them will take a little longer to solve. Some of them are really funny. They were to me anyway. Don't forget to listen for the flutter of wings while on stakeout.

Jen August 10, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

Ooo...chocolate, now I need -want- some! lol

Meredith got a tattoo, and it's huge. But strangely lady-like. lol
So far I've only put tattoo's on my guy sims.

Oh no to Chandra coming back from the, er..dead. Poor Meredith, the worst it seems is yet to come.

Wonderful shots and writing, Kaleeko. :)

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