Thought Catalog


Only For The Brave: 5 Haunted Bed And Breakfasts You Can Actually Spend The Night At

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 11:07 AM PDT

1. Lizzie Borden House

via Wiki Commons
Lizzie Borden via Wiki Commons

In Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892, police conducted one of the most incompetent investigations of a murder ever recorded. Lizzie Borden, suspected of murdering Andrew and Abby Borden, her parents, with an axe was acquitted at trial despite changing her story repeatedly and literally being the only person in the home who could have committed the grisly deed.

AbbyBorden
Body of Abby Borden
AndrewBorden
Body of Andrew Borden

The Borden family was odd and the children, especially the daughters appeared to be spoiled, demanding that their father ‘give’ them a rental property. The family also argued notoriously with Lizzie herself leaving several times to stay in a boarding home rather than stay in her parents’ house after an argument.

Just as bizarre, the heads of Lizzie’s parents were removed during the subsequent autopsy and later presented at trial which reportedly caused Lizzie to faint in court. The heads were later buried at the foot of the parents graves.

The more interesting theories as to what may have motivated Lizzie to killer her parents are the hypothesis that she had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father. However there is no evidence to support this idea. Another theory is that Lizzie, who was widely rumored to have been a lesbian, killed her parents after she was caught having sex with the maid.

The Borden home has since been turned into a very popular bed & breakfast. You can make reservations to stay by clicking here. As would be expected, all the rooms have been booked for the month of October.

2. Smith-Ely Mansion

via Wiki Commons
via Wiki Commons

Notoriously haunted, the Smith-Ely Mansion is a forty-three room three story home built in 1850. In its day it has served as a family home, a veteran’s home, and low income housing, eventually being condemned in 2006 before being purchased and renovated two years later.

The mansion is rumored to have been the scene of several suicides in the past and those who’ve previously lived there tell stories of hearing voices at night, doors opening and closing by themselves as if people were entering and exiting the room, as well as hanging pictures and the like falling off the walls for no visible reason.

On a more grisly note, the mansion is also rumored to be the site of a decapitation resulting from an argument between two house servants wherein the body of the victim was never found and only the head remained.

You can book a room here. Have fun.

3. The Haunted Myrtles Plantation

The stories about the paranormal at Myrtles Plantation start at the very beginning when the house was originally built in 1796. The home’s owner, General David Bradford, believed the house was built on what had been a Native American burial ground and told stories of seeing a young native girl wandering the property at night. In the years that have since passed, many others have also claimed to have seen the same thing.

Another story claims that a Judge and his family once lived in the home and that the Judge took a slave named Chloe as his mistress against her will. The story goes that later on Chloe poisoned a birthday cake intended for the family, killing two of the Judge’s children. Chloe then fled but was later killed. She too has been seen spying on people staying at the plantation.

via YouTube
via YouTube

Click here to book a night at the plantation.

4. The Jailer’s Inn

via tripadvisor
via tripadvisor

Located in Bardstown, Kentucky, the Jailer’s Inn served as an actual jail for over two hundred years. Famous hauntings include the apparition of Ms. McKay who became the jailer after her husband, previously the jailer, died. She’s said to be friendly but I can’t imagine that would make anyone less creeped out about seeing her.

Martin Hill, who was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death, has also reportedly been seen in the jail and actually died in one of the cells before he could be executed. And speaking of executions, the gallows were located in the courtyard right outside the jail where countless instances of frontier justice were carried out. Ghost hunters who’ve stayed at the Inn report countless disembodied voices echoing in the jail cells at night.

You can spend the night in these cells as well. Click here to check it out. The Jail Cell Room even has a waterbed.

5. Heceta Head Lighthouse

via Flickr - Ralph Arvesen
via Flickr – Ralph Arvesen

Heceta Head Lighthouse in Devil’s Elbow has been around since the late 1800s and includes a multi-room lightkeeper’s house attached to the structure. It’s also considered one of the most haunted places in America with regular sitings of a woman known as “Rue.” However, the sitings haven’t been limited to the odd vague appearance here and there. One worker cleaning the attic in the 70s looked up from her work only to see the clear reflection of a silver-haired woman in a mirror. Turning around, the woman was still there. The worker fled the attic and refused to ever return. Rue is said to be a helpful spirit and it’s been claimed that she’s even been known to clean up broken glass in the past.

In addition to Rue, visitors to the lighthouse have reported hearing unexplained screams as well as other unexplainable sounds. The lighthouse keeper’s home is also available for rent so you can go meet Rue yourself. Check out their website. The site is ideally located in a park so you can awake to a foggy Oregon morning while scanning the room for silver-haired ghosts. TC mark

23 Hilarious (And Sweet) Jenny Slate Tweets That Will Vastly Improve Your Day

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 11:10 AM PDT

Jenny Slate Instagram
Jenny Slate Instagram

1. Things to do when you can’t get a manicure:

 

2. What to remember when you’re overwhelmed and need some perspective:

 

3. A sweet reminder of the joy of loving someone: 

 

4. Björk:

 

5. What to do when drunk and alone:

 

6. Just LOVE ME:

 

7. How to handle a life crisis:

 

8. Proof that all monuments look THE SAME:

 

9. How to embrace a healthy lifestyle:

 

10. The way you should feel about sweet old couples:

 

11. How to survive Monday:

 

12. The real truth that the moon brings out:

 

13. Some thoughts about cats:

 

14. How to be other:

 

15. The reason why the best compliments come from dogs:

 

16. Truth bomb:

 

17. All the feelz: 

 

18. PMS described in the most accurate way possible: 

 

19. Smoothie + diarrhea = Republican Debate:

 

20. Fear is the absence of exclamation points:

 

21. Not LOL-ing at this is impossible: 

 

22. How to wear a crop top: 

 

23. The opposite of complaining about air travel: 

What Should You Do When You Can’t Get Your Boyfriend’s Ex Out Of Your Head?

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 12:41 PM PDT

Twenty20, aydamir01
Twenty20, aydamir01

Dear Mélanie,

I'm 27 and I've been living with my boyfriend (whom I'll call Buddy) for over a year now. Before we became an official couple, Buddy, who's 33, was in three other serious relationships. He's still friendly with two of those women, and I don't actually mind.

What bothers me is that the girl he dated right before me for three and a half months is still hung up on him, and he won't break off all ties with the meddler like I've asked. Buddy and I have had massive fights over this girl. After I noticed that he looks her up on Facebook regularly, he offered to block her. A few days later, when I asked if he'd done it, he told me that he had but then refused to prove it. Recently, he Googled her and after I called him out for it, he set his browser to private. I've explained to Buddy that even white lies can kill a relationship.

Is this normal? I feel so betrayed. I know I have trust issues but when Buddy lies to me it hurts so much.

Sincerely,

Major Trust Issues


Dear Major Trust Issues,

First of all: Yes, you are definitely normal. Since there's absolutely no possible way to know what's going on in another person's head at all times, it's natural to speculate.

Sometimes, speculating leads us down a fluffy path lined with beautiful flowers and warm, reassuring thoughts. On other occasions, it leads us down a dark thorny rabbit hole of crazy conjectures and wild assumptions. We're all prone to insecurities, some of which are bound to manifest as relationship doubts, no matter how long we’ve been with someone or how strong our bond is.

Arguably, there's an upside to a dose of relationship jealousy. On a biological level, it's a reminder that your significant other is desired, which can make you feel good about landing them and inspire you to do what it takes to stick it out as a couple. That said, when envy becomes more distressing than manageable—when the emotion transforms from a minor nagging itch into a giant drooling fanged green monster—it can be poisonous to both the individual experiencing it and the relationship they're in. If you're spending more time fielding ugly thoughts than positive ones, it’s time to rethink your situation and pinpoint whatever’s triggering so much negativity.

So let’s consider the root of your current frustrations. You mentioned that you've been cyberstalking your boyfriend's ex, but what you described sounds a lot more like cybersnooping. To be clear, there's a big fat difference between Googling your boyfriend's ex so you can assess every ounce of information about her available for public consumption, and slyly sitting down at your boyfriend's computer to comb through his Internet activity. Personally, I'm against cybersnooping, which is a blatant violation of privacy akin to reading someone's diary. I would even argue that anyone who cybersnoops relinquishes the right to be mad about whatever they uncover through such measures. Somehow, I doubt you'd like it if your boyfriend were to attack you with tidbits gathered from sifting through your phone or computer. As you’ve already seen, spying doesn’t even inspire honesty. Rather, it engenders covert behavior (like going incognito online).

You accuse your boyfriend of lying, but your sneaky behavior is equally ill advised. You say you feel betrayed, but every time you go behind your boyfriend's back to monitor his browsing history or his Facebook account, you betray him—and the relationship you’ve built together.

Human relationships are complicated. You will never know everything going on inside your partner's head. You will always have to wonder whether your boyfriend is being entirely truthful. You will always feel vulnerable. These are the less awesome aspects of choosing to commit to another human being. We are all flawed, and we all have secrets. If you want a relationship in which trust is never an issue, I'd suggest getting a dog.

Since you tolerate your boyfriend’s ongoing friendships with some of the other women he’s dated, I suspect you have it in you to stop this mere three-and-a-half-monther from troubling you so much, and to prevent yourself from dismantling your relationship one unfounded accusation at a time. My advice is to calm down and find something better to do with your time than monitor your boyfriend’s online habits. If you want to discuss his ex, open up the dialogue in a non-judgmental manner and give your boyfriend space to tell you how he honestly feels. Then express how you feel about the whole situation, without referencing information culled through spiteful amateur detective work. The thing is, he chose to be with you, not her. And I’m sure he has his reasons. Ultimately, if you can’t tame your cybersnooping reflex or shake the ex anxiety, your relationship issues might run deeper than the girl your boyfriend dated for less than a quarter of the time you’ve been together.

At this stage, I think you have two choices. You can embrace what works in your relationship and pledge to move forward, understanding that there will always be elements beyond your control, and that sometimes you will feel hurt and suspicious and exasperated and terrified—but other times, you will fee safe and comforted and relieved and loved. Or you can break up now, before you drive yourself completely mad—and drive your boyfriend far, far away in the process.

No one wants to date the cyber police. And no one deserves to have their every move scrutinized, not even by the person they love.

Fondly,

Mélanie

If You Think Dolls Are Creepy, The Trailer For ‘The Boy’ Will Haunt Your Nightmares

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 05:49 PM PDT

In a beautiful English manor, two protective parents are looking for the perfect nanny for their son Brahms.

The Boy
The Boy

Except… this is what Brahms looks like:

The Boy
The Boy

Here are a list of rules for being Brahm’s nanny:

The Boy
The Boy
The Boy
The Boy

It turns out Brahm’s doesn’t like it when you don’t follow the rules.

The Boy
The Boy

I wonder what could possibly go wrong?

The Boy
The Boy

Here’s the full trailer:

A Conversation With A U.S. Veteran About Mass Shootings And Gun Laws

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 11:23 AM PDT

On October 1, a mass shooting took place in Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon. Fourteen days later, how many of us have gone back to life as it was before? Following the initial but usual short-term public outcry and debates about more guns and less guns, for the most part, societal life goes on. Until the next mass shooting.
Twenty 20 / spentologist
Twenty 20 / spentologist
There is a normalization of mass shootings that has taken place in this culture, combined with the common societal problem of historical amnesia. Societal change does not occur without persistence in ensuring that conversations about change are always at the forefront of the people’s minds. Last week, I dialogued with Veteran USMC and retired Baltimore Police Sgt. Michael A. Wood Jr. about mass shootings, gun laws, and why America finds it difficult to change.

beetlejuice

Thought Catalog: Hi Michael. Can you tell us a little about your background and then also what was your primary reaction to the latest major school shooting in Oregon?

Michael A Wood Jr.: In short, I am a typical rural American. I now have a wife and young daughter and am working on my PhD in Management, after serving 4 years in the USMC, 11 years in the Baltimore Police Department, a BS in Criminal Justice, and an MS in IT Management.

My time in Baltimore was ground zero for the gun violence in America. As for the Oregon tragedy, my reaction is sadness, maybe some hopelessness because this is expected, foreseeable, and televised across the world. Meanwhile, mass shootings occur on the regular in poor black communities and no one seems to care.

TC: Before we get to the heart of the conversation which is about gun-related deaths and especially mass shootings, I want to address that latter point. In discussing mass shootings, there is this point that is brought up about shootings that take place in poor, and oftentimes poor, Black neighborhoods. These shootings are related to gang activity which is related to economic and social disenfranchisement.

I really think it's important to make that distinction because there are historical and sociological factors that are understood as far as the causes for "shootings in the ghetto," or shootings in poor neighborhoods. And these causes are often related to institutionalized racism and a certain lack of upward economic movement for the poor.

Do you think this distinction is important and separate, or are the mass shootings that have come to be prevalent in the American imagination – Columbine, Newtown, etc. related to what happens in poor, Black neighborhoods?

I think that in a generalized fashion, America cares when white college kids die and do not care when people who society already tries to ignore, die

MW: That is quite a nuanced discussion and I am not sure that we could arrive at a definitive conclusion. Rather than get into the details, we can say that the motivation may be different but the access to guns, the gun culture, and the ripple effects on a family and community are the same.

The nuance arrives in the motivation and motivation is so complex that it may not be a topic we can even broach. In other words, if we can prevent the symptoms, the cause may not be worth focusing on. I think that in a generalized fashion, America cares when white college kids die and does not care when people who society already ignores, die.

beetlejuice

TC: I was going to save this for later but now that you've addressed it, we can go there. I saw this tweet the other day and I thought it was particularly brilliant:

I think that there is media attention when White college kids die or White kids die in general. But isn't there something to be said that after Newtown, there has still been no change to gun laws?

Those were little White children. If the deaths of little White children cannot enrage the American public enough, what will? I say this with a bitter taste in my mouth but also with the understanding of the racist society that we operate in. I'm not sure anything other than politicians willing to sacrifice their places in politics, and their legacies will really change the law. Thoughts?

MW: I do not know who Dan Hodges is, so I do not have full context, but I am not so sure that tweet is factual. If you talk to most people, they did want reform after Sandy Hook, and reform is why we are talking now.

The assumption that I think leads to this false logic is that what America wants, is actually represented by the legislators and politicians in general. It seems as though everywhere you turn, problems in America are tied to politicians serving the desires of corporate donors and not the American public. I just do not believe that America accepts children dying in schools, I believe that politicians do.

TC: I think it's fair and true to say that some Americans, maybe even many Americans want reform. But I also think that there are those who simply accept – from the politicians to the people – that "these things happen." Some see it as a negative consequence but an acceptable one in order to have the freedoms guaranteed in the Second Amendment.

And speaking of the Second Amendment, do you think it should be applied in the way it is currently? One of my personal gripes with it is there is no way that our current technology could have been foreseen at that time it was written. And because of that, does it make logical sense to apply it to the current cultural and technological environment? Are these individual liberties in this specific context that may have terrible consequences, more important than the common good? I ask knowing these things aren’t mutually exclusive.

America's answer to anyone being able to weld such a powerful weapon is that I, or someone like me, kills them before they kill you. Oh America, that cannot be the answer.

MW: I still do not know, Kovie. I observe that there is a staggering level of willful ignorance in American society. If you get people into a room and go over the facts and explain the logic, you have to be crazy not to see that what we are doing does not work, right?

Eighty million people in nearly half of the households, own approximately 300 million firearms, including 100 million handguns. Two-thirds of homicides are committed with firearms. A Harvard study found that of 26 developed countries, the U.S. has 15 times the average in homicides. The frequency of mass shootings is dramatic and we have an epidemic of police shootings (or more likely a revelation of a hidden epidemic). I do not think that if the pros and cons are honestly presented, that you can leave thinking this is an acceptable consequence.

Throughout most of my life, the conservative influence of the right to bear arms made sense to me. I do not see it that way any longer. It was a slow progression for many reasons, but the one final reason was quite simple. I realized that I have carried a gun for the last 13 or so years because of the fear that someone else may be carrying one. Then on top of that I was carrying, and continue to, because America's answer to anyone being able to weld such a powerful weapon is that I, or someone like me, kills them before they kill you. Oh America, that cannot be the answer.

The Framers understood that things would change and built in the mechanism for amendments. There is no way, that the technology and reality of today was what the Framers meant in the Second Amendment. I'm not even sure that we would come up with it today because we would not even think of it.

To anyone out there, let me tell you this: The idea that the women and men of the United States Marine Corps would conduct an amphibious landing in the harbor of Baltimore to take over the city and control the citizens is insanity. These are our friends, family, and neighbors. Technology has connected us all.

beetlejuice

TC: You've touched on one of the myths of gun control – which is this idea that the government is going to "come and take your guns." To be quite honest, I find it rather childish and laughable. The reality of technology is if the government wanted to annihilate all of us, it could do so in a heartbeat. It's scary but it’s the truth.

But what other gun myths do you think are prevalent among many people who don't think gun ownership should be more strictly regulated? And for that matter, what solutions do you think our culture most readily needs as far as gun laws go?

Why in the heck is anyone working towards the society of every person being a deadly threat?

MW: Of course the government could inflict serious damage by pressing buttons. And the basic idea is that a bunch of amateurs would be able to defeat the most powerful military the world has ever seen? On the flip side, the rate of gun ownership probably would make it impossible for ground forces to overtake country. But remember, they have to get through the most powerful military the world has ever seen, first. That myth is about the only thing that is remotely factual. So the question for that is: How many children with bullets in their bodies are worth the fears you have?

Some other myths, are that people under such stress are even capable of reacting properly: That good guys with guns can and do stop bad guys with guns regularly. That more guns equals safety. Think about that for a second, it is like fighting fire with fire. It just is not logical.

For any of the myths out there I just ask that people carry them out to their fullest and see if that makes sense. For example, a violence free society would look like what? An armed society, with more guns, more concealed, more of the most uncontrollable variable (the human being), what does that society look like? Why in the heck is anyone working towards the society of every person being a deadly threat?

Solution wise, I think it is very difficult to deal with the amount of guns already out there. Ideally, I would allow shotguns, incredibly strict requirements for handguns, ban all other gun type manufacturing for private sale, and continually push the facts and evidence with an education campaign to attempt to alleviate fears and seek destruction of handguns and rifles.

TC: One of the more pervasive of ideologies that seem to prohibit any solutions including education, not to mention legal avenues, is this notion that some Americans believe and sometimes provide bad research to support a position that, "gun laws don't work."

It doesn’t matter how many other comparable societies that have changed their gun laws after ONE mass shooting. Nor does it matter that the evidence to support that less homicides take place with stricter gun laws and certainly less mass shootings. Still, people and that includes educated people will say, "gun laws don't work." What do you say that? How do you get around that?

MW: Well, I agree that gun laws do not work when the laws are on the people. What I mean by that is that it appears as though human beings cannot safely coexist with such high levels of gun saturation and a dog eat dog culture.

I do not have the concept fully thought out, but understand that cops are out there shooting people at an internationally alarming rate in America because they are afraid everyone has guns. They are not following the laws about pulling that trigger because of the availability of guns.

The blood of prohibition, both alcohol and other drugs, is spilled on our streets and lives are destroyed so often and easily because the gun is available. With this current reality, laws and incarceration are not the solutions. People need to understand what we are creating, apply laws against new manufacturing, and start a cultural shift that recognizes how such power corrupts.

beetlejuice

TC: Finally, there's a part of me that has hope – because that's the right thing to do. But I also believe an individual and communities have to get to work in order for hope to be made possible and achievable.

It's one thing to talk about change, and it's another to make it happen. Of course change starts with a voice but it doesn't end there. I have this bad feeling that even after what happened in Oregon, it won't be too long until we're having another "thoughts and prayers" session in the country over the same thing.

How do people who want change, how should they go about enacting it, both politically and within their communities?

We must change our culture.

MW: For better or for worse in how the public will take this, but thoughts and prayers do not work. We have to act. There are many of us that are acting right now and I really believe we will win. It will take time but what we are talking about human beings winning in a just society with safe streets. With the availability of information and the work being done on the streets, we will win.

For the public that wants the future that I speak of, step 1: join and support Wolf PAC to get a Constitutional Amendment getting money out of politics, so our politicians actually represent us. Step 2: Protest with us, fight for change, force the government to act on reform. If you like my message, get me or someone like me in charge.

My ultimate desire is have a federal position enacting reform – make them do that. Make your politicians put qualified leaders with these visions in charge of your police departments. I would drop my path and go to a Cincinnati (or elsewhere) to prove that we can do this and I am far from alone. If you are a citizen and do you not want to live in fear of going to the movies or having a cop overreact to fear? If you are a cop, do you not want to work where you do not have to be afraid that every car stop contains a hidden gun? We must change our culture. TC mark


If you would like to contribute to the conversation, submit your article, commentary, or questions to dialogue@thoughtcatalog.com.


25 Ricky Gervais Quotes That Will Make You Laugh, Think, And Maybe Go On A Twitter Rant

Posted: 11 Oct 2015 07:00 AM PDT

The Office
The Office

1. "If you can’t joke about the most horrendous things in the world, what’s the point of jokes? What’s the point in having humor? Humor is to get us over terrible things."

beetlejuice

2. "You found it offensive? I found it funny. That's why I'm happier than you."

beetlejuice

3. "Being on the edge isn't as safe, but the view is better."

beetlejuice

4. “People who criticize you have usually never achieved anywhere near what you have. Most of them would be too scared to even try. Keep going.”

beetlejuice

5. “Enjoy life. Have fun. Be kind. Have worth. Have friends. Be honest. Laugh. Die with dignity. Make the most of it. It’s all we’ve got.”

beetlejuice

6. "You have options. You can either continue to be miserable or you can just stop being angry at everyone and accept the way things are. Allow yourself to live."

beetlejuice

7. "Remember, when someone says 'you've changed,' it usually just means you've stopped living your life their way."

beetlejuice

8. "Mondays are fine. It's your life that sucks."

beetlejuice

9. "If you spend your days doing what you love, it is impossible to fail."

beetlejuice

10. "You should bring something into the world that wasn't in the world before. It doesn't matter what that is. It doesn't matter if it's a table or a film or gardening—everyone should create. You should do something and then sit back and say, 'I did that.'"

beetlejuice

11. "Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right."

beetlejuice

12. "Remember, happiness is the only success that matters and the one that your critics are most jealous of."

beetlejuice

13. "Got a proper job at 28. Gave it up to try comedy at 38. Decided to get fit and healthy at 48. It's never too late. But do it now."

beetlejuice

14. "The best advice I've ever received is, 'No one else knows what they're doing either.'"

beetlejuice

15. "Life is just a series of peaks and troughs. And you don’t know whether you’re in a trough until you’re climbing out, or on a peak until you’re coming down. And that’s it you know, you never know what’s round the corner. But it’s all good. ‘If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.’ Do you know which ‘philosopher’ said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits."

beetlejuice

16. "Telling someone with depression to pull themselves together is about as useful as telling someone with cancer to just stop having cancer."

beetlejuice

17. "No one wants to see cool people doing brilliantly. I want to see the struggle. That’s the fun bit."

beetlejuice

18. "You won't burn in hell. But be nice anyway."

beetlejuice

19. "Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid."

beetlejuice

20. "The truth doesn't hurt. Whatever it is, it doesn't hurt. It's better to know the truth."

beetlejuice

21. “Honor is a gift a man gives himself. You can be as good as anyone that ever lived. If you can read, you can learn everything that anyone ever learned. But you’ve got to want it.”

beetlejuice

22. “Some of you are really smart. You know who you are. Some of you are really thick. Unfortunately, you don’t know who you are.”

beetlejuice

23. “There’s no difference between fame and infamy now. There’s a new school of professional famous people that don’t do anything. They don’t create anything.”

beetlejuice

24. “I am not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I’m a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

beetlejuice

25. "Same sex marriage is not a gay privilege, it's equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes. Like churches don't." TC mark

15 Tips For Traveling With Your Significant Other

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 07:48 AM PDT

Twenty20 / Leomacphoto
Twenty20 / Leomacphoto

When you plan a trip with your significant other, it's not just about the destination, the reason, the budget, the flights, the hotels etc. The trip is an opportunity, to discover/re-discover each other. It can be said, without a doubt, that every time you travel with someone, you learn something new about them.

So whether you're going away for the weekend, or a week long holiday, a month long backpack trip, or even just attending a wedding – the trip is, in itself, very important to your relationship. Because it will help you see your partner in a new light.

So, here's a few tips that I could think of

1. Discuss the flight timings, and the hotel options with them before booking. If you like night flights, and your partner doesn't, you will have a grumpy person with you when you land and you don't want that. Also, if your partner prefers charming boutique hotels to high rise five-star hotels, then you might want to know before you book. So do your searches and bookings together. It's actually a fun bonding exercise. And don't shy away from an upgrade if you can afford it, flight or hotel. It will make you both happier people throughout the trip.

2. Figure out your partner's "travel behavior" at the airport. Are they the type who like to shop at duty free, walk around, grab a beer or bite at the airport, or do they like to get there just in time to board the flight. Make room for each other's choices.

3. Some people are flight talkers, some are flight sleepers, some are flight movie marathon runners. Figure yours out. And tell each other. Tip – sometimes having some (or a lot of) wine with your in-flight meal can be a precursor to a fun conversation.

4. Provided you have your transportation to your hotel all done, and you get there after a long, tiring flight, the first thing you should check is if the hotel looks as nice as the pictures (they are deceiving a lot of the time), and if your partner likes it. Trust me, there are shockers a plenty when it comes to hotels… right from the location being in a weird part/street, to the carpet smell in the rooms, or even just the hot water. This is why you should read reviews online before booking a hotel. But if you're still in for a surprise after all your research, ask your partner what they would like, and both of you decide together if you want to stay or change. I've come to realize that if you're not happy with your hotel/room, the place where you rest, your energy is not going to be at its best on the trip.

So even though there might be a little early tension in the trip if the hotel isn't great, just be prepared for it, and make sure you ease it out by calmly figuring out a solution together.

5. You're sharing space with someone, and you're living out of a suitcase. Try not to be sloppy. Keep the bathroom floor dry, keep the wash basin area dry, don't throw your towels around all over the room, keep your stuff in your suitcases or in the part of the room where your stuff is. Don't have it strewn all over the place. Not only does it look/feel untidy to the other person, it messes up the energy in your room. So this is just basic, general stuff that one can even stick to at home. But I'm stressing on this more during a trip because you are sharing space with a lovely person and you want to make them more comfortable and happy around you than less.

6. Ask your partner what kind of things he/she likes to do in a new place. If you like exploring old buildings/monuments, and he/she prefers to check out the bar/club scene, then mix the two together and make sure you both enjoy the other person's interest with them. That's what being together on a trip is about. Compromising is key, be open to doing new things even though they might not be your interest. You'll find that sometimes trying something new with your partner might just spark a new interest in you and you might grow to love that activity.

7. Hold hands while walking around and exploring the place together.

8. Don't be camera-crazy like some tourists, but definitely take some memorable pictures together. In the future, these pictures will always make you smile. (Avoid the classic stand together and smile poses.)

9. If you're walking a lot on the trip, ask your partner when they'd like to rest/take a break. Make a drinks break out of it. ; )

10. If one of you falls sick on the trip, don't leave them alone and run off to explore. This is where you show them your priority. Stay back in the hotel room with them, the point was to spend time together on a break. So do it while watching tv together in bed if that's how it turns out. No big deal. The last thing you want is to be left alone when you're unwell, in a new country, all alone in a hotel room with nothing to do. So don't do that to them either. Classic solution for situations like this – carry a pack of cards or uno with you. I always have a pack in my suitcase. Uno always turns things fun. : )

11. While I don't think you should leave the other person alone when you're unwell, I do believe that it can be healthy to spend some time apart even on your trip together. For example, one of you loves shopping or scuba diving, and the other one loves spas or just lazing at the pool/beach… well, you can split up and each do your thing for a couple of hours. It's healthy, it will allow you to miss each other for a bit, and who knows, it might just give you both a fun story to share later.

12. Be aware of each other's needs at all times. Look after each other. Be considerate.

13. Get drunk together.

14. Have conversations with strangers together. In a bar, on the street, doesn't matter. Engage in a healthy conversation with a new person/couple – you'll learn something new, and you'll make a memory.

15. The most important one – LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN THE ROOM. And DON'T CONNECT TO WIFI, anywhere. You're on this holiday so you can DISCONNECT FROM THE WORLD, and just be with your partner. Get your "together time". Getting on Facebook, updating your status, checking in – what's it all worth??? NOTHING. The world will not stop running if you don't check your Facebook for a few days. There's a live human being in front of you that you love/care about, whose traveled hundreds of miles away from home to spend time with YOU… so be there WITH THEM, completely.

Share stories, talk, laugh, get to know one another on a new level – remember, that is the whole point. You never get to do that when you're at home in your city. Do it now. Don't waste time on the usual crap you fill your life with back home. You'll never look back on your life when you're old and think "I wish I had checked my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram more often". But you will regret not having made the most out of time together with your partner.

And finally – life is short, time is short, and your trip is definitely short. So just have fun, get to know each other on a deeper, newer level, remember that being with each other was the point of the trip, let your worries and tensions go, and enjoy your time together! It's never going to come back. TC mark

Tower Records: A Place To Be Seen

Posted: 14 Oct 2015 11:15 AM PDT

2034726801_c7185645ec_o
Alan Light / CC BY http://2.0 / Via flickr.com/photos/alan-light/2034726801

David Lee Roth

"I remember one day when David Lee Roth came in looking high as hell. His album Skyscraper had just come out, and the album cover is him mountain-climbing somewhere, like on the side of a huge rock face, and we had a wooden version of the album cover on the roof of the building, and he showed up for a meet-and-greet thing, an autograph signing, and he was so wasted he said, ‘I'm going to climb the Matterhorn,’ and there were people from the record label screaming themselves because he could have fallen and killed himself, and amazingly, he didn't. He was a very nice guy. He took you out for ice cream. He would often come in the store, glad-handing people. One time he came in and was talking to a bunch of us and he was like, ‘Hey, ice cream sundaes for everyone at Barney's!’ He took 15-20 of us for ice-cream sundaes at Barney's."

Slash from Guns N’ Roses

"I met Slash the day that I got hired. I met him and Vanity. She was there visiting the manager who hired me. The manager’s name was Kevin; he was this black guy with a very bad Jheri curl. With the shag in the back. Very typical bad Jheri curl. Longer than Lionel Richie's. I was interviewed in one room and then Kevin waked me back to the manager's office and we opened the door and Saul—his name wasn't ‘Slash’ yet—he was sitting behind the manager's desk and leaned back in a chair. I couldn't tell if he was asleep or not, because he had the stupid hat on and sunglasses. He even wore that stupid hat there. It kind of looked like he was sort of sleeping. Kevin told him to get out of the office. ‘You gotta give me a minute,’ Slash says. He sits up in the chair and kind of adjusts himself, and then a girl crawled out from underneath the desk."

The rest of Guns N’ Roses and the hair-metal scene

"It wasn't only Slash who worked at Tower—Axl Rose worked there, too. I knew both of them. And that other guy—Taime Downe. He had that band Faster Pussycat. They were all friends. All those rocker dudes that hung out at the Roxy and Gazzarri's and the Whisky and the Rainbow.

"So it was a whole Peyton Place soap-opera scene. Everyone who was in a band was begging you every five minutes to buy a ticket to go see them play. They were in your face three times a week.

"I saw Guns N’ Roses like, I don't know, a hundred thousand times because it seemed like they played every other day at one of those places. Same with Motley Crue, because they lived up the street on Doheny.

"Guns N’ Roses were like every other dude who got in a band and got rich—they were all jackasses, completely egotistical, all they were into was themselves, they really couldn't give a shit about you. Most of them worked either at Tower or the rock 'n' roll Ralph's supermarket on Sunset. The way they survived and paid their rent was there was a whole network of groupie girls and these chicks basically took care of them, so it would be two to three girls for one guy. One would do their laundry, another would have sex with them, and another would buy them food.

"Those chicks were all annoying because they were all in competition with each other. It was a precursor to Bret Michaels's Rock of Love—all these girls fighting over these guys trying to be the #1 girl so they could get rich off these dudes."

Vanity

"The first person I ever met was Vanity. It was at work, and I'm going back in the office, it was the same day I got hired, and then I went to the bathroom and came back and Vanity was in the office with my manager Kevin. They were close friends. So I walk in the room and I see this kid in a full-length black mink coat. And this is Los Angeles and it's summertime. So I see bare legs and high heels and this mink coat and long hair. She turned around and it was Vanity, and I was completely gobsmacked. She was wearing lingerie underneath the coat. Basically a teddy and a thong. Her eyes are swirling around independently in her head in all different directions. She asked me if I'd like a piece of candy: ‘I have all kinds of candy.’ She reaches in her pocket, grabs a handful of something, opens up her hand, and it's unwrapped lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, chewing gum, all unwrapped and covered in pocket lint and fur: ‘You want one?’ I was like, ‘OK, no thanks.’"

Michael Jackson

"The most dramatic thing would be whenever Michael Jackson would show up. He would always come in wearing a costume so he could be anonymous. But the giveaway was that he would have on those loafers with ‘MJ’ in gold on the top of his loafers. And you'd just know it was him because he'd be so freaky-looking and he'd send in recon before his visit, and they'd warn us he was coming in, and he'd always come in with his assistant. It was a game that he played. He'd come in wearing these crazy costumes. One time he had on this big Afro wig and these crazy false teeth, but you knew it was him. You know how some celebrities have the X factor? Just the energy coming off him, you knew it was Michael Jackson. The workers knew it was him because he came in every fucking week. But he'd always fool all the customers, because everyone in Hollywood is a little weird-looking, so nobody looked at him twice."

A place to be seen

"Tower was a respite for people. You'd come there and see some celebrities walking around—Brian Setzer, Bruce Springsteen, Whoopi Goldberg. Everyone came to be seen. You buy records, maybe see a celebrity, maybe get an autograph, and that would make your day." TC mark

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4 Things Women Wish You Would Say On A First Date

Posted: 15 Oct 2015 06:29 AM PDT

Twenty20 / amyjhumphries
Twenty20 / amyjhumphries

First dates are a lot like job interviews: You can’t score the soul mate or the paycheck without that first meet-and-greet. While some glide through this necessary evil with straight-A finesse, others bumble along a path of C-worthy mediocrity producing mixed results.

Enter our first date study guide for men. Whether or not you and that hot thing across from you will one day get married and pop out children, we can’t say, but you can’t go wrong following the four tactics below:

1. “I love that (insert clothing piece, hair style, tattoo, eye makeup)…”

When you first see us, compliment us. I know, I know, are we really that insecure? Are we really that vain? The answer is yes. But don’t paw and drool like imprisoned frat boys. We wouldn’t be on a date if we wanted someone grabbing our butt. Surely there’s a dive bar down the street to provide that service if so desired.

Instead, appreciate the beading on our turquoise bracelet, compliment our navy blue eyeliner, or our trench coat. No, you won’t sound gay. Trust us. In fact, you’ll earn a few bonus points on the final exam if you appreciate our limited-edition Puma sneakers.

Of course, don’t go overboard (no need to sound like Michael Kors) and don’t force it. Rather, just verbalize what you’re thinking.

2. “And why do you say that?”

This may come as a shock, but we’re as smart, funny, and quirky as we are beautiful. Find out for yourself by asking questions and genuinely listening to the answers. You may begin to feel a bit like a therapist, which means you’re on the right path. And when you start to feel like the interviewer on a 60 Minutes reel, then you know you’re golden, baby.

While it may feel lopsided or a bit too Barbara Walters at first, if you’re more ears then mouth on the first date, you’ve already distinguished yourself. You’d be horrified by the men who feel they need to yap, boast, and brag their way through dinner.

3. “Wow you’re good at…”

Now give us an intelligence compliment. Something pertaining to our minds that isn’t overly obvious. Something that will make us think. This might be tricky, but once you start looking for it, the answers will be so apparent you’ll wonder why you haven’t done this your entire dating life.

We’re insanely cerebral, us lady folk, and if you can get in our heads, your chances of getting in our pants skyrocket. Maybe you’re impressed with our wit. Maybe Jeopardy’s on and we’re kicking your butt. Are we good storytellers? Whatever it is, let us know.

4. “To tell you the truth…”

Yes, please do! Starting a sentence this way makes us feel like your guard is down and you’re letting us in on some secret aspect of yourself. And this is our cat nip.

Now, per point #2, this isn’t an invitation to go on and on about yourself, your high school lacrosse glory days, or your foot fetish (best to save this for a later date). Any sort of long-winded braggado is definitely more kitty litter than nip. Know what we mean? Confused? Don’t be. Just let us in a little. TC mark

YOURTANGO

My Friend And I Used To Play ‘Army’ In The Woods, But This Incident Changed Our Friendship Forever

Posted: 14 Oct 2015 12:32 PM PDT

Flickr / Nathan O'Nions
Flickr / Nathan O’Nions

I have never told anyone about this… but it's time to get something off my chest. I need to push the darkness of the one horrifying day of my childhood off of my chest like a bench press or the weight of it is going to eventually slip down and choke me to death.

So here we go.

beetlejuice

My favorite thing to do when I was 11-years-old was playing "Army" at my friend Toby's house. I would count down the hours, minutes, and seconds until Saturday afternoon almost every week until I would hop in my mom's Suburban and traverse the windy roads of the foothills of the North Cascades that led up to where Toby's family lived on a small rustic raspberry farm at the end of a gravel road.

I loved playing Army at Toby's house most of all because his family's multiple-acre property was loaded with forts, treehouses, little creeks, and sheds that made it seem like it was some kind of backlot set from an old war movie. On top of that, Toby's dad was a Vietnam vet who had authentic military gear that helped us truly feel like we were battling some kind of foreign threat that had made its way to the moist, mossy forests of Western Washington.

The afternoon started just like every other one where my mom dropped me off to play Army and stay the night at Toby's house – we loaded our packs with hard-ass military essentials like Fruit Roll Ups, Gushers, nuclear green Gatorade, and Nerf guns spray-painted black and we stomped out into the woods. Once into the near-darkness of the Washington evergreens, Toby and I would head straight to a place that seemed almost too good to be true for an 11-year-old rural boy – an underground fort.

The envy of every boy at Browning Elementary School, Toby's dad built the underground fort based on one he had encountered in the jungles of Vietnam. Toby's dad said he couldn't stay in the thing for more than a few minutes or he would get flashbacks and that was good news for Toby and all of his friends as it allowed for him to stash the Playboys we had all accumulated to be stored there in relative safety.

About 25 yards from the end of Toby's yard and the start of the woods was the rotten stump Toby's dad had hollowed out to turn into the entrance to the fort. You climbed up into the thing, lifted up a heavy wooden door (to keep out coyotes and other animals) and climbed down a ladder into the darkness hole of the fort where a lantern to illuminate the dirt walls of the thing waited.

Just like any other day, Toby and I started in the fort, mapping out our plan of attack on a custom map of the woods around the house that Toby's dad made for us. This day, we planned to attack a tiny little island that rested where two creeks on the property met, but we were going to have to take a special route there due to a very real enemy that hovered in the woods between the island and the fort – Colt Gaskin.

A skinny seventh grader with a jet black bowl cut and a mean streak, Colt was Toby's neighbor through the forest and a menacing figure who rode his dirt bike through the woods that served as our imaginary battlefield. People liked to exaggerate about getting beaten up after school every day when really they just got a little bit made fun of (beatings in real life send you to the hospital), but Colt would literally hit us in the face if he saw us and he had gotten Toby really good last week when we got in the way of his dirt bike.

Our plan was to avoid Colt's scope of range by taking a path that was just off of Toby's backyard to the island and it worked. We were able to execute our attack on the island without any interference except for a tough counterstrike from our imaginary opponents.

However, our success made us overconfident, as we took our normal path back from the island that cut through Colt's hunting grounds.

It was a horrible mistake. The whining rumble of Colt's dirt bike coming up from behind us made me freeze in our muddy tracks.

Within seconds, I felt Colt's hand slap against the back of my head and knock my camo hat off. I watched him skid in front of us, whip his dirt bike around and rev the obnoxious engine in our faces.

"Oh fuck," Toby and I cussed at the same time and Colt skidded to a frantic stop just in front of us with the obnoxious engine of the bike still blaring.

"Ah, little fags playing G.I. Joe in the woods," Colt snickered just after shutting off his engine and jumping off his dirt bike.

Toby didn't wait another second, he took off in the direction of the island and I bolted as well, went in the direction of the underground fort.

I'm not sure why I decided not to run in the same direction as Toby, but it turned out to be a good selfish choice. I heard Colt's dirt bike roar off in the direction Toby had bolted.

I figured Toby would meet back up with me after he escaped whatever ended up happening with Colt at the underground fort anyway and dove down into the darkness of the secure facility with my lungs heaving. I scrambled hard onto the hard dirt floor and took a few moments to collect my breath before I started crawling towards the middle of the fort where we left the lantern.

I started pawing on the ground where it should have been, but couldn't find it. I at first didn't think anything of it, we must have just put it somewhere else before we left, but that sense of normalcy evaporated when I heard a slimy cough come from a somewhere in the pitch black fort.

I froze again. I thought about calling out the name Toby with a question mark at the end of it, but there was no point, I had seen Toby run off in the other direction and the tone of the cough was far too deep to be produced by an 11-year-old.

Maybe, it was Toby's dad? My brain thought for a second before it thought of my next move, the lighter in my pocket. I flashed the thing on and saw the worst sight my eyes had witnessed in my young life…

Sitting in one of the corners of the fort was a completely naked middle-aged man covered from head to toe in body hair. My vision was limited in the faint second of a crack of light the lighter gave out, but the guy looked a lot like the wax cavemen I had seen at museums on field trips before and he shot a look at me just before the light gave out and I tore up to the lid of the fort.

I scrambled out into the dying light of the afternoon forest assuming the naked hairy man in the fort was snapping at feet like a shark. I tumbled my way off of the stump that served as the entrance to the fort and took off deeper into the woods at a full sprint without a look back.

The woods were eerily silent as I dashed through the soggy-leafed floor in the heart of dusk that had turned the dimmer switch to nearly dark under the canopy of thick trees. The near darkness combined with the wet air of the Fall Western Washington forest created a bit of a misty fog that crept through the trees and filled my lungs with moisture as I sucked air in my sprint.

My lungs and legs could finally take no more and I slowed to a wobbly stop as a few fat drops of rain fell down from the tall trees and onto the top of my head. I keeled over, gasping for air and put my hands on the knees of my camo pants.

For a second, the adrenaline leaked out of my brain and I started to realize that I ran in the complete wrong direction. I had sprinted deeper into the dark woods, far, far away from the safety of Toby's parents' house, closer to Colt's family's house and probably actually even past it where I actually had no idea where I was…and the sun was setting.

I took a long look at my surroundings from every direction and in no way recognized any of the endless forest around me. It was just a murky collection of trees, bushes and the call of mysterious birds coming from the trees that were soaking up the last little bits of light of the day.

My first instinct was to cry. I was 11-years-old and I was alone, lost in a darkening forest with the temperature plummeting rapidly. My only comfort was knowing that Toby's parents knew we were playing in the woods and were supposed to be in by nightfall, but I also had no idea how far away from their property I was and if they would be distracted by trying to track down Toby after his own incident with Colt.

I figured my best option was to try and start walking back in the direction from where I had come, but I wasn't sure which direction that was. An 11-year-old with a brain coursing with adrenaline and fear, I lost track of my path and just kind of turned around and started heading that way.

Five minutes into my journey, I got the feeling that I was going the wrong way. I had seen no signs of life or anything that I recognized, so I started heading in another direction while wiping tears from my eyes.

It quickly seemed like it was a good choice once I started hearing the light trickle of a creek coming from off in the distance. I knew that there was a small creek, "Crawdad Creek," that ran the very edge of Toby's parents' property. I followed the sounds of running water through some tall grass and skunk cabbage until a flash of orange neon caught my eye.

Sticking out of the tall grass just off the shore of the creek was a small tent that jutted out of the grass like the peak of a mountain stick up out of a grassy valley. I crept up to the nylon structure without anxiety, I believed that the little mobile domicile might be housing someone who could help me, but I was wrong.

I could see that the entrance of the tent was open when I walked in and saw no human presence waiting for me there, just a few scattered items on top of a crumpled sleeping bag. Noticing that one of the items was a flashlight, I figured it would be good for me to do a little scavenging as I anticipated nightfall.

At a closer vantage, the items on the sleeping bag were the flashlight, a thawed-out box of Bagel Bites, a long hunting knife with a ringed handle and a stack of Polaroid pictures. After confirming that the flashlight worked, I turned my beam of light to the Polaroids and immediately wished I hadn't.

What I saw were those rare images so vile they immediately make you feel sick to your stomach. The first three Polaroids I scanned for the faintest of moments were of Toby naked, frozen forever in lurid poses that reminded me of the portraits in the Playboys back in the fort and the last two were of Colt in similar positions in the very tent I was standing in.

I felt stinging vomit bubble up to the back of my throat before I threw the pictures back down and shuffled out of the tent with the flashlight stuck to my hand in a tight grip of dark fear. Once outside of the cover of the tent I saw reason to quickly shut the flashlight right back off when I heard a familiar cough cut through the now completely dark forest and caught a glimpse of the naked, pale meat of the man I had seen in the fort.

I dove into the tall grass behind the tent and started to crawl on my belly towards the creek where I eventually settled underneath the safe cover of a rotting dead log lying on its side. Once, comfortable, I peeked up into the night to see the hairy man, wearing a pair of tighty whitey briefs with a bearded face covered with blood, duck down into the tent in the light of the lantern he must have swiped from our fort.

I lay frozen for a handful of minutes until the clumsy sound of snoring came beaming from the tent and I loosened up, ready to make my escape by the banks of the creek. I slowly got myself to my feet and started sneaking down to the creek in the direction I believed led back to Toby's house.

I planned to follow the water all the way back to their property, but encountered a problem when the creek turned into a small pond that I did not recognize.

It apparently was not the Crawdad Creek that I had been following and now I was at some completely unfamiliar murky pond. Somehow though, the chilling discovery that I had been going the wrong way for an hour now was not the most disturbing thing I saw. That sight was Toby's custom painted black Nerf gun, floating in the middle of the pond.

That sight was enough to send me scrambling back into the thick of the dark woods with my little beam of flashlight leading the way, but that was not the right choice and I knew it as soon as I felt the ground fall out from under me. I became weightless and screamed until my little body came to a hard thud.

The wind thoroughly pounded out of me, it took a second to catch my breath and figure out what happened. I now laid on the dirt floor of some kind of trap – broken pieces of wood of the fake forest floor that had pulled me in all around me.

I cried and my chest heaved in exhaustion and terror. The hole I was in looked to be about ten-feet high on each side. There was no way I was going to climb out of the thing and I let out an audible scream when I looked to my side and saw Toby's beloved army pack that he had gotten from his dad wrapped up around one of the thick branches of the trap.

A light rain began to trickle down from the canopy of trees and drop into my already wet eyes. My little body couldn't take much more – the cold, the walking for hours, the horror, the hopelessness of the situation – I had enough. I sat down in the mud, with my butt stuck into the cold wet ground, tucked my knees up to my face and cried into my army pants.

I sat there sulking and crying for what must have been 30 to 40 minutes before I cracked open my eyes to realize I had a ray of hope… Toby's pack. I remembered that Toby always had his army pack loaded up with tactical gear, including a thick rope.

I tore at Toby's pack and found Toby's trusty rope. I started to unspool my salvation when the distant murmuring of voices froze me in my escape. Vaguely familiar adult voices, I heard them come closer muffled by the sound of the rain falling all around me. I perked up my ears to try and decipher the words that sounded like when the adults talked on Charlie Brown and slowly started to recognize who was talking… it was Toby's parents.

They must have been looking for me.

"Help! Help! Help! Help!" I cried out into the night as I saw the beams of their flashlights cut in and out of the air above my hole. "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease."

They probably couldn't hear me over the rain. I went back to my work as fast as I could, throwing the rope over the edge of one of the sides of the hole hoping it would catch on something. It took a few tries, but it eventually did and I used the last reserves of energy and hope I had to pull myself up the dirt walls of the hole while trying to yell as loud as I possibly could.

Lying on my belly in the mud, I finally laid my eyes on signs of life. Off in the near distance, in an opening in the foliage was a roaring fire with the silhouettes of a few adults standing around it. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I staggered towards the people, but my wasted lungs, the rain and the rock music blasting from the camp were all drowning me out.

I was just about to the edge of the camp area when I held up for a second… something wasn't right. As I got closer, the sounds had turned from what seemed like normal conversations to weird, unnerving howls and screams. I could see what was clearly Toby's parents, but there was one more person who stopped me in my tracks a few yards outside of the camp… the hairy man from the fort, he stood fully-clothed now with his thick beard sticking out of the hood of a sweater, staring at the fire with a beer in his hand.

It took a second, but I eventually realized that it wasn't actually the fire that he was staring at. He was staring at a gagged and bound Toby who was squirming just off to the side of the roaring fire as his parents stumbled around drunk next to him laughing. But his gaze didn't remain on Toby, it shifted over to me, standing slack-jawed in the woods.

I sprinted away as soon as our eyes locked. I started tearing through the wet foliage of the forest with the rain beating upon me and my little feet pounding the ground imagining the hot beams of the scary adults' flashlights upon my back. I ran and ran and ran until I could run no more again.

Finally out of breath, I stopped in a grassy patch of land and realized that I was actually in a large backyard of muddy grass that cut into the thick trees. Just off to my side was a rusted trailer home with its lighted windows calling to me. The family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre could have been waiting for me inside there, but I didn't care, it was better than what I assumed was trailing me through the woods.

I staggered up the soggy wooden steps of the trailer with legs that wobbled with fatigue and fell onto the metal door with a pound. With my last reserves of power, I threw my hands against the heavy door until it swung open and I fell at the feet of a shirtless middle-aged man eating a can of pork and beans with a fork. The man licked his lips and looked down at me quizzically, like a dog looks at a bug running across the driveway.

After a few moments of looking up at the man and his raggedy beard, I realized that I recognized him a little bit and not in a good way, he was Colt's dad. I had seen him before at parent/teacher conferences, walking through the halls in dirty cowboy boots and chewing tobacco and had watched him drop off Colt for school in a colossal Jeep with no top.

I usually would have been horrified to stumble upon Colt's dad, especially knowing it probably meant Colt was just feet away smoking cigarettes or playing video games, but it was instead a salvation this time. I didn't even care about Colt. I just stayed at his dad's feet and asked if he could drive me home.

I was actually glad that Colt's dad came off as a bit of an outlaw because he didn't ask a single question about what had happened to me, just drove through the night to my parents' house 15 minutes away and dropped me off just as the sun had finished rising. He gave me a wink when he dropped me off bathed in a coat of frigid morning air that had been enveloping me during the entire ride in his open Jeep.

I told my parents Toby woke up at the crack of dawn with his dad to go fishing and I didn't want to go so I just had them drop me off. They didn't even ask a single follow-up question, just fed me breakfast before I slunk off to play video games and tried to wash the horror from the coils of my brain.

beetlejuice

I'm not sure exactly why I never told anyone what happened. I think maybe it was as a kid you feel like all adults are infallible and that no one will believe you. I also feel like subconsciously maybe I knew doing so would end up making the rest of my life be a giant controversy of black clouds. So I just stayed silent. When I saw Toby at school on Monday, I never said a single thing about what happened and we stayed school friends, but never saw each other outside of school ever again. Even school friends didn't last long either as Toby started getting homeschooled the next year and then moved away. I have tried to find him on Facebook over the years (usually when I get drunk), but have never been able to find anything about him, which to me is always a huge red flag.

Well… until yesterday when I noticed two little red notification bubbles on my Facebook. They were a friend request from a heavily-tattooed Toby Gunderson and a message from him which read…

Hey man. It's been forever and a crazy life. Just got out of prison and I have been thinking about that day in the woods. I want to know what you remember happening? Hit me up.

The message has been sitting there unanswered in my inbox for weeks. I don't know, do you think I should get back to him? TC mark