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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Poem: "None of It's for You"
This poem was written in response to the stories "Milk Bottles and Newspapers" and "Calling the Maid" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "WILD CARD: heel" square in my 5-1-18 Roles card for the Pro Wrestling Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] fuzzyred. This poem belongs to the Berettaflies thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"None of It's for You"

[Week 9, Day 5]

Dempsey LaTour pedaled hard on
the weird bike with the cargo rack
wedged in between its wheels.

He had been making $17 an hour
driving disabled patients to and from
Saint Henriette Delille Hospital.

Now he was making only $15
delivering pizzas for Hot Italian,
and he could barely afford to keep
his dingy little one-bedroom apartment.

He was lucky to have even that job,
though, and he'd gotten it because
his new boss disliked his old boss.

His new job sucked, but then
his old job had sucked too,
just in different ways.

Dempsey pulled into
the bike parking area
in front of Hot Italian, then
went inside to check for orders.

Antonio Provenzano placed a stack
of boxes on the counter and said,
"Three Pandemonium, three Meatzza,
and three Pepperoni Pizza Fritta, to go,"
tapping a sticky note with an address.

Dempsey didn't dare try to carry
more than three at a time for fear
of dropping them, so he took
the Pandemonium stack first,
then the Pepperoni Pizza Fritta.

By the time he came back for
the Meatzza, his boss was in
the kitchen and the girl who
answered phones was up front.

"The same people called back
to order more," she said. "It will
just take a few minutes. They want
a Margherita along with two each of
Siciliano Classico and Siciliano Moderno."

"Fine," Dempsey said. He picked up
the Easy Reader from the counter
and opened the newspaper. "I'll just
be here, getting paid for doing nothing."

As soon as the pizzas emerged
from the kitchen, he grabbed them
and hurried to his bike, smooth boxes
slipping and sliding until he finally
got them strapped into place.

He only made it six blocks before
getting called back to the restaurant
to pick up even more pizzas going
to the same damn address.

"One Neapolitan Char Char and
two Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas,
to go," Mr. Provenzano said.

"They're gonna need it,"
Dempsey muttered. He knew
the Neapolitan Char Char had toppings
supposedly good for the digestion.

As he pedaled briskly toward
his destination, it began to rain.

Well that was just fucking perfect.

If the idiot customer had just
made up his mind in the first place,
Dempsey could have been there
and back before it started.

When he arrived, Dempsey
smacked his hand on the door and
yelled, "Come get your goddamn pizzas,
I can't carry SEVENTEEN by myself!"

The door opened onto a small crowd
of people, several of them sporting
the colorful hair of crayon soups.

"Roses are red, pizza sauce is, too.
I order a large, and none of it's for you,"
someone sang in a low, sweet voice.

A swift breeze materialized into
a gorgeous babe with blue hair
who pried loose the top pie and
ate the whole thing in three seconds.

Dempsey stared at her. "Where
do you even put it all? Your ass
should be the size of Chicago!"

"And now it's my turn," a man said
as a hand clamped on Dempsey's wrist.

Suddenly he was in a mall, its hall
milling with a few scattered shoppers.
A firm shove sent him stumbling
into the nearest doorway.

"Welcome to That Guy,"
the secretary said without
batting an eye. "Throw-ins
are invited to a free session."

"Where the fuck am I?"
Dempsey said, trying not
to panic as he looked around.

There was no sign of his kidnapper.

"That Guy is a counseling center
in Arcadia East, located in
the Providence suburb of
Eastbord, United States
of America," she said.

Dempsey stared numbly
at the brochures she gave him.

"I'm from Easy City," he said.
"What the hell do I do now?"

"If you take the free session,
then it's more likely that your ride
will come back to pick you up later,"
the secretary said. "Otherwise,
you can take the token over to
Southwest Passage and they'll
help you find your way home."

"Ffffuuu ... fine," Dempsey said.

He sat in the waiting area and
read the stupid brochures about
emergency counseling and services
currently available from That Guy.

He wasn't an alcoholic or an addict,
and Rudy's Dudes sounded childish.
Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families,
well ... that one hit a little closer to home.

He filled out the short intake form
and the emotional check-in that
the secretary had given to him.

He didn't have to wait long, though,
before the counselor came out and
said, "I'm Beckett Giraudo. Let's
go into my office and talk about
what brings you here today."

Grumbling -- and still dripping
from the rain -- Dempsey followed.

"Towel?" Mr. Giraudo said.

"Yeah," Dempsey said as he
took the towel and dragged it
over his soggy hair. "I just got
caught in the rainstorm because
some dumbass couldn't decide
what fucking pizzas to order."

"That sounds frustrating,"
said Mr. Giraudo. "What kind
of things led up to that, I wonder?"

"It started with Haruko McSnowflake,"
Dempsey said. "This is all his fault."

Like a dam bursting, he poured out
the whole sordid story of losing
his old job and getting this one.

When the session clock dinged,
it startled him, he had gotten
so caught up in talking to
someone who actually listened.

"I didn't mean to go on like that,"
Dempsey said. "It's just ... you know,
like staring at a stack of pizza and
none of it's for you. My whole life
feels like that, and it eats me up."

"Well, we've made a good start on
identifying some things that make you
unhappy," said Mr. Giraudo. "If you would
like to continue the therapy and explore
how your own behavior might relate to
those negative experiences, then we offer
long-distance therapy via phone or chatroom."

"I don't need a shrink," Dempsey snapped.
"I need a ride back home because I
was fucking kidnapped today."

Mr. Giraudo produced
a wooden token embossed
with the center's name and
Free Ride on the back.

"Fill in your check-out form
and this is yours," he said,
handing over the paperwork
and a problem-solving packet.
"It will get you home through
Southwest Passage even if
nobody comes to pick you up."

Dempsey snatched the form
and wrote, I am feeling worse
because some fucktard teleporter
kidnapped me and dumped me here
.

"Here you go," said Mr. Giraudo,
opening his hand to offer the token.
"I hope that you feel better soon."

Dempsey grabbed it and hurried
back toward the front of That Guy.

When he reached the waiting area,
a man with blue-and-green hair
stood up. "I'm Plus One," he said.
"Do you have your token?"

Grumbling, Dempsey held out
the sleek wooden disc.

"When you're ready, take
my hand," said Plus One.

Dempsey hesitated,
then reached out to him.

And they were back in Easy City.

His bike and clipboard were
beside the door, watched over by
a skinny dude with strawberry blond hair.

The pizza payment had been run through
properly, with a measly one dollar tip.
Soups were such fucking cheapskates.

Dempsey jumped on his bike and
pedaled as quickly as he could,
desperate to get away from
the pizza-devouring freaks.

When he got back to Hot Italian,
though, he got an unpleasant surprise.

Mr. Provenzano handed him
a pink slip and said, "You fired."

"What?" Dempsey squawked. "But I
just got here! My old boss not only fired me,
he's having my driver's license inspected.
That's why I couldn't get a job driving."

"This once, we actually agree on something --
you notta so good delivery man," the boss said.
"You stay here, I cutta you lastta check."

"Fuck. My. Life." Dempsey bumped
his head slowly against the wall
as he waited for Mr. Provenzano
to come back and hand him
a check that wouldn't begin
to cover the rent he owed.

Dempsey leafed through
the Easy Reader again, and
caught an advertisement for
public housing apartments.

The picture and description
made him shudder. He
wasn't that desperate.

Yet.

* * *

Notes:

Dempsey LaTour -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair. He is 21 years old. He lives in Easy City, Louisiana. His dysfunctional family background has left him with minimal people skills and work ethics. Dempsey used to work as a medical transport driver, but got fired for unprofessional conduct. Then he took a job as a pizza delivery driver, but got fired from that too.
Qualities: Good (+2) Athletic, Good (+2) Early Riser, Good (+2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Asshole

Antonio Provenzano -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and brown hair buzzed short. He has a stocky build. Adept at cooking, Antonio makes excellent pizza and other Italian foods. He is well connected, but not a very good judge of people.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Pizza Chef, Good (+2) Connected, Good (+2) Dutiful, Good (+2) Touch-Dominant
Poor (-2) Judge of People

Plus One (Aimé St. Clair) -- He has fair skin and brown eyes. His short brown hair has blue and purple streaks. He wears a short beard, mostly brown. Plus One lives in Easy City, Louisiana with his girlfriend Safaia. He works for the Easy City SPOON base, mostly doing search-and-rescue work. He loves partying and has many friends among other soups.
Origin: At his college, an experiment in Super-Gizmology got out of hand and caused an explosion. A number of students caught in the blast developed Teleporting or Super-Speed, with Plus One getting the former and his girlfriend Safaia getting the latter. They all share the distinctive peacock-colored hair.
Uniform: On duty, he wears the Easy City SPOON uniform: Tan shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in gold on the chest pocket. Off duty he favors casual men's wear, usually in dark neutrals so he doesn't have to worry much about matching things.
Qualities: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Life of the Party, Good (+2) Mardi Gras Krewe, Good (+2) Search and Rescue
Poor (-2) Tolerating Assholes
Powers: Good (+2) Teleportation
His range is considerably better than his mass; he can only carry one passenger.
Motivation: To rescue those in danger.

In the picture, the first man has Super-Senses, the second has Fire Powers, the third is Plus One, and the fourth has Phasing.


Safaia (Cezelia Boudreau) -- She has tinted skin and gray eyes. Her long wavy hair started out ash brown but now has streaks of blue and just a little purple. She is tall and beautiful, slender but with feminine curves. Safaia lives in Easy City, Louisiana with her boyfriend Plus One. She works for the Easy City SPOON base, usually doing high-speed cleanup, but also as a consulting physicist. She is especially interested in exploring how Super-Speed works. Safaia earns pocket money by entering private dance contests that don't ban soups from entry, and often wins.
Origin: At her college, an experiment in Super-Gizmology got out of hand and caused an explosion. A number of students caught in the blast developed Teleporting or Super-Speed, with Safaia getting the latter and her boyfriend Plus One the former. They all share the distinctive peacock-colored hair.
Uniform: On duty, she wears the Easy City SPOON uniform: Tan shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in gold on the chest pocket. Off duty, she wears fashionable women's clothes, often sexy ones.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Physicist, Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Dancer, Good (+2) Popular
Poor (-2) Jerk Magnet
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Speed
Like most speedsters, she has a high-burn metabolism. She can frontload and backload calories to compensate.
Motivation: To understand how Super-Speed works.

In this picture, the woman with pink hair has Empathy, the one with green has Plant Powers, and the one with blue is Safaia.


Beckett Giraudo -- He has olive skin, black eyes, and short black hair with sideburns. His heritage includes Italian, French, Spanish, and British. He lives in Unit 221 on the second floor of Arcadia East, in the Providence, Rhode Island suburb of Eastbord. Beckett runs the counseling service That Guy, catering primarily to men with behavioral problems. He dresses in business professional or business casual most of the time, which encourages people to take him seriously. Savvy and persistent, he makes an effective therapist. However, his profession inclines him to butt into other people's lives in ways that are not always welcome. Vagary has been one of his clients. As a hobby, Beckett enjoys social dancing, where his good looks and manners make him a popular partner.
Qualities: Master (+6) Bullshit Detector, Expert (+4) Behavioral Therapist, Expert (+4) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Social Dancing, Good (+2) Tall Dark and Handsome
Poor (-2) Nosy

A behavioral therapist provides behavior therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or positive behavior support. These methods can offer many benefits. Here is a guide to cognitive-behavioral therapy.

* * *

"Roses are red, pizza sauce is, too. I order a large, and none of it's for you."
Unknown

A complete description of Arcadia East is here.

Local-America pays between $11 and $21 per hour for EMT work including patient transportation.





L-America pays an average of $13.27 per hour for driving work, but delivery drivers make less, about $10.

Terramagne-America has a minimum wage of $15 per hour. At a maximum of 40 hours per week, that’s $600 per week, $2400 per month, or $28,800 per year.

Studio apartments in L-New Orleans rent for $953 a month, 1-bedroom apartments average $983 a month, and 2-bedroom apartments average $1,156.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) judges housing to be affordable if total housing costs (rent, utilities, upkeep, etc.) are no more than 30% of a household’s gross income. HUD recognizes that unaffordability of housing exists on a spectrum: Households spending more than 30% of their income on housing are “cost burdened,” and those spending more than 50% of income on housing are “severely cost burdened.” Although this metric is broadly
accepted in the real estate industry, it is overly simplistic to conclude that spending more than 30% of household income on housing is inherently unaffordable
.

This page shows how to calculate 1/3 of your income. Nearly a third of L-American households are cost-burdened.

Annual salary $35,360
Monthly wage $2,947
Weekly wage $680
Daily wage $136
Hourly wage $17
Hours per week 40

983 is 33.355955208687% of 2947.
Steps of Solving:
983 ÷ 2947 = 0.33355955208687 = 33.355955208687%

Annual salary $28,800
Monthly wage $2400
Weekly wage $600
Daily wage $120
Hourly wage $15
Hours per week 40

983 is 40.958333333333% of 2400.
Steps of Solving:
983 ÷ 2400 = 0.40958333333333 = 40.958333333333%

Here are some ideas on how to cope with a pay cut. However, note that it assumes you have some "luxuries" to cut. If you already don't have enough to meet your basic needs, and that gets cut, you are screwed. You will have to do without basic needs instead of luxuries. This is why "cost-burdened" families get hit so hard: they have to give up things like food and health care just to pay for a place to exist. In other words, they're modern serfs, working for someone else's benefit instead of their own.

Bicycles go on sidewalks if there is nowhere else for them to go. There are ways to design sidewalks for a wide range of needs. Learn about walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

The order: Meatzza (3), Pandemonium (3), Pepperoni Pizza Fritta (3); Margherita (1), Siciliano Classico (2), Siciliano Moderno (2); Neapolitan Char Char (1), and Strawberry Balsamic Pizza (2)

Meatzza is a meat lover's pizza with pepperoni, salami, proscuitto, bacon, ham, sausage, ground beef, meatballs, Cajun chicken, and shrimp. It uses many of the most popular meat toppings. (3)

Pandemonium is a deep-dish pizza with asiago fresco cheese, mozzarella cheese, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, black olives, green olives, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, pineapple, and spinach. The pineapple appears only on one half of the pizza, the spinach on the other, but everything else covers the whole thing. (3)

Chicago style pizza
A deep-dish pizza made in a high-sided pan. The crust is coated with oil and ingredients are sometimes layered inside. Sometimes called “pan pizza” or “deep-dish pizza.” Originated by the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago
.

Pepperoni Pizza Fritta (3)

deep-fried pizza
Pizza whose dough is fried in hot oil before being topped with sauce and cheese and then baked in an oven. Called “pizza fritta” in Italy and “Montanara pizza” in New York and other U.S. cities
.

Margherita (1)

Margherita
The classic Neapolitan pizza, consisting of crust, pureed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. It was created in 1889 by Rafaelle Esposito in honor of Italy's Queen Margherita, who visited Naples and was interested in the flatbreads being eaten by the city’s peasants.
Esposito wanted the pizza to have the colors of the Italian flag—red, green, and white
.

Neapolitan Char Char is a thin-crust pizza with fish, fennel, plantain slices, artichoke hearts, Italian parsley, marjoram, basil, oregano, sage, and potato chunks. (1) These herbs can aid digestion.

char
Blackened spots on the crust of a thin crust pizza that occur when an extremely high-temperature oven is used, this is often a trademark of coal-oven New York style pizza and Neapolitan brick-oven pizza
.

Arctic char has distinctive flavor, somewhere between that of salmon and trout, but closer to trout. The meat is moderately firm but has a finer flake than either salmon or trout. A high fat content keeps it moist. Flesh coloring ranges from deep red to pale pink. The taste is the same, regardless of the meat’s color. Arctic char, like other anadromous fish, can have parasites, which are killed by proper freezing or cooking.

When you have a stomachache, try soothing foods.

Read about the most popular pizza toppings.

Meatzza is a meat lover's pizza with pepperoni, salami, proscuitto, bacon, ham, sausage, ground beef, meatballs, Cajun chicken, and shrimp. It uses many of the most popular meat toppings.

Siciliano Classico is a square thick-crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, Sicilian capers, and anchovies.

Siciliano Moderno is a square thick-crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, Salame Sant'Angelo, Sicilian pizziaola sausage, artichoke hearts, aubergines, green olives, pecorino cheese, and mozzarella (in that order).

Salame Sant'Angelo
Sicily Pork Salami made from finely minced rather than ground top-quality pork meat; stuffed into natural bowels and hung to age
.

Pecorino
Made from sheep’s milk, pecorino cheese is made throughout Sicily. In fact, it’s considered the most widely produced aged cheese product from that part of the world. Its sharp, distinct flavor is perfectly shredded over pasta, pizza, and salad
.

Sicilian pizza
Thick-crust, often square-shaped pizza topped with sauce, meats, vegetables, and cheeses — in that order. However, Sicily's indigenous pizza is a simple, thick bread topped with tomato sauce, oil, herbs, and anchovies
.

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza With Chicken, Sweet Onion, and Applewood Bacon: This blogger raided her almost-empty fridge one night, and in a jam, created quite possibly the most unique pizza we have ever feasted our eyes on.

Soft kidnapping -- an abduction that is secondary to some other goal, done without the intent of harming the victim. Common examples include teleporting a combatant out of the conflict area, or teleporting an obnoxious person to a counseling center. In these cases, the victim typically gets a free ride home later, provided they abide by the customary parameters such as remaining in the drop zone instead of trying to escape. Another variation is that some supervillains kidnap people to get attention or distract superheroes. While soft kidnapping is risky and technically illegal due to violating location, it is much less risky and violent than many other methods of breaking up a conflict. For this reason, police tend to overlook it as long as nobody gets hurt and the victim doesn't press charges. A fair number of people look on it as annoying rather than injurious. However, if the victim gets injured, even accidentally, the case converts to "hard kidnapping" by reason of harm. Principled supervillians will actually pay damages to the victim directly in hopes of avoiding a public mess. But if the victim complains to the cops, the case goes forward on criminal grounds.

Emotional check-in and check-out worksheets can help track progress in counseling and focus on key issues. See some examples.

A problem development worksheet improves the odds of solving a problem.

Problem Solving Packet
Guide your clients and groups through the problem solving process with the help of the Problem Solving Packet. Each page covers one of five problem solving steps with a rationale, tips, and questions. The steps include defining the problem, generating solutions, choosing one solution, implementing the solution, and reviewing the process.
Be sure to talk to your clients about how the five problem solving steps can be useful in day-to-day life. Are there any steps that they usually skip? What questions or steps helped them work through their problem?


Distance counseling can help, especially if a client can't find a good match among local counselors. Both telephone and online counseling can be effective. In Terramagne, popular throw-in counseling sites like That Guy typically offer such services.
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