Chapter 2.21 – Common Ground

Lilith looked around the pub, checking every wall before she entered. The plush, beer-soaked carpets, dated panelled walls and general dinginess of this place were outweighed by the two things it had in its favour. Or rather, didn’t have. No CCTV and not a single foil-headed freak to be seen. Not a single other patron, actually.

The jukebox was on, playing old rock songs and Lilith could tell as she approached the bar that the bartender was one of those simple types; few words and even fewer thoughts.

Perfect.

It was much further than staggering distance from home, but Lilith was not going back to that empty shell until she’d had a good few absinthes. She seated herself upon a bar stool.

“Absinthe, please,” she requested.

The bartender tilted his head to look at her. “Don’t got that, duck.”

No absinthe and he’d called her duck. She shook her head, politely. “Fine, give me your strongest spirit, double, no mixer, duck.”

The bartender was still staring at her. “Gonna need to see your ID, duck.”

Lilith groaned and reached into her purse, handing the bartender a very convincing, but completely fake, driving licence. He studied it for a while, before he spoke. “Is this fake?”

Lilith tried to keep her face neutral, wondering which bit he was calling out. Probably the photo. She had created it using e-fit software, based on how she looked when she saw herself in Caleb’s memories. “No—” she began.

“Right, ’cause it says you’re thirty-seven and you don’t look thirty-seven.”

Lilith dropped her shoulders in relief. “I’ve had loads of plastic surgery,” she replied. “Loads.”

The bartender narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously, before handing her back the card and reaching for a bottle. “Vodka OK, Lilith Vatore aged thirty-seven?” he asked. “Think that’s the strongest thing I got, unless you want turpentine.” He laughed at his own joke.

“Fine.” Lilith shrugged. It really did not matter what he gave her; it would still taste the same.

He settled the glass on the bar, adding an unnecessary slice of lemon and a strawberry to the rim. “Two simoleons,” he said. “The fruit is free.”

Bloody hell, that’s cheap. “Can I set up a tab?” she asked.

“Sure,” he said, taking the credit card she offered. “Planning a good session I see?”

Lilith nodded, not really wishing to engage this man in conversation. He smiled. “One of those secretive types, hey? No big deal. Enjoy your drink. Lemme know when you want another – oh,” he said looking at her empty glass.

“Same again? Or shall I whip you up something more interesting? Perhaps a mojito. Actually, no, you look more like a cosmopolitan woman.”

“Do I?” Lilith replied, amused. Maybe this could be her new thing. Maybe she could be a cosmopolitan woman. “Sure.” She grinned. “Why not?”



During her twenty-seven year tenure at Willow Creek Academy, rising from a teaching assistant to deputy headmistress, Barbara Bucket had gained many friends among staff, parents and students. Every morning, when she walked into her office, she’d be greeted by an apple on her desk, a crayon drawing of a dragon in her in-tray or sometimes a little face who just wanted to say hello.

She could speak six languages, fluently, allowing her to communicate easily with all of the children and their parents in their mother tongues. She could find a way to talk to anybody, to break down any barrier and find common ground.

She could reconcile with anyone, she reminded herself as she rapped her knuckles on the door, dislodging some of the flaking paint as she did so.

Babs had already pressed the bell twice. Which was twice more than she’d managed every other time she’d been stood on Adina’s doorstep in the last ten years. She had lost count of how many times she’d stood on this porch over that time, gift in hand, watching her former friend through the glass pane of the door and trying to get up the courage to announce her presence. And, ashamedly, this time may not have been any different if Chuck hadn’t been so insistent.

Babs had managed to delay the visit an hour by baking cookies, so Chuck had had to go to work rather than join her for the visit, which made the whole thing marginally less awkward.

Babs fiddled nervously with her bag of home-made cookies. Almond, but she had given them a special twist. She watched through the glass as a tiny figure in hand-me-down clothing padded towards the door, the little girl’s curiosity piqued as she saw who it was.

“Mrs. Bucket?” Joy asked, stepping outside. “Oh poo. Is this about the dye in the swimming pool? Because that was Max Villareal, not me.”

Babs had to try very hard not to smile. Of all the children at the school, Joy Splodge was surely one of the naughtier ones. The class clown, the prankster. Very bright but disinterested in schoolwork and always found in possession of contraband. Just like her sister had been.

And her mother.

“You’re not in trouble, Joy,” Babs reassured her. “I’m here to see your mum.”

Joy sighed as if she was the one dealing with a defiant child. She closed the door, placed her hands on her hips and looked up at Babs. “Why?”

“I’m her friend,” Babs said.

“Liar. Mummy doesn’t have any friends,” Joy insisted.

Babs adopted what Melinda had dubbed her teacher tone, “Can you please let her know that I’m here, Joy?”

Joy had heard that voice many times. She huffed. “OK. Wait here.”

Babs pretended to salute but it was lost on the child who wandered into the house, returning a few minutes later, hand-in-hand with her mother.

“It’s Mrs. Bucket, from school,” Joy stated. “But I’m not in trouble!”

“I know who it is,” Adina murmured. “I would recognise that cheap perfume anywhere.”

Babs took in the dishevelled appearance of Adina. She had always been one to glam up to the nines even if she had nowhere to go. Babs used to tease her for her vain quirks, such as putting fresh makeup on before bed, which she did ‘in case there was a fire and the firefighters were attractive’. She looked into the house, with its bare walls and minimal furnishings.

This was not how she remembered it at all.

“I baked cookies,” Babs said in a small voice, feeling at once both guilty and foolish.

“Cookies,” Adina said incredulously.

“Cookies?” Joy repeated, her eyes lighting up.

Adina laughed, dryly. “What are you, Barbara; a girl scout? I don’t want your pity parcel. What do you want? If you’re here to see Karl, you’re a few years too late. But if you hang around long enough, maybe you can catch him when he drops by at random to take Joy for a burger.”

At the mention of his name, Babs balked. She glanced down at Joy who was looking between the adults with curiosity. “Mrs. Bucket knows Daddy?”

“Intimately,” Adina scoffed.

Joy repeated this new word to herself. “Intidibately. What does that mean? Is it swearing?”

“No.”

“Oh,” Joy replied, clearly not interested in the new word anymore.

“Dee,” Babs said, dusting off a nickname not used for years. “Can we talk? Privately.”

Adina scowled. Her face softened as she tilted her head down towards her daughter. “Go back inside, Joy.”

“Only if I can have the cookies,” Joy bargained, deviously.

“Inside.”

“But Muuuuum!” Joy wailed.

Adina glared in Babs’s direction as Joy continued to whine beside her. “Fine! You can have the cookies.”

Joy did a happy little dance, before grabbing the bag Babs offered and running towards the back room.

“I’m sorry,” Babs whispered.

“You should be; she’ll be bouncing off the walls until sunrise.”

“No, I mean… I’m sorry.”

Adina looked surprised for a second, before she huffed. “Better late than never.” Her tone implied that the apology was not accepted.

Babs’s renowned communication skills were failing her. She glanced over at Joy, who was hungrily tucking into the cookies, seemingly oblivious.

“She’s thin, Dee. So are you—“

Adina rounded on Babs, her features alight with rage. “How dare you wander into my house after a decade of silence and say that!”

“I’m sorry, Dee. I’m just concerned, with Faith missing and… shoot, this is really difficult, I—“

“You think it’s difficult?” Adina scoffed. “Look, I know why you’re here, Barbara and no, I haven’t heard from Faith or Melinda. And more to the point, I don’t care—“

“You don’t mean that—“

“—She’s just another one who left when things got tough,” Adina hissed. “Good riddance.”

Babs was silent for a while. She waited until her former friend had calmed down, until her breath returned to normal, until the tears began to roll down her face.

“You don’t mean that,” Babs repeated, softly.

“Don’t tell me what I mean!” Adina’s words became broken as she tried to compose herself. “I have had the month from hell. I lost my job at the post office, you know; the new manager said I was a liability—“

“They can’t do that!”

“Well, they did. And she’s right; they couldn’t make the typeface on that screen any bigger for me and I was already sitting with my nose on the screen—“

“That’s discrimination! You’ve worked there for years, there must have been something they could do. Wait, so if you haven’t been working, how have you—“

“Survived? Faith had to pick up loads of extra shifts at the cinema,” Adina admitted. “I know that she hated it. She would go out after work most nights, get back late, drunk.” Adina shook her head, swiping at her face angrily to clear the tears. “After she left, Joy was snooping through Faith’s things and she found… she found…” Adina gulped, lowering her voice. “She found three wallets belonging to random men and about a dozen condoms. Strawberry flavour,” Adina said, wiping her wet hand on her pyjama bottoms. “Try explaining that to a seven year old. Then this morning, I was talking to the landlord—“

“Oh, Dee—“

“—And he says that the rent we owed had been paid and what’s more, it had also been paid in advance for the next twelve months.”

Babs blinked. She wasn’t expecting to hear that.

Adina clutched at her chest, turning her face slightly to listen for Joy, to ensure she was still out of earshot. “That’s over ten thousand simoleons. Where did she get the money from? What on earth did I push her to do?!”

Babs stared at Adina, truly lost for words. She wanted to reassure her, tell her she hadn’t done anything, but Babs didn’t seem to know which way was up anymore. This theory was horrible, but was it any worse than the others that had been swimming around Babs’s head?

She reached for Adina’s hand, but her old friend yanked it from her grasp and snarled. “I haven’t forgiven you, Barbara.”

“Chuck has,” Babs offered, quietly.

“He always was too kind for his own good.”

“Dee, it was a mistake. I was in a bad place—“

“Like I am now? Is that the solution? I’ll just go bed Chuck then, shall I, and we can call it quits?”

“We didn’t… go that far. What Faith saw… that’s all there was. Karl was—“

“A rat? A coward?” Adina finished. She laughed. “Bedding Chuck. As if. It would be like sleeping with a giant teddy bear. And like Chuck would ever do that to you. Like I would,” she finished, softly.

The two women stood in uncomfortable silence, listening to Joy who was picking green bits out of the cookie she was eating and making over the top gagging noises.

“I’m really sorry,” Babs said again. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Adina sighed heavily, she reached for the door handle, grabbing it on the second try and opening the door, inviting Babs to leave.

“Dee, our babies are missing,” Babs whispered, her voice breaking as she crossed the threshold. “Please. Can we not put this aside?”

Adina unceremoniously slammed the door in Babs’s face. She turned her back on it and made her way to the table where Joy was adding another green bit to the pile.

“These cookies are weird, Mummy.”

Adina tried to take the anger out of her voice, but it lingered in the undertones. “How so, my lovely girl?”

“They’re full of yucky green bits. I think they’re vegetables,” Joy emphasised the last word with disgust as she grimaced and placed a cookie into her mother’s hand. “Here.”

Adina nearly ground the cookie to crumbs. The last thing she wanted was to accept anything from that homewrecking trollop. No, the last thing I want is to drive away anyone else, she thought, looking at Joy’s very blurry, cheeky little face.

She gingerly brought the cookie to her lips, taking a tiny nibble.

“No, Mummy. Take a proper bite or you won’t get any green bits.”

Oh sweet Watcher. Adina obliged. The odd flavour combination on her tongue, somehow pleasant and disgusting at the same time, rocked her to her core.

‘Um… what are these, Babs?’

‘Chicken meringues.’

Adina had lost count of how many times over the years she’d politely eaten her friend’s horrific culinary offerings. A laugh bubbled up from inside her as she picked a green strand from her teeth to add to the pile Joy had made.

“Is Mrs. Bucket still on the porch, sweetheart?” she asked.

Joy looked over and then turned back. “Yes, Mummy.” The girl paused, poking at the green gunk on the plate. “What are the green bits?”

“Sugar snap peas,” Adina replied, the smile curling the corner her mouth. “It’s a type of bean.”

“Gross! Why would you put those in cookies?” Joy gasped, outraged.

“Because it’s a peas offering,” Adina said, roaring with laughter.

It wasn’t even funny. It probably wasn’t even intentional.

It was so very Babs.

19 thoughts on “Chapter 2.21 – Common Ground

  1. Another layer is peeled from an onion and sweet peas are offered in cookies.
    You stack several vegetables in this chapter 😂
    I had not guessed that Barb had anything to apologize for and it sounds like she has really stepped into the spinach. (I assume it is only a Danish phrase that means “make a mistake”)

    Lilith seeks out a new and safer bar. I’m wondering if a cosmopolitan contains some vegetables? … I’ll have to search for a recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No vegetables in a cosmopolitan, unless Babs is making it then heaven knows what it might contain. It does have cranberry in though.

      Whoever said getting your daily portions of fruit and veg was boring, hey? 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Did Lilith just cut off a zero from her age and slap it on her fake id i couldve sworn her real age was 370ish 😂 … But im concerned. She’s coping with the loneliness by drinking. Is/Was Lilith an alcoholic? It must feel incredibly lonely to take care of caleb all on her own and juggle a relationship with seth who seems to undermine her efforts and morals. I wonder if she had hit the bottle then as she did now. Ah crap i just realised she does drink a lot. Oh no.. 😥 she already has a temper while sober too.. she’s a violent drunk, isn’t she?

    I hope Babs and Dee were better singers than simMercury ever was 😂 and Idk what you’re talking about. Tbh, those pea cookies still look dam yummy to me despite whatever software you used to get them looking like that. i shouldve eaten something before rereading. 😢

    Poor Adina. Don’t know the manager is bt they got my 1000% wrath now. Roidh will boil their organs if they ever come to b2w. Yep. Not good enough for his rituals even.

    Oh dear Dee and Babs. Its so obvious that Dee is so lonely. Everything spilling out to her ex friend like that. And its obvious that Adina still cares about Babs even though Babs did what she did. Why was Babs in a bad place. Was it something to do with Faith crying to Mel?

    Dear lord Adina, its not your fault. You didn’t drive anyone away. Other people’s decisions and choices are not your fault.

    Faith 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lilith is 321 but as Caleb said her age depends very much on who is asking. She does drink a lot too. Maybe too much… you’ll find out what kind of drunk she is next chapter.

      Oh goddess, they really weren’t good at it. I swear I play 90% of the time with no volume on because everyone’s always bloody singing. You have weird food tastes to think those mouldy, spotty cookies look appetising. I’d still rather eat almond pea sugar cookies over banana sausage surprise, though.

      I have no plans to elaborate further on Babs’s bad place in the story so I’ll do it here; it was after her mother passed away. Faith crying to Mel will pop up later though, so I’ll 🤐 on that for now.

      Yes… Faith. What have you been up to, you naughty girl and was that really enough to make $10000? Methinks not.

      Like

  3. Oooh!!! Thank god. I got to the part of Babs being super-loved by all her colleagues and kids at school and being all wholesome in that office/classroom that’s been plastered with adorable kid drawings, because of course she is, since she is super wholesome, and there to my delight you show us that she is a human that makes mistakes after all (her creative cuisine notwithstanding. if she ever fancies a career change, she should totally open an experimental restaurant).

    So, Babs got intibidate with Adina’s husband and Faith walked in on them, and Chuck then walked in on Melinda and Faith discussing it. I wonder if Chuck just took it as his failing, bless him.

    Gah, a peas offering, I can’t. How adorable. And apparently it worked. I’m glad. These two could use a friend (also, “mummy doesn’t have friends,” that’s savage).

    So who paid for for Adina’s rent for a year? We know that Faith can most definitely not afford that – she could barely afford a shitty motel room and the glue and bleach. Ditto for her companions. So that leaves Lilith and Seth. Lilith is more likely to have enough disposable income, but she has absolutely zero motive to do that, she doesn’t give a shit about Faith, and she has not really scanned her thoughts that thoroughly to know all this stuff about her family.

    On the other hand, it’s difficult to picture Seth having a bank account, but he does have a motive. If Faith’s main blocker to being seduced by his propositions is her constantly worrying about her mum and sister and how they’re getting by, then why not take that issue out of the equation? If Adina and Joy are taken care of financially, then it shouldn’t be too tough to convince Faith that they’re better off without her.

    Oh yeah, and Lilith drank. She could totally be a cosmo girl, why not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No wholesome characters allowed. Apart from Chuck, our resident teddy bear. 😉

      Yes, Faith saw her dad getting ‘not that far’ with Mel’s mum, but maybe that’s not how Chuck found out…

      Definitely savage. On autonomy, Joy is a right little shit. I wouldn’t have given her the cookies.

      Who did pay? You’re right, Lilith is an unlikely candidate. And as for Seth? Well, who needs a bank account when you can wipe, swipe and intimidate with the best of them?

      Your last sentence. Phew. I think you’re gonna be annoyed with the next couple of chapters… might need to borrow the hole.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha I’m cool with the Lilith segment. It just got entirely overshadowed by the oodles of information we got in Barb and Adina’s portion 😆 No hole required. Even if the next several chapters revolve around Lilith mastering the art of making (or drinking?) a
        perfect cosmo 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s ignore the fact that Lilith’s going to the pub stems from her running away from her “empty shell” of a home and focus on the positives! Yay! Thank you for the free fruit, Strawberry Man! And for making Lilith like the idea of being a cosmopolitan woman enough to give us a smile. Those are rare. ❤

    That picture of Babs behind her desk while surrounded by happy drawings, with a star mug and an apple on her desk is just so precious. She seems like such a good person, both to her school children/parents and to her own family. Probably to most people she meets. And her and Adina seem so close during those flashbacks. I wonder what happened to make Babs get with Faith’s father like that. It can’t have been a casual thing – she’s so not the type for that. Was she black-out drunk? Was she at her lowest, or at a really vulnerable moment in time? Maybe all of them? And did Faith’s father misuse that, or was he at a low point in his life, too? It doesn't excuse it in the slightest, but it would provide some perspective.

    “Mummy doesn’t have any friends.” Ouch, damn, Joy. I know most kids that age just blurt stuff out but my gods. xD Man, the confrontation between Babs and Adina was so painful, too. “I would recognise that cheap perfume anywhere.” And then she accuses her own daughter of running out on her when things got tough. We quickly learn that Adina is lashing out at everything in defense (so that’s where Faith got it from, huh?) and actually blames herself, but dang.

    Also, ten thousand simoleons? Faith was working ridiculously hard and doing questionable things to earn money, but… where did she get that much? The people we know with that kind of money are… hm. Sandy, who is dead. April, who didn’t even think to withdraw money for herself when she ran away, let alone to pay the rent for her friend’s mother (is April even aware of Faith’s home situation, I wonder?). Travis, who I can’t imagine doing something like that and oh yeah, he’s in jail. Babs clearly didn’t know. I could see Chuck being kind, but not that kind without talking to his wife about it. I can’t imagine Lilith or Caleb doing that either. That leaves… hm. I feel like I’m missing something. 🤨

    I really hope that Adina lets Babs back in after the end of this chapter. Maybe the peas offering is enough to cross the chasm between them. Not heal it, that’s probably going to take years if ever after they had no contact for a decade… but maybe they can reconnect a little bit. It would do them all good, including Joy. Because I do not for one second believe that she did not hear the conversation about Faith and Babs sleeping with her father behind her mother’s back. Hushed conversation or not. When I was a kid I heard it too, despite pretending like I didn’t. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Free strawberries make everything better. Spoiler: I can promise you at least one more Lilith smile in the remainder of the story.

      You noticed the mug! Woo! Lots of excellent picture editing featuring in this chapter. I’m sure you, with your formidable picture editing skills, took a moment to admire the peas and green mush I drew on all the pictures of Joy/Adina eating cookies and didn’t just think ‘this looks crap, like a five year old drew it’. It was a combination of things that brought Babs and Karl to that mistake. I wasn’t planning to go into great detail but you’re the fourth person to ask and now I’ve had inspiration for a little scene I will try and fit in down the line.

      The Splodge females are a fiery bunch, aggressive when cornered. Where *did* that money come from? Maybe one of those three random men was carrying a heck of a lot of cash the day he met Faith in whatever seedy bar she was in. I was nodding seriously along to your guesses, until you suggested Caleb then I lost it, imagining Caleb and his button going to the landlord. Ah, goddess. You crack me up. You are missing something, but have you overlooked a puzzle piece I have given you, or am I still holding it? 😇

      We find out what happened between Babs and Adina in chapter 2.24. And yeah, I mean the adults told Joy to go away but she clearly wasn’t one for readily following orders…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! I loved the little star on the mug. I don’t know about my editing skills since a program does it for me, but those are definitely the best sugar snap peas and green mush drawn onto a sim-cookie and leftover plate that I have ever seen in the last… three days. 😁

        Haha, by the time I reached the Vatores I was grasping at straws and just counted Caleb out on sheer principle alone, with or without his fortune-worthy button 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa, that unexpectedly hit me in the feels. I really like watching the two relationships between the mothers and the daughters. Also, Mel’s mom was a homewrecker lol!!! WHAT SCANDAL. I want all the details, including what she was struggling with that made her turn to Joy’s husband.

    I would love for Lilith to run away and reinvent herself, but she is probably going to get stuck doing the same thing because she won’t let Caleb or Seth go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Huh. The barkeep´s kinda weird. I don´t like his face, and I don´t know why he asked for Lil´s ID. I mean, yeah, she doesn´t look 37, but she doesn´t look underage either… at least to me she doesn´t. But hey, the drinking age is 18 around here, so I might have a different perspective. XD I also share the doubts about Lilith and her ability to reinvent herself. That´s generally difficult for ancients, even without any ties to the past still looming around.

    And okay, lemme see if I can untangle this mess. So Babs and… Karl had an affair, but then Karl kind of disappeared and Babs went back to Chuck, is it? Y´know, if Karl really was a rat and a coward then the only sad thing about this is that Adina never got herself a better man. Or, you know, anyone who would help her. About Barbara… if I hadn´t read your comments, I would have thought she was unfaithful when she and Chuck were going through the baby trouble… because I have no idea the level of medicine we are talking here, and I got no way to know if the docs could tell on whose side the problem was.

    And also, I´m not mad at Adina´s former employer, I´m mad at the politicians in Simland, because there definitely should be an office or some sort of organization who´d support people who have trouble finding work because of a handicap.

    Anyway the only person who comes to my mind as possibly having payed Adina´s landlord /is/ April… I´d definitely gotten the feeling she gave Faith some money during their “friendship.” This could have happened after April turned Faith but before they ran away… If not, then either I´m missing something big, or there is something big yet to be revealed here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is weird-looking. Another guise for Mr. Random Ugly, my rerolled townie. Drinking age is 18 here in the UK, too, but the guidance means that you’d typically get asked for ID if you look under 25, which all the vamps do, all being turned during their teens or earlier. (Except for Seth – he can order all the cosmopolitans he wants.) Reinventing oneself is difficult for anyone but, yeah, being over 300, set in your ways and unable to break bonds is certainly not going to help.

      Babs and Karl had some ‘extra-marital fun’, shall we say, rather than a full-blown affair, and everyone tried to move past it. Only one pairing succeeded in doing so however, all the other relationships broke down. Since then, Karl has been in and out of Adina’s life, dropping by ‘at random to take Joy for a burger’, and if anyone has done the maths, they’ll realise that this infidelity was ten years ago and Joy is only seven, so Adina has definitely given Karl at least one ‘chance’ over those years.

      The ‘medicine’ is pretty in-depth; the Bucket’s knew where the problem lay.

      There is some job seeker support in Simland, as we’ll see in upcoming chapters. I try to keep politics to a minimum though, because I know myself; I’d start obsessing over it until I have a welfare system and whole political system drawn up with Sims appointed to the cabinet and I’ll have lost even more days of my life over-elaborating on minor plot points. 😆

      Ooh, another theory about the mystery good Samaritan. April did give Faith money during their friendship, so that’s plausible. Although her credit card limit was only 5000 simoleons so she’d also have had to get the money from somewhere else.

      Like

      1. Hah, so the guidance is what´s throwing me. 25 is a lot. XD
        Ye-p. The habits you form will be pretty strong after that much time.

        Also, ooooof. I most definitely have not done my math. *ashamed* On Karl /or/ April and her credit card limit. Bleh, looks to me the chance Adina gave Karl went to waste. I think I don´t like the guy much… unless he´s the one who settled stuff with the landlord, but that somehow doesn´t sound very likely. But I´ll wait with making a proper opinion for now.

        Heheh, definitely keep it at minimum, then. Besides, the police are already… lousy, why would the politics be any different? I figure it actually fits the picture you´re painting pretty well, one of a very corrupt world where people who give a toss about others are pretty rare.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Some places ‘think 30’ too. Penalties for serving underaged people here are harsh, though and I think maybe British people are bad at guessing ages. Tangent, so feel free to ignore, but I once worked in a supermarket and one checkout employee served an underaged ‘test buyer’ so we all had to go on a training day about checking ID. As part of this, they showed us photos of various models and we had to guess their ages. There was one photo where the average age guessed was ’23’… and the model was only 14. I still remember that model’s face, thinking she must have such a hard life to look so much older and that I’d probably let her buy the damn wine. I don’t work in supermarkets anymore.

          Anyway, where was I? 😆 Nah, don’t worry. There’s so much to remember here that forgetting figures is just gonna happen, don’t be ashamed. When it becomes relevant again, I’ll remind you all anyway, I don’t expect anyone to remember everything. Or anything. Or even to read this, that in itself is a bonus.

          Police and politicians are definitely lousy in this world. Should I one day choose to actually write about a realistic world rather than this corrupt, spoof one, I will research both in detail. Until then, we have a backwater police force made of a handful of people who don’t know what they’re doing and a town with no proper government. 😂

          Like

          1. *shrugs* Well, I´m Czech… and I guess we really are the “beer country,” heh. Everyone kind of assumes that if they don´t serve somebody, they´ll send an older friend to buy for them anyway, just like Caleb did. That´s not to say /nobody/ cares, but… it´s more like “think 16.” XDD

            It doesn´t even have to be about realistic vs. spoof. If you have nasty people in power, such as the Wangshaft family, it totally stands to reason they don´t put much time, thought or (especially) money into providing social security for the citizens, right?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Like you point out, if a kid wants to get their hands on booze, there’s probably an adult (or ancient vampire) willing to buy it for them, so it’s all sort of pointless. 😆

              Right! Let’s go with that. Those stingy Wangshafts.

              Like

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