oh baltimore, never change

It's hot as shit today.  I think this is the case across the country, but I can't rouse myself from my air conditioned stupor to find out.  We were watching Whose Line this morning (an aside: IT'S BACK!) and the power blinked out for a second.  Then we heard a BANG from across the street, and then another, and as we looked out the window in confusion, a third.  A manhole cover in the street on our (busy) intersection had blown right out of the ground, and the lights in the intersection were out.  I called the city and went out to put a safety cone by the manhole and got yelled at by a cop for endangering myself.  People are still acting like idiots in the intersection, though, despite the cop cars, the firetruck, the news van, and the BGE truck.  Great job, guys. Fortunately, we've treated ourselves to 78* inside the house with the window unit running downstairs, and all the cats are lying in limp, furry heaps on the floor.  I've got a day off from Paycheck Jobs today, so we're making plans to hit up the science center this afternoon for the Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery exhibit.  I cannot wait.

But!  In the interim, my favorite illustrator and I are working on my branding.  Mama needs new headers for basically everything.  We're arguing about colors right now.

And, finally, the WIP of the month is up and running again.  Apparently writing drunk college kids at parties is my forte.  I wonder why that is.  Here's a clip:

They played, drawing cards and enacting the tasks each card dictated: on a seven, reaching for heaven; on a queen, talking in queries until someone forgot and answered.  Hugh drew a five on his turn, and they all put up one hand, fingers extended.

"I never," he said, trying to think of something he hadn't said a hundred times before, "spent the night outside when I wasn't intentionally camping."

There was a groan of disappointment— Kyle and Boyd had slept in the Captain's Wood on Lawson Avenue once, too drunk to make it home, and the admissions were expected to be sexual in nature so they could make fun of each other.

"I never," Sara said, "had sex with a girl."

A cheer— that was more like it— and Hugh kept his fingers up as the other boys put one down apiece.  Charlie put one down as well, raising an eyebrow in challenge when Hugh gave him a look.  Charlie was into his second beer and getting a bit smug.

"Well I never," Gavin declared, "had sex with a lad."

Charlie put another finger down, now outright smirking at Hugh, who had also lowered one.  On his other side, Colleen spotted it and said, "My, Charlie Porter, you're more interesting by the minute."

"I don't always tell people I'm bisexual," Charlie declared, "but when I do it's in a room full of strangers."

They all laughed, and Hugh's felt his face get hot.

"I never," Jane said, biting her lip and thinking about it, "gave a blowjob in a moving car."

Hugh's eyes darted to Charlie's upraised hand, and Charlie grinned at him, shaking his head.  Hugh lowered a finger sheepishly.  The others hooted and cat-called, and he found himself protesting, "He wasn't driving!" which didn't make it better.

"Well, who the fuck was driving?" Andrew cried.

"I was," Colleen said.  "And bloody distracting it was, too."  She reached over Charlie and gave Hugh's shoulder an affection shove.  "Slut."

Andrew declared that he had never shat his pants and they all looked around at one another, hoping for a good story, but no one lowered a finger.

Effie had never had sex while her roommate from university was in the room.  Colleen and Charlie both lowered a finger and, realizing it, giggled like idiots at each other.

Colleen said, "It was a mistake; we came back drunk, she was asleep, and we didn't notice until we were halfway through."

"I got a handjob," Charlie said, "and I hated my freshman year roommate.  I think he hated me about as much after that."

Boyd said, "I never got caught having sex by a member of the clergy."

"Oh, fuck you very much, Boyd," Hugh said, putting a finger down.

"Just trying to move the game along," Boyd said, grinning at him.

Charlie's brown eyes were wide.  "You're not serious."

"It wasn't in church, if that makes it any better," Hugh said.

"Much better," Charlie said, "though probably a less hilarious story."

"Could not have been more humiliated," Hugh said.  "Moving on, please."

"I never vomited in a public," Andrew said.

Colleen rolled her eyes and put a finger down.  She was down to one, as was Charlie.  Hugh had two fingers left.

"I never…"  She glanced sidelong at Charlie, trying to figure out what he might have done that she could use against him.  "I never drove on the right side of the road."

Charlie laughed, surprised, and closed his hand into a fist.  He shook it at Colleen, and they all lowered their hands.

"Finally," Boyd said.  "Sara, your go."

That new draft smell (plus an excerpt)

"Ideal Cut" covers