Scott and Madix arrived at the bar at the same time. They had never met each other, but they felt an instant camaraderie. In fact, it quickly became apparent that they shared more than a sour mood – particularly when a certain blonde haired girl in a green shirt strode into their hole-in-the-wall completely oblivious to their presence.
However, they weren’t the only ones to see her enter. A dark haired boy about Daniel’s height with light brown skin and a bright replica soccer jersey sat alone at the table next to theirs staring at her with a mix of bitterness and lust.
“Hehe, okay, blondie, come to papi.”
“That can be arranged,” Scott said pulling up a chair next to him as if they’d been friends for years. “She is single…broke up with her boyfriend just this afternoon. It’s tragic really…”
“But not for you…” Madix continued taking the seat across from his ginger-headed cohort. “No, this is an opportunity – YOUR opportunity – and we’re more than happy to help you achieve it.”
“After all, we LOVE helping people. It’s what we do…”
“I know,” Michael said. “He seemed almost disappointed about not getting to cook anything for us.”
“Well, it sounds like you’re lucky to have him. I wish MY roommate would offer to cook meals for me.”
“Oh, I’m sure that could be arranged…”
“Heck,” she continued barely hearing her younger brother’s comment. “Regardless of how good or bad he cooks, it would be still cheaper than eating here AND we’d probably be getting better service.”
“You don’t know the half of it. Excuse me, waiter? Damn. Excuse me, could we? Fuck. What the hell do we have to do to get another glass of water around here?”
“I don’t know, but it’ll probably cost more than you’ve more than you’ve got on you.”
“Yes, Carlos,” Scott said. “If you want to succeed, you have to picture in your mind what success looks like.”
“Just close your eyes, relax and picture yourself alone on a deserted beach with her as the sun sets behind you.”
“Breathe deeply. Focus.”
“Imagine her luscious breasts hanging in front of you like low hanging fruit. They’re so tantalizing you want to touch them.”
Carlos lifts his hands off the table as if trying to grab them, and Madix takes a piece of peeling plastic from the side of the table, pulls it back slightly and releases it with a SNAP causing their friend to wince in pain even though it was nowhere close to hitting him.
“We said you ‘WANT to touch them’ not you could. Do you want to continue this exercise or not?”
“Then you need to dig deeper and focus harder on your objective!”
“Ignore everything else around you except the sound of our voices. We will guide you to your objective…”
Michael didn’t see the man at the end of the bar with the grey shirt. Hell, he could barely see his own waiter, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t see the man vanish into thin air either.
Except he didn’t “vanish,” he stood in the corner of the bar near the kitchen as if waiting to use the nearby restrooms. Then a young man in a black waiter’s uniform brushed past him, and he grabbed his arm.
“Who’s serving that table over there,” he said before his captive could protest, “the one by the window?”
“I don’t know,” the server said irritably. “And I don’t care either.”
Suddenly, the mysterious man holds his hand in front of the server’s face and quickly snaps his fingers just out of his peripheral vision.
“Who’s serving that table over there?”
“I…am…sir,” he said flatly.
“Much better, now get to work. You’ve got customers to serve, oh,” he said with a devious smile, “and one more thing…”
All Claire wanted was a few drinks to help her forget her day. Unfortunately, all her friends wanted to do was ask her about Daniel, and, as much as she hated lying to her friends, there was no way she could answer their questions honestly without giving away his “secret” (and thus implying that she was somehow complicit in it).
“Look, I need…I don’t know what I need just something…different – something he can’t give me. Does that make any sense to you?”
“Everyone needs to finds themselves at some point, I guess now it’s your turn.”
“You really think so?”
“Yes, go out, explore the world, meet new people and eventually you’ll find exactly what you were looking for…”
“Sure,” she said skeptically. “Like the perfect guy for me is just going to come striding in out of nowhere and offer me a drink…”
“Water,” Will asked holding a pitcher in his hands.
“Yes please,” Rachel said, and he dutifully refills both glasses.
It might have been his imagination, but Michael thought for sure his server was slowly spelling out “M…I…C…” as he refilled his glass.
“Did you say something?”
“No,” said continuing his song under his breath. “You… real… soon…”
“I thought for sure I heard you say something. Ah, never mind, thank you.”
Carlos steels his nerves as he approaches the front of the bar and walks up to Claire who’s leaning against the counter talking to some friends.
“Hi, can I get you a drink?”
“Get lost, pig.”
He turns around dejectedly and after three steps nearly collides into his new friends.
“Well,” Madix said. “That didn’t go well, did it?”
“Fortunately, Carlos is a strong boy, a resilient boy and most importantly Carlos is a GOOD boy…”
“Yes, he is,” Scott said patting his shoulder reassuringly. “And good boys like you ALWAYS have a ‘Plan B.’ Don’t they, Carlos?”
“This isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected by a member of the ‘fairer sex,’ is it?”
“Well,” Scott said. “As my father likes to say ‘anyone who rejects you, isn’t worthy of your time anyway.’ Would you agree with that?”
“Maybe, you should consider switching sides. You’ve always gotten along better with boys anyway, haven’t you?”
He thinks for a moment and then slowly says “yes” as if a light just went off in his head.
“That was the problem all along, you were gay – and always have been – you just never wanted to ADMIT it until just now.”
“Yes…I was always gay…couldn’t admit it until now…”
“And in fact, you love us, don’t you? It’s okay, you know we will never harm you just as we know you will never harm us, would you?”
“NEVER…sir,” he replied as if that was the dumbest question he’d ever heard.
“In fact, you want to make us HAPPY, don’t you?”
“YES,” he said deliriously.
“It’s all you want. It’s what you dream about at night…”
“And the first thing you think about when you wake up, and you would do anything in the entire world to achieve that, wouldn’t you?”
“Absolutely anything,” he beamed. “Because, Carlos is a good boy…”
“Yes,” Madix said kissing him on top of the head causing him to blush embarrassedly. “Yes, he is…and we love him to death…”
“Now…it’s…time…to…say…goodbye,” Will sang picking up Michael’s check and taking it over to the register.
“To… all… our… company… That leaves us with two choices: you can go back to being the snooty server ignoring his customers…or…you can continue serving me. Remember, Will is good boy.”
“See, I knew you’d make the right decision. Good boys ALWAYS do. Now… go deliver their change. I’ve got other plans for you…”
“Good evening, Claire,” a vaguely familiar voice said as she approached her car.
“Who are you, and what are you doing out here?”
“Just getting a little air, that bar was getting a little stuffy.”
He took a step towards her, and she instinctively took one backwards only to collide into a second person standing immediately behind her.
She tries to scream, but a hand comes up from behind her and covers her mouth. Suddenly, she felt a sharp, pressure across the front of her neck and she fell instantly to the ground.
“He’s my friend,” he said crouching down and lifting her barely conscious head up by the hair. “‘…And ANYONE who tries to hurt him…’ Well, I think you can guess the rest…” he said letting her head fall back onto the ground.
“Good-bye, Ms. Parson. You were nothing more than a nuisance anyway. A cute nuisance, but still a nuisance.”
He takes her keys and throws them to his accomplice, “The blue Honda Civic on the corner, I think you know what to do with it.”
Michael came back from dropping his sister off at her hotel to find his followers sitting on the sofa in the same matching Mickey Mouse T-shirts they were wearing when he left.
“You’re not going to believe this,” he said excitedly. “My sister was scheduled to go to Disney World next week with her friends… but they dropped out and she doesn’t want to go alone so she offered to let me and two friends stay in her villa for five days. Isn’t that awesome?”
“That’s very generous of her, master.”
“Now the only problem is finding two people worthy of going with me – and, of course, the ONLY option I could come up was the two of you.”
“If you wish, master,” Madix said. “After all, we are very grateful for any opportunity to please you – regardless of where it is…”
“Wow,” Scott said. “You’re looking resilient for someone who just lost his girlfriend. What are you doing up so late anyway?”
“Brendan wasn’t happy with the photos from today’s project so I’m planning another one for tom…,” he looks at his watch and continues, “well, today actually. You can join me if you want, I’ll need someone to take photos anyway. Besides, as my mom always said: ‘any girl who would dump you wasn’t worthy of your time anyway.’”
“A wise woman, she and my dad would probably get along. Well, anyway, I’m going to bed. If you need anything – ANYTHING at all – just let me know. You know where to find me, good night, Daniel.”
“Good Night, Scott,” he said with a tired smile. “You’re a good friend…”
“Thank you,” he said blushing. “You have no idea what that means to me…”
One week later, the three of them arrive at their resort. Michael had given instructions on how they were not to make his meals (as they “came with the room”), address him as “master” or act in an obviously subservient manner. In fact, when they got to the room, the first thing he did was dismiss his “friends” for the afternoon and laid down for a nap.
“Well, they certainly didn’t skimp on the pool,” Madix said. “God, it’s huge…”
“And crowded too, where are we going to put our stuff down? I don’t see a single open chair.”
“You can use mine,” a bespectacled young man said approaching them. He looks Matthew in the eyes and suddenly his own went blank. “My name is Dave…and I serve Master Brendan…My parents don’t know … but my brother does… I’ll move my stuff onto his chair…”
“Ahem,” Madix said. “I’m here too.”
“He can’t see or hear you in this state,” Matthew said flatly. “But I can introduce you if you want…”
He turns the mousy haired boy towards Madix and as he does so the young blonde is momentarily blinded by a bright flash of light. He then stares blankly into Dave’s eyes transfixed by the image of the sunlight dancing on the water reflecting off the window behind him directly onto Dave’s glasses.
“The light,” Madix said, his voice getting slower and flatter as he talked. “…It’s so beautiful…how it shimmers…moving with the waves…”
Matthew slowly raises his fingers up and quickly snaps them just out of Madix’s peripheral vision causing his head to fall limply onto his friend’s shoulder.
He kisses the top of the boy’s head and whispers: “Madix is a good boy, and always will be. Now open your eyes and meet Dave…”
“Well, that was a fun trip, wasn’t it,” Michael said as they exited the elevator.
“Yes, it was very nice of your sister to pay for it for us.”
“I know, she’s full of surprises, but at least we don’t have to worry about any more of those happening any time soon. Could you get the door for me? My hands are full.”
“Yes, master,” Matthew said.
He opened the door, and he and Madix came in to find Carlos and Will sitting patiently on the sofa, their faces lighting up when they recognized their respective masters.
“Welcome home, sir,” they said simultaneously…
Avatar Land – Disney has been REALLY hyping this area recently from the weeklong preview on The View (which I was actually there for part of) and weekly teaser videos on their blog (which they know will be picked up by other blogs and websites). What little I’ve seen of it looks great… without legions of strollers or EVCs in the camera’s way. I would have rather they found something a little closer to home (they already have rights to the Pokémon anime which is also fantasy\family friendly\HUGE built-in fan base and that they could’ve easily opened it 5 years ago for one tenth of the cost) but I’m still looking forward to riding their two main attractions… when the crowds thin a bit after their big summer season.
Frozen Games – Disney is bringing back last year’s popular sidekick event at their ice themed water park. I thought Frozen fever peaked about 2 years ago, but why waste a good theme. Besides, it sounds like it could be fun. #TeamKristoff
Star Wars Land – Is a full year away from opening and yet every line of every artist rendered teaser sketch is being picked apart for even the slightest new detail of the two lands. To say they are hyping these two areas is an understatement, but unlike Avatar Land, I think these fraternal twin projects will be a HUGE win for Disney.
Toy Story Land (which was supposed to open quickly to give guests “something to do” while waiting for SWL) – Nothing. No news, no rumors, nothing.
Volcano Bay – Universal’s replacement for the recently shuttered Wet ‘N Wild opens the same weekend as Avatar Land. I’m certainly excited (even though my apartment complex already has a pool), but I’ll wait until some of the inevitable early bugs in their system are worked out before commenting.
Theme park Tourist recently posted (reposted from 2015) a story about the 5 biggest (in their opinion, not mine) “Wastes of Space” at WDW with a clickbait-y “literally” just for good measure. Of course, they cover the basics: Odyssey Restaurant (I’ll throw in Tomorrowland Terrace), Tomorrowland Speedway, The Outpost (which I always assumed was more “Australian” than “African,” but I digress), the abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion and Chester & Hester’s Dinorama (1000x YES!!!).
I agree that Dinorama is largely useless, but I’m not sold on their idea to tear it out and put in another thrill ride (since it covers roughly the same footprint as the nearby Dinosaur attraction). My suggestion would be to take out that and the Theatre of the Wild (and while their “Finding Nemo” show IS popular also takes up a HUGE amount of space in Dinoland USA) and replace it with an Australian themed exhibit (I’d say Antarctica, but that’s already taken).
Seriously, I haven’t been to The Boneyard so I cannot comment on it either way, but Dinosaur regularly has a wait of 45-60 minutes and “Finding Nemo” is usually packed. When was the last time you saw an actual line for either of the two carnival rides, eating at the trailer “diner” or anyone playing their noisy games. I can’t stand being in that area because it’s too frenetic and noisy, but the biggest nail in that area’s coffin is the ONE store in the land sells toys\apparel themed to Cars, Toy Story and even Star Wars (seriously)… but nada for The Good DINOSAUR (in a land themed to dinosaurs).
That brings us back to World Showcase. Yeah, Frozen Ever After is fun, and I love walking through the various pavilions… but what exactly does The Outpost do besides take up space? I don’t know if they have enough space there for a full pavilion or not but, surely, they can do better than leather bracelets, frozen colas and a bunch of drums for kids to bang.
I have a lot more thoughts, but it’s after midnight as I’m typing this. I may or may not get to posting the remainder of this reaction later this week.
First off, today is Saturday. I never go anywhere NEAR the parks on a Saturday unless I absolutely have to…or unless I’m super bored and the event only happens on weekends like the inaugural Epcot International Festival of the Arts.
Theme Park Tourist couldn’t recommend it highly enough – even going so far as to suggest making it a multi-day event for art\food lovers. I wouldn’t that far, but I do see it’s appeal… as a way to draw attendance to the park between the phenomenally popular Flower & Garden Show and the overpriced pub crawl know as Food & Wine Festival. Nothing wrong with that – Busch Gardens hosts its own Food & Wine Festival during their slow season.
The problem (and you knew I’d have one) is Disney is trying too hard to make what little they’re offering sound like a lot more than what it is (kind of Hollywood Studios). I’ve been to arts festivals in Miami (Beaux Arts), Harrisburg (Kipona), Baltimore (Artscape), Tampa (Gasperilla Festival of the Arts) and, yes, even Shamokin has one (Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts) and none of them were like this.
It’s like the people planning this had never been to an arts festival.
I get this is mainly about drawing people into the park so they can spend their money in DISNEY’S stores and restaurants (so no blocking paths leading to attractions or restaurants) so even though they also advertise this as a “culinary festival,” those tasty “seminars” were tucked safely behind Disney’s trademark paywall.
To be fair, this was one of the weak complaints TPT made of the event: Little food, big prices and long lines. At Artscape, I couldn’t walk 50 feet without running into a food vendor, here the closest thing to fest food was the existing Funnel Cake House at the American pavilion (and, yes, it had a line too). In fact, there were times where I completely forgot I was walking through an “Arts Festival” rather than an overcast day at Epcot.
As I was walking through the various “Art areas,” I noticed they were dominated by house booths with house merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, ALL of the festivals above had their own merch tents – Artscape had several of them spread throughout their festival – but they had other vendors there. Some of them varied in price\quality (see early years of Heritage Fest), but they weren’t all house booths.
Normally, I’d give them some slack for being an inaugural event, but this is DISNEY and I know they can do better than this. Well, there’s always next year…
I used to post moderately conservative posts on this blog back at the beginning of the primaries in 2015 so it’s kind of embarrassing to say I didn’t get to watch the inauguration. It’s not that I was “protesting” or “boycotting” it…though I was planning on checking out that whole inaugural International Festival of the Arts at Epcot this afternoon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do either.
I woke up at 5am with a dry throat and sore stomach and after I got some water and used the bathroom I went back to bed…and when I woke up: it was 1:30 in the afternoon! Too late to do anything about EITHER inaugural event, but at least I was feeling better so that’s good.
Fortunately, I’m not worried about the Epcot thing all that much as it’s going through the end of next month (and, truthfully, the ONLY reason I’m even considering going is because I don’t want to “waste” my AP). Eh, tomorrow’s another day…
10:01am – Good morning, I survived the storm. I woke up several times last night due to loud gusty winds and heavy rain, but my condo doesn’t appear to have taken any damage. It’s sunny but with persistent gusty winds.
10:36am – Orange and Seminole Counties are still under curfew through tonight, but will reassess their decision around noon.
11:00am – NWS has downgraded the storm to a Cat 3, but it is still causing immense damage in coastal cities.
11:17am – Orlando Sentinel is reporting at least one death in Central Florida attributable to Matthew.
11:41am – Meanwhile, Matt Drudge has theorized that Hurricane Matthew is a government conspiracy to “make a point about climate change,” a sentiment echoed by fellow radio host Rush Limbaugh (who walked his statement back)
12:01pm -Chip and Company is reporting that all 4 Disney parks remain closed and will reopen tomorrow pending damage assessment. All resorts and their restaurants remain open.
12:30pm – Gov. Scott says “worst of Matthew is yet to come”
12:47pm – Damage assessments of Gables, Rosenthal and Medical campuses have been completed. So-called “Cardboard U” is open for business tomorrow. Game on.
Hopefully, this is my last post on the matter.
10:01am – Orlando Weekly is reporting that all state offices are closed, all tolls are lifted and that some hospitals in coastal areas were evacuated.
10:03am – The University of Miami is officially on “emergency lock down” – all classes are cancelled, and all retail and offices are closed for the day. Limited dining service is available in the two campus dining halls as long as weather permits, MREs will be available in the Residential Hall lobbies for times when the cafeterias close.
10:20am – Orlando International Airport announced it will be suspending all flights in\out of their airports at 8pm.
11:15am – Sunrail suspends all service through Monday (they don’t offer weekend service)
11:20am – Universal announces it is closing all parks including Wet N’ Wild and CityWalk at 3pm. Disney parks are apparently still open as well with guests going about enjoying their day despite the weather (at the moment is light rain with relatively calm winds).
11:30am – Theme Park Tourist posted that all Disney Parks will close at 5pm, Legoland Florida will close at 5pm as scheduled and SeaWorld will close at 2pm.
12:14pm – TWC is predicting 5-7” of rain through Friday night with wind of 40-50mph with gusts of about 60-65mph. It is not expected to make landfall over Orlando, but we are still under a “Hurricane Warning.”
12:43pm – Not currently raining out, but the winds are strong. The proverbial calm before the storm.
Disney Parks blog has officially confirmed the long rumored Muppets show WILL be coming to Magic Kingdom’s storied Liberty Square this fall to give their musical take on American history. Why?
Want to replace the boring, dated “American Adventure” at Epcot? Knock yourselves out (as I actually like the idea) ditto the equally dated “Muppetvision 3-D” movie at DHS, but the idea of adding this as a show to Liberty Square (the walkway in front of “The Hall of Presidents” is narrow enough as it is – especially if there is one or more people in scooters chugging along at their usual 0.5mph). Personally, I think this is merely a “test” for the Epcot idea. One which I strongly suspect will fail.
Don’t get me wrong: I like The Muppets, and I love their “3-D” movie over at DHS… but the cynic in me sees this as little more than a Band-Aid to rescue the normally flagging fall attendance (as half of DHS is closed and “Rivers of Light” doesn’t look like it’s going to open by the time the abysmal “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” closes in September).
Theme Park Tourist posted an article today about 7 grossly under-represented movie properties at Disney World: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, a vastly under-rated film), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Inside Out (2014), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998) and Hercules (1997).
I agree with most of their list. However, The Princess and the Frog already has its own parade\defacto themed area in Disneyland (New Orleans Square), “The Haunted Mansion” already gets an annual Nightmare Before Christmas overlay every holiday season (at DL anyway), and they somehow recommend opening an “Ancient Greek” themed restaurant for Hercules (as if Mythos doesn’t exist).
For instance, I think TENG would be a good fit for either Adventureland or a South American expansion at either Epcot or DAK. I’m not surprised they didn’t incorporate it more into Coronado Springs (as CS is themed to Mexico and TENG takes place in Peru), but we agree on a coaster themed after Cronk and Yzma’s trip to her lab would be a kind of cool idea.
Inside Out has “Epcot” written all over it, and it deserves far more than a M&G in the shell of Innoventions (more on that below). They could retheme the plotless, meandering and almost universally disliked “Journey into Imagination with Figment” to the movie with Figment taking the emotions on a tour of “Imagination Land” – moreover, they could probably do like “Frozen Ever After” and reuse the existing track to save money. I dislike their idea of an “emotion themed restaurant” though.
There isn’t much I can add to the other films they mention except that I disagree with Pocahontas at “The American Adventure” (which already has a token Native American scene), but I will list a few additional films that desperately need some “theme park love.”
Bolt (2008) has DHS written all over it, yet I can’t even find a simple plush of him at the World of Disney store. I can’t be the only one who can picture a dark ride based on the title character’s journey from NYC back to LA and his eventual home in Kansas.
Big Hero 6 (2014, aka “Frozen for Boys”) is the epitome of what the largely abandoned “Innoventions” (whose main draw now is, ironically enough, a M&G for film’s breakout star, Baymax) was designed to be: a celebration of science, technology and commerce. Imagine if SFIT was hosting a special “Engineering and Technology Fair” right in the middle of Future World with exhibits changing every six months.
Ratatouille (2007) is not only a successful movie but also one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Paris. Conveniently enough, the area they house the ride in looks almost identical to the France pavilion at Epcot (which seriously needs to retire that dated movie already) – particularly since half the merchandise in that area is Remi anyway
…The other half is Marie from The Aristocats (1970) who used to have a M&G near the Town Hall on Main Street USA, but I’m not opposed to moving her back to her REAL home in either the France pavilion along with Remi and Princess Aurora or even sending her to Disneyland.
The Jungle Book (1967, 2016) is represented well at the parks over this summer with a “special preview” in “One Man’s Dream” and a phenomenally popular nighttime show at DAK…but the former closed to have a preview of Alice Through the Looking Glass and the latter closes in September leaving the movie with only a pair of M&Gs at DAK. They could do more than that, that’s the whole purpose of Adventureland?
Tarzan (1999) had a show an opening day show at DAK, and currently has an attraction in Adventureland at Disneyland and a “Festival of the Lion King”-esque show at Shanghai Disneyland. I’ve toured Tarzan’s Treehouse at DL, but I haven’t seen either of the stage shows. As for DAK, he’s “occasionally” found wandering around the Tree of Life.
Monster’s Incorporated (2001) has its own attraction in Tomorrowland, but the “Laugh Floor” of its title is simply where it’s painfully unfunny “jokes” land (I laugh more on “Jungle Cruise” than I do on this pitiful attraction). Personally, instead of a Toy Story Land at DHS, I’d rather see a Pixar Land with an import of either the DCA or Tokyo Disneyland versions of the ride along with attractions for other deserving movies like UP (2009, which currently has a M&G and educational game at DAK) and Wall-E (2008).