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The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

The OP doesn't link to the new prompt, fyi (another sign we really are transitioning to a cyberdistopia).


The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?


The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

For people who like writing with audio mood back-up, here's a playlist of 30+hrs of fairly futuristic music that's also not bad music or video game music: Ideally, you should always play on shuffle. I guess, to put it differently, its connection to cyberpunk is it's all music that I'd want to listen to in a club or while hacking the Gibson in the cyberpunk hellscape that is inevitably on the horizon.

In lieu of opening the spotify link, here you go: (you'll recognize this one from Hackers)

The Sean fucked around with this message at 17:08 on Feb 16, 2019

The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?


The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

I'm posting about 12 hours too late but I've been going through some poo poo had to unexpectedly go to bed a few hours early last night. Here is my food story. Rhino, you're the ruler of the dome right now so it's up to you to consider this for entry or just ignore it entirely.

Elsewise, I'm trying to take writing a little more seriously so some crits would be appreciated.

Coffee Maker Man
2016 words

Nothing in this city was worth its price tag. This didn't bother Hank much since he hadn't had a regular income in years. At eighteen, Hank enlisted in the navy and quickly learned that he was better fit for supporting others through cooking rather than direct support in the field. After serving as a military culinary specialist civilian life beat down on him. Now, in his sixties, he lived as a transient.

Orlando was a popular destination for those without a permanent place to stay. The city had amitable weather throughout most of the year. Plenty of tourists came through, too. They were easy to pressure and guilt into giving money since they were already overspending to give a fairytale vacation for their family.

Hank didn't like to beg. He always made do with what he had. Traditional dishes from every region of the world rely on doing this. Cultures learned how to use any plants, fruits, animals, or fish available to them. They learned how to best use what was available and these dishes became staples for generations. Hank learned to enjoy spicy fermented cabbage in Korea, grasshoppers in Thailand, and even rocky mountain oysters while visiting a shipmate in Idaho.

When Hank first arrived in Orlando he visited a shelter. The place looked more like a prison than a shelter. Hank was told that he couldn't stay without a sponsor's approval.

Residents of downtown Orlando were numb to panhandlers. Some beggars where characters, though. "Magic Matt" put on a good magic show for free. A legitimately good show. He only asked for donations from his audience at the end of his show and didn't pressure anyone if they didn't want to tip him. "The Reggae Mexican" was not Mexican at all but a black man in shorts, sandals, no shirt, and a comically large sombrero. His style was singing Bob Marley and Eek A Mouse tracks. It was unclear if he was even singing for donations or just going about his day and expressing his love for life.

Hank was known as "Coffee Maker Man." As Hank made his way from dumpster to dumpster people would call out "Coffee Maker Man. What you cookin' today!?"

At all times Hank kept his coffee maker either clutched to his chest or within his eyesight. It was his most prized possession. Water from public fountains was easy to obtain so as long as he could get his hands on a few simple ingredients and a power outlet he had a multitude of options available for any meal. The basket at the top of the coffee maker could steam most vegetables. The carafe allowed for boiling and poaching, like Hank's favorite: hard-boiled eggs. The grill itself let Hank tackle more substantial meals if he had the ingredients. Hank's staple was a simple grilled cheese sandwich.

Ingredient procurement wasn't difficult. The tourist area was patrolled aggressively and transients were pushed out so that the city could preserve the image of being a kingdom of magic. The tourist area was on the outskirts of town, though, and Downtown neighborhoods were a different story. As long as Hank didn't linger too long or upset anybody he could view a new place from the inside first. He would walk into an eatery or restaurant and take in all of the options he might partake in.

Coffee Maker Man gained a reputation as a low-key guide for the less fortunate on where to eat.

"Orlando Eats." Locally sourced livestock, choice cuts butchered on site. Vegetables and greens grown on site or less than fifty miles away. Meals were, per the menu: sandwiches and not sandwiches. My favorites are the Sloppy Jehoshaphat (loose meat, cheddar, locally baked fresh French roll), the Egg MeatMuffin (egg, ham or bacon, cheddar, pickled mayo, szechuan bun), and the Poultrygeist (fried chicken, kewpie, lettuce, tomato, pickled daikon, French roll).

Hank was amazed at how much food people would throw away. He first sought out nice restaurants as a source of basic ingredients for his own dishes. Scrounging through black garbage bags of discarded food in dumpsters behind respected restaurants in the city led Hank to not only find salvageable ingredients for his own dishes but discarded food from the guests. Hank was lucky to piece together a discarded meal that wouldn't get him sick. Sometimes he got lucky enough to find a nearly fully-intact meal. The person who ordered the later discarded dish probably had an unexpected food phobia, was too accustomed to junk food to appreciate the taste, or maybe the date just wasn't going well. Hank most treasured when he could eat the meals more in the way the chef intended them to be experienced.

"Ravenous Hog." Focus on comfort food from the South. Pork, brisket, low country boil, collard greens, okra, cornbread, chicken and waffles (fried chicken, cornbread waffle, maple syrup, pickled shallots and Fresno peppers). If you find a fried grouper sandwich the taste is worth the risk of getting sick.

Sometimes it was tough to piece together a full meal. Residents of affluent high rises ordered out often and often overordered, so rummaging through their dumpsters gave Hank a chance to enjoy a buffet of take out and leftovers from the most casual to the most respected locations in the city.

"Queen Bao." House-made dumpling buns. Short rib bao: thick-cut braised pork belly, pickled carrots, daikon, ground honey roasted peanuts & cilantro. WTF "What the Fish:" tempura white fish, kimchi slaw, yuzu tartar sauce, scallions.

Today Hank was rummaging through the dumpsters, stomach growling. He found plenty of discarded food but everything was either soured, rotten, or fast food.

"Hey! Old man!"

Hank, startled, turned around to see who was behind him. Hank shifted his position and his right foot lost hold, plungin deep into the mass of waste in the dumpster.

"It's fine, it's fine. I'm not here to hurt you. You want a hand getting out?"

A younger man, early twenties, extended his arm out in aid. Hank took the young man up on his offer, grasped his hand, and labored out of the dumpster.

"You're Coffee Man, right?"

"Coffee Maker Man, actually." Hank immediately felt embarrassed for correcting him. He didn't even like the nickname "Coffee Maker Man" but felt the need to make sure this stranger got the name right.

"I've got some work for you." Hank stared pensively, waiting for more details. "It's simple. While you're digging through those," the man nodded towards the dumpster Hank just exited from, "be on the lookout for smart phones, laptops, anything electronic, really. I'll give you some good money for 'em."

"How will I find you?"

"Don't worry about that. I'll find you. If you really need to find me, just ask around the streets for Algae."

After that, Hank never needed to look for Algae. He seemed to show up whenever Hank amassed a pile of people's discarded smartphones. Algae paid good money. Not "stable job" money but still, good money.

Hank was eating better. Not better, really, but the experience was better. He had enough money to keep a single, handsome outfit clean and to take a seat at his favorite restaurants.

The first meal Hank ordered was lamb, ricotta and mascarpone ravioli, bathed in a rich beef consommé. This was a dish he couldn't enjoy out of the dumpster, even with his best luck. The pieces of the entrée just wouldn't work out of a styrofoam container.

Hank didn't keep up with technology and didn't know why Algae paid so well for this junk, but eating well was enough motivation for him. What he didn't know was that Algae mined the electronics Hank sold him for incriminating personal information left on these devices in order to extort their previous owners. Illicit sales, secret lovers, embarrassing kinks. If someone wanted to keep it secret, Algae wanted to find it.

Even with a bit of money at his disposal, Hank still couldn't get into any shelter. "You need a sponsor. I don't care how much money you have. That's not how this works, sweetie."

One day Algae made a new offer after buying a pile of discarded electronics. "I want to help you out, Coffee Man."

It was "Coffee Maker Man!" Hank resisted from correcting him. "First Bank of Orlando is giving a thousand dollars for opening a new account if you show them this flyer. Open an account with this coupon and I'll make sure that you get a sponsor for the shelter." The flyer had some weird markings that Hank didn't understand but Algae explained that this would be scanned by the bank and they would know what to do.

"I'll take a portion of the money. You can have the rest and I'll get you a sponsor. Deal?"

That was all that Hank needed to hear. He put on his nicest outfit, steeled his nerves, and entered the bank to open a new account. Waiting in the lobby was torture. When the account manager called his name his heart was pounding. He was progressing to a new stage of life. He was opening a bank account. Achieving a normal spot in society. Hank presented his coupon, "I got this coupon for an account opening bonus. I was told you can scan it with your phone."

The account manager scanned the flyer. Hank observed that she carried herself with seriousness and professionalism but her expression soon looked more worried than the stern calmness she exuded before. Hank worried that something was wrong but was reassured when she said, "Sir. I'll be right back with your money. Stay calm. The account manager returned and flooded the desk with a pile of sealed, manila envelopes packed to capacity and bulging with bills. "Here. You have what you want. Please leave now. Go."

"Is this my new account bonus."

She looked irritated. "Just. Go. Please."

Hank thought this was rude but after decades of avoiding day to day civilian life he thought that maybe this was normal. The account manager didn't treat him any worse than people on the street did on a daily basis. He'd gotten this far without being kicked out so he thought that maybe he should just stay calm, gather his signing bonus, and leave.

Algae was waiting for him outside. "Thanks for these," he said as he took the envelopes from Hank. "See you later." Before he could put together a response Algae was already walking away. Hank had one envelope left. After Algae turned the corner at the end of the block and went out of sight Hank opened the envelope to find more cash than he had ever seen in front of him in his life.

He reached in for one of the bands of cash to take a closer look. He lifted the band of cash in front of his face and was amazed. He might finally get off of the street.

Hank lowered the wad of cash from his view and noticed that he was surrounded by law enforcement with their guns drawn and pointed at him. The QR code he showed to the bank was no "new account offer." After the police were done interrogating Hank, they explained that the QR code that the bank manager scanned said that Hank was there for a robbery, had bombs strapped underneath his clothing, and would blow himself up if he didn't get some cash, in discrete envelopes, quick.

"I wasn't trying to rob the bank! I was told it was a new account bonus! I swear to god."

"We know, we know. We're not going to charge you but we need you to stay in town while we investigate this. Okay?"

The officers drove Hank across town in handcuffs. Hank noticed he wasn't driven to a prison but instead somewhere he had visited before. "We're here to sponsor…" The officer paused and gestured towards him.


"This way, Mr. Hank." Hank finally had a bed at the shelter. Later, he sat down for his first meal and looked at the sad, watery soup and longed for the outside world.

The QR code is fully functional, btw. I left a little disclaimer since it was hosted on a public site. I know Orlando food pretty well and some of this is based on real food experiences. I was on Travel Channel recently when they focused on Orlando's food. If you ever visit, hit me up and I'll give you some tips. No dumpsters. I swear.

edited for spoiler info

The Sean fucked around with this message at 03:22 on Feb 26, 2019


The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

Chairchucker posted:

Don't edit your entry posts and don't be afraid to just make a new post with the extra stuff

Got it. Thank you.

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