I Can’t Believe the Way I Pussyfoot Around People These Days

Excerpt from the novel Infiltrator icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 by S.M. Stirling icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12

S.M. Stirling's "Infiltrator" book cover. [Formatted]

VILLA HAYES, PARAGUAY: THE PRESENT
     Suzanne Krieger… née Sarah Connor, she thought. In my previous, pre-Terminators, pre-change-the-future existence… finished signing the contract with a flourish and tipped her chair back, taking a quick look out into the garage through the grimy, streaked glass of the office window.
     One of her company’s trucks had its hood up and its guts laid out, but nobody seemed to be around. She slid open the second drawer of her desk, and slipped out a flask of caña. Sarah/Suzanne unscrewed the cap and added a healthy dollop of the cane alcohol to her tereré, an iced maté drink she’d grown fond of. It went down even smoother with a little help. It also made her sweat a little, but everyone did that in the Chaco—summers here ran over a hundred every day, and it wasn’t a dry heat, either.
     “Señora,” a weary voice said. There was a hint of censure in it.
     Sarah’s mouth twisted in exasperation and she looked over at Ernesto Jaramillo, her chief mechanic. His broad, mustachioed face was set, his dark eyes sad.
     “Where the heck did you come from?” she asked defensively. “A second ago there wasn’t anybody around.” She stubbed out her cigarette impatiently.
     “It’s not even eleven o’clock in the morning, señora,” Ernesto pointed out.
     “What’s an hour or so among friends?” she asked, turning to her work. “Did you want something?”
     “That stuff will rot your liver,” he said.
     “Mmmm. Rotten liver, that sounds like a happy condition.” Sarah adjusted her ashtray, then turned over a paper and signed the one beneath it. “Did you want something, Ernesto?” She gave him a sidelong glance.
     He shrugged, frowning.
     “I just want you to be healthy, señora,” he grumbled.
     She turned and looked squarely at him. “Thank you, Ernesto. I know you mean well, but I’m not doing anything wrong, here. The business isn’t going to fail because I like flavoring my tea with caña.” She smiled at him.
     He smiled back, shaking his head. Then he shrugged. “I just came to tell you the Meylinda is going to take her break in about five minutes.”
     “Thanks,” Sarah said. “I’ll be there in a second.”
     He lifted his hand in a sort of salute and wandered off. Sara/Suzanne watched him go, then took another sip. I can’t believe the way I pussyfoot around people these days, she thought. Not so very long ago she’d have told Ernesto what he could do with his fatherly concern. But there was no help for it if she was to blend in. Paraguayan culture required women to be mild and somewhat subservient. She was cutting-edge here just for being the boss. Milquetoast that I am.
     Sarah stood and smoothed down her narrow dark skirt then checked her hair in the mirror. Even now her appearance sometimes surprised her. The short, dark brown hair cut close around her face and the big, heavy frames of her fake glasses made her look more fragile somehow. But the darkness of her hair brought out the blue of her eyes with surprising intensity. She was feminine enough still to like that. It made up a little for the ugly glasses. A necessary disguise that kept people at a distance.
     Outside of work she wore sunglasses, always. Except at night, of course. But since she never went anywhere at night it didn’t matter.
     Sometimes her lack of a social life bothered her. With John away in school, it was lonely out on her little estancia. But as a single mother, a businesswoman, and a foreigner… people around here genuinely didn’t know what to make of her. They avoided any discomfort by avoiding her. Not that that stopped them talking, of course. This place had the small-town vices in spades.
     Sometimes she thought it was just as well, sometimes she worried that she should be more involved. With something feminine like a bake sale for charity or something. After all, her trucking company sponsored a local baseball team, which was a very popular move, but somehow the locals had persuaded themselves that it was her workers who sponsored the team rather than herself. It came down to gender again. If she had been born male she would have been absorbed into this town years ago.
     She also handled more than a little of the local smuggling market. Sarah had expected people to suck up to her a bit because of that. But it turned out that was also a strike against her. Smuggling was man’s work. As were trucks. Her story of inheriting the business from her husband was the only thing that had made it possible for her to get along at all here.
     The local women were very nice to her but kept their distance. Even Meylinda was no more than politely friendly. Sarah had once been checked out by a local widower who was essentially looking for an unpaid housekeeper/nanny that he could boink without censure. But she’d run him off as quickly as she could. She knew she’d have killed the man in a week, leaving seven little big-eyed orphans behind. Then I’d have felt obligated to raise the little monsters.
     Once in a while she considered selling up and moving to Asunción to become a secretary or even a waitress. But then she’d remember the peace and quiet of her estancia and Linda, her mare, and she’d put it out of her mind. Changing locations wouldn’t change who she was anyway. It wasn’t just that she was a foreigner and a woman that kept people away. Sometimes, when she was tired or not thinking and sometimes deliberately… she radiated danger and distrust.
     With a half smile Sarah put down her brush and fluffed her bangs. Funny, that’s just what makes the smugglers trust me. She added a touch of lipstick. Her mouth was the same, still the full lower lip, but now it was bracketed with what she chose to refer to as smile lines. Not that anyone would want to see the smile that could produce such marks.
     Sarah walked into the front office with her drink and her cigarettes to find Meylinda browsing a magazine instead of filing the massive stack of invoices at her elbow. Sarah suppressed a sigh. She’d fire the girl in a New York minute except that Meylinda was a vast improvement over the previous two. Being a known smuggler kept many families from allowing their daughters to work for her. Including the families of smugglers. She was lucky to have anyone.
     Tapping out a cigarette, she smiled at her employee.
     “Oh! Thank you for coming, señora. See you in fifteen minutes,” Meylinda said cheerfully. She picked up her pocketbook and magazine and flitted out the front door.
     Fifteen minutes. Riiiight. Sarah lit up and took a drag of her cigarette. Picking up the stack of invoices, she took them over to the filing cabinet. I’ll be lucky if she makes it back in time to go to lunch.
     Ernesto had told her that there was an apparently serious flirtation going on between Meylinda and a boy who worked at the confitería down the street. And serious flirting took time. I wonder if she’ll be getting married soon. If so Sarah would soon be in the market for another receptionist. She dreaded the prospect.
     There was someone behind her. Sarah continued to place invoices in their files and she tried to sense something about the mysterious presence. It didn’t smell like one of the mechanics or drivers, no sharp scent of gas or oil. She heard the whisper of fabric, of slacks or jeans, making probable the intruder was a male. He moved young. And then she knew.
     “Hi, John,” she said, smiling.
     “How do you do that?” he demanded. “I could have sworn I didn’t make a sound.”
     She turned, still smiling, and opened her arms to him. When he stepped into her hug she blinked to find her chin resting on his shoulder. “Whoa!” she said, holding him off. “You’ve grown!”
     “I’m sixteen, Mom. It happens.” He looked smug as he said it.
     Sarah looked him over, shaking her head. There was a lighter mark on the cuffs of his school uniform jacket where the sleeves had been taken down, but even so his wristbones were visible. The trousers showed the same problem.
     “Did they send you home early for being a disgrace to your uniform?” she asked.
     “They sent me home be-cause.” He held up an envelope containing his report card.
     Sarah took it with a raised eyebrow and opened it. There was a note inside from the principal/commandant of the very expensive military academy she was sending him to.
     It told her that her son was an extraordinary student who had saved the life of one of his fellows while they were out on field maneuvers. The boy had been bitten by a snake. John had applied a tourniquet, and had organized his squad to make a stretcher from their rifles and blankets, and then he had led them back to the academy. For his presence of mind, for his exceptional leadership qualities, and for getting straight A’s, he was being rewarded by being sent on summer break early.
     “Congratulations,” she said. Quiet pride shone from her eyes.
     He waggled his eyebrows and grinned.
     “Hey, I had a good teacher. I’m supposed to be, like, this great military leader, remember?”
     She hugged him again, knowing he didn’t mean the teachers at the academy. “Exceptional leadership qualities, the commandant says,” Sarah reminded him. “Nobody can teach you that.”
     “Yeah, but you knew that before I was hatched,” he said. “No problemo. It’s just my nature.”
     Sarah snorted. “Don’t get cocky, kid. It’s when you’re taking bows that the world most likes to kick your butt. Listen, I’m kinda stuck here.” She looked over her shoulder at the messy desk. “Meylinda’s on break and in love.”
     John laughed. “You want me to hunt her down?”
     “Mmmm. No, I’ve still got a couple of things to finish up. But if you can entertain yourself until one, I’ll call it quits for the day and let Ernesto lock up.”
     “Great,” he said. “God, I’m dying of thirst.” John went to the desk and picked up the glass of tereré. “This yours, Mom?” He took a gulp before she could stop him. “Hoo-waah!” he said, tears in his eyes. “What did you put in this,” he rasped, “battery acid?” He waved a hand in front of his face. “Whoo!”
     “That’s what you get for not asking permission,” she said, coming over to the desk. Sarah took another drag of her cigarette and rolled her eyes at his disapproving glare. “What?” she snapped.
     “I thought you’d given up smoking,” he said. He looked disappointed.
     This is not my day, she thought. Every man I see is disappointed or disapproving. Then she felt a little brighter inside. She’d actually thought of her son as a man.
     “I mean after what you went through quitting last summer, I can’t believe you took it up again.” He shifted his stance awkwardly, then put down the tereré. “C’mon, Mom, you’re tougher than that.”
     Sarah rolled her eyes. “Okay, okay.” She tamped out the cigarette. “But can we talk about this later, hmm?”
     “Sure. Um, I’ll go get a soda, or something. Maybe keep an eye on Meylinda.”
     Sarah laughed. “She’ll probably use you to make this new guy jealous. Do you need money?”
     “Nah, I’ve got some.” He looked at her for a moment, and then he reached over and gave her a peck on the cheek. “See you in a couple of hours.”
     “Bye.” She watched him go, noting the new maturity in his walk, and sighed. Funny he mentioned the cigarettes but not the caña in her tea. He would, though. She could rely on that.

To Spite My Face, Cut Off My Nose

Sketches of Pain icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 05 from the Raoul and the Kings of Spain LP by Tears for Fears icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )
“Sketches of Pain” Song Lyrics icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12

Tears for Fears' "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" album art. [Formatted]

Los Reyes Católicos icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 06 from the Raoul and the Kings of Spain LP)
“Los Reyes Católicos” Song Lyrics icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12
Sorry icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 07 from the Raoul and the Kings of Spain LP)
“Sorry” Song Lyrics icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12

Trolling the Interweb, Volume 1

So one of my favorite things to do back in the day was go to the Megadeth.com forums while knocking back a couple of beers and post zany shit to see how people would react. The idea of so-called rock ‘n rollers and metalheads spending a bunch of their free time talking to each other on an Internet forum always struck me as funny and odd, and I just had to do something with it.

In general, heavy metal forums were (and probably still are) one of the many cesspools of the Internet, but the Megadeth forums were well moderated and had an unusually high number of quality members. It was never allowed to sink into the standard free-for-all for numbskulls and degenerates, which was happening pretty much everywhere else. My guess is that bandleader Dave Mustaine was hip to the Internet and paid more attention than most rockstars to technology and the connection it created to his fans—pretty cool stuff.

There were A LOT of quality posts from me on this forum—wowie zowie did I have some fun! I was also “in character” 95% of the time, and only occasionally posted serious responses to serious topics that deserved authentic input. Some people were able to piece together what was going on, others were in on the prank immediately, and a small handful got upset, but it was astonishing to me just how many had no clue.

I am sharing two threads here—floyd rose piece of SHIT and angry faces practicing—because the second is directly related to the first. Both were in the “Musicians” section of the forums, hence the musician’s-talk that’s going on in almost every post. I’m pretty sure these are among the first contributions I made after joining the site, so at this point I hadn’t developed a history on the boards and the other members had no frame of reference.

My handle is Ghidra. All posts were reformatted to fit here, but are completely unedited aside from a mostly accurate translation of emojis.

Oh, and can you spot the Newheart reference? Yes? Good… fortunately someone else did too.

Topic: floyd rose piece of SHIT

Ghidra

Hi. I replaced my low e string of my guitar with an e string from a bass guitar. I thought it would be kind of fun. When I was in the middle of playing angel of death the floyd rose shot off the guitar and knocked me out cold for two hours. Ive been smoking weed for 16 hours straight now cause my head hurts fukcing bad!!

just wanted to make sure no one else tries that… it aint god damned worth it@!

Manimal

Well, then don’t do that. 😉

Actually, I have a Floyd Rose on my old Kramer Baretta and I hate that thing. It sits too high and I just don’t like it. I’ve played on Kahlers that felt more natural and had a lower profile and didn’t make my strings feel loose as the Floyd did.

SeanM

Wow. That would’ve looked really weird.
Anyway, since you were knocked it, you may wanna go to the minor injury clinic or ER just to get a quick check of your head. The weed you’re smoking could be masking an injury, which could be a bad thing. Especially if you’re in some serious pain.

😡 headbanging 😡

-sean

CreepingDeath84

How the fuck did the Floyd come off the guitar??

CD84

chaoslord

Are the three of you really this dense ? A bass low E wouldn’t fit in the bridge saddle or the tuning pegs of a guitar. Much less have enough force to rip a bridge off.

As for the retard who posted this, take your worthless crap elsewhere.

Mike Linkletter
SOLE SURVIVOR

Holy Warhead

Take it easy dude.

So what if it was a lie, as long as he only included himself in it. Who says the string even went through the tuning peg? Maybe he tied it around the entire headstock…

That must have looked funny though 😉

BriWarsco

Yeah…I use all 4 strings from a bass on my Rose….of course i had to get 5 industrial strength springs and beef up the spring connector and put some heavy duty bolts to replace the adjustment screws…..just gotta watch those divebombs as the tremelo shoots back into place with the potential of causing broken wrists and forearms……I also clamp 3 large 10 pound C-Clamps to the head adding a beefy 30 pounds to the head of the guitar and giving me some outragesouly long sustain……actually, I cannot get the axe to STOP sustaining now……and talk about intonation problems, had to file out the grooves in the saddles and put longer adjusters in them just to get it close..of course I play way down in A….let’s not even discuss the extreme action….(gotta do hammer-on’s with a real fucking hammer and shit…..string bends are accomplished via crowbar….)

King V 1

It’s getting deep!

Hey Manimal, What about the Baretta? Is the Floyd not level with the body or do you just prefer a recessed mount? Do you know what year it is? What about graphics?(they are the only bolt-on guitars I own)

King V 1

loner92

That’s what you get for putting a bass string on a guitar. What the hell were you thinking?

MegaGoo

you crackhead. you’re not even supposed to put slightly different gauge strings on a floyd rose without adjustments and resetting intonation

and how would you be playing with the bridge (probably) about to snap off even when its not being played. and why would you even WANT to put a bass string on a guitar. i would think the string would sit right along the neck and not be able to be played. or at best, rattle heavily on every note. if you “played” angel of death like that, i’d use another word or rephrase. like maybe made noise on some kinda of stringed instrument while listening to angel of death.

man
hahaha

eddie

Thief

quote:
——
Originally posted by chaoslord:
Are the three of you really this dense ? A bass low E wouldn’t fit in the bridge saddle or the tuning pegs of a guitar. Much less have enough force to rip a bridge off.
As for the retard who posted this, take your worthless crap elsewhere.

Mike Linkletter
SOLE SURVIVOR
——

Yup agreed Methinks this little boy wants to impress us with his lil ol guitar and the fact that he smoked weed..

Ghidra

quote:
——
Originally posted by chaoslord:
Are the three of you really this dense ? A bass low E wouldn’t fit in the bridge saddle or the tuning pegs of a guitar. Much less have enough force to rip a bridge off.
——

the same thing happened to my cousin darryl when put he bass strings on his giutar. accepot he didn’t have a floyd rose and it didn’t hit him in the head.

lucky little prick

ImetMegadeth

Does your cousing Daryl have a brother named Daryl?

Topic: angry faces practicing

Ghidra

i was wondering how to get the best pisst off look for when Im playing my guitar. I was sitting in front of my mirror with my guitar and trying all thise diffrent face poses-orwhatever. I couldnt get any good ones!

My bruise on my head from my floyd rose makes me look pretty pissed off already-so at lest that helps.

GSoloist

Ok, this is what you do… Take a pair of wire cutters, ok? Stand infront of the mirror… Now! That the wire cutters and cut as many of your guitar strings as fast as you can… Ok, this is the important part… Remember who told you to do this… You’ll be making some of the best angry faces ever!

L8r!
GSoloist

Ghidra

They wouldnt cut! Now there all jagged and crooked and I cant play on them anymore. God damn walmart scissors.

Mechanic502

LOL…you actually sit in front of the mirror with your guitar making faces? That is fucking lame! LOL!!!!!!

noiseterrorist

Genuine anger usually helps.

😄

GSoloist

Ok, this works everytime… If you have a girlfriend, pay a complete stranger to have sex with her and watch… Do this in front of the mirror if possible… (Hell, if you have one and she’s hot, email me, I’ll do it for free…)

L8r!
GSoloist

P.S. I’m kidding of course… I wouldn’t do it for free…

Ghidra

quote:
——
Originally posted by Mechanic502:
LOL…you actually sit in front of the mirror with your guitar making faces? That is fucking lame! LOL!!!!!!
——

How do you think James and dave look so pissed off when there playing guitar?! Everyone who plays guitar does this..I did come up with a cool face yesterday. if I cann get 2 mroe ill be happy and then I can start kicking ass!!! I just wish my forehead bruse wouldn’t heal. Than no one would fuck with me!

GSoloist

Actually, a forehead bruise just makes it look like you got your ass kicked… Not too good, bud…

L8r!
GSoloist

Xipe666

A good wall-mirror is every guitarists best friend. 😄 (Especially for the solo-monkeys – ever seen Zakk play? Alot of mirror time there, I betcha! 😄)

I haven’t done it myself, but once I start playing more gigs I’m sure I will find myself in front of a mirror now and then training poses (don’t know about angry faces though 😄).

As they say,
It’s not how you do it, it’s how good you look while you’re doing it. 😉

‘banger

Dude, why do you have to post shit that obviously didn’t happen? Your floyd didn’t pop off your guitar and bash you in the head, and you didn’t fucking attempt to cut your guitar strings just now. It’s bullshit. I’m sorry if I’m the first to tell you, but this is not a roll playing board. You don’t make shit up just for the sake of posting.

Andy Oliphant
Sole Survivor

ImetMegadeth

I know sitting on your own testicles will put a mean look on your face

GSoloist

quote:
——
Originally posted by ‘banger:
Dude, why do you have to post shit that obviously didn’t happen? Your floyd didn’t pop off your guitar and bash you in the head, and you didn’t fucking attempt to cut your guitar strings just now. It’s bullshit. I’m sorry if I’m the first to tell you, but this is not a roll playing board. You don’t make shit up just for the sake of posting.

Andy Oliphant
Sole Survivor
——

Dude, I hope this doesn’t piss you off, but is this your board? Last I checked, it was Megadeth’s… I mean come on, part of human communication involves humor… If the guy wants to come on here and joke around, that’s his right unless somebody in charge says otherwise… Instead of getting pissed off about it, why don’t you join in with something whitty? Besides, it’s not like EVERY post on here is like that…

L8r!
GSoloist

Sinistas

I think it’s because of the passing off of humor as fact.

‘banger

This is the second thread he’s started that’s obviously a lie. That kinda pisses me off, yes.

Andy Oliphant
Sole Survivor

Anyway, this was a regular thing for quite a while, and I saved only a fraction of it all. I really hope there are backups out there somewhere.

Though the Memory has Died, Watch How You Open Up

Swarm icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 03 from the Terraformer LP by Thank You Scientist icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Thank You Scientist's "Terraformer" album cover. [Formatted]

Full circle, all will be returning in due time
Concentrate on erasing the commotion
Come again with a little bit of urgency
You’ve got the best of me

Oh my Carolina
Feel like I’ve been had
Feel like I could tear down the wall and call it a day
But then again, I’m the destroyer

Does it ever make you wonder?
What if I took a left instead of a right?
What if I’m to blame?
I’ll be damned, I’m digging my own grave

Stir, agitate, feel defeat
Nothing could ever take that from me
Where do I belong?
Where do I belong?
And did you ever notice the light was turning?
Only green can get you there
You’ve got to be ready to go

So come again with a little bit of love now
Come again with a little bit of urgency

Oh my Carolina
Feel like I’ve been had
Feel like I could tear down the wall and call it a day
But then again, I’m the destroyer

Does it ever make you wonder?
What if I took a left instead of a right?
What if I’m to blame?
I’ll be damned, I’m digging my own grave

Do you have to recall?
Why don’t you leave it there?
Though the memory has died, watch how you open up

So I’ll stay here
Where do I belong?

Does it ever make you wonder?
What if I took a left instead of right?
What if I’m to blame?
What have I become?