Joel Behn

Discussion in 'Character Biographies' started by Carver, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Carver

    Carver Active Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Joel Behn
    of Astoria

    "Joel Behn is a recent addition to the Astoria chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Possessing a bachelor's degree in journalism, Joel is currently apprenticing in the trade of carpentry. Thanks to Astoria's rich lumber history with the unfortunate closure of Hector & Smith Lumber, the Behn family is a line of natural craftsmen and carpenters, and we look forward to incorporating Joel into our family of Carpenters."
    - the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America: Astoria Chapter Profile

    Age: Early Thirties (34)
    Sex: Male
    Height: 6'1
    Weight: 195-200
    Hair Color: Light Brown
    Eye Color: Blue
    Ethnicity: Caucasian-American
    Known Around Town Information
    Joel Behn is a native to Astoria, and had previously served in law enforcement from 2001 to 2007. Being a native of Astoria, he has seen his hometown face transformation by the hands of large corporations who know nothing about the history or lives of the people who have lived there for generations. Joel longs for the small, country feeling his hometown once had, but he also loves his home and the nostalgia surrounding it.

    He loves the town and the people that live there, and during his time as a police officer he was known for typically trying to teach whomever he was pulling over a lesson, rather than giving them a ticket, so long as the offense wasn't grievous. In addition, he held the belief that actions have consequences to them, and people must be held accountable for their actions. It is the true sign of maturity when one owns up to their mistakes, believing that you can't run from your problems: you can only face them.

    Although he is at odds with the changing landscape of his hometown, it is known to some that Joel quit a previously high paying corporate career in favor for of becoming a police officer, until he retired from that profession due to personal reasons. Currently, Joel is following the family trade and apprenticing as a carpenter, and thanks to the nature of growing up in a town which was mostly dependent on lumber before the deluge of corporate— it is expected he will make a quick transcendence into journeyman. Furthermore, due to his journalism degree and history in public relations, the Carpenter's Union has there eyes set on Joel, with a possible Union Rep position heading his way, once he has more notches on his belt.

    Off Time Knowledge
    When not working, Joel typically does not talk about his apprenticeship, much the same way he did when he was in the line of policework. Rather, Joel enjoys small talk about the simple things in life. You can likely find him at a local bar, although he does not drink, or with family and friends, while in his plainclothes.

    He has a very laid back attitude, with the belief that troubles come and then they pass, and that life should be simple, and happy; more should care about the comforts of home, than the promises of inexorable corporations.
    #1 Carver, Jan 23, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
    Andrew Noah, Rally, MindGate and 5 others like this.
  2. Carver

    Carver Active Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Platonic Love
    Romantic Love
    Best Friends
    Very Friendly
    Extreme Dislike


    Leah Behn

    "I love you more than life itself, Leah. Just watching you play soccer— get that medal— us going on cruises together; you doing you're schoolwork— I'm so proud. To see you growing up into the great girl you are? Almost twelve, just, wow. You're the joy of my life. I don't know what I'd do without you, Leah.

    "I love you so much, baby girl. I love you so, so, so, so much,"

    Alyssa Matthews

    "I am so happy I just don't know what to say. I'm so glad we can try again— that you can move back— you, me, Leah! It took time, but I know we can reconcile those differences. We're not young and stupid and hasty like we were back then. We're older, and wiser, and we both recognize our mistakes now. I love you so much, and let's not let what happened before ever happen again,"

    Jim "Jimmy" Behn


    Little Brother
    "Well, you're my little brother; five years my younger. We get into our typical scraps, I guess you can say. We've had our differences, but, nah. For the most part we've always got along, and we've gone on countless trips together, back in the good old days. Hope what Dad taught you about the carpentry business is going good, man"

    "When it comes down to it, I couldn't ask for a better brother, and uncle for Leah,"

    "Well I did it. Apprenticing as a carpenter. Couldn't really bring myself to go back to work for corporate, and there isn't a whole lot else out there for a journalism degree out here in Astoria. Plus I like the idea of continuing the family trade. Work, build things with your hands. It's hard, but honest work, and it doesn't involve being shot at. Now we can work together, and have more time to devote to Leah and the rest of the family,"

    Liliana "Lily" Behn

    Little Sister
    "You're my little sis by a whole decade. The whole family loves you though. You're probably the glue that helps keep things together at times, haha. Maybe you took after me, becoming a nurse over in Portland. I'm glad you love what you do, and always look forward to seeing you Lily. We all do,"

    Arthur "Art" Behn

    "Hope you and Mom are doing good at the farm, Dad. Raised us right, and, well, I know you were probably a little bit disappointed I didn't stay with corporate, but I think you understand now after what they've done to our old neighborhoods. Money always has the allure, doesn't? Anyway, you're my best bud, and would never ask for a better Dad,"

    Delilah Behn

    "Best mom in the world,"

    A Year in Portland

    Officer David Gaines
    "You were a good friend. And then your face turned to some, fucking red jello— blood everywhere— all over me— the walls... Jesus. Rest easy, man,"

    "You were a son-of-a-bitch, and I probably did the world a favor when you left it. But that doesn't make things right. You were someone's kid, and, well. Just wonder where you went wrong in life that made you meet this end. Still. You were a fucking murderer, and you can't excuse that. I'm sorry you had a bad childhood— or whatever happened with you— but you never got over it. Actions have consequences, and, well. Yeah."

    The Astoria Police Department

    Officer Gregory Mullen
    "One of my best friends. We've known each other for almost thirty years now. Couldn't ask for a better pal,"

    "You, my friend, are one bad ass driver for not dying during that situation with the Norwegian from Outer Space. Though I guess we already knew that, huh? Remember back on the roads, 80s? Good old days,"

    "I hope you and Cathy get things together. Don't end up like how me and Alyssa did, during those five years,"

    "Sorry I'm leaving you on the force, but, nah. You'll manage, heh,"

    Sergeant Courtney Barnett
    "Knew you a bit when growing up, but we became better friends while on the force together. You kept your head cool during our conflict with Rambo out in the woods, and helped make sure we got the civilians to safety. You're a great friend, and were a great sergeant when I was with the APD,"

    Barry Kensington
    "The new kid. I don't think he really understands what we used to have in this town. Maybe he will once he gets older, but I think he at least sympathizes. Maybe we're just getting older ourselves. But anyway, he's a good kid, eager to do good, and handled himself well with the 'Norwegian from Outer Space' situation,"

    "Glad I invited you over to our family and friends gathering. Been working with you for a few months now, and I can tell you're a good guy,"

    "We've been through quite a bit together now, huh? You took the guy out after all that, and, well, you probably saved Sky's life. You're a good man Barry, and I wish you the best of luck in your pursuits of a police officer. Hope you're more apt for it than I was, I suppose,"

    Detective Aubrey Moreau
    "You're pretty good at your job, but, you may want to relax just a bit. I feel when you take this job all too seriously all the time, you may go a little insane. But, nonetheless, we both joined the APD at around the same time, and you handled yourself well during the firefight with that Rambo guy. Overall I consider you a friend,"

    Chief Horace 'Ace' Caulson

    "The Chief. Good guy, all around. He can be a little full of himself at times, but, hell, who wouldn't really after working up to chief? Takes the job seriously, and I'm glad he's there during this influx of crime,"


    Tom Spencer
    "Not a cop anymore, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what anybody at the station thinks, huh? Hah, I guess now I don't gotta' think about that, you're a good guy all around man. It's good to see good folks round here, and the bar reminds me of how things used to be in town, back in the day,"

    Nicole Lennard
    "You handled yourself well in the shootout with Rambo. A lot of actual cops might've cracked under the pressure, but you kept your cool and helped get the injured man to safety. Good job,"

    "You're Sky's sister, so, I like you for that too,"

    Loreen "Sky" Lennard
    "Not sure how often you got to deal with crazed killers taking potshots at you in the Forest Service, but you handled yourself well out there, and helped me drag that guy to safety, even when we were being shot at. It's brave, even if it's in the job description, and, well. You did good out there,"

    "I've known you for a few years now, and you're just a great person. When nothing was going on in town when I was a cop, well. I always liked to come and visit. You're one of my very good friends, and I love being with you, and Matt, just relaxing away from the noise of town,"

    "It kills me to see you and Matt injured after that plane crash. I really hope the both of you heal fast from it, and Matt can learn how to live with just three legs. Even so, you're still your usual self. Should I have expected any different?"

    "I wonder if we left earlier, something might've been different with Chris and his family. I'm not blaming it on you, but, I don't know,"

    "Jesus Sky, you're one of the toughest women I've ever met. Hope you recover soon, you didn't deserve to get dragged into that cluster fuck. I hope you find something better, Sky. I really do,"

    Jonas Pope

    "I don't know what the hell you were up to back in the day, but I suppose it doesn't really matter much now, really? You're a good man, Jonas. You kept your head out there in that shitty situation, when a lot of others might've lost it. Hell, even cops. I can tell your worry for the boy, and as both parents I can empathize with you. Hope life goes your way, man,"

    Marian C
    "Don't know you well, but you didn't seem like a criminal. Hope things turned out well for you, and you were just in a bad situation,"

    Jason Rodgers
    "Glad the DA let you off, man,"

    Richard Schrantz
    "It's pretty obvious you're not a criminal. Sorry you had to go through that whole ordeal, but, it's procedure. Y'know how it is,"

    Cliff Weston
    "I don't really know why, but I like you kid. You got dealt a bad hand in life, and unlike probably an innumerable amount of others I've seen in the past— you didn't up and resort to crime. I hope you find who or what you're looking for, and things turn out alright for you,"

    "Looks like you do have some issues going on that I may not know about however. Or maybe you just like being edgy when out in public,"

    Lemon Cooper
    "You should probably learn how to put on your headlights and avoid hitting dogs. Happens to the best of us, but still,"

    "I beat you in pool. You're enthusiastic, but nice, and not vain. You gave me free coffee at your shop when I was a cop, and that was a huge bonus too. I'm sorry about what happened, but you really do seem like a good person. Maybe a little up there, but still alright. Y
    ou're such an innocent young lady. I just hope nobody takes advantage of you because of that,"

    "You should probably learn how to take criticism though. It's a pretty valuable skill to know,"

    Charles Paulson
    "Man, you need to like, watch some more Disney movies or some shit my guy,"

    Isaac Ramirez

    "You don't talk much, but you seem friendly enough,"

    Rhett Hundridge

    "It's good to have some religion be brought to Astoria. With the influx of crime, it's nice to see someone is out there wanting to help make people happy, and fulfilled. Though, you do seem a little... unusual, for a priest, but, I don't know. I'm a Catholic, and your from Utah, so I doubt we're the same denomination, but we're both Christian men and I can appreciate that. Plus you're pretty funny too. Good man, all around,"

    "Even though our denominations don't align exactly, you're a good man. Thank you for hearing me, and offering me advice, and penance. You're a good priest, and I can tell you have some demons you might be battling. I hope that faith in God can help get you through whatever it is you're going through, because I know it helps me,"

    "Good on you for opening up the church when the storm was going on. I know a lot of folk tend to get stuck in those type of things, can't make it home, and it's good for them to have a place to go when that happens,"

    Chelsea Barnes

    "You're a good kid. Honestly, you kinda remind me of us from back in the day— go out early in the morning— play all day, go home for dinner. Good old days those were. But, anyway, hope you can still have a good childhood here in Astoria, in spite of crime rising. It's because of kids like you that help keep me motivated with the job,"

    Ajax Kilgore

    "I'm glad you're on the good side, that's all I can say bud, because you are a scary motherfucker. But anyway, you seem alright, and are a friend of Lemon's,"

    Cooper "Coop" Knowles

    "I wonder what the FBI is doing here in Astoria. I mean, we got problems but, if you guys are kicking about, I wonder just how screwed up things are, and the Department just don't know about it? Maybe ignorance is bliss, and the Feds can go take care of whatever terrorist-alien-X-Files crap is going on,"

    "Anyway, you seem alright, but, a little jaded. You've been on the force way longer than I have, and, well. No offence, but I don't want to end up like you. Drinking in the church, and, just, well, your whole overall demeanor. You're a good guy, and your trying to help out doing whatever, but I feel like I could be looking in a mirror if I did this long enough. Maybe a nice retirement out in the Willamette will suit me just fine,"

    "You also should probably watch a few more Disney movies or something as well, man,"

    "Guess I'm not going to end up like you, since I quit, huh? No offense to you, of course, but. Probably for the best,"

    Leonard McNamara
    "You're a local, and an all around good guy, but, hell. You're the one who let Corporate moved in, and I don't know what you did to let that happen, whether you sold out or what. But whatever. Guess if anyone offered me a big enough check, I'd probably look the other way too, huh? So long as it wasn't murder or something, and, well, guess the idea of 'helping' the economy wasn't a bad idea. But I don't know. Anyway, for the most part I think you're alright, but I'm still somewhat conflicted,"

    Leslie Ulysses Kerr

    "My dad was a Vietnam vet, as were a lot of the men around town. I can't admit to say I understand whatever you're going through, but I can sympathize. But, still, you need help man. I mean, like, serious, serious, help, and I don't know if you can out on the streets, but I hope the VA or whoever can help you out. Fortunately I don't think the DA is going to charge you, but, I don't know. Just hope things work out for you, in spite it all,"

    Abigail Baker

    "You work for corporate, but, I guess you take what you can get, these days. It's okay,"

    Alexandra Almodovar

    Kimberly Kinnison

    Christopher Eckert

    "What made you do it Chris, huh? You were a good guy. Jesus, man. In all my years, I've never seen nothing like that,"

    Lisa Eckert

    "You deserved better than what happened to you Lisa. Hope you're somewhere better, now,"

    Dillion Eckert
    "I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through, Dillion. Hope everything turns out okay in the end, I really, really do,"

    "You're going away for a while. Killing your wife's lover? Alright, maybe if you stuck with that the jury probably would've let you off easy because it was a crime of passion and all that jazz. But quite literally starting a war in the woods with the police outside town, full First Blood style and all? Well, haha. Yeah, good luck is all I can say bud,"

    Skinny D
    "You're fucked up man. Like, I mean, straight up absolute sack of shit. A rare kind of douchebag, the sorta guy you think only exists in cartoons. There's a special place in hell for you man, after the shit you did. World's better off without you, that's all I can say,"

    Olaf Sarpborg

    "Didn't know Arkham Asylum was letting the patients out on a field trip. Damaged private property, threatened somebody with a dangerous weapon, evaded police— well— you probably got what was coming to you,"

    Michael 'Norwegian from Outer Space' Williams

    "You, my friend, are quite possibly one of the dumbest motherfuckers I've ever met throughout all my years on the force. Plus, you almost murdered my best friend. You'll be going away for a while, bud, and the world will be a safer place because of it,"
    #2 Carver, Jan 23, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  3. VCarrasola

    VCarrasola Master of the Crops Nation

    May 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    he's dirty
  4. Threadmarks:

    Carver Active Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    West Point Police were duh true corrupt police state

    F for Cpt. Timothy Ryan
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Updated first batch of relationships.

    If I forgot to add you just say the word and I'll try and put you in.
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    There's a lot of attention to detail put into this char, I appreciate him
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Ashwood Cove Police Department
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Relationship update
    John/Jane Doe likes this.
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Home Is Where the Heart Is

    It was 1990. Coalition planes flew over the burning oil fields of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse; apartheid era South Africa was taking its final breaths— and yet all of these were just distant, meaningless events to the working class residents of Astoria, Oregon. Millers were getting off of work; dock workers collected their paychecks; the same drunken brawl still occurred between Francis McDermott and Patrick Keogh, and the same Officer Mullen always had to go break it up. All the same, but for one.

    Joel Behn was getting ready to leave home.

    He loved Astoria, and in reality, it was all he really knew. Only a short way out of town were those rolling green fields of his youth, and an ancient land with forests left untouched by man. Small towns are naturally not without their problems, but for Joel it meant comfort. After the rain the trees would glisten bright, and the meadows would be green, and happy. Everyone knew everyone; people could leave their doors unlocked and never fear trouble. It was because of this, Joel was scared of leaving home. He was one of the few going on to a higher education, and a university for that matter! And to add on that, it was with scholarship money. It was almost unheard of.

    Many of his friends already had their spot on the line set up for the Mill; it was where most went as they entered adulthood, and in those days there was a Union card waiting for you, with good pay, and good benefits. With Joel’s father having served in the war, and being a long time Union member, on top of Joel's own achievements, he could’ve easily got on the line right out of high school. And who knows, maybe he would’ve even got picked off of it, and get a management position? That would've been just as unheard of too.

    But his parents knew better. He excelled in school, and was the varsity running back for the school football team. He would be lying to himself if he said he wouldn’t succeed in college, but— he would be leaving his home, his friends, and everything that helped make him into the man he was. Even as he was packing his bags, he still thought the experience unreal.

    Until he was side tackled, that is.

    “Hey— hey— whoa— the hell!?” he called out, flinging himself around, before giving a glare.

    “Hey man, didn’t think we’d just let you abandon us without us bugging you about it, huh?”

    It was Greg, his friend he’d known since kindergarten, alongside his other main friends. His glare
    turned into a grin.

    “Yeah, yeah, ‘ha-ha-ha-ha,’ real funny, I get it,” he says, shaking his head and scoffing, before returning to his bags.

    “Hey— why you always got the glum face going man? You’re like, I mean, one of the few actually going out, y’know? Hell, I already sent my app in for the Mill, and it’s where I’ll probably stay till I’m an old ass man, but you, my man? Jesus— you’re going places,” said Austin, another childhood friend.

    Joel simply shrugged at this, and glanced back at him.

    “Hey, knowing you and you’re shaky-fucking-passes, you’ll probably get your hand caught in the saw day one, and be wishing you studied just a little bit harder,” he jokes.

    “Yeah, haha, very fucking funny, fuck you too Joel,” he says, giving him the bird.

    Greg speaks back up.

    “But nah, he’s right. Feel like you’ve been down these past few weeks and all, for real, mean, how come?” he asks.

    Joel shuts his suitcase and pushes it aside on his bed, before looking behind him.

    “Man, just, Astoria’s home, y’know? Lived here my whole life, and, I know it’s probably stupid sounding and all, but just don’t really like the thought of heading out there, I guess. But, yeah. I don’t know,” is his reply, as he plops himself down on the edge of his bed.

    Greg looks at him and nods.

    “Hey, why you gotta’ act like just cause’ you’re going away it’s the last time you’re ever gonna’ see us? I mean, what, U.O’s like, three’n a half hours or something? Barely even a drive— sides’ remember when the drive we took when we all went over to Glacier last Summer, and it was hell, twelve hours long?” he asks.

    Joel laughs lightly.

    “Yeah, and we almost decided to leave Lance at that gas station in Idaho?”

    “Yep. So, if we were able to get through that insanity— I’m fairly sure a wee trip to the valley and back isn’t going to break either of our balls,” he says.

    The group laughs at this, and help Joel with packing the rest of his belongings.

    A couple days later, Joel, his father, mother, little brother, and little sister were all on their way to his new life at the University of Oregon. A place where his future would begin to unfold.
    #9 Anonymous, Feb 21, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2019
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    It was late one night when Joel first met her.

    In spite of his initial worries, he settled into college life, and actually grew to like Eugene. The countryside surrounding U.O reminded him of home, and soon he grew to appreciate his new found independence. There were parties, women, underage drinking— Father Malachy and Officer Mullen would probably be weeping if they were there to see him now. But they weren't there to see him. And he didn’t care. For those first few years, it was a catharsis, and he enjoyed every moment of it.

    But as time passed, these earthly pleasures began to grow less and less on him. Sure, in terms of companionship, hedonism offered no shortage of that, yet nothing was permanent. Life became a revolving door, where he would do well in school and engage in his decadent pursuits thereafter. There was no fulfillment. He began to take longer drives into the country as this realization slowly crept up on him, and he would go those parties less and less.

    Joel had a habit for going to his local Spiffos late at night— it was a quiet time for him to think about matters, and do his school work. And each night, he had the same waitress: Alyssa. She too was his age, and as a matter of fact she went to the University of Oregon as well. Initially the two were simply friendly to one another each night when Joel would come in for his usual order, but that acquaintanceship soon blossomed into a great friendship.

    Joel and Alyssa were a tale of two cities. One came from small town Astoria, and the other from big city Portland. One had the typical, working class upbringing, and the other had her father die while she was still a baby, and her mother just a few months into her senior year. Only with good friends, like Joel, would she truly speak out about such things— she was too proud— but also afraid of what others would think.

    Their last first semester was nearing its end, and it was a particularly cold night.

    “Mornin’, Alyssa,” Joel would say, as he usually did each night. He always came in around twelve in the morning.

    “Good morning, Joel,” she would always reply with a friendly smile. But not that night. It was a solemn greeting, in spite of her attempts to conceal it.

    Joel takes his seat, always being the one and only patron and Alyssa would always be ready with the pot of coffee, and would pour it just right, to the very brim of his cup.

    “Alyssa?” he asks.

    She looks down, and continues to pour.

    “Alyssa— hey, what’s wrong?” he asks again.

    She continues to pour, but shakes— the coffee spills, and goes over the side. He grabs her wrist gently to stop her.

    “Hey, hey, Alyssa, stop, stop— it’s okay, come on, what’s up?” he asks once more. She sets the pot of coffee down on the table, and looks down at him.

    “I’ve known you for two years now— you can tell me what’s up,”

    She breathes deeply, and glances behind her. The lone cook is always half asleep, even if he too knows this is the hour which Joel always arrives, and the Ethan the manager is typically MIA unless he has something to complain to her about. Knowing she’s in the clear, she glances back at him.

    “I’m sorry— I shouldn’t be bringing my baggage to work, and all that. I just recently got evicted— and—”

    “You what!?”

    “Yeah. My landlord raised rent, and, well— I just couldn’t pay, and then he was a dick, and I got evicted— but it’s okay! I’m looking for a place with a roommate,”

    “Wait so, where are you living?”

    “I um. Well, I'm not, really, I guess,”

    “Wait, no— please, don’t tell me your homeless, are you?”

    “Uh, yeah, just, temporarily though! Like I said, I got a place lined up, just need a roommate and all,”

    “Jesus— well, what side of town?”

    “Around 13th and High,”

    “There? Are you kidding? God, Alyssa you’d probably be safer living in a shoebox in middle of the interstate than living there!”

    “Yeah, but…”

    “Jesus, Alyssa— I, I— I’m sorry, God, why? Why didn’t you tell me about this before? I could’ve helped!”

    “I know. I know you would’ve. But, well, I don’t need charity, okay? I'll figure it out, I guess,”

    “Alyssa, we’re friends, and they help each other, alright? Okay, so you can afford rent in that war zone, but what about books, and food? And graduation? You can’t be making enough to pay for rent and all that, right?”

    “I haven't really got that far yet... I was just sort of going to cross that bridge when the time comes, I suppose,”


    “Look, my Mom was a druggie and so was my MIA Dad, okay? You know this and I miss her everyday and I still go to the cemetery every week even though I can barely afford fare, but, one of the last things she told to me was 'Alyssa— don't be dependent on anything or you'll be stuck' and that's what I'm trying to do, okay? I don't want to end up like them. I don’t want to be reliant on anything, or anybody, okay? I know I can make it, I just got to figure it out. You don’t have to worry, Joel,”

    “But Alyssa— Ethan can’t be paying you enough here, even for you to room in that rat’s nest of a neighborhood— let alone for you to pay for school, and everything else— and Jesus do you know how cold it is outside?”

    “Joel… It’s okay, alright?”

    “No, you know what’s going to happen?”


    “You’re going to move in with me,”


    “That’s right— my apartment isn’t huge, just a single bedroom, but I can sleep on the couch— it’s a futon so—”

    “Joel don’t be crazy, I can’t just…”

    “Alyssa, trust me, how long have we known each other?”


    “Almost four years now, and you’ve actually been one of best friends during my time here. Whether you believe it or not, it's true. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

    “Joel, I mean, yeah, but…”

    “What do friends do?”


    “They help each other out, and that’s what I’m going to do. Now stop saying but. You can move in with me till we graduate, and you can get yourself back up on your feet from there,”


    “Alyssa, trust me— it’s okay to accept help when your down on your luck. Who do you think is going to judge? Ethan, that prick? Or Liz, that gossipy bitch? They can go fuck themselves. They're always going to be assholes no matter what,”

    “Joel, I mean, you know I don’t even have a lot of money to pay you with—”

    “It’s okay, you can help out around the apartment, with the dishes and stuff, and that’ll be good enough for me,”


    "Deal?" he smiled.

    She smiled back, and hugged him.

    "Deal... Thank you, Joel,"

    That night she found herself off the street, and under a room once more.

    The two lived together for some time, and Joel was actually fairly content with sleeping on the futon. As a matter of fact, he was happier than he had been in years— with Alyssa living with him he realized how lonely he truly was in Eugene, in spite of the friends he made at U.O., the friends back home in little Astoria, and the various, unfulfilling relationships of the past. Yet in spite of her living there, they felt as though they can talk with one another without each comment being an invitation for something lewd, as might be the case with other students their age in a similar situation. She would cook for him, help around the apartment, and they could watch movies, and laugh, and study and go out together and learn and still be friends.

    As time came to pass, Joel knew deep down that he loved her, but was afraid— he was afraid now even though he was rarely afraid in the past. He invited her to live with him, and yet he felt that it would be wrong for him to pursue something more than friendship because of that. What if she didn't want to be friends anymore? Was it wrong for him to make a move, after letting her live with him out of genuine concern? He never could’ve done it.

    Instead, it was her that eventually did so, for she too felt the same, as Joel had done more for her than anyone else in her life prior. She grew up in a destitute, thankless upbringing, with a Mom who loved her, but was unfortunately drowned by her own addiction.
    The futon went away. Joel was happy, and Alyssa was happy, and they pushed through the rest of the senior year of college, and into the next part of their lives together.
    #10 Anonymous, Feb 23, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2019
    Rally likes this.
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    It was not long before Joel received a high paying position in the PR department for a large company based in Portland, and Alyssa, having majored in business management, found a comfortable position in another company nearby too. The two joked about their competing industries, but it did not matter. The two would spend long hours in those first years of their relationship together and forget their work once they came home to one another. Whether it be camping, walks, or simply watching movies, the two were great comforts to one another, no matter how difficult their jobs could get. However, as time went on, Joel thought back to years ago when he was preparing to leave for college and pursue his future, and believed, he may have made the wrong career choice.

    He hated his job. Each day, he would wake up early, commute to work, spend most of the day in a cubicle, before commuting back home and having the only solace being Alyssa, who sometimes would work later than him, or vice versa. Internally, he longed for the countryside once more, and the forests and fields of his home, or even those of Eugene, and the simpler times of him and Alyssa in the bucolic fields and forests of the land. Where the two could laugh and live life and not be troubled by the burdens of corporate, urban life.

    In spite of his inner conflicts with living in bustling Portland, and his own apathy for his career— he loved Alyssa, and she was determined with her own very own. The two came from very different backgrounds, and Alyssa had something to prove, and was dead set to do so.

    Five years after they first met, on a rare day off for the two, they got the chance to go out and visit a nearby park. It was a warm, sunny, July sunset, and even though skyscrapers towered over them, it reminded Joel of his childhood and of exploring the wilderness outside his home, and he was happy. They had spent the whole day out as they always liked doing so, rather than staying in when they had their time off, and Joel looked around at the great trees, the whispering grass, the children playing with their own parents and then at Alyssa and experienced a great feeling of contentment and comfort, and he knew that it was time.

    “It’s a beautiful day out,” she says, as they walk slowly across that grassy field.

    “Sorta like you,”

    “Oh, yeah, ha-ha. Another one of your not-so-funny jokes,” she smiles, teasingly.

    “Uh huh, and, depending on how you answer this you’ll probably be hearing a lot more of them,” he says, stopping on a nice, secluded spot beneath some trees.


    He turns toward her and grasps both her hands.

    “Alyssa, well— you know me and I’m not all overly sappy but— y’know. Get ready for it, because, I love you, Alyssa. I always have, since when I first met you at that Spiffos seven years ago. The only regret I have in life is that I didn’t have the courage to say it then, but these past years we’ve been together have been the best of my life. Your love, smile, and laugh have brought me so much joy, and, I love you Alyssa, and I couldn’t think of anything better than being able to spend the rest of my life with you,”

    He releases her hands as he begins to kneel down, and retrieves the ring from his pocket.

    “That’s why, Alyssa— I’m asking you, will you marry me?”

    It was an astounding yes, with tears and smiles, and they married soon after.

    “C’mon baby, I know you can do it,”

    “It hurts!”

    “I know it hurts, but just push, c’mon— I’m here for you,”

    He cries, as he grasps her hand in the hospital room.

    The doctors urges her to push, Alyssa does so, and she cries and cries and pushes and pushes and then there is more crying, a new cry, and then everybody is crying with joy and the doctors look and say that they have a beautiful baby girl who is absolutely perfect.

    “Do you hear that, Alyssa? You did it, we have a girl— it’s our daughter, she’s beautiful, she’s—”

    Joel cut the umbilical cord and the baby is wrapped and handed to Alyssa, and they're both crying.

    After, however, the two gradually grew more and more distant to one another. As Alyssa rises through the corporate world, Joel seems determined to stay put where he is at, and has even hinted at possibly quitting. Life choices are difficult to understand, and as the days turned into weeks and weeks to months, and then years after their daughter's birth,
    Alyssa began to come home later and later. Joel wanted to understand, and he tried, he truly did, as she was a woman in not just the corporate world but in management— and on top of that, with her upbringing— she still had much to prove and she was not happy with just a managerial position, she wanted to go to the top.

    Corporate life engulfed Alyssa. It became her new home, and the employees her new family. Joel despaired at what was happening, and even as their daughter was born, and how he was ecstatic and it being quite possibly the happiest moment in his life, deep, and buried in the back of the mind he was worried about the woman he loved. Her cutthroatness in the corporate world even began to translate into everyday life, and as the years passed and their daughter grew older, Alyssa began to see much of the world in the same lens as she would with her work.

    The doctors gave Joel their baby and together they named her Leah. He looked at Leah as she gradually calmed down and cooed peacefully in his arms, and in spite of whatever direction life might be heading down, he was a father now, and he was happy, and Alyssa was happy too.
    #11 Anonymous, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2019
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    Joel could not stand his job any longer. There was no fulfillment to be had, and he looked to his friend Greg and remembered his childhood and the people who were fulfilled doing simple work, or doing things to help people, and he realized he had to change his life direction.

    Alyssa thought it foolish, and Joel was dumbfounded. He felt that woman, who eleven years before in that diner would’ve been ecstatic at him wanting to pursue his dreams, was now advising against just that. Perhaps she was just being pragmatic. Perhaps, she was right. Financially it made sense to stay, but he just couldn’t work for corporate any longer. He soon quit, and signed up for the Police Academy, and start something his daughter might be proud of. Due to his college education and career in public relations, he was accepted fairly easily, in spite of his age.

    He had little free time now, similar to Alyssa. Much of it was spent training, and the time he had he devoted to raising Leah.

    Their marriage eventually just began to drift. There were no arguments, or screaming plates or domestic violence charges. They actually were still friendly, and yet they were ghosts, and they cried. She was very high up in the corporate world now, and it seemed as though there was no shortage of steps to climb, and with each step meant more cutthroatness, and that translated to their home life, and it was difficult for Joel. He tried to discuss it with her, but she was determined, and he tried to understand and he did but he failed to as well, and he was sad, but Leah gave him happiness in those trying times. They tried to work out their problems however, and try they did.

    In spite of his unraveling marriage, part of what incentivized him through the police academy was the thought of helping stop the Alyssa scenario from happening. From having their parents fall apart due to drugs, from taking those dealers and criminals off the streets. He placed blame on them for the reason why she was unwavering in her quest for climbing the corporate ladder, and thus their marital issues. He stood out during his time at the academy, not just due to his age, where most recruits were in their early twenties and he was in his late, but also due to his motivation.

    By the time he graduated at the start of the new millennium, he was near the top of his class, and was eager to make a difference in the world, and seek fulfillment in life.

    David knocked on the door. He was Joel’s superior, and was training him on the force, so naturally it was his duty to show Joel how to handle scenarios such as this.

    He glances back at Joel, who was staring at the wooden door to the dilapidated duplex: it looked like you could touch it and it would just fall apart due to rot.

    “You’ll do fine. Just be on guard is all, sometimes these guys like to pull something, but we should be fine. Just gotta make the arrest, and we’ll be on our way,” he explains, before looking back towards the door.

    Joel nods and some more time passes. In spite of them being in possibly one of the worst neighborhoods of Portland, it was a surprisingly quiet day. There was not the usual traffic sounds, and the cacophony of public transportation had not passed by yet. It was abnormally quiet actually. A few birds chirped, sun shone through the parted clouds: it was a beautiful moment.

    It was all broken in a moment of seconds though.

    Gunshots broke the peace like a rock to a panel of glass. Bullets flew through the door and one caught one in David’s neck and blood sprayed all over Joel, and another one hit David and more blood and Joel dived for cover as more bullets flew by. The door burst open and out came the suspect, a kid, who looked like he could’ve been Joel’s age when he met Alyssa all those years ago. But he didn’t have time to think about that, it was a moment of life or death. As quick as David fell, Joel had his own weapon drawn, and the junkie aimed his own weapon but Joel was faster and opened fire and bang bang bang bang and down he went.

    Blood covered the door, the walls, the ground— Joel. He called into his radio, quick, we need an ambulance, shots fired. He raced over to David and pulled him to his squad car and to safety but it was too late and he died in his arms and blood gushed from his neck and chest.

    It was a hard night, that night, coming back. It was one of the few times that Alyssa got off work early to try and comfort him. Joel was a hero, had his name in the papers, and had did just what he envisioned in the academy— taking these dealers off the streets, but he took a life that night and it was hard to sleep with a changing wife, and a brutal job in a brutal city. He longed for home once again, for the countryside— for his daughter to have a chance to grow up not just in the city but to have the same experiences he did all those years ago— to have friends like Greg and Austin and Lance and all them— to be able to go on those drives and not turn into the jaded Alyssa. His daughter deserved a chance at that.

    Time passed and the divorce was amicable. Both Joel and Alyssa realized that their marriage, and the passion and love that was present in the beginning had been on a downward slope ever since she began chose her career over him. There were no drawn out legal proceedings, in spite of Alyssa having the ability to ruin Joel if she truly wanted to, but in spite of it all, and her coldness and her business nature— she too remembered the love and friendship they shared.

    Had it not been for him, she likely would not be where she is now, and she felt remorse for going down this path in life. But when it came down to making a decision, between him and her career— she chose the latter, and she felt there was no going back. The two were just no longer compatible and they had two very different life goals in mind now. Joel tried his best to say that was okay, as did Alyssa, and both of them thought of their time together, and each were sad.

    Joel quit his job at the Portland Police Department, and following the divorce, he moved back to Astoria. His parents had since sold, and bought a couple hundred acres in the Willamette Valley— he thought of following and living in Mayberry and playing the part of Andy Griffith— but his heart still longed for rainy Astoria. Due to his college education, career, time in Portland, status in bringing down the cop-killer junkie, and his own connections, it took him no time at all to receive the job.

    After eleven years since his departure from Astoria, he was finally back home to his friends and old acquaintances. In spite of the heartbreak, and toils of those years, he still talked with her from time to time. He couldn't bring himself to see any other women because he knew he can only truly love Alyssa, they had done everything together. They knew everything about each other, what they liked, what they disliked— they truly were best friends. Neither he, nor Alyssa saw anybody throughout all the years following their divorce.

    As the years passed however, he found happiness in his new, more simple way of life, and now had the opportunity to give his daughter that same, small town upbringing that he had while growing up.

    And then five years passed, and he gave her a call.

    And they were happy.
    #12 Anonymous, Mar 3, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2019
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Relationship Update II
  14. Carver

    Carver Active Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Prologue 1
    December 20, 1999 — 7:00 PM
    Seven years before the outbreak.

    “You’re a fucking rat, y’know that?”

    Those were the first words Jimmy said to his brother on his visit home at Frankie’s Place.

    “Yeah— it’s good to see you too, baby brother,” Joel looked at his brother with a grave expression, before offering a smile, and a hug in greeting. But all he got was a wad of spit directed at his feet.

    “Man, fuck you Joel. Think you can just come back here, act like everything’s all hunky-dory? Show up and think you can just go get some drinks with the good ol’ boys— after what you did?” He waves his hand around the empty bar for dramatic effect. “You fucking betrayed this entire town ‘brother.’ Damn near everyone here,”

    The Mill, the business that had supplied the working class residents of Astoria for decades with income, not to mention seemingly inexorable union benefits, was now threatening to be shut down. Nobody in town appreciated big business, and nobody thought Corporate would ever have an impact on their lives. Why would it? It all seemed so distant, like a mirage in the desert, until the day came when they eventually drove straight down to it. Hector and Smith Lumber was bought by the conglomerate that Joel, unfortunately, had the fortune to work for.

    Joel frowns as he sits, his typical beer being brought to him. “We all gotta’ eat, Jimmy— why you always acted like this? Always, and aint' never looking at things pragmatically here,”

    Jimmy was sickened, straight to his stomach. He was looking at his brother who he loved and had gone on so many adventures together, too many to count, but now? “Pragmatic? Jesus Joel. Why you gotta’ go throwing around fancy words just cause’ some asshole professor told you they'd make you look smart?”

    Joel concealed his anger. He had a way of doing that. “Fuck Jimmy. You think I enjoy doing what I’m doing? Think I just wake up in the morning and think to myself, ‘Boy-- can’t wait to go fuck over some folks!’” He felt the need to slam his fist down on the table, but he took a rapid sip from the beer glass instead. It crashed down with a loud thud on the table. “We’ve had this same fucking argument a million fucking times in the past, Jimmy. I just got here from Portland, mere minutes ago. When are you going to stop acting like a God-damned child about this?”

    Jimmy scowled at him. “And you always gotta’ have that smart-attitude about, thinking you’re better than the rest of us just cause’ you got to go run off to some university? Well guess what, while you get to go kick back breaking open a few cold ones in Portland at your cushy PR job, the rest of us get to have handouts from the union. Oh— and it gets better! Those canned green beans they give us don’t look like they’ll be paying the bills anytime soon Joel,”

    Joel was silent for some time, and the two brothers stare down one another, in one of their infamous staring matches they have the habit of getting into during their arguments. Jimmy was typically the loser though— and it was no different this time. He loved Joel, and he loved his niece Leah like she was the daughter, and child he never had. Jimmy understood the toils that society placed on each of them, and what they had to do to get by. As a matter of fact, in years past, Joel’s corporate job never made an impact on relations with anybody in the family; it was something to be proud of. Only when the Trojan horse came undone recently, did the tensions begin to flare.

    Jimmy looked down to his beer and stared at it for a few moments, knowing that this will likely be one of the last he’ll be able to afford for a while. Frankie’s was about to stop letting people pay with credit, as not enough people were making their payments. Even so, bad times mean good business for bars.

    “Jimmy, maybe once you have a kid, you’ll understand,” Joel loved his brother. He disliked his role in the family though, he was the one destined for great things, and he was pushed into the dilemma where he is at now. With education came money, and yet with money seemed to come nothing but unhappiness for him. But who was he to think that when he’s looking right at the face of a town quite literally taking charity from a union destined to die? Asking them to hold strong, when the old mill is soon to be paved over with God knows what built upon it's foundation.

    Joel was always the realist though, and knew that his job would be the best to provide for his daughter. But would it be something she would be proud of him doing? Knowing what it’s costing Uncle Jimmy, and the rest of the family? He sighed just as Jimmy was about to retort.

    “I don’t know, baby brother. I think I’m going to quit. We’ve gone around in circles bout’ this more than I can count, and things are only gettin’ worse around here back home and I don’t think I can be part of that no more. It just aint’ right. Just aint’,”

    This actually got a nefarious looking smirk out of Jimmy. “Well sweet God in heaven, the man’s got a soul, huh?” Jimmy asks, looking up as if to the ceiling, speaking full of sarcasm. Though he darts back down, and returns a glare. “Hmph, you actually going to do that though, huh? Not like we’re swimming in work around here, bud,”

    Just as Jimmy says this, their friend Greg made his own way in. He had been a police officer for a while now, but he was off duty at the moment. The Astoria Police Department was not particularly well liked at the moment either, as even though Joel was just the middleman— and that Joel himself knew and thought of how he got the short end of the straw in choosing this one conglomerate over the hundreds of others out there— the Astoria Police were the ones who actually had to be on the side of Corporate, as that was the law. Needless to say, few were happy in what once was a friendly community.

    “What’s this I hear about Joelie-boy wanting to quit the major leagues over in Portland?” Greg exclaims with his typical grin— glad to be off work, and not have to be heckled by those at the picket line. There was a certain luster that drew him into policework, and yet that ambition never seemed to really come into fruition. Was it too much to ask to have there be more than getting to watch his own hometown be torn apart from the inside out? “Stan— a round for the boys here, will ya’? On me,” he exclaims.

    “You got it,” said the Vietnam vet. He had his pension, and was injured at the mill decades before. Stan thought that if he was their age and in their some position, he’d be getting into a trade of some kind— or at the very least looking for work elsewhere. The working class Astoria was facing it’s terminus, and some, if not most, were simply unable to accept the march of ‘progress.’

    Jimmy raises his own half empty glass up to salute his friend. “My big brother here says he’s actually thinking of quitting his job,”

    Greg chuckles as scoops the filled drink off the bar counter, and then glides himself into the booth housing the two brothers. The mood seemingly lightens up between the trio of men. “That true, Joel?”

    Joel shrugs, with a quizzical look upon his face. “Tough decision to make, man. Just don’t think I can take much more of this shit, y’know?”

    Greg smiles between both men, and lifts up his own glass.

    “Hey, y’know Joel’s back’n town and he didn’t make the drive’n go ahead and leave Leah back in the city just to get shit on about things in the past, right? How bout’ we just make the most of our time now, huh?,” he asks, and the men all nod in agreement.

    "Hah. Yeah," Jimmy says, as he looks over to Joel as sees his older brother now. The one who always wants to look out for him, and never ceases to tease how terrible an uncle he'll be once Leah grows older. "Love you, Joel. Glad to have you with us, even though I can be an idealistic dick at times, I guess," he toasts.

    Joel nods, with a now rare smile on his face too. "You too, Jimmy, even though I can be a "pragmatic" dick at times too, I guess," he taunts, before looking over to Greg jokingly. "And to my best bud Greg, the friend who's like a brother and is the one I wish I had instead'a this fella' over here,"

    "Oh, yeah, fuck you too by the way Joel," Jimmy notes and the trio of men all burst out laughing.

    They smile, and laugh, and more friends show up later as the night goes on to celebrate a happy occasion in an otherwise somber time. If Joel, Jimmy, Greg, or anyone else that night had any worries about the problems facing Astoria, or their future careers: Jimmy and the mill, or Joel and his corporate job— they did not show it in those hours of friendly, familial camaraderie.
    #14 Carver, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
    John/Jane Doe, Rally and Devon like this.
  15. Carver

    Carver Active Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Prologue 2
    April 19, 2007 — 5:30 AM
    Some months before the outbreak.

    The crack of the gun echoed throughout the neighborhood; Joel knew exactly what had happened, and that whatever time they had left was now waning itself mighty thin. This was not his first gunfight— nor would it theoretically be the first time he’s taken life— but that doesn’t mean situations like this don’t get your adrenaline pumping. His posse: a rookie cop who he figured had probably never even had to go face-to-face with death before, and a park ranger who should be chasing coyotes, not criminals.

    Click went the safety— across the road lay Sky with rifle at the ready, huddled in the field. Looking at him right in the eye was Barry, and Joel suddenly felt as though he had been shot already, and a creeping, overwhelming feeling put an ill feeling in his stomach. When he was on the force, not much longer than Barry was, he was in a situation quite similar to this. The conclusion to that story was that the senior officer perished, and the rookie lived. Joel banished the thought from his mind, because it was thinking like that which would get you killed.

    The whole idea was stupid, honestly, and he knew it, but he knew he couldn’t just sit idly by either. People were dying, and with the way budgeting was, the killer and hostages would probably die of old age before help arrived. Joel remembered his training and he knew that there were no heroes during this standoffs— only survivors. And yet here he was, about to go into possible death with a kid, and Ranger Smith who was supposed to cover them. Once more he banished the thought from his mind as the door was opened gently. Adrenaline soaked in and nerves tensed up; sweat poured and gun drawn high.

    The first floor to their relief was clear— with the upstairs still to go. Joel took point and cautiously made his way up the stairs with Barry following behind, step by step, and inch by inch they went until…


    They both cursed the old, hardwood floors to the home that the family likely never thought would lead to their demise. Something, so simple as wooden paneling; a butterfly effect which years ago they planned to replace, but for fiscal reasons or simple laziness chose not to, and that would lead to their deaths. The face of the killer peered out of the master bedroom and out at the two police officers, a cry came from him, and the door was slammed shut.

    Joel and Barry rushed up stairs now, knowing that time was of the essence— a flash of light blinded Joel however which made him stumble back to the stairs. Fire, flames, and smoke engulfed the doorway to that master bedroom. He squinted now and got his surroundings and noted that in what seemed to be years uncounted, was only a few, brief seconds, which caused the hallway to be smoked in a dragon’s ire.

    As Joel contemplated whether to rush in— to try and save whomever might be trapped in the room— the thunderous waves of fire were broken by the reverberating shots of a rifle outside; then rapid sounds of bam-bam-bam-bam of a pistol. Creaking sounds of burnt wood conquered the surroundings around Joel and the booming explosions outside were no more welcoming. Nonetheless Joel sprinted downstairs whilst Barry stayed behind to do whatever he could.

    What Joel was not expecting when he bust out the front door was the killer to be standing right out in front of him. It was less than a second maybe, but Joel’s life was reviewed right before his eyes during that second. His childhood in Astoria, his parents, brother, sister; the love of his life and his hasty, childish marriage to her; his daughter and the unyielding, inexorable love he had for Leah; the years past and the forgiveness and when Joel and Alyssa were together once more, with age bringing wisdom to their new marriage— he did not want to die then. He loved his life, and he knew his mistakes, and he wanted to make many more before he died. He didn’t want this to be the end.

    Joel drew quick, but the killer drew quicker. There was no cover to be had for each of them and Joel’s eardrums rang and cried as bullets flew and whizzed and hit their marks: it was over in a second and Joel was unsure if he had hit the guy because he himself had been hit. In the cool, Spring morning, his shoulder was eerily warm; it was drenched too, and it was red and rushing down his arm like a river. There was no pain to be had though as he collapsed and retreated back to the safety of cover— more gunshots ran out but by this point his ears were already going off like a fire alarm.

    Laying himself down on the fence, gun still at his side, he thought no more of his life, family, or anyone else for that matter. It was survival, for in a fight to the death there were no heroes: only survivors. Tearing open his stained police shirt, the wound was revealed. Fortunately, he paid a little bit more attention to medical courses at the academy, took a few extra classes, and had the fortune or misfortune to perform through experience during his days in Portland. Ripping off his belt let him realize that a bullet must’ve glazed his hand too, and it’d leave a scar, that’s for sure. Tying it above the wound, he began to mend it, not wanting to bleed out and die before the sun even rose.

    More gunshots echoed and in a fight which lasted less than a few minutes in total, everyone there had suffered an affliction of some kind. Joel picked himself up and limped his way across the road to Barry who had somehow managed his way out— the house by now engulfed in flames. Joel wasn’t the only one shot, as blood seeped from Barry’s own shoulder too, but Barry paid little mind to it as he was desperate to attempt to save Sky, who lay unconscious and near death on the cool, dew morning grass. Further away was the killer with an entire magazine in him. Joel did not stay to soak up the scenery though. He crouched down next to Barry and did not say anything, but reached for his radio instead.

    “Thi- this is fuckin’ Joel. We need a damn ambulance— an’ reinforcements over at our position. Multiple casualties’n gunshot victims, over,” he utters, somewhat defeated. As he clicked the radio off and tried to stabilize Sky, he thought about what brought him to this position in life. What life choices led him to a shoulder shot, a hand grazed, a friend near death and a family razed. The sounds of approaching sirens in the distance was the sound of complete catharsis, in spite of the adrenaline now waring off, and the true pain he was in consuming his entire body. The hospital awaited him, and his friends.


    April 19, 2007 — Early Afternoon

    Joel awakened from his slumber. The bullet that was lodged was now gone, and his hand was properly bandaged, as he lay in a comfortable hospital bed, seemingly miles untold from the horrors that had gone on mere hours before. Surrounding him was family— there was Alyssa on his shoulder, Leah on his arm, and Jimmy opposite them, crouched down and staring thoughtfully at his brother. Jimmy loved his brother and in spite of their arguments in the past; when he got the call that morning, waking up to head to his carpentry job, that his older brother, his protector, guider, friend, and brother, had been shot— his stomach sank. He picked up Alyssa and Leah and they rushed to the hospital.

    The doctors informed them, and Joel later that he was a very, very lucky man. The wound to his shoulder could’ve been much worse; the glaze to his hand was superficial at best; and the two bullets he took the chest, which Joel didn’t even notice before thanks to nature’s drug that is adrenaline, was blocked by his kevlar vest. Nevertheless, they planned to keep him for a day, and in no time he should make an extraordinary recovery.

    But that was not the point.

    Leah, a twelve year old with the radiant blonde hair of her mother, and the bright blue eyes of her father, and perhaps a little shorter than more girls her age but no less ferocious out on the soccer field— cried on her father’s abdomen.

    “Please, please Daddy— don’t do this anymore— please, I don’t want this to happen again Dad, please— I love you dad, please,” she cries, tears staining the thin blanket above his gown. Leah had never truly told her father how much she loved him. Of course, there was the typical love in parting, or when he would put her to bed at night, but it was a formality. It was in those few hours Leah’s mind raced of what life would be like without her father, and it was unthinkable.

    Joel looked down at his daughter, the person who kept his world go around, weep on him, and then everything suddenly seemed to make sense to him. How selfish he must’ve been. Becoming a police officer in the first place, for the sake of some snake oil salesman’s promise of fulfillment, while neglecting what such a profession must’ve caused his family. To where when everyone else got to run away from danger: he had to run towards it. To have them wake up each day, and to have each of those mornings them wonder if an occasion such as this was going to happen. To be informed of Joel’s death in the line of duty. And then it eventually happened: he may not have died, but the pain he put them through was a selfish one, and he cried too.

    He looked at his daughter with love unshackled; he attempted to imagine what life would be like without her and it too was incomprehensible. He guided her head into his arms, even though it caused his shoulder stabs of pain, but he didn’t care.

    “I promise— I promise. I’m going to put in my notice today; I promise this won’t happen again, I promise baby girl,” he says, softly, and kisses her on the forehead, whispering, “I love you so much,”

    He looks up at his wife, who manages a smile and he kisses her too. His brother stares at him and they embrace. His baby sister Lily came soon after, still dressed in her Portland nurse’s fatigues; then his parents all the way down from their farm in the Willamette; his grandpa and grandma and other close family, and he was happy in spite of the terrible events Astoria has faced in months gone by. He thought whether he could’ve done something differently, where things might’ve gone better, yet it is thoughts like those which drive a man insane; after all, one can’t change what happened in the past. He had his family there, and he was alive, and had a whole life to look forward to.

    And he made true on his promise.
    #15 Carver, Mar 17, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019