Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Plot Synopsis (Mild spoiler warning):
We rejoin the toys belonging to a boy named Andy just as he prepares to depart for college and leave most of his secretly sentient childhood playthings behind. The Toys, feeling abandoned and disillusioned with their lives’ purpose as a result, organise to be sent to a children’s daycare for an apparent existence of eternal attention and play. After discovering that the daycare is a far-cry from their initial expectations, the Toys attempt to escape, but are still plagued by the idea of existence without the meaning provided by their owner’s love.
The Toy Story movies, the flagship franchise of current animation kings Pixar studios, have always held a small place in my heart (although some might say that in comparison to the rest of it, this space is relatively gargantuan, but I digress). The first instalment was the first film I ever watched in a theatre, and in what was likely and intentional move by the creators, I and my generation have aged in parallel to the series’ timeline and the character of Andy, with the final instalment arriving roughly fourteen years after main-toys Woody (a cowboy doll) and Buzz Lightyear (a space-ranger action figure) began “falling with style” into our young hearts.
In Pixar’s latest (and in my opinion, greatest) venture into animated storytelling, Andy, the subject of the titular Toys’ existence, is undergoing the transition to adulthood that strikes an all too familiar chord; particularly with my newly-matriculated generation. The experience of leaving one’s childhood behind is made intimately familiar through the excellent first act, which wrenches us from a pulse-pounding full recreation of an imagined playtime scenario (which long-time fans will surely find hilariously familiar), through time and into Andy’s barren pre-adulthood where the Toys, once central to Andy’s life, have gradually come to the realisation that having been outgrown by their child, they now face a sentient toy’s closest approximation to death, and must essentially choose their afterlife in either the deceptively heavenly day-care, or a hiatus in the attic in anticipation of the messianic arrival of Andy’s possible future children.
This theme of mortality and loss of self has always lain subtly beneath the surface of the Toy Story movies. The first film deals with Woody’s fears of replacement by the flashier Buzz Lightyear (who had to come to terms with his own syntheticity as a space ranger), while the second dealt with Woody’s chance at a loveless immortality in opposition to the abandonment that, due to his choice in said movie, faces him and his comrades in this one. This sense of consequence and character development across sequels is rare, especially amongst “kids movies”, but it’s a testament to Pixar’s sincerity and growth in storytelling that one can look at Toy Story 3-Woody’s expression of utter horror at being chosen as the favourite and only toy to accompany Andy to college, and (with no narrative discomfort) identify it as belonging to the same core character as Toy Story 1-Woody (who would probably have jumped at the idea).
Deeper meanings and emotions aside, Toy Story 3’s content is immensely entertaining: Pixar continue to display their mastery of visual comedy in totally unexpected ways, and even manages to slip in some subtle humour that the adults in the audience can chuckle at while their infants, placated by more obvious (but no less hilarious) assaults on our funny-bones drool in oblivious bewilderment. There’s also no shortage of “Grand-Heist-genre” thrills as the Toys face the familiar challenges of getting from point A to B despite their small stature and cardinal rule of not revealing their “non-inanimate-object” status to any humans; challenges that are over come with amusingly childlike ingenuity (further playing into the film’s themes). In terms of visuals, the fact that the characters look so vibrant and expressive but so familiar to their 90’s iterations highlights Pixar’s excellence in character design even then; and the film’s various locations convey their intended sense of mood (whether it be emotional emptiness, innocent contentment or suppressive horror) perfectly.
If anything about Toy Story 3 can be criticised, I would mention that Woody’s female counterpart Jessie the Cowgirl isn’t really given any meaningful development in this instalment, which seems strange considering she practically carried the second, in which her character was revealed to have abandonment issues which should have surfaced more strongly given the Toys’ current predicament. Also, I feel that the motivations of the film’s antagonist, which are revealed to be incredibly deep and interesting when given careful thought, could have been made infinitely more accessible simply through one extra line of dialogue.
Ultimately though, the film is a masterpiece of cinema and storytelling, and the most perfect possible way to end this fantastic trilogy. With deep, funny, memorable characters, great animated visuals living up to the Pixar pedigree and an ending that astoundingly managed to drag out the first shred of genuine emotion I’ve felt in years, Toy Story 3 is almost certainly the best way to spend two hours and sixty bucks that I can think of. I can’t really recommend the film on its own though, since much of its brilliance and emotional weight stems from how it builds on the first two instalments and our long-time attachments to the characters. If you’ve watched the first two films, you should definitely watch this one. If you haven’t watched the first two, you should definitely watch them as soon as humanly possible and then watch this one. The Toy Story trilogy is one that must be experienced, not just because it’ll entertain one’s kids, not just because it looks fantastic, but because unlike most movies it genuinely gives us something: A final glimpse into the magic and tumultuousness of our beloved childhoods, and the best possible way to come to terms with bidding them goodbye.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This is all really, REALLY cool.
I'm flying low now, zooming scant metres above the devastated streets and weaving between the skyscrapers of the London CBD as savage reptilian heads extend from their windows in explosions of glass and the entrails of unfortunate window-cleaners, grabbing and slashing at me as I dodge them with an air of mocking confidence.
Seriously, why aren't more dreams anything like this?
I bank upward, angling my berocketed-legs towards the ground and willing myself into a sky of utter empty whiteness. Everything freezes for an instant as I stand suspended, then what seems very much like the universe explodes beneath me and I'm shooting upward, arcing lightning and all traces of my past despair trailing behind in a blinding shower.
Looking down, I notice that the universe hasn't actually exploded after all. London stretches out for miles all around me, waves of prehistoric death machines flow through the streets while scaly titans lay waste to any buildings that their claws and tails and teeth can reach.
Central in my field of vision (as conveniently as one would expect given the circumstances) is my target. An armored body built with focused destructive purpose blitzes its way through apartment block and shopping mall and suburban palace alike, its gargantuan tail sweeping flat anything its clumsy claws couldn't finish in a fashion of sadistic perfectionism. As I swoop towards the beast to get a better view, its eye, pupil twisting and narrowing like an organic targeting reticule, meets mine. We begin.
I enter the storm of whirling claws without a second thought. Titanic blades of bone seem to fill every inch of air I'm not occupying. I'm dodging, knowing everything there is to know about the life I've taken on and how to preserve it. I duck and kick upwards, falling under a twirling tail and shooting just out of reach of the following jaws. I take the offensive, gliding as close as I can to the now exposed belly before turning my feet towards it and blasting in the opposite direction, the force of my launch sending the behemoth reeling backwards.
Sensing my chance as the beast steadies itself, I swoop upwards-upwards until everything that seemed huge and horrible in the world, the beast most of all, is revealed to be insignificant in comparison with my littlest finger. I know it's time to dive and I do, the air around me inexplicably filling with a plethora of barely glimpsed colors as my descent quickens towards its climax. I quickly spin, realign my body and divert power to the rockets in my palms: streaking towards my adversary in a blazing diagonal kick. There's an inferno in the palm of my hand now, its blue heart pumping masses of white flame into the now burning heavens. The beast turns to see its death approaching with a familiar eye, which before my boot plunges into it, witnesses the air itself cracking in submission to my velocity. In its final throes, the beast angles its fatal entry point directly upwards, whining with barely an echo of its former ferocity before I, in grim satisfaction, divert all power to my now deeply-embedded foot.
I'm propelled upwards with the speed of a hell-bound erinyes, flaming shards of skull and spine initially surround me before disintegrating under their own force. A world of joy swells in me as my ascent peaks long after the extent of the galaxy opens up to me. My peaceful but brief descent is rewarded with a city cleansed of its reptilian horror (for in my mind, in this world, the battle has ultimately been won, and the other murderous dinosaurs have been dismissed as unnecessarily pedantic). I've won, everything feels amazing. I've won and I'm a hero and I can fly and I'm happy and I've done the most fantastic thing I'll ever do and none of this is real.
My eyes pop open and I'm in my bed looking upwards at the filthy Grey, impenetrable ceiling of my dorm.
"Well. That's that then," I mumble; turning over and going back to sleep.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm sure that most of
I've always wanted to write proper pieces about the activity that eats up the vast majority of my free time, but I've aways had the niggling sensation at the back of my mind that the infinitely cool members of my friends list just wouldn't care.
I mean, seriously now: VIDEOGAMES! Just think about the enormity of how much you don't care right now. Go on, just think about it.
Scary isn't it? You see what I'm working with here?
However, after having finally come to the inspiring conclusion that No-one cares about ramblings regardless of their subject matter, I've decided to share my thoughts on the latest four dastardly software-contributors to my eventual total emotional death anyway!
I recently bought Mass Effect and Tropico 3 for dirt cheap online, having heard good things about all of them. I'll give my thoughts on how they measured up:
MASS EFFECT 1
Mass effect is one of the newer games to be released by Bioware, the studio who developed Baldur's Gate and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Bioware are widely regarded as the kings of the Role Playing genre (i.e. games where you decide how your character develops as the game progresses, both in combat style and how he/she reacts to in game situations), but although character development, equipment arranging and conversation play a large part of Mass Effect's gameplay, the core combat revolves around cover-based shooting from a third person perspective a la Gears of War.
As in most RPG's, you choose a class for your character that caters for your preferred methods of inserting bullets into certain undesirables' faces. You have the soldier, who can use all types of weapons with which to shoot people in the face; the Biotic, who has a wonderful array of psychic ways of knocking people over so someone else can shoot them in the face, and the engineer, who throws explosive mines with a variety of effects that aid in the shooting of guys' faces by you and your somewhat useless companions. There are also hybrid classes that mix aspects of the existing base three (e.g. Soldier/Biotic or Engineer/Soldier). As you complete objectives, resolve problems and of course, engage in face-shootery, you gain "experience points" which allow you to gain combat abilities or upgrade old ones, once again, standard fare for a Bioware RPG.
The combat itself is where Mass Effect differs from the Dungeons & Dragons based battle systems that Bioware utilized in its other games (feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you're familiar with third-person cover-based shooters). When attacked by guys with faces deemed shootable by the game's moral code, you'll have to use cover to survive the deadly gunfire of your assorted opponents. taking out your weapons will make your character automatically stick to walls where, once attached, you can press the fire button to pop out quickly and shoot (before automatically ducking back into safety) or press the aim button to stay out of cover and shoot accurately using your weapon's sights for as long as you feel your face can risk it's consistency.
Fairly unique to shooter-gameplay is the ability to pause the game to issue orders to your two squadmates and queue an ability to be used accurately when you un-pause, so you can respond to threats tactically. Many missions also require exploration and combat within an armored buggy, which has some satisfyingly bouncy controls, but isn't used to do anything particularly interesting.
The combat is decent fun and keeps you on your toes both in terms of reflexes and tactical reasoning, and fighting your way through the often gorgeous setpieces is as thrilling an experience as you're likely to find without prying your gargantuanly lazy buttocks from your safe, comfy chair.
The stories of Bioware games are usually top-notch and defy the standard videogame premise of "There's aliens or terrorists or some shit and YOU (alongside your wisecracking ethnic sidekick) are the ONLY ONE who can STOP THEM!. In Mass Effect, a particularly unpleasant member of the galactic secret police has gathered a massive robotic army behind him to serve his mysterious agenda, while you (the only human member of this group) and your mostly alien squad have to...Waaaaaaiiit a minute.
Ok, so the premise isn't exactly oozing originality, but it certainly has its high points, not least of which is your cool, sinister antagonist, and a twist which brilliantly and hilariously both explains and parodies the game's own spotty sci-fi setting. More critical players may find some plot points to be a bit contrived and manipulative of one's emotions, but for the most part, it's Bioware doing what Bioware does best, making you genuinely give a shit about the lifeless polygons on your screen. Of course, the heart of every Bioware game is its characters, and fans of the studio's previous efforts will find learning about the game's universe through exploration and conversation with the game's great cast of characters to be as entertaining and fulfilling as ever, even if said characters lack the usual emotional depth seen in the studio's other efforts.
The conversation system itself, one of Bioware's signature features, which almost always appears in one form or another, is not without its flaws. Whereas other Bioware RPG's let you choose from a list of fairly complicated responses for your character that non-player characters (NPCs) will respond to (provoking your response and so on) Mass Effect provides a radial menu (seen in the following screenshot) with shorthand indications of the lines your voice acted character will say.
For example: Here's a screenshot of a conversation with the ruggedly handsome Wrex, one of your companions/squadmates/guys
There are some other minor issues: The non-linear progression on the plot screws with the game's pacing in that you can inadvertently get too much conversation and too little action (or vice versa) in one stretch depending on order in which you do missions. The game is also a tad reliant on the lacklustre non-essential missions that have nothing to do with the main plot, since the missions on the main storyline can be very difficult if one hasn't gained the combat skills and equipment that these "side quests" offer.
Overall though, the game is great, and though it may be Bioware's worst game: calling it the worst thing to come out of the studio is hardly a major knock on its quality.
It's combat is fun and satisfying, it's world is great to fall in to, and its story, although somewhat mediocre by Bioware standards, is miles above most other studios' attempts to pull at your heart-strings.
4 pairs of space pants out of 5
I'm sure most of you have played some sort of simulator in the past, whether it be a game about the building of an expansive metropolis in "Simcity" or the micro-management of The Sims' pointless little lives. Tropico 3 takes all the best aspects from other simulation titles and combines them into a complex but relatively easy to learn sandbox of political buggery that will finally answer the age-old question of how how things would be "if only I was running things!"
You take the role of a small Caribbean island's new "El Presidente", and can subsequently either lead your small island nation to a future of prosperous democracy, embezzle your way through your own personal brand of dictatorship, or anything in-between; all within the context of the cold war-dominated mid-20th century. The game has a great sense of parody around it, and everything in the game, from the light-hearted propaganda spouted by your island's radio station to the loading-screen quotes by real-life dictators, seems to make fun of the kind of "democracy" that sprang up during the last century's dingier periods.
Where Tropico 3 really shines as a strategy/simulator is its ability to cater for any type of playstyle by offering the choice of many entertaining solutions to the many problems your island might face. For example, say it's early on in the game and the island's religious faction feels neglected because your burgeoning farming nation hasn't built a full-on cathedral yet: You can either tighten your belt and build the darn thing (after appealing for foreign aid from the USA by letting them test their nukes on your pristine tropical paradise), ignore the protestors and build up your military to fight off the inevitable rebel uprising, bribe, arrange an "accident" for the faction's leader or stage a public book burning and/or order a contraception ban to appease the rioting devout at the cost of education efficiency and a huge influx of job-requiring, food-guzzling, for-you-probably-not-voting youngsters respectively. Every choice has (highly amusing) consequences for your island, and the game has a great way of mixing in unforeseen consequences so you'll never fall into bored complacency in between show trials.
Aside from balancing approval of different factions on your island, and keeping the ever-looming forces of the USA and the Soviet Union from deciding to practice their invasion techniques on your dictatorial buttocks in the name of "democracy", Tropico 3's core gameplay revolves around construction of infrastructure and the managing of your Island's economy. Unlike most building sims, which tend to revolve around "build magic money generating structure X so you can build a few of non-profit building Y", Tropico 3 has a much more realistic system to be exploited in the interest of keeping the presidential slush fund healthy. Structures have to be built by hired construction workers, and goods produced from your farms, mines and other resource generating structures must be picked up by teamsters and shipped to your dock for export before the sweet caress of cash can fill the nation's coffers. More advanced industries (and their more advanced profit margins) require said resources to function, and must be staffed with educated employees, who must be either educated on the island or hired from abroad. Managing the different aspects of your country feels really stimulating, and as in most large-scale simulators it is immensely satisfying to build from this:
(Gotta love how every cent of the island's wealth has so far been invested solely in your presidential palace while your loyal subjects have barely a handful of shacks to their name.)
*Disclaimer: This republic was in no way contributed to by the selling, eating or concept of bananas.
You can also take direct control of your own avatar, who can boost buildings' efficiency and help out in military skirmishes with any rebels that don't buy into the idea of your presidential perfection.
The graphics are beautifully vibrant, the the engine remarkably optimised so that your island will be breathtaking at any level of zoom, while keeping the strain off of your computer's hardware. Foliage sways, buildings catch the sunlight with a realistic gleam and your citizens perform the myriad actions in their daily lives with realistic animation (even though you'l spend the majority of your precious presidential time hundreds of meters above them,where you won't see it).
The level of complexity might feel overwhelming for some, especially those not used to gaming problems that require more complex and premeditated solutions than "click on these bad guys with your death-laser equipped." Luckily the game features a tutorial and a set of campaign missions that will teach you how to deal with a variety of situations, while introducing all the wonderful ways to toy with the lives of lesser mortals. The game also features a level editor and a thriving online community with which to share custom scenarios and compare mission scores.
Overall, Tropico 3 is brilliant. It's beautiful, functional and entertaining at every turn, and the gameplay's economic and political depth will definitely satisfy the control-freak nerds among you. But that's also a problem. This is a game for nerds. Big nerds. The kind of nerds who watch Dr. Strangelove and discuss the political allegories of Watchmen in internet forums while fantasizing about revolutionary income-tax systems: My type of Nerd. Many might not derive the same level of fun from the game, but if you have the patience to discover it, the inner workings of Tropico 3 will give you everything you've ever wanted out of a management sim, while its lighthearted sense of satire will keep you chuckling throughout.
5 defrauded elections out of 5 (Though it might not be your cup of tea)
Since my fine self lacks any personal transportation, it seems I’ll be exploring Rondebosch’s labyrinthine roadworks on (soon to be quite sore) foot. Woo. At least I have an actual existential map this time, lacking any specific indication of chemists of course, but if I check around the area filled with the pretentiously roofed condos, I’m sure to find something vaguely pharmaceutical. Upper-middle class socialites gotta get their happy pills somewhere, right?
Judging by my ravishingly high quality and not at all needlessly overpriced digitally printed map, the condos in question seem to be lingering around the quite inspirationally named “Main Road”. Since my shrewd detective skills have suggested that this Street could possibly be quite Major, I’m guessing that there’ll be at least one chemist in which I may obtain my gorily glossy goals. The road even shares a border with my Residence. This should be easy too.
*One fairly uninteresting yet long and pointless walk later*
Okay, how in the Sam Hill did I manage to walk in the exact opposite direction to the one I read off the map? There I was: Standing at a T-junction, looking at my map and thinking, “Alright, I have to turn left here”, and then I go right for some reason. Gah! Sometimes I think there’s a neuron stuck between my sense-of- my direction head meats and my doing-shit head meats that’s gone completely off its tits. Anyway, I’m back to my beginning with lead legs to bear me forward and a crystal sigh to bear the failures left behind. Or something. Damned if I get it wrong this time.
The road isn’t quite as bustling as it seems when you’re speeding down it and fifty kilometres per hour. I’d put it down to the early time of day but somehow I get the impression that this city isn’t as vibrant as the 2010 organisers would have you believe. The air shifts between various chemical flavours, from choking to sickly sweet to metallic. The people, the walkers anyway, seem to slouch onwards into the smoky beyond, shielding their eyes from a world in which they’ve seen it all before, and it had betrayed their expectations.
Upper-middle class socialites I tells ya. No sense of perspective.
Hey! Street-lamp billboards. I’m not quite as clued up on current events as I’d like to be, and we all know how reliable the abstract headlines on these cardboard curtailers of wisdom are!
“ANC big-shot behind killing.”
Whoa, that’s news. On the one hand I wouldn’t put it past some of our illustrious politicians to bestow a nasty case of death on election opponents or puppies, but since ANC-needling seems to have become a national sport popular among the media and disgruntled whities, I’m a bit sceptical on whether to believe this little factoid. I’m guessing some ANC bloke’s secretary ordered a hit on her ex-boyfriend or something and he’s getting the blame; as people whose public humiliation and suicide would cause a strong sense of arousal in Helen Zille (and her horde of flying monkeys) tend to do.
There seem to be an impossible amount of hair and beauty salons along the street. God knows how they all stay in business, though my guess is that they won’t for long. I’m getting the image of regular battle-royales between the various owners for the rights to an indecisive customer. “Five Stylists Enter the Thunder Dome; ONE Stylist Leaves!” The funny thing is, most of the salons seem to specialise only in braiding and dreadlocks (apparently, dreadlocks require something other than just dipping your locks in mud and waving ‘em around as Tarzan had me believing up till now). I guess you should work with what you know, but seeing as I’ve seen less than five people on this whole (Main) road with braids or dreads, and I doubt there’s much future in reggae stylings amongst the Upper-middle class socialite market, the continued existence of these glorified groomers seems even more unlikely.
“Zuma says sorry (again)” blurbs the next lamp-post poster. Gosh, I wonder what our glorious leader has stepped in this time, or at least gotten caught fo-WAIIIIT a minute! I wonder if this has anything to do with that other poster. “ANC big-shot behind killing”, well there aren’t any bigger shots than Big Jake up in the impenetrable sky-fortress from which the ANC rains down commands and defamed ex-members down upon our tiny heads. My aforementioned shrewd detective skills (and sense of humour) have me utterly convinced of these stories’ connection! We shall have to gather some more info! (Unofficially from these billboard headlines of course, I wouldn’t want to get the wrong idea.)
*Beeep Bip Beebib* *Phweeeeeee*
Kerrr-ist! That taxi-driver isn’t half obnoxious. Beeping and whistling and whatnot and with no potential passengers in sight. There’s gotta be a reason behind it. I guess it’s about attention more’n anything else. This guy’s a taxi driver; he soars the highways making precious little and not making any meaningful contribution to anyone, save for their convenience of getting in his taxi rather than the one further along. He probably knows he hasn’t got much time left, soon to end in a mangled heap of metal and flesh after one risky hard turn too many, or shot to pieces by another minibus jockey pushed too far into poverty to afford competition. He knows he has no future, he knows he’s insignificant, and he’s hooting his horn as if to say “I’m here now. Take a look”. He wants to get his whistle: his unique exhalation of pure sound, into as many heads as possible and as hard as possible, if only to have left something behind.
He still annoys the hell outta me though.
‘Allo: “Travoka defends Zuma”. Well he’d have to; murder is for serious and you need an alibi up ins when you’re accused of it. Unless we’re talking a more practical and involved kind of defense here. No one said this Tavorka, or Tagover, or Titpoker (I forget) was a politician! I’ll bet he’s a famed mercenary that Zuma has stationed outside the impenetrable sky-fortress (Though I wonder why he’d bother, it being impenetrable and all) and equipped with a spear tipped with a replica of J.Z’s remarkable skull (A viciously pointy weapon that my diseased brain tells me is standard issue in the secret “Zumarmy”)
I seem to be wandering dangerously close to the boundaries of my map. One turn-off outside the shown area’s comforting embrace and my well documented directional quirks will probably get me lost for eternity. No chemists so far either. I’d better head in the other direction…Hold on.
“Church of Latter Day Saints”, eh? Seems quiet now but I bet if I were to wait around I’d soon see an immeasurable wave of pamphlet chucking, doorbell ringing, me annoying Mormons emerge from the building’s black heart. I’m totally okay with you, your beliefs and your five wives, guys. Just keep the hell off my porch.
Another headline! “Pastor’s wife stabbed to death”. Yowie, that’s not a great way to go. Though it kind of annoys me that if this chick wasn’t a pastor’s wife (the epitome of socially perceived purity) and got brutally stabbed, no-one would lift an eyelash. Anyway, since the fact that this particular tidbit showed up right after the ones ousting Jacob Zuma as a cold-blooded killer CAN BE NO COINCIDENCE, it looks like we have a victim and a murder weapon. If this had all gone down in a spooky mansion and had Zuma been a military Colonel, I might almost have a joke there.
Finally! A pharmacy! Now to get immortalised on crappy wax paper that will inevitably fade and crumble in a thoroughly un-digital way (NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING!).
“Excuse me, miss? Do you guys do photographs?”
“No, photographs. Pictures. Like pictures of me.”
“*sigh* Alright. Thanks anyway.”
Coises! Foiled again! Well there’s always the bit of Main Road on the other side of RWHARSN (pronounced “Rawr-son”). I foresee another long and pointless walk ahead of my tired but still unmistakeably fine self.
*Another long and pointless walk later*
Whew. I should really organise a petition to have some benches set up along here; my dawgs are killin’ me!* At least there’s another chemist over there.
*Disclaimer: Dawgs here being the old western term for feet, not hip-hop enthusiasts of my acquaintance. Those guys would totally let me off with a light beating.
“Yo. You wouldn’t be in the photos of ruggedly handsome wanderers of the roads business wouldja?”
“Of me. Can. Photos. You take?
“That service isn’t available on Sundays, I’m afraid.”
“Oh, don’t worry yourself, miss. You get used the regular minor heart-attack when you’re in my line of cruel existence. I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.”
“Very good sir.”
I’m definitely noticing a recurring theme in my adventures. Were this fiction, I’d guess my adoring multitudes would be chanting “HACK!” in a glorious chorus. But hark: a final headline! Perhaps this one shall shed light on our little political murder mystery. “Ellie’s love for a sheep”.
Yes! It’s all clear to me now! J.Z, in all his lecherous splendour, was involved in the sordid business of Ellie, the publicly loved wife of the local pastor. A business, peddling SHEEP WHORES no less! Yes, for all the charms of his 15 wives and their possibly even more numerous genitalia, the ol’ king of the sky fortress just couldn’t resist the occasional woolly embrace of his sheepish mistresses. Once Ellie threatened to come clean to the authorities (apparently because God isn’t that warm to the idea of flossy concubines after all, as one mistranslation in the holy bible led her to believe) Jacob unsheathed his presidential kukri and added a few less desirable orifices to the Molly merchandising madame. Our fearless leader then made a run for the sky fortress, leaving the infamous Titpoker McGee to hold off the authorities while the presidential death ray warmed up.
I should really get more involved in politics. It could be interesting.