Dirty walls, dirty roles, dirty worlds (on noir and “Jessica Jones”)

(Warning, this is fairly spoiler-heavy for the Netflix series JESSICA JONES, based on the Marvel Comics series)

I had this theory once, one I planned to do an in-depth academic work on about private eyes in the post-war tradition. The theory was that they were the literary birth of the middle class, bridging rich and poor, a motif of carving out a place for yourself in the old world.

There’s also this idea I wanted to connect to (not mine) about how PIs are, in a literary sense, representations of people without causes or goals or roles. They are literal and metaphorical go-betweens, unable to function in assigned roles because of a weird Chandler-esque mixture of severe character flaws and righteous too-good-for-this-world goodness that, even if it functions nowhere near tier best interests, keeps them moving forward to do te right thing…for a price. After all, Chandler’s “The Simple Art of Murder” (my go-to source for the root of detective fiction) discusses characters like Marlowe as being both “good enough” and “the best”, not perfect, but far too good for the worlds they live in.

In that model, I went into watching JESSICA JONES, the new Netflix series based on a critically acclaimed Marvel comics character, and in the same world and vein as their last hit, DAREDEVIL. Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos created ALIAS (the comic book) as a sort of “The Wire”/private-eye look at the dirty underbelly of the Marvel superhero universe in 2001, where it ran until 2004. Their character, the new creation Jessica Jones, was a retconned connection to various characters in the Marvel  world, a minor superheroine now working as a private eye. It was probably best known for Gaydos’ unique art as well as some intensely “mature” subject material way out of the mold of conventional superhero stuff. It is, like a lot of Bendis’ work, very dialogue-driven, and everyone (in the book) has a pretty distinct singular voice (my major complaint about his writing).

Regardless, as a comic it’s interesting because it embraces a lot of the lesser-known aspects of detective fiction, which are reflected a lot in the Netflix TV adaptation, which was retitled JESSICA JONES and stars Krysten Ritter in the eponymous role of the PTSD-affected, borderline-alcoholic, generally-awful-but-ultimately-efficient superhero-ed private eye.

Characters like Jones in this show, as well as other fictional detectives set in literature and film and TV post-WW1 and WW2 are interesting because they primarily sprung up (especially after WW2) as we started to see a new economy form, molding and shaping a new social class, the middle class. The middle class of modern America bridged the gap between the ultra-rich and the powerless and poor, as seen by the growth of suburbs, dining establishments like diners, etc. They’re all about the in-between previous older and limited options.

Now, you have new options. The private eye was the option for romanticized (but also low-priority and practical) justice when suddenly it became financially available. They’re not fixers for the ultra-wealthy (another character trope of the genre that tend to be mirror opposites of PI’s), they clash directly against them. At the same time though, you also have the PI who works for the ultra-wealthy as their avatar of will and action in social circles they can’t reach or have any real influence in, finding lost wives and sons and daughters, murderers of friends, wayward fathers.

You kind of have to wonder what kind of character, though, would want this position. JESSICA JONES ends with our protagonist not really feeling that good about herself, still relatively alone, still boozed up, still in pain, still unsure about her role in this world and the limits of her social responsibility. It’s a fascinating way to end a work of fiction that’s entirely about someone grappling with an archnemesis whose entire existence is a stain on their lives.

However, it’s not a unique ending. Noir is (and I’m paraphrasing 100 BULLETS crime comic writer Brian Azzarello here) about even the winners losing, because the story isn’t what matters, it’s the characters.

Private eye characters that emerged after WW2 (and WW1 to an extent) established what we now consider a bit of a motif in the character; they’re constantly surly, they’re survivors of something (as PTSD has come into the literary consciousness as a thing it’s been integrated into the narrative), and most importantly, these characters really can’t do anything else. Anti-authoritarianism and a background in some level of violence and practical problem-solving (which Jessica Jones somehow all has to a T) are a combination that creates people who just don’t work well with others. Furthermore, it’s proven in the literature to be a

The beauty of this all, though? The beauty of the writing and directing and production teams of JESSICA JONES applying all these is that they perfectly capture what makes private eye fiction so good;

Private eyes are, at their root, incredibly self-loathing over how they work. It’s a constant game of betrayal, of one-upmanship, of desperate plays, of making yourself unlikeable to get something out of someone. Jessica is, thoroughly, not a good person. At all. She pushes people away, engages in a borderline abusive friendship with the next-door-neighbor (of course it’s all OK because it’s discovered he’s a spy for Killgrave), and assumes the worst in people, all in the name of protecting herself.

Most of this behavior is, of course, justified, and comparing her to other private eyes in fiction you get similar behavior. The isolation is a defense mechanism, as much armor as her jacket and gloves and boots, the hat and trench coat of the male noir PI cliche. A part of the behavior I assume is also a symptom of untreated and self-destructive PTSD, brought on by her extremely scarring past with Killgrave.

There’s an aspect to it though that gets touched on a bit with JESSICA JONES a bit more in-depth than old film and prose gumshoes. Even though this job makes her such an unlikeable person, a person who (as the character says) some people blame for the problems they ask her to find out, it’s what she’s good at, in complete odds with everything else. Jessica can’t help but get sucked into doing the right thing, and doing it well. The bit of flashback we see indicates she doesn’t really have any other marketable skills besides figuring things out, and she has no real desire to do much besides get into people’s business and drink. Why not be a detective?

Of course, it’s not perfect. I think writing-wise the bit the show gets “wrong” the most is in one of the major flaws TV shows and films tend to have, which is the desire to have everyone in a scene have to say something that sounds relevant to the conversation, rather than simply let a conversation play out. The “everyone talks” model is meant to be expository in what seems natural, because it breaks up information into bits from multiple people rather than one long dump. However, combining it with what I think can be an interesting narrative tool (the voiceover, which is somewhat uneven in this show) creates a bit of a crowded dialogue/narrative problem, where too much is being said and told, sometimes repetitively. A lot of criticism of the show comes from the way it seemingly “restarts” a few times throughout the episodes, going back to square one, though I’d consider that to be more a symptom of the realism of solving a crime by constantly coming up against dead ends or failed attempts to get at your suspect, but that’s just me.

Overall (I’m trying to remember if when I started this piece a few days ago I was going for a review or an analysis) I liked JESSICA JONES a lot. I liked the shitty ending (not shitty as in bad, but shitty as in it’s almost another reset with “Alias Investigations, how can we help?” creating the nonstop loop of temporary satisfaction in helping others because you can’t fix yourself), and I liked the characters quite a bit, they were probably the best part of it. The sneaking in of semi-obscure Daredevil character Nuke was really cool, done really well, as well as finally making Patsy Walker interesting for the first time ever.

I think that as the latest in the line of messed-up assholes-solving-crimes genre, it fits well, trimming a lot of the fat out of a comic and tightening it up in places where it needed, something that the film and TV Marvel stuff is really good at doing. It’s not perfect, but honestly crime fiction never is, it’s a messy weird world where dumb and dangerous stuff has to get done to either going down swinging our float to the top and hope you’re not too beat up to survive after “winning.”

I think Jessica Jones floated to the top. I guess we’ll see if they ever do a second season.

Readjusting Clocks…

As I mentioned in the last post here, I’ve had to put some of my work on hold, taking breaks from publishing serialized stuff to basically catch my breath, catch up on writing and drawing, and be able to prioritize my teaching work.

This is a part of a weird time in my life too, where I’ve been realizing just how much of a part of my life writing and cartooning has taken a slice of. The size of that slice has been shifting a lot, and the type of slice, be it pizza, quiche, or apple pie, is also changing.

There’s this cliche about how so many English teachers are basically either failed or has-been writers (heavily tied into the “those who can’t do, teach” quip), as well as the idea that younger teachers (under like 40) are basically just spinning their wheels until they make it as a writer, slumming it with lessons in Shakespeare and Wordsworth and how to do your college essays.

Can you blame the jokes from forming, considering how hard it is to Make It (capitalizations intended) as a writer these days? Never mind making a living at it, which is something completely different. Even selling a book and having an agent and a publisher aren’t guarantees of anything. The fact that I also make comics is even worse, because the market in comic books/strips/graphic novels/serialized comics is so colossally flooded and even more fucked-up about Making It and Making Money.

As much as teachers struggle with making livings and getting paid, I make more money teaching than writing, and I’ve been writing a lot longer than I’ve been teaching. I never made a living as a writer, but I do as a teacher. Really, it’s as simple as that. When I was working hard to just write, doing editing and proofreading, web content, and freelance writing, I managed to scrape by for one year. One year out of three of trying, and it was a miserable goddamn year (not all of that was writing-related, but when you’re earnings are below the goddamn fucking poverty line, it definitely contributes).

Now, on the other hand, I can actually save money and have a tiny safety blanket, consider things like maybe a vacation once in a goddamn blue moon, and paying off debt in chunks higher than $20 a pop. While it might be romantic to tax out your credit and drain your bank account to make comics because you love comics and wanna try to break it in…I’m not romantic. I wanna own a house one day. I wanna be settled. I’d like to not constantly be living in cycles of six months at a time.

Never mind all the time that’s sacrificed for stuff like that, which frankly I find fucking insulting. Sorry I’m not dedicated enough because I’d rather spend time with friends and family instead of burning money in a hobo barrel hoping against hope enough people at a con I spent way too much money to get to buy my stuff so I can afford to eat that weekend.

Also? I like teaching. I really genuinely do. I started teaching composition in 2010 when I finished graduate school. It was basically on the strength of my nonfiction writing background and MA degree that got me my first teaching position, technical writing basics at a college I’ve been teaching on and off at ever since then, and I’m good at it. I am a good fucking teacher, whether they be kids or adults struggling to get back into the swing of it.

Basically, I’ve been realizing that I need to shift how stuff gets done, and how often things get done. Comics is fun to do, but takes time I don’t have right now. Shorter non-drawing stuff is getting shifted to the forefront. There’s a personal academic project to work on I’ve wanted to do forever (involving comics), more nonfiction (blog posts and essays for here and for the newsletter), short stories I’d like to work on and shop around to various journals, and of course, the meat and potatoes of teaching (grading, exams, workshopping/tutoring, presentations, papers, proposals, and lesson plans to deal with.)

This really sounds like a “giving up” blog post/speech, but it’s not, it really isn’t. I guess it’s just a realization of my limits and a shifting around of the furniture so that other stuff can get done, the room gets looked at in a different perspective*. I’m just as busy with working on stuff…it just so happens that not all of that stuff is as much comics and prose as I used to.

Ironically, once I finish writing this I’m gonna work on some fiction…but only for a little. I need to finish watching TV with the lady, and then I’m gonna eat a snack and go to bed and go visit my mother tomorrow, watch some football.

*) As I write this, the room is actually different, the lady and I rearranged furniture all day and my little writing desk is not at a different part of the room against the windows. It’s dark and night out now so I’ve got the shades drawn, but I like it. I can’t wait to work with them open and the light coming in.


Updates, updates, updates

There is a new page of of WHERE YOU BELONG, with a guest “appearance” by Moni Bolis, cartoonist and WYB super-fan, graciously allowing me to use her Twitter handle in a panel.

Last week, SAVE CHANGES updated with a new chapter.

There was also a new page of my comic ELKHEART in the last email newsletter (I’ve added that page to the archive Tumblr site for that comic as of this weekend for non-newsletter people).

And with all those going out into the ether…that’s it. That’s the last of my pre-done backlog/queue of work to post and publish, I am officially tapped out.

So what does this mean?

Well, it means things are on a short break until I can catch up with work. WHERE YOU BELONG is on a break until I get time to work on pages again, SAVE CHANGES is on a break until I get a few more chapters done, and ELKHEART is on a little break as well until I do some pages there as well. The fall semester is almost over, it’s been a busy school year so far and it’s eaten up a lot of time. Writing is easy time-wise to get to, an hour or 45 minutes here and there every day, some at home, some at work, but drawing pages is a little difficult. I have to work at home and dedicate a few hours’ worth to it, and I just don’t have that time at home to spare right now.

In the meantime, I’m working on some short prose to shop around (I should have an update on some of that in the next week or so!), more blog posts and essays for here and for the newsletter, I’ve done a little work on some ELKHEART pages, and WHERE YOU BELONG is mostly 2/3 already scripted and thumbnailed, so it’s just a matter of doing actual pages of art and lettering (semi-sarcastic there, I know). I’m also dredging up some older work to re-share in a time capsule sense, so there’s plenty of stuff to get outta me and to wait for.

…a good dirty mystery…

(A version of this appeared in a recent SCRAPINGS ETC email newsletter issue by me).

It smells unique.

The first Kinky Friedman novel I ever got was Roadkill. It sat on my bookshelf, unread for years, as a kid, a gift from my dad. After I read it though and got hooked, Elvis, Jesus, and Coca-Cola was the one that I got obsessed with. It’s one of my favorite mystery novels and it’s one of the books I can always go back to.

The size is terrific for hands. The cover, bright red and blue with a women’s eyes and lips but separate, two different women, makes perfect garish sense. It even smells right, the edition I’ve had for years, the pages just-so slightly-yellowed, smelling like pulp, fulfilling a cliche about how good “real” physical books are.

The fetishism of books isn’t the point though.

Again and again, references in my head and my own critical work and teaching to go back to Chandler and “The Simple Art of Murder,” which sits, a yellowed edition, a creased cover, on my bookshelf.

How did I get here? This was supposed to be a review of one of my favorite books…so much for that.

“But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.” – Chandler

I heard Adam Savage and Alton Brown talking about Chandler and his creation Marlowe in relation to Scott’s film “Blade Runner,” and how Deckard is, for all intents and purposes, Marlowe. They were right of course, and it’s a brilliant talk to listen to and go back to (which I have, a few times) because it helps define and encapsulate noir PI characters. They are honest men whose honesty gets them nothing but trouble.

I had an idea at one point, that my PhD work would focus on the evolution of noir and the PI character as a reflection of the growth of the middle class in post-war America, the middle ground between the untouchable upper classes and the helpless cogs of the bottom social rungs.

And…off-track again.

There’s some post-its in my sketchbook. “Good horror writing makes you question yourself on every level…” and “Good crime fiction makes you question everything about a bad situation…”

I think the second one is true as an encapsulation of noir, where even the winners are left either holding the bag, or wondering what they had to sacrifice to end up “winning.” It gives us a level of sad but satisfying realism, and it definitely helps in fiction in creating a lesson of what the impact of things can do. We go through fiction so often and neat and tight endings are the norm, closing the book, wrapping up the story. But life isn’t like that at all. It’s messy and there are lost ends that float around you forget about or just can’t resolve and so they’re dropped. Someone is inevitably happy or jealous or shitty and the victories revolving around violence are almost always short-lived.

Good noir, good detective fiction, it embraces that. It takes us away from the fetishization of the linear narrative and replaces it with the study masquerading as a narrative, which is perhaps the most genius of literary tactics.

Anyway, maybe I just like a good dirty mystery.

Recommendations on books on writing

One of my jobs these days is doing writing workshops and tutoring with students at the Writing Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY (City Unversity of New York network).

I know, sounds fancy.

Students bring in research papers, essays, technical nonfiction like letters for work, almost anything really, and we work with them to help them with structure, ideas, grammar, proofreading, all that. I’m not a proofreader or copyeditor to fix their work; rather, we work together to help them improve their own writing.

Honestly, I really love it. It combines all my work as a teacher, a writer, and a freelancer in copyediting and proofing all in one, looking and helping to work on a range of written martial outside of just critical essays or on fiction or the research writing I teach.

Even though all the students at all the places I teach and work at know that I’ve worked as a writer before, it’s the writing center guys and gals who tend to ask me for a lot more practical writing and critical reading tips. One of the things I get asked a lot is what are some good books to “teach” them how to be better writers.

Stephen King has always been one of those writers I’ve admired more than I’ve actually really liked. Nonetheless, his autobiography-slash-book on writing, literally called On Writing, is a great book. It’s one of the best books about fiction writing i’ve read in a long time, especially if you’re interested in craft and technique. It’s a book I regularly recommend to students. The blending of King talking about his life and craft, as well as his practical tips, give you some cool insight about how he makes books and stories, is an interesting book. I regularly go back to it.

One the more academic side of the scale, there’s big bad voodoo grandaddy of academic writing books, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. This is another one I get asked about and recommend constantly. An ex who studied journalism in college actually introduced it to me (my writing bibles in college were Norton anthologies) and I swear by it ever since. If you want to know how sentences really work and how to improve how you literally transmit information with words, this is something you should have. In general, if you’re into literature, into writing, and/or into teaching, it’s a book for you to have in your own personal library. The best part of it is that it’s almost always cheap to find and it hasn’t changed much since the first edition, so you can get a copy anywhere. I think I got my relatively fancy edition for five bucks on Amazon.

I use They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein with my critical nonfiction writing students a lot these days. It’s a spiritual successor to The Elements of Style in a lot of ways, especially with its focus on the basics of writing, the raw structure stuff. It’s a really good 101 introduction on how to do some college-level writing when it comes to doing response essays and basic nonfiction papers.

 Understanding Comics and Making Comics, both by Scott McCloud, are the fundamental bibles of learning how to critically and comprehensively read comics, as well as start making your own. Both were really helpful to me when I started getting serious about comics and cartooning, but even when it comes to non-comics writing fiction-wise, they’re great books. The language and form and structure of a page, how a story should flow, and how you can add or take away from a story with art (in prose’s case, atmosphere) are essential writing lessons.

As I mentioned, I don’t really rely on “how-to” books when it comes to writing. I’m also a firm believer that constant reading and constant writing (practice, basically) are the best learning tools as opposed to manuals. However, I also have, at this point, ten years’ experience in writing, editing, and proofreading, so a lot of stuff that comes naturally to me isn’t necessarily second nature to others. Stuff like these works, which blend textbook-like teaching with realistic and brutally-practical reference, tips, and insight, can be really helpful.

If I had to build a practical course for learning to write (well, beyond the ones I do now), I would probably exclusively rely on these. Books about writing, while not necessarily an absolute for learning how to be a better writer, can definitely be a useful tool if you take from them what you need not to pad your own writing or take it as your own, but to IMPROVE your own overall writing.

On the radio…

(A version of this appeared in a recent SCRAPINGS ETC email newsletter issue by me).

So I listen to a lot of podcasts while I travel around and work, having slowly been moving from just listening to music forever. It’s nice, it’s like radio but I can put it on whenever I want. I used to just listen to comic book podcasts like Around Comics, Tall Tale Radio, and 11 O’Clock Comics, (weirdly, no music/punk podcasts, they always bored me) but in the past few years I’ve been listening to a wider range and constantly trying new ones that cater to other tastes I have.

I figured since I have nothing new to share, I’d talk about some of my favorites.


Criminal – The podcast app I use, Stitcher, recommended this to me (and honestly most of the recommendations sorta suck, the only real issue I have with Stitcher, so I’ve been pleased at how good this is). Short weird true-life crime stories in little interesting bursts. Minimalist, not too boring, not too cliche. As a crime/true crime/mystery/noir fan, this one appeals to me a lot. A  lot of true crime podcasts these days are either inspired directly by SERIAL, basically SERIAL spinoffs, or just not that great. This one doesn’t push it though, creating cool and interesting stories about the hidden world of modern-day leprosy sufferers, blackmail cons running 20-plus years in secret, homeless-not-homeless populations, and soccer stars solving murders.

The Sporkful – So, I eat a lot. I like to cook, my girlfriend and I love to cook and bake and try new foods and restaurants, it’s probably our one real vice. However, we’re not “foodies” in that weird hipster way where we spend way too much of weird ingredients or eat at places that cost way too much and serve that strange small portion that’s not a meal. The Sporkful from WNYC and it’s a real, grounded, and hilarious food and humor podcast that really stands out from a lot of the other food and cooking-oriented podcasts I’ve tried. The closest I can come to is hat it’s heavily influenced by the general fun atmosphere of my favorite cooking/food TV show GOOD EATS with Alton Brown, in that it’s heavily-grounded in realism, practicality, and a healthy dose of self-criticism and self-humor of cooking and food culture. The last episode I listened to was about how many toppings is TOO MANY toppings on pancakes and the existential crisis that can cause, as well as how trashy it is to eat stale cookies in the name of love.

Lore – Like horror stories/movies/books? Interested in urban legends and history? Hate how a lot of history and horror podcasts are either terrible or riddled with sound effects and cliches? Lore is the best new podcast I’ve discovered and been listening to recently, with short episodes that perfectly fit into my morning commute. The mythology of cannibalism, haunted houses, old unsolved true crimes, vampire lore, possessed dolls, and more, told in a great way that can be both incredibly touching but also creepy as fucking shit. I grew up on scary stuff and gross horror and history and weirdness, so I love it, but at times it’s a genre that doesn’t always grow up well, I’ve noticed. I don’t always want grossness and spooky cliches, and I love that the simplicity of Lore can effectively capture paranoia, fear, and genuine creepiness without the need for tricks.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – So I grew up with history buffs in my dad and paternal grandfather, and I even minored in it in college. I’m awful with dates, but the adage that the truth is so much stranger than fiction holds true, so I love learning new things about weirdness that happened in the past. The awesome ladies of SYMIHC (I was at the podcast’s first live show a few weeks ago!) always cover interesting stuff like lost historical figures not usually covered in books because they’re women or people of color, lost mysteries, the exact historical reasonings behind common modern things (like redlining), and even a lost chapter of history to import hippos as livestock to the US from Africa to solve a meat shortage.

Literary Disco – I’ve been listening to Literary Disco for a long time, and like The Sporkful, it’s a standout in the field/genre of book and literature podcasts. A lot of them are either REALLY fucking boring, or just very industry-heavy, which isn’t really my thing. However, LD is amazing and there are some episodes where I basically laugh the entire time listening to the hosts talk books, weird stories, humor, interviews, and their own writing. Also, if you’re a 90’s nostalgist, one of the hosts is Ryder Strong of “Boy Meets World” fame. I honestly can’t recommend this one enough if you like books and reading but not staid THIS AMERICAN LIFE boring-style radio or podcasts.

The Black Tapes & TANIS – Two semi-related/semi-connected fictional drama podcasts (docudrama) in the weird horror/mystery vein. The Black Tapes is about a podcaster building a show around a paranormal researcher and getting drawn into a weird conspiracy concerning demon worship, a missing wife, historical phenomena, and VHS tapes. TANIS is by the same people and ostensibly takes place in the same “universe,” about the producer of the first show doing a story about a weird mythical “thing” called Tanis that has inspired everything from an ancient Egyptian city to a cult of “Seekers” and “Runners” who look for it using codes in newspaper ads. TANIS is more pulp/weird sci-fi noir than the straight-up supernatural horror of The Black Tapes, and rather than start as an interconnected collection of cases that evolves into a singular narrative, starts out as a serialized case story. My best friend and I are actively deep into both shows, you should really try it. If you like serialized fiction, crime, horror, sci-fi, weirdness, noir…you’ll dig them both.


So yeah, check ’em out. I’m almost always trying to find new stuff to listen to that isn’t just a ripoff of Serial or or a Serial spinoff or something straight outta NPR. There are some ones that almost made this list but I didn’t wanna write up too much about because I only listen to them periodically, or have talked about before like Tall Tale Radio (which I mentioned above and still listen to), The Mystery Show, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, No Sleep, Welcome to Night Vale, etc. If you’re interested though, go ahead and Google those, too.

The mystery…or whatever it is…continues over at “SAVE CHANGES”

Occurred to me that I haven’t been reminding enough people about SAVE CHANGES, my serialized mystery novella. You keeping up? You should catch up, because there be mysteries, annoying cats, and annoying weirdos from back in the day;

The cat was trying to bypass the toy and nipped at my hand, making me almost drop my beer. She’d started this once I’d finally changed the litter in the letterbox. Her move from shitting on the floor to constantly trying to bite had me convinced that she was somehow punishment from my mother for something I had done as a small and stupid child. 

Brooks still hadn’t gotten back to me about that weird yelling phone call from the guy trying to be a client, so when the phone rang i snatched it up I was a little disappointed to see it was a number I didn’t recognize. While I was swiping the touchscreen the cat got into my feet and she got a good chomp through my socks.