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New magnet fishing episode posted. We catch a very cool knife/bottle opener and casino tokens (dozens) .... and a lot of things actually, lol. Link to the new episode in comments for those interested. Cheers.
Looking for a bottle opener, preferably to go in my wallet.
This one is pretty cool, but I don't know if it's a good idea to keep a rigid steel card in my wallet? This one is cool too but that massive "wallet ninja" logo and all the text looks kinda crap, and again, steel. My wallet is the Bellroy Slim Sleeve.
Yes, it's my truck and No, I won't help you move and No, you can't buy it for 50 bucks!
This is long, so grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever keeps you happy and reading. I live in a senior housing community for people aged 55 and older. We all have identical 1-bedroom cottages that’s set up in groups of four or quads so that all of our front doors face inward toward each other. So, if I open my front door, I have a very clear view of the front doors of my 3 neighbors and because I am in the back of this quad, I also have a view of the parking area. I think the purpose of grouping the houses this way was to create a friendly and safe atmosphere; however, it’s just creepy in a “you have no privacy” kind of way. I am F57, disabled, and have a 16-year-old pickup truck that gets me where I need to go most of the time. If you’ve ever owned a pickup truck, you’ll understand my frustration. If you haven’t owned one, talk to anyone who has and they will tell you that according to friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors, and even complete strangers, you have it so that you can help them move, haul furniture or a tree they cut down, and anything else they can’t fit in the trunk of their car. AND because it is a pickup truck, it can be mistreated, abused, dented, scratched, beaten up, and treated like a piece of heavy construction equipment and you shouldn’t care because well. . . it’s a truck. I have a neighbor (F - about 65 years old) that has kind of made a pest of herself since the day I moved in. I’ve done my best to be neighborly, nice, and accommodating, but each time I interact with her, I’m left feeling used. The neighbor, let's call her Karen, has come over pretending to want to visit with me, which she does for about 2 minutes, and then asks me for something. In the 3 years that I’ve been here, she’s asked me to set up 2 TVs (at different times), take a new alarm clock out of its packaging and then teach her how to operate it. I’ve been asked to fill out her food stamp paperwork, fill out information for her lease renewal, read a piece of mail to her and explain it because she didn’t understand it, to take her places and to “loan” her money for the bus. That’s just a few. Now that you get the idea of what I’ve dealt with before, it’s time for the story. One Monday morning, Karen comes beating on my door (she does what I call a “cop knock” – loud, hard, and repeated) around 8 a.m., waking me up. (I am a night owl, by the way.) I go to the door and she is standing there holding her natural gas bill telling me how she needed a ride to the gas company's office to talk to them about paying the bill and hands me the bill. I look at it, hoping to find a phone number for her to call, but there isn't one, but I do see that her bill is for about $17. So, I take her across town with her providing the directions since I had never been to this building (the gas company did not have an office in town, so I guess this was maybe a payment center). I drop her at the front, park, and wait for her. Karen comes out saying that they can't help her there and asks me if she should just call them to make arrangements to make payments since she didn't have the money. I tell her that's what I would do and bring her back home. We basically made this trip for nothing. Two days later, there is another loud, repeated banging on my door waking me up just before 9 a.m. Karen is back and seems to be a little frantic. She needs a ride again. This time she's very vague about why she wants to go, but left me with the impression that something was going to get turned off, repossessed, or turned over to collections if she didn't go. She's also vague as to where she wants to go. She keeps tell me that it's down by the casino, across the street from the gas station. I told her I'd take her but she would have to point me in the right direction since I've never been to the casino. She gives me turn by turn directions until she has me turn left onto the entrance road for the casino. I'm looking around for any other businesses or even the gas station and I'm not seeing anything other than the casino in front of us and open land on either side. So, I ask her where am I supposed to be dropping her. Karen points to an upcoming sign and says, "See the sign that says 'Valet'? Just follow that sign." Yep, you guessed it, Karen had me drop her at the front entrance to the casino. She'd lied to me by omission. She didn't ask me to take her to the casino (which I would probably have done since it's none of my business how she spends her money), she asked me to take her to a business near the casino. Yeah, well, I wasn't happy. On Monday she couldn't afford to pay her $17 gas bill and on Wednesday she's going to the casino by tricking me into taking her. A week goes by and I am in the office paying my rent when Karen comes in. Karen: Why didn’t you tell me you were coming here today. Girl, I just walked all the way here. Me: Didn’t know you needed a ride. I can give you a ride back to the house if you would like. I wait while Karen pays her rent and we walk out together. Now, I’m expecting to get in my truck and drive the 4 blocks back to my house. Karen had another idea. Karen: Take me to Everything’s Cheap store. Me: Where? Karen: To Everything’s Cheap. Just turn here at the stop sign and I’ll show you. It’s not far. Me: Karen, I’m going to take you there, but I’m not shopping and I’m not going to sit in the parking lot and wait for you. You’ll have to get another ride home or walk. Karen: It’s fine. I won’t be long. I drop her at the front door and I go home. A couple of hours later, she bangs on my door. Karen: Where did my ride go? Me: Home. I told you that I wasn’t going to wait for you. Karen: I had all my stuff that I had to carry home. Now my back hurts. Me: I’m sorry, but I warned you. Karen walks away muttering things that I didn’t understand and slammed her door. Skip ahead several months and I run into Karen again as I am paying my rent. She wants me to give her a ride to the Social Security office. I tell her that I can't as my truck is not running right and I can't get too far from home in it until I get it check out and fixed. My truck started having issues and it's been difficult trying to get it fixed with lock-down, a back issue that left me bedridden for several weeks, and 2 major hurricanes this year (there’s nothing major wrong with the truck - just needs a new starter and gaskets to fix an oil leak that's caused the starter to go bad). Karen: But it's just a few blocks away and it's hot out here. Me: I can't trust my truck not to leave me stranded with no way to get it home. Karen: It will be fine. Me: Maybe, but I'm not willing to risk it. Karen slaps the side of my truck and continues on her walk and I go home in my truck. Another 3 days go by and more banging on my door and again I am awakened (it's 7:15 a.m.). This time I'm angry and I snatched the door open. Me: What? Karen (standing there with her purse and house keys in her hand as if she knows I'll say yes): I need to go to the mattress store. I need to pick up my new queen size mattress. Me: No. My truck still isn't running right. Karen: But I need your truck to haul the mattress home. Me: No. Karen: It's not a heavy mattress. Me: Oh, so who’s going to help you get it in and out of my truck and carry it into your house? Karen: The two of us can do it. Me: Karen, I have degenerative disk disease. The disks in my spine are disintegrating. I can't lift nor carry a mattress even with someone helping. Karen: But I already bought it. How am I going to get it home? Me: Call friends or family to help you. Karen: They don't have a truck and you do! Me: Yes, I have a truck, but there is no sign anywhere on it that says Free Moving Company. I close the door on her and go back to bed. An hour later, more knocking. This time, it's an older man. Man 1: Excuse me, but is that your truck? (He points at my truck in the parking lot.) Me: Yes. Man 1: I have an upright piano I need to move and was wondering if I could use your truck. Me: No. (I glance over at the neighbor's house and I see her peeking through a crack in her door - I have a sneaking suspicion she has put this guy up to this to see if I would help him.) Man 1: You can drive the truck. I just need to have the piano hauled to my storage unit. Me: How are you going to get an upright piano into the bed of my truck? Man 1: I'll just roll it up a ramp and into the back. Me: Do you know how much an upright piano weighs? One person can't push it up a ramp. If you use a ramp on my tailgate, you will break the tailgate and probably lose the piano in the process. My truck is large, but the rear end is not made for hauling a piano and will cause the front end to lift off the ground preventing my front wheel drive truck from gaining traction and straining my 16-year-old engine. Man 1: Well, could you call 4 or 5 of your male friends to help lift it into the back of the truck? Me: No! I close the door on this man, too. He didn’t come right out and say it, but I felt like he wanted to borrow my truck so he could go pick up the mattress for Karen. Yeah, I’m a little suspicious. The following morning . . . *sigh* . . . I ignore the knocking that occurs every half hour or so over a 3-hour period until she finally gives up. Later that afternoon, I open my door to get the mail out of my box when a second man approaches me out of nowhere. It’s like he was hiding around the corner waiting for me to come out of my house. Man 2 (points at my truck - it irritates me every time someone does this): Is that your truck? Me (feeling very annoyed and snarky): What gave it away? Is it because it's parked in a space clearly labeled with my house number? Or is it because someone told you who the truck belonged to? (I point at Karen's house.) Man 2: Does it run? Me: Listen, I don't know what you're wanting me pick up, deliver, move, haul, transport, or tow, but I am not a moving company, taxi, uber, delivery service, or a tow truck. I won't be doing any of those things and before you ask, I won't be allowing you or anyone else to drive my truck either. Now, do you have any other questions? Man 2: Uh, do you want to sell it? Me: What?! Why would I want to sell it? Man 2: Well, since it needs fixing, I thought maybe you would want to sell it to someone who could afford to fix it. Me: How do you know it needs fixing? Man 2 (turns bright red and can't take his eyes off ground): I just thought if you sold it, you could buy something else and I could fix the truck. Me: Tell Karen that I'm not selling you my truck so that you can fix it to give to her. Man 2: I wasn't going to give it to her. Me (pointing at his huge truck parked in Karen's designated space): You want me to believe that you would rather have my 16-year-old truck that needs repair than your brand-new truck? How stupid do you think I am? As the older man silently stares at the ground, Karen flings her door open and marches up to me. Karen: Just sell him your truck so he can fix it. You clearly aren't going to do it any time soon. At least I will put it to good use. I need it and I need it more than you apparently do. Now, he’s willing to get it fixed for me, so just sell him the damn truck already! Me: My truck is not for sale! When or if I get my truck fixed is absolutely none of your business. Karen: I’m going to call the office and tell them that you have a broken-down truck sitting in the parking lot that needs to be hauled to the junk yard. They’ll make you get rid of it or fix it. Man 2: Karen, they can’t do anything to her . . . Karen cuts him off. She’s so angry, she’s crying, shaking, and spitting as she screams Karen: SHUT UP! STAY OUT OF THIS. I WANT THAT TRUCK AND I’M GOING TO GET IT! I’LL CALL THE POLICE. THEY WILL MAKE HER GET RID OF IT. Man 2: Karen, the police aren’t . . . She cuts him off again. Karen: YES, THEY WILL. THEY'LL LISTEN TO ME. She storms off to call the police. In the meantime, I brought a chair outside along with a can of soda and a bowl of microwave popcorn. I figured this was going to be a good show. Karen and Man 2 have gone inside her house to wait. The neighbor to my left has come out to see what’s going on. Let’s call her Mary. Mary can’t stand Karen, so she drags a chair out and sits next to me and we share my popcorn. Enter Cop 1 and Cop 2 The cops arrive in about 5-6 minutes and walk up to Karen’s door and knock while glancing around at Mary and me and grinning. She answers and tells them that I have created an eyesore in the neighborhood by having an old beat up, broken-down truck sitting in the parking lot and she wants it removed immediately. Cop 1 (pointing at my truck - yep, he does it, too and I can't help but roll my eyes): That truck? Karen: Yes. Cop 1: That truck is clean, shiny, no dents, no scratches, new tires . . . are you sure that’s the eyesore? Karen: Yes. It’s 10 years old and broken and she doesn’t want to fix it. It’s just sitting there doing nothing for months. Me: It’s 16 years old. Cop 2 (spins around, surprised): Seriously? That truck is that old? Wow! It’s in great shape. You’ve taken good care of her. Me: Thank you. Karen: I want that truck gone! Cop 2 walks over to me to discuss my truck’s mechanical history. So, I explain to him that in the 16 years that I have owned her, I have changed her oil every 3-4 months, given her a bath once a month, got her a new set of tires 6 years ago, and when I first began having problems with her starting, I bought a new battery (the old one was the original battery from when I bought the truck off the showroom floor), and when the battery wasn’t the problem, I had a mechanic come and look at it. He determined that it was the starter and the gasket was leaking. All I was waiting on was my friend to come and help me start her (someone needs to get under the truck and tap the starter while someone else turns over the ignition) so that I can get it to the mechanic’s house for him to work on it. Karen: She’s lying. That truck hasn’t moved in 3 months. Me (offering popcorn to Cop 2 who took a handful): Wrong. It hasn’t moved in 4 days. It’s had problems for 3 or 4 months. Cop 1: Ms. Karen, there really isn’t anything the police department can do for you. Her truck definitely isn’t an eyesore nor is it sitting there in pieces creating a safety hazard. Karen: She’s driving down property values. Cop 1 (starts chuckling): Ms. Karen, you are renting a house in government subsidized senior housing. Cop 2: Why don’t you tell us the real reason why you want her truck removed. Mary (who has been silent until now - stands up and turns on her best diva soul-sister voice and attitude and gives the cops the greatest Deep-South Beautiful Black Woman sermon I’ve ever heard – I’ll try to write as best I can): Ohh, Lawd Jesus, help us all! Dis here woman of the night, want everything she can’t have, Lawd! I think it’s cuz she pulls her hair back so tight, Lawd, she can only see what’s in the back o’ her mind! Uh huh! She wants her Old Saggy Boy Toy of the Day here to buy my friend’s pick’em up truck, so she can go and pick’em up, Lawd, mm-hmm, if ya gittin' what I’m sayin’. He buy it and trade it to her for a little roll on her nasty sheets! Lawd Jesus, help us! And she think she all hot and sexy so you believe her and take away my friend’s truck. She a fool, uh huh. She think she can fool you, too, uh huh! How da hell do ya think she got those 2 big ass TVs in there? Mmm-hmm! Cop 1 is bent over laughing hysterically while Cop 2 is standing with his mouth open and his eyes wide. Cop 2 (turns to Man 2): Is any of that true? Man 2 (embarrassed, humiliated, and just looking tired): She wanted the truck and 50 bucks. Karen and Man 2 are arrested. Not sure what the exact charges were but I heard words being thrown around like pandering, solicitation, scamming, and false complaint among others. A couple of days later, Mary told me that Karen returned home. I guess she found a way to get bailed out. I haven’t seen her and I am hoping that I don’t. As for my “pick’em up truck”, I’m still waiting to get her to the mechanic. My friend will be here on his next day off (he doesn't get them often) to help me. It’s a good thing I’m a patient person with a super diva as a friend and neighbor. It's also good to know that my truck is at least worth one 20-minute roll on the sheets and 50 bucks. EDIT: Thanks for the awards everyone! And just a little side note for those of you rolling your eyes at the fact that I offered a cop popcorn and he took it - I live in the Deep South in a small-ish college town. The cops here are helpful, friendly (until provoked), and generally good guys. When construction workers stole from me after Hurricane Laura, two cops came to investigate and afterwards I offered them both a bottle of water and they accepted.
Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
[Let's Build] Attractions in a demon pleasure palace that aren't sexual
My players are going to be visiting the palace of a demon lord of pleasure who's more CN than CE. I want to show that despite his title, he represents all forms of pleasure and good feelings, not just sex. Also space in his realm doesn't work the same way as it does in the mortal plane. He essentially has an infinite amount of space to work with and can customize it as he pleases, so there are no size constraints.
A casino to feel the thrill of gambling.
A dining hall with an endless buffet that visitors are allowed to eat as much as they wish.
An idyllic beach with perfectly white sand to relax or play on.
An arena where gladiators brawl it out against each other. The point of it isn't to kill each other as much as make the battles look stunning to the audience.
A hotel with the most comfortable beds possible. Here anyone with enough money can enjoy a good rest after all the excitement.
A beautiful and well tended garden filled with aromatic flowers and sweet fruits.
A vineyard where exquisitely-aged wine can be produced just by pressing the grapes. (u/_SovietMudkip_)
An opulent concert hall where the best musicians of the realms perform (u/_SovietMudkip_)
A small, cozy looking wooden library, with a cushioned bay window where rain gently scatters against the glass and a cup of some hot liquid gently rising with steam. (u/QuietOracle)
An owl-bear hugging zoo. Go to sleep in the embrace of their soft down. (u/QuietOracle)
The room of sensory experiences. The room itself is fairly plain, with the main feature being long tables running the length of the room. On closer inspection there are fist-sized carved holes, each one holding a small round crystal... (u/QuietOracle)
A room with dozens of sacks filled with beans, lentils and grains where visitors can put their hands in and let the contents run through their fingers. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
A hag (or any other long nailed creature) giving visitors a scalp massage. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
A museum of little-known or long-forgotten art pieces, sculptures, and history. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A festival full of colors, music, and drinks. Everyone seems to love you, and you can’t stop laughing. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A hallway of endless doors. In each room is someone you know, complimenting you endlessly, sharing every positive, even begrudgingly jealous thought they ever had about you. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A hot spring/spa, with fluffy towels, those showers that are like rain with perfect water pressure, mud baths, and refreshing food and drink. (u/lionesslindsey)
A room full of people that constantly give you validation and laugh at all your jokes. (u/CountryJeff)
Never-ending line of gold chalices, crystal vases, silver artwork, and other valuables. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
People who are “better” than you are marched in a stripped of their superior qualities. Beautiful people are disfigured and turned ugly. Wealthy powerful people are ruined and made to beg you for pennies. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
Mass groups of people enter the room and tell you how they admire you and how wonderful you are. They stroke your ego and inflate your pride. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
Servants do everything for you. Feed you, give you drinks, wash you, wipe your arse, etc. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
You are given a wickedly barbed leather whip. A slave creature is bound to a post and you can whip this creature to inflict your wrath upon them as much as you desire. If the poor soul dies, another is brought in to replace them. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
'Knight for a day'. The full experience; lance, shiny outfit, a squire, a trusty stead, a dragon and a princess/prince to rescue. (u/mr_earthman)
A magical version of a movie theatre, allowing you to watch all manner of stories, true and legendary. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
A moderately large pool where small battleships with tiny animated crewmen can be deployed in teams to shell and board each other for the audience's amusement. Honored guests can put their strategic abilities to a test against other players by directly giving orders to their ships, and in certain hours guests may even swim in the pool to live out the power fantasy of being a sea monster. (u/VIixIXine)
A colorizer-device that transforms any clothes/armoweapons/other gear to any desired hue you wish (as long as it doesn’t affect the workings of the gear) (u/PaigeOrion)
A grand screen, showing a nearly infinite number of (screen)plays from all space and time, including the show with the disgraced human paladin delivering a green baby gnome back to his home land through incredible odds. (u/PaigeOrion)
A tiara that allows you to experience the sensory experience of a black cat as long as you wear it and close your eyes. (u/PaigeOrion)
A plethora of small, multicolored blocks that will magically interlock with one another to render almost any architectural structure imaginable. (But don’t step on them barefoot!) (u/PaigeOrion)
A band of musicians who are the perfect musical backup for any performances. Alone, they are more low key, but no less skilled, playing haunting melodies of unknown origin. (u/PaigeOrion)
A massive walk-in closet where you can try in any clothes in any fashion you like. (u/Tezla44)
A "schadenfreude" theatre, with shows that rely on slapstick and cringe comedy. (u/Martinus_XIV)
A room designed to give you closure. When you enter this room, someone you loved and lost is there, sitting in a couch. The room feels vaguely familiar, but you can't place why. If Detect Magic is used, the room is full of magic (divination, transmutation, illusion) but the person seems like a normal person. You can chat with them for as long as you like. They behave just as you remember them, with the good and the bad. (u/ohsurenerd)
A theatre performing the most magnificent tragedies. When you watch the performance, you find yourself completely enraptured: you cheer when things go right, scream when something terrifying happens, and moan and weep at the inevitable horrible ending. When you leave, it feels like removing a backpack full of lead that you'd been carrying for so long you'd forgotten it was there. (u/ohsurenerd)
A room where there's a button, there's someone outside and it explains that if you enter there's a 50/50 chance of you dying or not, the room won't actually kill you and it's there just to make you feel the pleasure of near death experience. (u/SupremeGodDictator)
A massage parlor with the universes best staff pampering your every need as you receive the most relaxing massage of your life whether it be scalp, back, foot, full body, etc. Has the worlds fluffiest towels and robes to luxuriate in while you wait or if you simply want to sit in a comfy chair and enjoy your ache free muscles. (u/Blue_Mando)
An arena where you and your opponents heal near instantly, and you can fight endlessly (u/ellen-the-educator)
A reenactment of your greatest failures in life, but this time they turn into your greatest achievements. (u/CountryJeff)
A room with the world's finest works of art.... and a myriad of implements you can use to destroy them. (u/redrosebeetle)
A torture chamber with mages on hand to create illusions of the people you wish to torture. Or increasingly realistic versions of them, depending on the level of magic you wish to implement. (u/redrosebeetle)
A room full of gold and jewels you can roll around in, ala Scrooge McDuck. But woe betide anyone who tries to take a souvenir.... (u/redrosebeetle)
As you're walking through the gardens, a person comes up to you. They introduce themselves as an adventurer who's also here on a quest. They seem to be the same class as you, and they're incredibly attractive-- almost exactly your type. You immediately click and end up spending the day together, talking about everything and anything. You tell them things you've never told anyone else before. They understand everything you tell them, almost innately, but they're still impressed by your feats and your stories. The two of you find an empty bedroom and close the door behind you. It's perfect in its imperfections. In the morning they're gone. No matter where you look, you can't find them. (u/ohsurenerd)
A room lined with shelves and shelves of bottles and vials containing a crimson liquid flowing slowly (like a syrup), all with small labels on them. As you inspect the labels, you realize they've all got names on them: famous adventurers, kings and queens, great sages. If you drink one, you experience a selection of their memories as they experienced them: battles won, discoveries made, historical alliances and friendships being forged or broken... (u/ohsurenerd)
A room that turns anyone that enters it into a child. It is full of every toy imaginable (u/arual_x)
A tour of a chocolate factory. Kobolds work there, and the owner, who gives the tour, is a Metallic Dragon in Humanoid form. (u/arual_x)
A fortune teller who has a Deck of Many Things with only the good cards. If you in any way offend them, they will sleight of hand vs perception check slip you a bad card instead. (u/arual_x)
An island theme park of reanimated dinosaurs. The owner is a level 20 Necromancer called Hamm Johnand. (u/arual_x)
A Virtual Reality style game that allows you to battle horrible monsters over and over again without risk of injury physical. But still allows you to gain XP... (u/arual_x)
A perfect expanse of thick snowy ground. There is constantly a snowball fight going on. (u/arual_x)
A giant room full of mattresses where everyone immediately gets a wonderful massage. (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
A room full of gold and exquisite things, from beautiful furniture to magic weapons (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
A seemingly endless room where adventurers can drink a potion to grow wings and flit about to their hearts' delight (u/iriedashur)
An ordinary classroom containing the adventurer's childhood friends, enemies, and their most hated teacher. Upon entering the room, the adventurer discovers that they are invisible, and free to pull pranks as they wish (u/iriedashur)
A brightly colored room piled high with wrapped gifts, large and small, for the adventurers to open endlessly (u/iriedashur)
A purple and black dragon named Ace who cooks you garlic bread and cake. (u/sanorace)
A magic pair of goggles/glasses that simulate any “What if” question you pose to them. (u/lewiscann)
A magical weather room where you can ask for any weather for your pleasure (I love listening to rain) (u/lewiscann)
A room full of lounges with a floating slow burning piece of wood that warms the whole area, the piece of wood is so large you can see the flame spread through this piece of wood forever (u/lewiscann)
A room where you can bite your fingernails and they grow back instantly ( so you can bite them some more )(u/razenastie)
A room with incredibly weakened versions of powerful monsters. (u/Your_InsideMan)
A heist simulator where you always get away with the big diamond, chest, etc (thrill of theft) (u/reallyenjoyscarbs)
A sauna room with a central pillar. Inside the pillar is a chamber containing a magic stone which can detect the exact temperature preferences of those inside, and making each person feel said preference. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
An oval-shaped room with countless glass lotion bottles, with each smelling better than the last. If you look for a specific scent (no matter how rare), you'll certainly find it with the help of a goblin near the back of the room. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
A room that consists of A bunch of mortals so utterly jaded from years of plesure seeking that they need the hardest of drugs and the wildest of sensations to feel anything,with lesser demons feeding on their pursuit of euphoria. Think the emperors children from warhammer 40k. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
A buffet of the lids of yogurt/pudding cups to lick. (u/Hunter37594)
An olfactory room that reads your memories and replicates smells that remind you of your most joyous moments. (u/lecorbusianus)
A wildlife reserve for Druids to find new and exotic wild shapes. (u/lecorbusianus)
A room with musical instruments that you're able to master immediately. (u/lecorbusianus)
A room with a creature in a dark robe sitting at a table covered in maps and dice. He helps you play a strange game where you and your party make up characters that go on adventures while the robed creature acts as all of the other characters and determines new events. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
CDPRs glitches/bugs are a very VERY minor problem in Cyberpunk. These problems are bigger:
60 hours into cyberpunk and probably won't finish the game. No its not because of the bUgS Bro I played skyrim since it was released I played New Vegas like 20 times I played Witcher 3 since the first month of its release Like the bugs in New Vegas give the game a charm to this day. Its the content IN THE GAME. It got to the point where if I want to beat the game I just have to follow the remaining quest markers again and again. But the side jobs all have the same feel we are used to in a GTA world. Walking around the city as you do the side content, and there is no narrative to V's actions. At least in GTA each of your characters has an actual lifestyle, and a relationship with where they are from. Walking around in Night City, as someone with 50 street cred, and there's no recognition of who you are or what you have accomplished. It doesnt have to offer some grand narrative, but anything that shows consequence and progression of your actions would be fantastic. The closest thing to this is going to each new "bad guy hang out" and if you walk into their territory they try and kill you. Which is so strange because this happens from the beginning of the game, no matter what. Even as regular civilians walk among the bad guys aimlessly, there is no reaction, but the game triggers to make the bad guys attack without recognition and with impunity when you accidentally look at them. Npcs and cars travel on rails, and if there is an item blocking the path, the game stops. You'd expect that even meandering around the city that your character V would have more relationship with the city, even pre-programmed lines to say here and there. Geralt had his famous COME HERE U PIECE OF FILTH comments when fighting monsters, or commenting on the weather. For as much content in the city, the alleyways, rooftops, random streets, sewers, and the badlands, there seems to be a surprising lack of interest in finding content here. There are SOME exceptions but take that with a grain of salt: There was a side gig where I was supposed to save a ripperdoc who was being forced to do work on gang members, another with a father and son duo you can kill who are responsible for trafficking children, or another infiltrating a subterranean casino to assassinate a bad guy - and none of these are varied based on a life path. They are static triggers on a map you select and travel to. But each of these interactions are 5-7 minutes long, one off interactions, and have no consequence or rabbit hole in the world of Cyberpunk. Not even a quarter of Skyrim or New Vegas when in those games, you meet an NPC with a name and you just might get a quest that lasts 3-5 hours. People think that the main weakness in the game are the bugs, but fortunately for CDPR, the distraction of bugs and glitches and a failed launch QC-wise, are the things that people are thinking about right now. Had the game been 2 months more polished on the QC side, it is still an empty game IN COMPARISON to the detail that exists in the game. The devs exhausted themselves in the world design, and in the style of the game. If they had done as much for AI, organic chemistry in the world, and in a divergent narrative for each life path, then it may have been an 8 out of 10. Some of the things that would enhance the experience would be a set of side quests directly for corpo, street kid, and nomad. Something that in the world after the prologue that would put you on side quests that can only be accomplished by those life paths: Street kid gets a narrative that follows the consequences of coming BACK to Night City. The game opens up as Stret Kid that V is back in Night City after leaving another city when things fail. There could be an entire 10 hour narrative directly with dealing with whatever that meant, but nope. Youre back in Night City. The fixers and big players all know you, and you're automatically on everyone's good graces with everyone except Rogue, but just pay her. That'll work. Corpo could exist in the the remnants of the corporate wars. A stand off between hostile CEOs and your character, or even a goofy world that exists where your company is failing and you have to achieve clout in a incredibly self gratifying cyberpunk world, kinda like a certain side quest where you are helping an inmate execute himself. Nomad could be a deep dive into clans and the politics of badlands groups from clans like Panams, to the Raffins, but apparently only 1 clan is alive in the Badlands. But thats just part part of the list of problems. The rest exists in the pre-programmed way that stealth and actual gameplay works. Stealth is ridiculously broken with no tension. Distract an enemy, or memory wipe and you can get by anything. Turn off the camera, ping for enemy locations. Is it just me, or do all those flashy YouTube videos where players are 1 shotting their way through scanner hustles with a silenced pistol all look just like taking down outposts and fortresses in Farcry? It looks neat, but its a shooter at that point, not even reminiscent of an RPG. For as much as people mock The Last of Us 2, its stealth, world building, and tension you feel when you go through abandoned buildings makes you feel human, scared, and cause you to constantly count your ammunition. You are constantly crawling, or stopping, or throwing bottles, or other shit as you go around every corner and open every door. Overall, these are just a couple shortcomings of this game, minus the issues I have on a ps4 pro. Bugs are not my issue. Its the incomplete gameplay therein and the emptiness of this world that is not an RPG.
Dec/29/2020 news: \\ political party law reformed: idea > individual; transparency; female % \\ Pashinyan responds to "not being enough pro-Russian" \\ who owns which business? \\ protests & snap elect. \\ burglary case & HHK MP \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ Vitalik flexes muscles \\ bills pass
Your 14-minute Tuesday report in 3589 words.
Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations and "avoiding" the war:
The idea that a flexible foreign policy could have avoided this war is being constantly circulated. Those [former officials] who believe in this thesis must answer at least one question: as a result of their "flexible" policy, why was it not possible to avoid the war of 2016, which was preceded by the unprecedented escalation of 2015 and 2014? The "flexible" policy adopted by Armenia for many years led to the introduction of Russian proposals in January 2016, which proposed the return of 7 territories (5 + 2) without any legal status for Nagorno-Karabakh. Why did Russia make such an offer? For one simple reason, as a result of Armenia's "flexible" policy, the Madrid process had come to a standstill because Artsakh could receive a Status outside Azerbaijan only with the consent of Azerbaijan. It was obvious to Russia and everyone else that Azerbaijan would not agree to this, so it was necessary to find ways to break the deadlock. And, by the way, if certain people claim that Armenia's foreign policy after 2018 was not sufficiently pro-Russian and this was the reason for the war, then why in the conditions of the "sufficiently pro-Russian" policy of 2016 were Russian proposals born and why did the April war take place? There was only one way to prevent this war: return the regions and forget about Artsakh's legal status. Now, after the war is over and we know the outcome, the number of supporters of [giveaway of 7 regions] is growing. What they forget is that if we gave away the lands to avoid the war, we would have the same situation in Syunik borders. They used to accuse us of "selling lands" [he means the contradictory statements like Nikol sold the lands, and why didn't Nikol sell the lands earlier to avoid the war]. The biggest failure by the supporters of the "flexible policies" is that they spent years trying to avoid a war instead of preparing for it. Our biggest failure is that we weren't able to recover enough embezzled public property in the past 2.5 years to help us better prepare for the war. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039231.html
businesses owned by opposition leaders
What are the known businesses owned by some of the famous people you might have seen in the public square lately?
20% share in Lorva Amrots Ltd which plans to operate two hydro-power plants on Dzoraget river. Manukyan purchased the shares in 2011 after being appointed by Serj as the head of the Public Council. In 2015-2016, he owned 30% shares in Vanavka Group. In 2015-2017 he had 30% shares in Jermakunq Group. These companies extracted and bottled water. At the time, the director of these companies was charged with illegal bottling and causing ֏55 million in damages to the state. The corruption case was sent to the IRS, which terminated the investigation after "not finding a crime". The companies export the products mostly to Russia.
Vanetsyan is a poor boy, according to the public declarations database. But if you have time, take a look at the investigative report I covered in Ap29/2020 news, according to which Vanetsyan's family allegedly used offshore firms and owns mining shares. More on that here. Here is a Hetq investigative report. Vanetsyan's father owns AV Group flower importing business. About a year ago, the police investigated several flower sellers near a stadium. An opposition outlet claimed that the sellers were "beaten and forced" to testify that Vanetsyan's father was running an underground business. This was never properly proven and the opposition's claim that Vanetsyan was about to be charged did not happen. The police confirmed that there was an investigation against several flower sellers. These flower sellers ended up hiring Vanetsyan's co-party-creator Arsen Babayan as a lawyer. Vanetsyan's father owns 50% shares of A B Export oil import company that began operating in 2017. It was a minor player that quit the market in 2019. Vanetsyan's father also owns 60% of A B Trans transportation company. In Nov/2019, CivilNet wrote about Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins' possible involvement with Zangezur Copper factory (massive business). The same offshore firm in Cyprus, which purchased Zangezur shares, was tied to Vanetsyan's cousins' another business in the same offshore. Vanetsyan's cousins also own a Switzerland-based Exoil wholesale cooking oil and shipping company. In 2019 it had a revenue of $148 million (11 billion Rubles). The cousins don't do this business in Armenia. Per 2019 registration, Arthur Vanetsyan himself owns one apartment, $10,000, and ֏1 million. Media reported in May/2020 that Vanetsyan's cousin purchased a ֏300 million mansion in Yerevan, which was donated to then-new political party "Hayreniq", co-founded by Arthur Vanetsyan and Arsen Babayan (the guy who is accused of helping HHK to fabricate documents in 2018 to hijack the Constitutional Court by appointing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge). Arthur Vanetsyan's mother served as the chief of the personnel-management department in Serj and Pashinyan administrations, before quitting and working as Serj's aide. Vanetsyan's wife owns Villa Montessori preschool in Yerevan. She also runs the Young Education Center Ltd.
ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan
Pashinyan appointed Saghatelyan as Gegharquniq governor for a brief period after the 2018 revolution, when Pashinyan created a unity-government, represented by all political parties. The honeymoon soon ended and each party went their way. Saghatelyan owns shares in i-mega Service Ltd. It's a tourism agency founded in 2006. It operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and Georgia. Saghatelyan founded Navasar company and serves as director. It's owned by his father. Saghatelyan family owns the Tsovasar hotel complex on Lake Sevan shores. It's 10,000 m2 (a hectare?). As of 2018, Saghatelyan declared ownership of 8 pieces of land, 2 apartments, ֏18.5 million, $45,000, and €15,000. Saghatelyan's father is the mayor of Gegharquniq's Geghamavan settlement. This municipality had recently sent a letter demanding Pashinyan's resignation. Saghatelyan used to be a shareholder of Shiman Ltd which is no longer active.
BHK leader Gagik "dodi gago" Tsarukyan
BUCKLE UP, KIDS! Overall, Tsarukyan runs 54 companies. Студент, комсомолец, спортсмен, u наконец, он просто красавиц. His business empire was covered in details here. Textile, gas stations, malls, Multi Group empire, Shangri-La Casino, Ararat Cognac & Wine Factory, BMW official office Euromotors (also Hyundai, Gazel, Niva), Multi Motors, Magas Invest, Multi Wellness, Olimpavan sports complex, Kotayk beer factory, TechnAlyumin door & window factory, Multi Rest House hotel chain, Paravon luxury restaurant, Onira Club, Zvartnot's airport's upper-level service company Avia Service, Farm Adama, Multi Pharm pharmacy, Multi Leon gas stations, Multi Solar solar panels. He owns shares in Frank Mueller Yerevan watch company, Fortsa, Multi Gold, Multi Diamond jewelry firms, several fish-breeding businesses. He also runs businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia. Per official declaration, he owns $168 million, €29 million, ֏675 million, 14 pieces of land, 6 houses, 2 public buildings, 1 apartment.
Details for BHK MP Mikael Melkumyan and HHK Vahram Baghdasaryan in the link below.
The street demonstrations, organized by the former regime and its allies, continue. They demand Pashinyan's resignation and the appointment of their candidate Vazgen Manukyan as the Prime Minister for the duration of a year, after which they agree to hold new elections. ARF leader Artsvik Minasyan said they don't plan to discuss snap elections with Pashinyan. "Right now, our only demand is Pashinyan's resignation. We demand SIS to immediately hold every criminal accountable". The demonstrators gathered in front of the SIS building to present the demands. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039316.html
Pashinyan meets leaders of several opposition parties
felony case: ex-HHK MP charged with armed attack on ex-IRS official
In August of this year, Russia extradited a former HHK MP Alraghatsi Lyovik to Armenia. He was wanted for allegedly burglarizing and shooting at a senior IRS official a decade ago. At the time, his case was "frozen". It was relaunched in 2018. (magic wand) NSS says: suspect Lyovik, with the help of citizens AK and AN, organized an armed burglary against IRS Chief (?) Avetisyan in 2008. AK was in the United States. In 2004, he stole $150,000 from jewelry shops in Los Angeles. He got caught but managed to flee to Armenia. Once in Armenia, AK colluded with policeman AN to organize a similar criminal ring in Armenia. [MP] Lyovik personally knew AK, and learned about their burglaries. Since Lyovik had bad relations with the IRS chief (victim), he decided to punish the victim by urging AK to burglarize his house. Lyovik revealed the plot to his brother-in-law, who happened to be the victim's personal aide. The latter gave all the personal habits and details about the victim to the burglars. [read the article for the full story, or wait for a Hollywood movie in theaters near you] The burglars and organizers are charged with felonies. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 , https://youtu.be/brdozVbwQ6A , https://factor.am/274836.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183522 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 ,
Russian Orthodox chapel will be built
... in the Armenian settlement near Nakhijevan where Azerbaijan had earlier shut down a Russian helicopter, which killed and wounded Russian pilots. It'll be on a hill in Yeraskh. Construction starts on January 6th. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039259.html
Vitalik Balasanyan will return the lands, kicks junkies, and restrict Facebook
Artsakh President Arayik earlier announced that he will allow his opponents to take jobs in the new coalition government. Kocharyan-ally Vitali Balasanyan became the Security Council chief. Vitalik: we will return Hadrut and Askeran region with the help of Russian and Armenian military-political efforts. We are in a better situation now to solve territorial issues. We will soon create border guard forces. It will report to MoD, which will report to the Security Council (his office). Drugs have no place in Artsakh. Drug users must quit or leave Artsakh now. We need to return to traditional values of giving women as wives after asking if the man had served in the army. No public official will be allowed to use Facebook during work. More: https://youtu.be/DceHyi4AB5g https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289056/
search operations are paused / the "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign
Azerbaijan received criticism for refusing to allow search teams to enter the Hadrut region yesterday. They also prevented UNESCO from checking the status of several Armenian cultural sights, after complaining that UNESCO was "biased" against Azerbaijan during the war. HR Ombudsman: Any untrue information can not be a reason to disrupt the humanitarian process [referring to unconfirmed rumors on social media that Armenians opened fire at Azeris in Hadrut. An unofficial Iranian social media channel claims 3 Azeris were killed but due to an internal fight.] The Human Rights Ombudsman also criticized the Azeri troops for installing a provocative "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign on part of a road that went under Azeri control near Syunik borders. The Ombudsman says it's meant to intimidate the locals. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039233.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039244.html , https://factor.am/325511.html
Context: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan referred to the majority of Armenian voters as human trash *(or as she says: impure), and called for the establishment of forced re-education camps so people won't vote for a "wrong party" again. The ruling QP party launched a process to terminate her chairmanship in Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Read yesterday's thread for more details.* QP MP Arthur: the law states that the Parliament can appoint and terminate the chairman. The termination of this seat does not require the same procedures as in the case of MPs and Judges. Armenian Constitution states that in Armenia, human beings are of the highest value, and inalienable human dignity is the inseparable basis of their rights and freedoms. MP Zohrabyan's public conduct is against it. // The law gives the second-largest political party the mandate to appoint the chairman of this particular Committee. BHK, being the second-largest party, said they wouldn't appoint a replacement if Zohrabyan is voted out. QP MP Arthur: per rules, if BHK refuses to appoint a new candidate, the largest (QP) party will receive the mandate. // Parliament voted 78-4 to terminate Zohrabyan's chairmanship. BHK and LHK did not vote. BHK MP Zohrabyan: this termination was a Constitutional crime. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039245.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039304.html , https://factor.am/325132.html
Parliament votes: registering parties becomes easier / ideology instead of person / financial transparency
The goal of this reform is to have political parties that are more about ideology and less about an individual. The reform will boost internal democracy within parties; it will expand the powers of the Party Assembly. Parties will be required to add more anonymous voting mechanisms. The law also requires more financial transparency. The required membership to register a party is lowered from 800 to 300. Some of the public funding given to political parties will depend on the % of female members in the administrative boards. Parliament voted 99-1 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039270.html , https://youtu.be/bPuZViCCCxo
Parliament votes: monthly fees towards soldiers' recovery are raised
Most workers pay a monthly 1000 Dram towards the Soldiers' Fund, which takes care of wounded soldiers and families of those who died. The govt found it necessary to raise the fee to cover thousands of new recipients. Here are the new fees and salary brackets: ֏1,500 for < ֏100k/month ֏3,000 for < ֏200k ֏5,500 for < ֏500k ֏8,500 for < ֏1 million ֏15,000 for > ֏1 million Parliament voted 89-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039296.html
Parliament votes: ban on public smoking is delayed until 2022
The govt had adopted a law to ban smoking in public cafes and the public display of cigarettes in grocery shops. The ruling party wanted to delay parts of the bill that were set to go into effect in January, citing possible financial issues for businesses caused by the pandemic. QP MP: the cigarette industry pays $383 million to state coffers. Healthcare Ministry: it will be a mistake if you delay this bill for the sake of $10 million in tax revenues. Parliament voted 86-0 to delay the anti-smoking bill until 2022. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039295.html
Parliament votes: no tax on goods donated to Armenia
QP MP: When you donate a charitable product to the Republic of Armenia, you are exempt from customs duties and other tax payments, except for one payment, which we are trying to exempt with this bill as well. // Parliament voted 80-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039297.html
how is the Judicial Branch doing?
The Supreme Court protects or punishes judges. It also handles complaints. It's separate from the Constitutional Court. bad boys 19 complaints against judges were heard, 14 of which were petitioned by Justice Ministry and 4 by Judicial Ethics Board. 10 judges ended up receiving disciplinary penalties, 3 received a warning, 3 were reprimanded, 2 were terminated, 4 were cleared. the system is overloaded 61 judges are handling 6470 felony cases. 86 judges handle 175,940 civil cases. 24 judges handle 17,390 administrative cases. The number of Arbitration cases rose from 3100 to 9900. finances This year, Supremes appointed 20 new judges. Supreme's budget remained the same this year. They returned ֏607 million in savings back to state coffers. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039249.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039284.html
anti-corruption: SIS busts an IRS agent
SIS says: IRS border inspector took a bribe from a citizen to help him avoid paying Millions of ֏ in import taxes by splitting a large load into smaller pieces, so each piece would fall below the taxable threshold. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039293.html
Police and Nature Ministry have set up additional checkpoints as part of measures against whitefish poaching in Sevan. 24/7 monitoring on all alleys leading to the lake. They will also travel across markets to catch contraband whitefish. Why? It's the egg-laying season. Fishing is banned for now. The legally-allowed fishing tools were temporarily removed from the lake. https://youtu.be/8ZyRGpEazMQ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039339.html
...the rest should have access to other jobs. There is an opportunity now because many businesses operate remotely. Call Center workers don't have to visit an office. Businesses would rather pay less to hire a rural remote worker than more to hire someone in a Yerevan office. The High Tech Ministry has an ongoing program to teach IT to 5,000 citizens. We must help workers to expand their skillset. We're working on a program to allow a worker to quit the job, not worry about the food on the table, and have enough time for education and learning new skills. The villagers should ideally lease their smaller lands to large agricultural producers," said Economy Minister Qerobyan. Full interview: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039319.html
State regulators bust another price-fixing ring: fruit mafia
Yesterday, the Economic Competition Committee busted the egg industry's alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. Today they say a similar collision was observed in the orange, mandarin, kiwi, lemon industry. The companies Best Fruits, Art-Fruits, and Promout were slapped with a ֏39 million in penalties for colluding to raise the prices for the products that had an increased demand during the pandemic period. http://www.competition.am/.../resources/Vo370_17_12_2020.pdf https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039269.html
Lenovo slapped for "anti-competitive practice"
The Economic Competition Committee heard a petition filed by Oazis Computer company against Lenovo. The latter was issued a warning for anti-competitive behavior. Public Regulator: "Lenovo" company had the ability to influence the process of importing Lenovo computers to Armenia from non-EAEU trade bloc countries. "Lenovo" took steps to reduce the import of Lenovo computers from non-EAEU states, by discriminating against Oazis Computer importer. Lenovo is given a month to correct the issue and fix the requirement and standards related paperwork. (Facebook next?) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039333.html
Artsakh will also increase childbirth benefits
First child: ֏300k instead of ֏100k Second child: ֏300k instead of ֏200k (or ֏500k if one parent is disabled) As for monthly child care subsidy payments, it goes from ֏15k to ֏27k until the child turns 2. https://factor.am/325487.html
700 Artsakh families continue to live in 40 settlements of Gegharquniq province. The All Armenia Fund (HimnaDram.org) has provided food and household items to 241 families ahead of New Year. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039313.html
daily life in Syunik bordering villages Shurnukh and Vorotan
This chapter was a labour of love, heists are hard. Big thanks to u/eruwenn for helping tidy up this bag of snakes. First / Prev / Next
“Ranjaz K’Lua, you thieving scumbag!” the Kah’Ree in the purple suit exclaimed loudly as he spotted them across the busy room. “As I live and skral, I never thought you would have the Jolos show your face here again!” Two J’Rami in suits detached themselves from the lobby wall, walking towards the Kittran and his friends. “Alfor, my old friend!” Ranjaz smiled broadly. “No need for the welcoming party, I’ve got your credits” —he gestured to Cygna— “and a sweetener, for all the trouble I caused last time.” Alfor paused, lecherous eyes assessing the Fae’Dan. “You know I have a thing for purple.” He chuckled at his own joke and waved the guards back to their posts. “How about we have a drink, and discuss your forgiveness.” He pointed to Thor and Eruwenn. “Brought your own security, or are these Gal. Fed. goons? Everyone knows about your probation.” The Kittran gave a broad grin. “I got a Tulseria-damned pardon, a new ship and a very lucrative opportunity.” The Kah’Ree smiled. “How’d a thieving cat like you get a pardon?” He gave Ranjaz an appraising look up and down. “Oh? Now, let me guess, you need something from me and my brother?” Ranjaz fired his finger guns. “You were always the smart one Alfor, that’s why you run the casino floor.” The Kittran stepped in close. “The item, do you still have it?” Alfor tilted his head back and away from Ranjaz. “Your little guarantee?” He looked back down at Ranjaz. “We have it somewhere safe. Had some unusual people come by after you got caught. Asked a lot of questions. Made a lot of threats.” His face contorted in anger. “We got audited thanks to you.” The Kittran smiled. “If only they knew you better, they could have simply paid you for the information.” “We give nothing for free.” The Kah’Ree gave a sinister smile. “House rule.” Ranjaz walked forward to put his his arm on Alfor’s back. “Let’s go see your brother. Have a few drinks, maybe gamble a little, and discuss our future riches.”
Ripley stood in the shadows of the staff shuttle bay, watching as the numerous employees of assorted races came and went. Loud laughter caught her attention, and a very strangely dressed Niham broke away from a small group and walked towards her. Ripley tried to maintain her low profile as the scantily clad female strutted towards her in long black boots with pointed heels that clacked loudly with every step. Deliberately avoiding eye contact the Awakened tried to will herself into the wall but it was too late and a voice called out to her. “Hey Darling! You must be the one I’m looking for.” Ripley shook her head. The Kittran had said the contact was an Ashi pirate captain, a master gambler and expert in procuring the unusual. “I don’t-” “Listen cutie,” she interrupted, “you’re the one lurking in dark corners drawing attention to yourself. I’ve got your security card. You tell that fluffy little stud he owes me. And more than a bottle of Fae’Dan wine and a good time, if you know what I mean.” She held up the card between her fingers, just a little out of Ripley’s reach. The Awakened considered the phrase ‘fluffy little stud’ and decided that, despite her hopes, this was probably her contact. “You’re Captain Whiplash?” The Ashi laughed genuinely, the jiggling of tightly squeezed breasts bursting at shiny black restraints making Ripley nervous. “Oh, Darling! Only my little pets call me that! You may call me Sho’Na.” Ripley was momentarily confused. “So, you aren’t a pirate captain?” “I’m anything they pay me to be.” She smiled at the silver-haired woman's naivety. “You really are new to this.” Ripley, caught off guard, simply nodded, then replied, “I’m a quick learner.” “Good for you, Darling.” Sho’Na handed over the card. “Just make sure you get paid up front, and don’t use your real name with clients. Ruins the mystique.” Ripley was unsure of what was being said. Turning the card over in her hands she saw that the holo-image on the front was of a male Arkellian. “This isn’t me?” “Honey, I was given half a cycle to get you a level three security card. Just be glad it’s a biped.” Sho’Na looked Ripley up and down. “Our mutual acquaintance told me you were some sort of master of disguise who could even trick Selva Blaster.” Ripley paused, then smiled. Her appearance had become such an integral part of her identity she had forgotten that it was entirely optional. “It won’t be a problem.” She looked at the card again. “Unless the owner comes looking for it.” Sho’Na gave another bosom-trembling laugh that threatened to spill out at any moment. “Oh, don’t worry, he’s tied up at the moment.” The Awakened considered the risk. “Hmmm, but for how long?” The few strips of shiny black material that comprised Sho’Na’s revealing outfit strained under her amusement. “Don’t you worry, Darling. He paid for the whole night.”
Eruwenn had reassessed her opinion of Ranjaz many times since meeting him. The criminal. The loyal friend. The lazy trouble-maker. All were true, but now she was seeing something new. He sat opposite Toran, the brother of Alfor, in a game of dalcho she wished she could have taken part in, but was equally glad she did not. At first she had thought the Kittran was outmatched, a few reckless mistakes costing him dearly as the Kah’Ree deftly selected his tiles. Toran was clearly a seasoned gambler, using a blend of the Remee Le’Bow Gambit and the Kowals’Kee Analysis she hadn’t seen before. It seemed to be dismantling Ranjaz’s tiles before he could even prepare his cards. A few fortunate dice rolls and he had taken a strong lead from the outset. The Kittran appeared desperate, playing any tile available to try and slow the defeat. It had all been a ruse, she saw it; Ranjaz had saved his best tiles and carefully thrown hands to manipulate the cards. In just a few rounds he would be able to dominate the board and raise the stakes, recouping his losses and changing the course of the game entirely. She had encountered few players who could manipulate the game so deftly, using memory and layers of strategy to corner their opponent. It was magnificent. Eruwenn couldn’t tear her eyes from the board as she stood beside Thor. The Awakened had shown no interest in the game, studiously watching the opposite door as Toran’s staff came in and out. When a waiter entered and began preparing drinks at the small private bar in the executive gambling room, Thor coughed. It was a strange thing for an Awakened to do, and Eruwenn finally looked up from the table. “Are you ok?” Thor nodded. By the time he had looked towards her, she had returned her attention completely to the game. “You don’t seem concerned about your friend?” he asked. The Anatidae watched as Ranjaz used a blind double feint, and the sheer audacity of such a move made her swallow hard. She didn’t look back to Thor, but mumbled a response. “I’m very confident in her abilities.” The waiter was methodically placing drinks by each of the players, but when they stood behind Ranjaz the Kittran surged to his feet, shouting, “Hey! No cheating Toran! Getting your waiter to look over my shoulder? That’s a dirty move I’d expect from your brother!” Thor had reacted faster than Eruwenn, pinning the arms of the Arkellian waiter in a vice-like bear hug. Toran slowly stood. He was big, heavily muscled, and the veins on his neck bulged as his anger rose. “Don’t accuse me in my own place.” He cracked his knuckles and glowered down at Ranjaz. “I run a straight game.” Fearlessly the Kittran walked right up to the Kah’Ree and stared up into his face from waist height. “Don’t try and intimidate me, you son of a Vogel.” Ranjaz puffed out his chest and began pushing the burly casino owner. “Nobody cheats me!” The blow caught Ranjaz across the cheek and sent him sprawling across the room. Eruwenn winced at the impact, but maintained her composure. Toran laughed. “Watch your tongue or I’ll add it to my collection.” He walked round the table and kicked Ranjaz in the stomach, glaring at Thor and Eruwenn, daring them to act. “Know your place trash. You’re at this table because you put credits up front. You are a dishonest thief, begging for scraps, and cosying up to me any my brother to get your little trinket back.” He returned to his seat. “Why would I need to cheat against the likes of you?” Ranjaz stood, brushing himself off. “Fine, fine.” He waved a hand and Thor dropped the Arkellian. Ranjaz tapped him on the chest. “My mistake.” He sat down and picked up his cards once more. “You’re right Toran, you run a clean game. I’m just a sore loser.” He shuffled the order of the tiles that were still face down on the table. “To show my sincerity, how about we double the buy for the rest of the game?” Toran snorted. “Double?” He looked at the Kittran, scrutinising his opponent. The game was already over; he had control of the board and his tiles occupied the three prime positions. Was the thief trying to buy his favour, he wondered? How much was the trinket he wanted truly worth? He decided it was worth testing. “Triple, and I’ll forget you dared touch me.” The Kittran swallowed hard, his ears flat to his head. Toran momentarily worried he’d pushed for too much but a decision seemed to be reached. “Fine. Triple.” The look of defeat was delicious to the Kah’Ree.
Cygna had done her part and lured Alfor to a private room away from his security. She had danced, skipped and side-stepped his groping hands so far, maintaining a playfulness that ensured he complied. This sort of thing was not new to her; she had spent time undercover in the past. Fortunately, there had been little call for it since she had joined forces with Eruwenn. Alfor’s eyes scanned her body once more. “The Kittran has very good taste.” He licked his lips, a small amount of drool escaping and running down his chin. He wiped it on his sleeve. “Now, I brought you somewhere quiet. How about you show me how sweet you can be?” The Fae’Dan smiled coyly and continued her dancing just out of reach, glancing to the doorway where Alfor’s two guards stood watching her. “With an audience?” She raised her eyebrows expectantly. With a sly grin he waved the guards out of the room. “Now come here and let me satisfy you like only a Kah’Ree can.” His eyes wandered over her body once more. Cygna smiled, her own eyes moving from the Kah’Ree’s hands to his shoulders, then up towards his neck. An interesting fact about the Kah’Ree was the thick blood vessels on the side of their neck. They often bulged when a Kah’Ree was angry or excited, like Alfor’s were as he leered at her. She danced closer. Another interesting fact was that their brains were not as efficient as those of other species, hence the requirement for additional blood flow; more oxygen per limited thought. He leaned forward, his eyes locked to her swaying hips. Cygna turned slowly, and his head tilted to appreciate her assets. The third, lesser known, fact about the Kah’Ree was that an interruption to the blood flow while they were in this excited state caused them to lose consciousness rapidly as their brain burned through the available oxygen. “My eyes are up here.” She smiled as he looked up at her with his head still tilted. He sneered. “Who ca-” The Fae’Dan struck the side of his neck with the edge of her hand, targeting the throbbing blood vessel with a powerful blow. The interruption to his brain's oxygen supply worked perfectly and he fell face forward onto the ground at her feet. She let out a sigh of relief and looked down at his unconscious body. “Thank you, that was particularly satisfying.” She walked over to the door and peeked out, finding the guards standing either side. “He said to order us some drinks.” One of the guards nodded and immediately put his hand to his lapel communicator. Back inside the room, Cygna used her foot to roll Alfor to his back and began searching his pockets. She came up empty. Her eyes caught a glimmer from his collar and she found a heavy gold chain, at the end of which was his security key. She removed it just as a knock came at the door. A deep voice from the other side called out. “Your drinks, boss.” The Fae’Dan quickly messed up her hair. Using the back of her hand she smeared her lipstick sideways, and then pulled the strap of her dress down off her shoulder. She opened the door and, to her surprise, was faced with an Arkellian waiter. The bodyguards noted her dishevelled appearance and shared a smirk, and she said, “Oh, I wasn’t expec-” The waiter pushed the trolley into the room. “Don’t keep the boss waiting, lady.” Before Cygna could reply they were inside and the door closed. “Relax, it’s me.” Ripley’s voice sounded bizarre coming from the male Arkellian form, and Cygna’s eyes went wide in shock. Her sharp mind quickly adjusted to this new information. Of course the Awakened could change their physical appearance; she had just never seen it. They all seemed quite attached to their chosen human forms. “Neat trick.” She held out Alfor’s key. “Did you get the other one?” Ripley nodded. “The Kittran played his part well. I didn’t see him take it, and didn’t feel it when he placed it in my pocket. Now that was a neat trick.” The Fae’Dan smiled. “I think I’ll pass on that dalcho game.” The Arkellian Ripley smiled. “Probably wise.” Turning, she slipped the key into her pocket and headed back out of the door.
Ripley entered the elevator to the owner's private offices on the top floor. Thanks to the distractions downstairs, the two large desks in the centre of the room were empty. She walked straight past them to the large leokas painting on the wall and swung it forward. Behind it was a Fae’Dan safe; she took out the two keys and a small homemade device the Kittran had given her. Attaching the device to the bio-lock and standing before the safe, she elongated her arms to reach both key positions at once. There was more than one reason she was the one chosen for this task. The device beeped twice and small lights above each lock lit up. She simultaneously turned both keys, and there was a satisfying clunk. She raised an eyebrow. The device had worked. The heavy safe door swung open and she began her search. Ranjaz had been very specific: while there was one item she had to get, she was to grab as much as possible to obscure their true target. Quickly grabbing as much as she could she retrieved the keys and ran back across the room towards the elevator.
Cygna hauled Alfor back onto the seat, putting him in a more natural position and messing up his hair. She looked away as she began unbuttoning his clothes, pulling his trousers around his ankles and opening his shirt up to bare his chest. From a secret pocket inside her dress she pulled out a lace thong, setting it on his head like a bandana. She also had a small box which she opened, inside of which was a replica mouth with lipstick that matched her own. Cygna carefully applied kiss marks all over his exposed skin before popping the fake lips back into the secret pocket. She took the Fae’Dan wine and partially filled two glasses, making sure to take a long drink from one and leave more lipstick marks. The rest of the wine was poured into the ice bucket. She heard the sound of voices outside the door. The guards were arguing with someone, refusing them entry, but when the name Toran was mentioned it was Ripley who entered, still in uniform but now looking much like her usual self. She smirked at the Kah’Ree in his derobed state. “I can see you had fun.” The Fae’Dan chuckled. “That’s the idea.” She looked at the Awakened in her true form. “You look… better.” Ripley cocked her head. “It would be strange if the waiter came back to deliver a message.” She tossed the necklace key to Cygna, who replaced it on Alfor’s neck. Reclining on the sofa and picking up her glass, Cygna took another long drink. “Get the other one back to Ranjaz quickly. This one won’t be napping much longer.” The Awakened gave an almost Ranjaz-like grin. “You could always hit him again.” Before the Fae’Dan could reply she had ducked back out of the door. She caught the eye of one of the bodyguards and gave a head tilt back towards the room. “The boss is really enjoying himself!” As the suited pair chuckled, the larger of the two got a message in his ear piece. “Hey, silver hair.” He grunted. “Boss has an important guest. Meet them in the foyer and bring them to the dalcho room.” Ripley was relieved – she needed a reason to get into that room. “On my way.”
Toran was seething as he watched as the Kittran flipped his final tile. Why would he have waited so long to play the Wings of Tulseria tile? His stomach sank, and he couldn’t hold back his anger any longer. “Damn you!” Ranjaz gave a full-fanged grin. “Looks like my luck turned at just the right moment.” “Luck!” Toran’s tile snapped between his fingers. Why had he let the damned cat goad him into constantly increasing their bet? The cycle had started with him owing the brothers a million credits plus interest, and now the infuritating Kittran had won nearly forty times that. “Nobody is that lucky.” “Woah!” Ranjaz held up his hands. “I would never cheat, well... certainly not a second time. After you caught me, I’d be a fool to try.” “Hmm.” Toran looked at the two behind the Kittran. The big one would be a problem, but the Anatidae looked to be nothing special. “How about I give you back your little trinket and we call it even?” “My trinket?” Ranjaz shook his head. “I had to convince you it was worth the million I owed. Why would you think I’d trade it for thirty eight million credits? I’ll pay what I owe, take my trinket and my winnings and leave.” Toran folded his arms and looked across the dalcho board at Ranjaz. “And why would I let you do that?” The atmosphere in the room changed as the two security guards changed their stance. “Transfer the credits back to the house.” Ranjaz dropped the grin, replacing it with a defiant glare. “What happened to you running a straight game?” “The game was straight. You won, didn’t you?” He leaned forward, his eyes cold and hard. “You’re just in no position to collect.” The Kittran was about to argue when the door behind Toran opened. He looked up as Ripley entered, and his eyes widened in shock. She wasn’t alone. “Toran, you bastard! You sold me out!” “For ten million credits.” Toran stared hard at Ranjaz. “Care to make a better offer?” Eruwenn’s eyes blazed with anger as the grey-suited Niham pulled up a seat and sat down beside Toran. “Now, now, you lied to me about having the item before. Don’t double cross me.” Sentinel Krast placed his hands together on the table, interlacing his fingers. “I’m not somebody who forgives easily.” He looked directly at Eruwenn. “Isn’t that right, former Councillor? A little far from your new Ambassador position, aren’t you?” Ripley stood back against the wall. She had no idea who the newcomer was, but this most definitely was not the plan. The golden green Anatidae walked forward to stand behind Ranjaz. “Oh, I had a little vacation time saved up, and decided to spend it with my good friend here.” She placed a hand on the Kittrans shoulder. “And what brings a Sentinel here?” Krast’s lips curled in what might approximate a smile. “I’m also acquainted with Mr K’Lua. In fact, we go back a very long way.” He turned to look directly at Ranjaz. “Now, return what is mine.” Toran looked from Ranjaz to Krast. “Yours? You don’t look like the tiara wearing type.” The Sentinel didn’t turn his head. “Ah, so you hid the data chip inside some shiny bauble. As inventive as ever, Mr K’Lua.” The Niham finally acknowledged Toran by looking at him. “Bring. It. Here.” The Kah’Ree sucked air through his teeth. “Well, seems like we have something mighty important, and two very interested parties.” He stood and walked to his two security officers, who drew their weapons in unison. “Now then, I believe you” —he nodded to Krast— “offered ten million. How about it Ranjaz, old friend? What’s your counter offer?” The Kittran had been sitting, silently seething at his double cross being double crossed. He looked at Krast. “Were you the one?” Toran was surprised at being ignored, but before he could reply Krast answered, “The one?” Ranjaz’s eyes narrowed, his ears alert, his tail swishing aggressively. “The one who took my friend!” he snarled as he felt Eruwenn’s hand holding him back gently. Krast’s eyes glittered as he saw the impotent rage in his opponent’s eyes. “Ah, the poor deceased human?” He smiled his mannequin-esque smile. “And if I was?” Toran snatched a pistol from one of his men and fired a blast at the ceiling. “Your quarrel can wait. Let’s settle our business first and you can kill each other after I’m paid.” He paused, then added, “but, not in my casino. Body disposal costs extra.” Eruwenn’s hand gripped Ranjaz’s shoulder harder, and he braced himself. In one smooth move she both threw him backwards and to the right, and kicked the dalcho table up and forward into Krast's face. The Sentinel fell backwards as a blast from Toran struck the table, but Eruwenn was already on the move, sidestepping left and ducking forward into a cartwheel. Toran's gun had been following Ranjaz, but as her leg swept down it knocked the weapon from his grip. Once she stabilized, her fist, already primed with momentum from the cartwheel, struck Toran below the ribs and knocked the wind from him. The guard, whose gun the Kah'Ree had been holding, lunged forward to grab Eruwenn but she simply deflected his hand, pairing his forward momentum with her rising elbow to swiftly render him unconscious. The second guard had just begun to raise his weapon when a huge fist struck him in his chest, sending him careening backwards into the wall. Thor loomed over him, shaking his head as he retrieved the energy pistol. “Too slow.” Ripley helped Ranjaz to his feet as Krast pushed the table off his chest. Toran was coughing and struggling to breathe as Ranjaz pressed the retrieved energy pistol to his forehead. “Double cross me?” He dragged the Kah’Ree forward. “I want to see the item, then I’ll pay what I owe.” The two of them awkwardly made their way back towards Krast, so Ranjaz could point the gun in his face. “Then we can talk about your body disposal fee.” Krast stood, and his phony smile was gone. “You can’t kill me. The Sentinels will tear this place apart, hunt you down and kill you. You think I came alone? My ship is in orbit and waiting for my orders!” Ranjaz grabbed him by the jacket, pulling him down to his level, and struck him in the face with the butt of the pistol. Thor cooly kept his stolen pistol pointed at Toran and the one conscious guard. By the third blow Krast’s face was bloody, his nose broken and he began to struggle against Ranjaz’s assault. A muted boom caused everyone present to stop in their tracks. Alarms began to sound and Toran swore loudly. He pulled out his communicator, ignoring Thor’s pistol. “What the hell was that!” He held the device close as he listened. “My office?” He patted his pocket. Finding his key in place, he looked to Ranjaz and then Krast. “Seal the casino! And where is my brother?” Ripley suddenly understood why the Kittran had told her to leave his device on the safe door. After a brief further moment of shock, which she kept from showing on her face, she realized that she had been carrying an explosive without being told. If they survived, Ranjaz was going to need to explain himself. Thoroughly. Eruwenn, Thor and Ranjaz had backed away to the opposite side of the room, standing by the door. Krast stood alone, holding his profusely bleeding nose. The opposite door soon opened to reveal scrambling casino security, with Toran and his guard standing nearby. The unconscious guard was carried out without comment, and the Kah’Ree turned to Ripley. “Why are you still here?” She nodded and slipped out of the door, leaving one less concern for the remaining three. “Alright, which one of your skrolg-licking bastards broke into my private safe?” Krast spat blood onto the floor, pointing at Ranjaz. “He’s the thief. You and I had a deal.” The Kittran smirked. “I’m a better thief than blowing up a Tulseria-damned safe. If I wanted to steal it, I would have done just that. I would not have announced my arrival and sat down to a game of dalcho.” Toran looked between the two of them. “He’s got a point.” One of his men handed him a pistol, and he continued to talk a little distractedly into his communicator. “Well, check everywhere!” Ranjaz stirred the pot. “He’s the bastard who double crossed me, why would he honour your deal?” Eruwenn nodded. “A government agent can’t be seen working with criminals.” Krast's face contorted in rage. “Don’t be a damned fool, Toran!” He pointed at Ranjaz. “This is clearly some convoluted distraction.” Toran shook his head. “They had the upper hand. You were the one getting your face ruined.”
Cygna watched nervously as Alfor began to stir. Things were taking a lot longer than expected. Finally, her signal came; it was not as subtle as she had been led to believe. As soon as the explosion went off the two bodyguards quickly came into the room, glancing from Alfor’s sleeping body to her. She staggered forward, wine bottle in hand. “We need more drinkshh!” The guard ignored her as he saw the condition of his boss. “Not again,” he groaned. “Toran will kill us for letting him get like this.” The second guard stepped out into the corridor. “I’m not dressing him! Last time he tried to kiss me!” Cygna paused, not having expected it to go this way. The first bodyguard walked out as well. “He pissed on my new shoes the time before that. I’m not moving him.” Their communicators went off and their faces became more serious. Bodyguard two spoke first. “Damn it. Toran wants him.” The first turned to look at the increasingly bewildered Cygna. “You!” He smiled. “You got him undressed. You can dress him.” Cygna spotted Ripley running down the corridor towards them, causing her confusion to grow further. The Awakened shouted one word. “Sentinels!” The Fae’Dan’s mind raced. The plan was clearly blown, and they had to get out. Fast. As the guards were now facing Ripley, she took the opportunity to kick one in the back of the knee. He fell forward, and as the second turned he was met with the upward swing of a wine bottle. The first guard discovered first-hand the shocking truth of how hard the knee of an Awakened could be, and both were unconscious by the time they hit the ground. Cygna smiled at Ripley. "Thanks." The Awakened gave a swift nod of acknowledgement. “A Sentinel turned up, so Ranjaz set off the diversion he promised. The other brother is busy trying to figure out whether it’s us or the Sentinels robbing him.” Cygna took on board the new information quickly, knowing she needed to help the others. “I have an idea. Lie over there and look dead.” She ran back into the room, where Alfor was groaning and starting to move. She slipped the chain from his neck and dropped it into the ice bucket, where it sank out of sight below the dark Fae’Dan wine. She began to slowly shake him. “Huh,” he grumbled, and slowly opened his eyes. “Wha.. what happened?” Cygna clung to him tightly. “Oh thank goodness! I thought they killed you!” “Killed?” Alfor’s head was pounding, his memory blurry. “Who-” He caught sight of his downed guards in the open doorway. “What the hell happened?” He began pulling at his clothes, and swiftly checked that his trousers were dry. “While we were.. You know…” He nodded; he was buttoning up his clothes. He didn’t remember, but he knew. “Some scary men burst into the room and shot you! I was so scared.” She hugged him tight, pressing herself against him. He put his arm around her. “What men? Be brave, and tell me what happened.” She looked up at him, trying to make her eyes as big as possible, adding a lip tremble to really sell it. “I don’t know! They wore grey suits. And one of them took your necklace!” “My necklace.” He clutched at his chest where it should have been. “Damn Sentinels! I told Toran we couldn't trust them!” He stepped into the corridor, where Ripley lay on the ground with a terrible energy weapon burn on the side of her face. He pulled out his communicator. “Toran.” He instantly got hold of his brother. “I didn’t answer because I was knocked out. Damn Sentinels took my key, killed some of our guys.” He looked around. “Nobody important, just some waiter.” He finally pulled the underwear from his head. “I’ll go to the security room and look at the video.” He ended the call and turned back to Cygna. “You stay here.” She smiled. “Sorry, we can’t let you check the security footage.” “Wha-” Ripley struck him from behind and he crumpled to the ground, her fake burn melting from her face. The Awakened looked around, rechecking that all was clear. “I think that’s all we can do; we should get out of here. Come with me, my shuttle is in the staff bay.”
Toran closed his communicator and motioned to a guard. “Search him.” Eruwenn wished she had some way to capture the look on Krast’s face when the remote detonator was pulled from his pocket. She'd have to hug the light-fingered Kittran later. The Sentinel grit his teeth. “That’s not mine.” “Sure, sure,” Toran agreed, while simultaneously shaking his head at the Sentinel. “Looks like you really didn’t come alone.” Krast was furious, yelling, “I’m telling you-” He broke off when Ranjaz shot him in the leg, falling to the floor. The Kah’Ree pointed his pistol at the Kittran. “Can’t let you kill a Sentinel in my casino, even if they did just rob me.” Ranjaz was surprised the Kah’Ree had believed them so easily. “What about us?” Toran sighed, lowering his weapon. “Take your winnings and get out. If you stole the thing once, I’m sure you can steal it again.” Eruwenn and Thor both made to leave. Ranjaz paused, knowing he might not get another chance. “And him?” The Kah’Ree looked at the Sentinel holding his wounded leg. “We’ll send him back to his ship. As much as I hate it, the Sentinels are untouchable.” Ranjaz raised his pistol. “He took my friend.” “And we’ll get him back,” Eruwenn said softly. “Then we’ll all deal with him, and the rest of the Sentinels.” Krast sneered and spat blood once more. “Your human is dead.” Ranjaz fired. Krast screamed and grabbed his other leg. “You bastard!” Toran and his men raised their weapons as the Kah’Ree yelled, “Get the hell out of here!” Ranjaz turned and followed the others out of the door, but just as it was about to close he poked his head back in. “Oh, one last thing.” Toran could be seen looking up just as the Kittran fired again, but he ducked out of sight before the true outcome of his shot could be seen. The shrieks of agony, however, followed the trio down the corridor as they broke into a run. Eruwenn spared a glance down at Ranjaz during their retreat. “What did you do?” The full-fanged grin had never been larger. “Made sure we’ll see him again.” On the floor of the dalcho room Krast was screaming in agony. He turned over to stare at the closed door. “I’ll kill you! I will hunt you down and kill every last one of you!” Toran spoke into his communicator. “Tell the Sentinel ship to come get their man. And, bring a doctor. A really good doctor.” He nudged one of his guards and finally let out a chuckle. After all, the Sentinels had just robbed him. “You double-crossing scum always get what you deserve.” The J’Rami guard raised an eyebrow. “Not sure anyone deserves getting shot in the balls.”
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Hi, I am selling new & lightly swatched or used items from a non-smoking home. If you want more pictures of specific items, let me know. Everything is full sized unless marked as ds. Feel free to make reasonable offers especially for multiple items. $5.00 minimum purchase preferably. Shipping is $4.00 unless they are heavier items. I accept G&S (I cover fees). I will send tracking info as soon as I have it and will ship packages within 2-3 days. If you would like some reviews from people I have sold to on previous posts, let me know. If you change your mind, please let me know. I will move to next person in line after 2 hours. If you need more time than that, just let me know and we can work something out. Thank you for looking 😃 FOR SALE!! (I have everything that has sold marked) EYESHADOW PALETTES: Verification • (SOLD)Charlotte Tilbury Exaggereyes palette (Only used 1 time/barely used)- Retails for $53, Asking $30 • (SOLD)Urban Decay Born to Run palette (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $49, Asking $15 • Urban Decay Naked 2 palette (Only used 1x)-Retails for $54, Asking $24 • Dominique Cosmetics Berries & Cream palette (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $44, Asking $15 • Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette (Only used 1x)- Retails for $65, Asking $22 • (SOLD) Too Faced Natural Lust palette (Only swatches)- Retails for $59, Asking $22 • Too Faced Natural Love palette (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $59, Asking $20 • Kylie Cosmetics bronze palette (Only swatched)- Retails for $29.40, Asking $7 • Nars Atomic Blonde eye and cheek palette (Used/the 2 left shades are pressed togetheprice will reflect condition)- Retails for $59, Asking $18 • Nabla Cutie palette (Nude) (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $24, Asking $12 • Dose of Colors Marvelous Mauves palette (Only swatched)- Retails for $32, Asking $12 • (SOLD) Too Faced White Peach palette (Only used 1x)- Retails for $40.50, Asking $14 • Morphe 35I (pastel collaboration with pony park) (Swatched only some shades, some shades never used)- Retails for $25, Asking $12 • Elf x Jkissa palette (first one) (All shades only swatched except bottom left blue shade is used 1x)- Cant find retail price because it’s limited edition, Asking $10 • Colourpop Give it to Me Straight palette (Some shades never used/some used 1x)- Retails for $18, Asking $8 • Colourpop Fem Rosa palette (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $16, Asking $8 • (SOLD) Colourpop Mint to Be palette (Most shades are new/couple have been swatched only)- Retails for $12, Asking $6 • BH Cosmetics Weekend Festival palette (Used 2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $8 • BH Cosmetics Take Me Back to Brazil palette (Used 2x/some shades never used)- Retails for $20, Asking $9 • Milani Bold Obsessions eyeshadow palette (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $5 • Alamar Reina Del Caribe 1 palette (Used 5-6x)- I can’t find retail price because it’s limited edition, Asking $5 FACE PALETTES: Verification • Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate with box and Tom Ford bag the compact comes in (cream bronzer and highlighter) (Only swatched lightly)- Retails for $88, Asking $40 • (SOLD) Dior Backstage Glow face palette in 001 Universal- (Swatched only)- Retails for $45, Asking $24 • (SOLD) Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and glow (Used 12-15x)- Retails for $68, Asking $24 • (SOLD) Natasha Denona Bloom blush and glow palette (Swatched only)- Retails for $55, Asking $25 • Nars Exposed palette (Some shades only used 1x/some used 3-4x)- Retails for $59, Asking $25 • RMS Signature Set palette (Pop collection)(Comes with Buriti bronzer, Magic luminizer, Demure lip2cheek, Beloved lip2cheek, & Simply vanilla lip and skin balm) (Used 1x)- Retails for $44, Asking $15 • Jouer bronzer duo in Sunlight/Suntan (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14 • Jouer blush bouquet duo in Coquette (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14 • Juvia’s The Saharan blush palette (2)- Retails for $18, Asking $8 • Too Faced Cocoa Contour palette (older one) (Bottom right shade never used/contour shades used 2-3x/top left shade used 5-6x)- Retails for $42, Asking $10 • Anastasia Beverly Hills cream contour kit in fair- (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $40, Asking $5 HIGHLIGHTERS: https://imgur.com/a/OXe5NUS • (SOLD) Mac x Pony Park Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Sky’s The Limit (Used 2x lightly)- Limited edition $35 • (SOLD) Glossier Haloscope highlighter in Quartz (Used 2x)- Retails for $22, Asking $9 • (SOLD) Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone (Used 3x)- Retails for $22, Asking $9 • Fenty Killawatt highlighter duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $36, Asking $16 • Fenty Killawatt Freestyle highlighter in Wattabrat (Only swatched)- Retails for $36, Asking $16 • YSL Lumiere Divine highlighting finishing powder- Retails for $47, Asking $14 • Perricone No Makeup highlighter (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $35, Asking $14 • Charlotte Tilbury highlighter wand in Spotlight (Used 3-4x/took sponge off of applicator because I thought it dispensed better)- Retails for $38, Asking $14 • Urban Decay highlighter in Sin (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $26, Asking $6 • Kaja Roller Glow highlighter with clean roller in packaging (Used 1x lightly)- Retails for $28, Asking $8 • Kaja Mochi Glow in Prizm (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $19, Asking $4 • Kaja Mochi Glow in Toy Alien (ds) (Used 1x)- Asking $2 • Ofra Pillowtalk highlighter (ds)(Only used 1x)- Retails for $18, Asking $5 • Hourglass Vanish highlighter in Champagne Flash (ds .05 oz) (Only swatched)- Asking $2 • Nudestix Illuminaughty highlighter stick (ds .06 oz) (Only swatched)- Asking $2 • Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil (Only swatched)- Retails for $26, Asking $5 • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter Slimlight in Pearl (Used 1x)- Asking $3 • Laura Gellar Baled Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Diamond Dust (ds)(Used 1-2x)- Asking $3 • (SOLD) Pixi Glowy Gossamer duo in Delicate Dew (Used 1x)- Retails for $15, Asking $3 • Make face gloss (New)- Retails for $25, Asking $5 • Maybelline Master Strobing Stick in Medium (Swatched only)- Retails for $9.99, Asking $2 • Ulta Beauty Illuminator in Brilliant Diamond (Swatched only)- Retails for $10, Asking $2 • (SOLD) Benefit Dandelion Shy Beam (ds .08 oz)(New)- Asking $1 BLUSH: Verification • (SOLD) Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $9 • (SOLD) Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $9 • (SOLD) Buxom Wanderlust primer infused blush in Mykonos (Used 3x)- Retails for $23, Asking $10 • Nudestix Nudies matte blush stick in Bareback (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $32, Asking $15 • Ilia multistick in A Fine Romance (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $34. Asking $15 • Stila convertible color cream blush in Peony (Swatched only)- Retails for $25, Asking $9 • Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Paaarty (ds .05 oz)(Swatched only)- Asking $3 • Benefit Dandelion Dew (ds .16 oz)(New)- Asking $2 • Ulta mineral blush in Sweet Pea (Swatched only)- Retails for $12, Asking $3 • Stila aqua glow watercolor blush in shimmering lotus (Swatched only)- Retails for $4 • Milani baked blush in Delizioso Pink (Swatched only)- Retails for $9.49, Asking $2 • Milani baked blush in Bella Rosa (Swatched only)- Retails for $ 9.49, Asking for $2 • Elf blush in Shy (Used 2-3x)- Asking $.50 BRONZER\CONTOUR: Verification • (SOLD) Cover Fx Monochromatic bronzer duo in Sunkissed- Retails for $38, Asking $15 • Milk Makeup bronzer stick in Baked (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $28, Asking $14 • Kylie Cosmetics bronzer in Khaki (Swatched only)-Retails for $18, Asking $7 • Bare Minerals Endless Summer bronzer in Faux Tan (Used 2x)- Retails for $29, Asking $13 • Fenty bronzer in Shady Biz (ds) (Swatched only)-Asking $4 • Benefit Hoola (ds) (Used 2x)- Asking $2 • Make dew pot in Bronze 2 (Used 4x)- Retails for $20, Asking $3 • NYX Micro Contour duo pencil in Light (Swatched only)- Asking $2 • Milani baked bronzer in 04 Glow (Swatched only)- Retails for $8.99, Asking $1 POWDERS: Verification • Fenty Invisimatte blotting powder (Used 1x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14 • KKW brightening powder in 1 (Vanilla) (Used a few times)- Retails for $18, Asking $10 • (SOLD) Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics Mood Light luminous powder in Dew Me- (Swatched only)- Retails for $32, Asking $15 • Laura Gellar Baked Balance N Brighten powder foundation in Porcelain (Used 10x)- Retails for $34, Asking $7 • JCat Aquasurance powder foundation in Ivory (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $13.99, Asking $4 • Urban Decay Velvetizer mix in medium (ds .14 oz)- (Can use as regular powder) (Used 1x)- Retails for $17, Asking $4 • Ilia Fade Into You soft focus finishing powder (ds .05 oz) (Used 1x)- Asking $3 • Ilia Fade Into You soft focus finishing powder (ds .05 oz)- (Used 1x)- Asking $2 • Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in Creamy Natural (Used 6x)- Retails for $4.69, Asking $1 • Milani Prep, Set, Glow illuminating transparent pressed powder (Hourglass finishing powder dupe) (Used condition)- Retails for $9.99, Asking $1 FOUNDATIONS: Verification • Fenty Pro Filt’r Matte longwear foundation in 120 (only used once)- Retails for $35, Asking $15 • Smashbox Studio Skin 15 hour wear foundation in .2 (Used 3-4x, bottle is about 7/8 full)- Retails for $38, Asking $13 • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear foundation in 1C1 Shell (Used a few times, bottle is almost full)- Retails for $48, Asking $15 • Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Porcelain (Used 2-3x, almost full)- Retails for $46, Asking $15 • Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Nude (ds .5 oz) (Used 1x)- Asking $2 • RMS Uncover Up foundation/concealer pot in 000 (Used 5-6x, a little over 3/4 full)- Retails for $36, Asking $14 • It Cosmetics YSBB full coverage CC Cream in Fair (a little over half full)- Retails for $39.50, Asking $9 • (SOLD) Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1C0 Shell (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $43, Asking $15 • Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation stick in Y225 (About 40-45% remaining)- Retails for $43, Asking $7 • Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation stick in Y225 (About 20% remaining)- Retails for $43, Asking $4 • It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting cream (About half full)- Retails for $34, Asking $7 • Loreal Infallible Total Cover foundation in 301 Classic Ivory (40-50% full)- Retails for $12.99, Asking $1 • Maybelline Superstay foundation in 112 (Only used once but the pump is stuck so it is hard to get foundation out without opening bottle/price will be lower because of this) (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $11.99, Asking $2 CONCEALERS: Verification • Glossier Stretch concealer in G11 (about 7/8 full)- Retails for $18, Asking $9 • Dose of Colors Meet Your Hue concealer in 01 (used a few times)- Retails for $24, Asking $8 • It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye full coverage concealer in Light (used a few times)- Retails for $27, Asking $12 PRIMERS: Verification • First Aid Beauty Hello Fab coconut skin smoothie priming moisturizer- Retails for $29, Asking $13 • First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Pores Be Gone matte primer- Retails for $29, Asking $13 • Milk Makeup Hydrogrip gripping primer (ds) (used 1x, mostly full)- Retails for $15, Asking $5 • Laura Mercier radiance primer (ds .5 oz) (Used 1x, mostly full)- Asking $2 • Becca First Light priming filter (ds .5 oz) (Used 1-2x)- Asking $2 • Maybelline Master blur stick primer in universal transparent (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $7.99, Asking $1.50 EYES/BROWS/LASHES: Verification • Pat McGrath Dark Matter pigment- Part of the dark star labs set which was $95, Asking $15 • Huda Beauty Matte & Metal double ended liquid eyeshadows in Wednesday and Fro-yo- Retails for $25, Asking $15 • Melt Cosmetics single eyeshadow in Rubbish (Swatched only)- Retails for $17, Asking $9 • Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde (Used 1x)- Retails for $16, Asking $8 • Nudestix Magnetic Luminous eye color stick in Copper Foil (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8 • Nudestix Magnetic eye color stick in Twilight (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8 • Nudestix Magnetic eye color in Lilith (used 1x lightly)- Retails for $26, Asking $8 • Nudestix Magnetic matte eye color stick in Putty (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8 • Nudestix Magnetic matte eye color stick in Taupe (used 1x lightly)- Retails for $26, Asking $8 • (SOLD) Nudestix Nude Artist tin box- Asking $2 • Tarte Chrome Paint shadow pot in Top Yacht (swatched only)- Retails for $22, Asking $8 • Nars Velvet Shadow Stick in Hollywoodland (used 2x)- Retails for $20.30, Asking $6 • Stila Glitter & Glow in Perlina (ds) (used 1x)- Retails for $12, Asking $3 • Stila Glitter & Glow in Sunset Fire (ds) (new never used)- Came in set, Asking $3 • Stila Magnificent Metals foil finish eyeshadow in Metallic Gilded Gold (swatched lightly)(comes with box and mixing medium)- Can’t find retail because it’s discontinued, Asking $4 • Colourpop Zodiac loose pigment in The Crab (used 1-2x)- Retails for $6, Asking $3 • Colourpop single eyeshadow in Checkmate (comes in compact) (swatched only)- Retails for $4.50, Asking $2 • Colourpop SSS in Bandit (used 2x)- Retails for $6, Asking $1.00 • Colourpop SSS in Cornelious (Broken/price will reflect condition)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50 • Colourpop SSS in Brady (Broken/price will reflect condition)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50 • Colourpop pencil eyeliner in Mr. Bing (new)- Retails for $6, Asking $1.00 • Colourpop pencil eyeliner in Besto (used 5-6x)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50 • The Balm Batter Up eyeshadow stick in Outfield (used 1-2x)- Retails for $17, Asking $2 • The Balm Batter Up eyeshadow stick in Slugger (used 1-2x)- Retails for $17, Asking $2 • CoverGirl x Katy Perry Katy Kat Wink lashes in Kat Whiskers (New in box)- Asking $1.50 • Revlon brow mousse in Soft Brown (new)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $.75 • Revlon brow mousse in blonde (used 1x)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $.50 • Revlon Colorstay Bold creme eyeshadow in Cognac (swatched)- Retails for $8.49, Asking $.75 • Revlon Colorstay Bold creme eyeshadow in Merlot (swatched)- Retails for $8.49, Asking $.75 Lips: Verification •Glossier generation g in jam- (older version) Never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $18, Asking $8 • Kylie Cosmetics lip kit in Koko K (no box) (new)- Retails for $27, Asking $12 • Nars Tonka lipstick (new with box but I just got it in the mail recently and it was broken on the bottom so it can fall out of tube and also the top is a little smashed so price will reflect condition)- Retails for $26, Asking $5 • Mac Lustre lipstick on See Sheer (More of a lip tint) (swatched 1x lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $19, Asking $8 •Mac cremesheen lipstick in Creme D’ Nude- never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $19, Asking $8 •?Mac amplified lipstick in Saint Germain- never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $19, Asking $8 • Urban Decay cream lipstick in Wired- Retails for $22, Asking $8 • Rodin luxury lipstick in Dahlia- never used, lightly swatched once on back of hand- Retails for $38, Asking $10 • Benefit Benetint (new)- Retails for $30, Asking $8 • (SOLD) Benefit Double the Lip lipstick & liner in one in Lusty Rose (swatched lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $20, Asking $4 • (SOLD) Benefit Double the Lip lipstick & liner in one in Nude Scandal (swatched lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $20, Asking $4 • Nars Velvet Matte lip pencil in Do Me Baby (ds .06 oz)- Asking $3 • Ofra liquid lipstick in Nude Potion (new)- Retails for $20, Asking $ • Ofra liquid lipstick in Verona (new)- Retails for $20, Asking $ • • Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Crucifx (used 2-3x)- Retails for $21, Asking $3 • Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Hawkwind (new)- Retails for $21, Asking $4 • Dose of Colors liquid lipstick in Flirty (new)- Retails for $18, Asking $ • Jeffrey Star liquid lipstick in Christmas Cookie (ds) Asking $3 • (SOLD) Fresh Sugar Poppy tinted lip treatment (ds .07 oz)- Asking $2 • Lipstick Queen lipstick in Medieval (ds .05 oz)- Asking $2 • Colourpop lippie stix in Little Tings (swatched)- Retails for $7, Asking $2 • Colourpop Ultra Metallic lip in Varsity Blues (used 1x)- Retails for $7, Asking $1.50 • Inc.redible rollerball glows in Choose Your Happy (new)- Retails for $10, Asking $1.50 • Maybelline shine lipstick in Baddest Beige (swatched)- Retails for $7.99, Asking $1.50 • Bite matte cream lip crayon in Glacé (ds) (swatched)- Asking $1 • Ella & Mila glossy liquid lipstick (New in box)- Retails for $14, Asking $1 • Nyx butter gloss in Sunday Mimosa (Used 1x)- Retails for $5, Asking $.50 •Loreal lipstick in Doutzen’s nude- Used 1x lightly, sanitized- Retails for $8.95, Asking $.50 •Covergirl x Katy Perry Katy kat matte lipstick in cosmo kitty- Used 1x lightly, sanitized- Asking $ $.50 • Nyx matte lipstick in pale pink (Used 2 times)- Retails for $6, Asking .50 BRUSH SET: Verification • (SOLD) Set of brushes- Morphe M153, BH Cosmetics #1 pink brush from set, 2 Sonia Kashuk mini eye brushes, 2 Coastal Scent brushes, Mr Handyman brush, 1 Motd concealer brush, 2 AOA oval brushes, 2 random brushes- Asking $6 NAIL POLISH: Verification • KL Polish in Wishbone- Retails for $8.50, Asking $6 • KL Polish in Casino Night- Asking $6 • (SOLD) KL Polish in Gemini- Asking $6 • KL Polish in Winter is Coming- Asking $6 SKIN: Verification • (SOLD) Make succulent gel (a little over half left)- Retails for $25, Asking $4 • (SOLD) The Ordinary Caffeine Solution (new)- Retails for $6.70, Asking $3 • (SOLD)Nip Fab Dragons Blood Plumping serum (1 oz) (used 1x)- Asking $2 • (SOLD) Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior 2 in 1 plumping moisturizer and serum (ds .25 oz) (new)- Asking $1 • (SOLD) Earth to Skin super fruits blueberry exfoliating cleanser (1oz) (new)- Asking $.50 • (SOLD) Earth to Skin super fruits citrus day gel cream (.5 oz) (used 1x)- Asking $.50 • (SOLD) Proactive Green Tea moisturizer (ds .33 oz) (used 1-2x)- Asking $.50
The Casino Card Bottle Opener by Leegoal is a wallet-sized tool that you should always have on hand. It makes a fun statement at parties and gatherings, and it’s super handy when more drinks are in the cards for the night. Buy: Casino Card Bottle Opener buy it. The spade cutout is the perfect shape for opening a beer, soda or hard cider bottle. With its clever design and handsome shape, the ... This is a Lauglin Nevada casino metal bottle opener. It measures about 4-1/4" x 1-5/8" and is in VG condition. Payment & Shipping Terms: Payment must be received within 2 days after auction closes or a nonpaying bidder form will be filed. Payment is accepted via Paypal only. Thanks for looking/bidding and be sure to check out my other auctions. 08 – Kikkerland Casino Bottle Opener. Kikkerland Casino Bottle Opener. BUY NOW. Now you can always keep an Ace up your sleeve with Kikkerland’s Ace of spades novelty bottle opener. Use the cleverly crafted hole in the center shaped like a spade to open your beer and soda bottles. This pocket bottle opener is so slim it’s easy to carry anywhere. Made with heavy duty 18/8 stainless steel ... Alibaba.com offers 854 casino bottle opener products. A wide variety of casino bottle opener options are available to you, Casino Bottle Opener. March 12, 2012 Conner Flynn Design 0. Do you consider yourself a card shark? A gambler. An ace of aces? If you do, it’s time to ante up and get this Casino Bottle Opener. Because an Ace in the hole, or in this case, an ace with a hole, is exactly what you need to open beverages. The slim design fits in your pocket and it is made from heavy duty stainless steel. It ... Kikkerland Casino Bottle Opener Visit the Kikkerland Store. 4.3 out of 5 stars 135 ratings. Available from these sellers. This fits your . Make sure this fits by entering your model number. Use the cleverly crafted hole in the center shaped like a spade to open your beer and soda bottles Slim style easily fits in your pocket The perfect addition to your next poker game Made from heavy duty ... BeautyMood 8pcs Wine Bottle Opener, Stainless Steel Credit Card Size Casino Bottle Opener for Your Wallet, Beer Bottle Opener 4.6 out of 5 stars 116. $10.99. Fun Products Stainless Steel American Expensed Black Credit Card Bottle Opener [2 pack] - The Perfect Wallet-Sized Gift for Birthdays, Bachelor Parties and Beer Festivals 4.7 out of 5 stars 52. $10.95. Next. More items to explore. Page 1 ...
Year End Sale 10pcs Pocekt Stainless Steel Poker Card ...
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