Part 5: Shrink
I absolutely love the Therapist's office.
For just so many reasons.
- Everyone walking out there could probably use someone to talk to.
Instead they medicate with drunk, drugs, or forming a thuggish crew.
- Having a Newton's cradle to look sophisticated, is a bad call...
You can pick these up for a few bucks, at any old mall...
- Each of these trophies are from junior high...
One for is participation, saying 'At least you did try..."
First off, obviously, because Henry is an unbearable smugstain on the world, and desperately looks for ways to feel like he's above passers-by (for not going to the therapist), and the therapist himself (for not being that good). It's pretty hollow, my dude!
- Ah! Henry, put up your feet, and tell me your fears.
You see, I'm only trying to help you out; I'm all ears.
CONVERSATIONS IMPLYING THAT HENRY DOESN'T COME DOWNTOWN OFTEN: 2
CONVERSATIONS IMPLYING THAT HENRY COMES DOWNTOWN ALL THE TIME: 3
Since he is clearly well-known here. Let me go ahead and spoiler, that payment is never mentioned. So either 1) this guy gives free therapy to protagonists, or 2) Henry has some kind of auto-pay on therapy, despite being EXTREMELY cash-strapped. I think we can rule out him having an awesome health insurance plan, because his job sucks and the company he works for is bad.
The other incredible thing about this place, is that it's basically a flashback repository.
You pick which of the many, many awful episodes in Henry's life you'd like to revisit, and watch a little cutscene.
The First Date
- We were set up by mutual friends on a blind date.
We had dinner in a diner, it all seemed like fate...
Henry, of course, pays no attention to anything that isn't himself, his food, or 'his' girlfriend/wife. Can remember ZERO details about the restaurant. Here's where he would probably argue that it was because he was so entranced by Grace, but that doesn't stop him from nonstop talking about himself!
- I'm in the same boat! This is my first blind date too!
Though I have to say, I'm having a good time with you!
- Me as well! We're really hitting it off.
I hope you don't mind I have a bit of a cough...
Just a mild case of foreshadowing, no biggie!
- Not at all! I'm hoping to work in medical science after all!
This is the last year of my masters, it's going great, overall.
- Wow, Mr. Scientist! That's some very impressive stuff!
I'm more of an artsy type, somewhat of a poetry buff.
- When it comes to science I'm as dumb as a foetus.
I'm studying for an art degree to become a poetess.
I'm pretty sure I had to go for a walk in the park and re-evaluate my life after reading this sentence.
I'm pretty sure that rhyme gave me whatever sickness Grace has.
I don't think you're allowed to keep speaking English after you rhyme 'foetus' (foh-uh-tuss?) with 'poetess'.
"When it comes to science I'm as dumb as a foetus. /
I'm studying for an art degree to become a poetess."
I don't think I've ever been madder at the other person in a conversation with Henry.
- Don't know much about art, I rather deal in facts.
But you know what they say - opposites attracts! [sic]
- And boy did opposites attract, it was a whirlwind romance.
Everything was so perfect, in the beginning; at first glance...
It all went bad about 6 months in. That's the amount of time they say it takes to get to really know somebody. Odd....
- She was so happy to give me this special gift.
But as soon as she spoke, my mind was adrift.
(Henry is pacing)
- Happy anniversary Henry! I got you a present!
You can't put a price to it, neither dollar nor cent!
- Huh? Oh yeah, happy anniversary to you as well, Grace.
Have you seen my books? Can't find anything around this place.
- What to know what I got you, honey-
- I'm running late for my exams, you can give it to me later.
I need to ace this test, if I ever want to be something greater.
THERE'S the Henry we know and love!
Huh? Anniversary gift? Sure, shut up babe. I need to take this exam I didn't prepare for.
- It'll only take a second! Come on, this means a lot to me.
Then you can go off to your exams and I'll leave you be.
- Ugh, fine! What is it you want to show me?
What is it that's so important that I have to see?
Grace, maybe this guy isn't for you. Jussayin'.
- It's a locket with a picture of the two of us embracing one another.
This locket is a family heirloom, it belonged to my grandmother.
- That's very nice Grace, I really have to go.
The weather is turning, and it might start to snow!
And off he runs, without his books. Off to fail, but at least he was also an ass to his... girlfriend? Wife? He has no memories of their wedding of course.
- Didn't you get anything for me?
I guess you're too busy getting your degree...
- I certainly didn't even like it! Thought it was unsightly.
But it meant so much to her, that I wore it politely.
No, THIS is my favorite part of the therapy sessions. The doc offers no feedback of any kind ever, and Henry misses the point, HARD, because he's too self-involved to entertain the idea that he is a failure in any sense.
- In our own apartment and both in college is an expensive way to live...
The bills were piling up quickly, so in the end something had to give.
Boy, I wonder what will give.
Yep! We really have NO feedback on how Grace's poet dreams are going, or her level of skill, but we DO know that Henry is a four-alarm failure fiesta.
- My father's best friend is sure to give me a position on his team.
I just need this degree so that I can finally realize my dream.
Ahhhhhh NEPOTISM. THAT'S how Henry got his gig. Gooooot it.
- I'm sure to make a lot of money.
Then you can return to school, honey.
- Ok then Henry, you can do it, I believe in you!
I'll give up school, until your dreams come true.
Run away, Grace. Grace! RUN.
- I can work on my poetry in my spare time at home.
I'm working on this lovely poetry series on Rome.
- That's great honey, I've got to run to class, I'm late again Grace!
Since you're no longer in school, maybe you can clean this place?
Henry, you free-standing jerk. I'd LIKE to think I'd be just as critical of you if you were amazing at your job, but that's not a future we even have to contemplate, because you're bad at IT, and I'm not sure you even register that other humans have inner lives.
- Ok Henry... I'll be the maid.
This seems an unfair trade.
YEAH, SEEMS LIKE IT GRACE. I'm still BLAMING Henry, but a little ultimatum now and then never hurt anybody, Grace!
- Grace never did return to finish her education. My job doesn't even pay enough to afford a vacation.
Notice the expert deflection here.
The setup was: I'll get this job, I'll shine at it, I'll make a ton of money, then Grace goes back to school.
Well, he GOT the job, but step two never really seemed to happen. Henry's mind slides off that like mud off a hydrophobic coating, of course, so he just blames the job. Classic, and classY!
- I'm afraid that's all we have time for today.
Gather your thoughts and get on your way.
- Come again soon, you loon!
"Come again soon, you loon!" was almost going to be the thread title, I love it so much.
This guy refills every day, so there's more STARTLING revelations about Henry forthcoming. He's a bad person
You're not fooling anybody, Henry.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: I absolutely LOVE how comically sad a lot of this game is. "Hey Siri, what are the two saddest objects that could fit in a trash can?"
- The light dances off the droplets like prisms in the rain,
but then ultimately it all looks so dirty going down the drain.
Henry, spying social inferiors, sees an opportunity to spend time with them, so he can feel like a big-shot.
Some weather we're having, right?
- Some weather we're having right?
The wind really has a fierce bite!
See how this goes. Go up to two homeless guys, dressed in a SUIT, and complain about the weather. They're sure to take it friendly!
- There is seemingly no end to this rain,
trying to stay warm, seems an act in vain.
- I lost my darling Sarah to this awful wet weather just last week.
Her feet had started rotting and the infection made her too weak.
- There is nobody left in this town that cares about their fellow man.
The attitudes changed not long after all the foul drug pushing began.
- Apart from that local old lady Beth,
she even helped me get off meth!
- Yes, Beth is this shithole's only saving grace.
It's thanks to her we're surviving this place.
Bethwatch 2018: 4 mentions of Beth. Bethwatch will continue to update you!
Why don't you leave for another city?
- If it's so bad around here, why not leave for another town?
There must be a better place somewhere for you to hunker down.
- The bus drivers around here are assholes that won't let us get on,
and with constantly wet feet our ability to trek anywhere is gone.
- This will be the place where we die,
and it won't be long before we do.
With the homeless shelter closed down,
we knew that we'd soon be through.
Sheesh. Ok, what's a really oblivious way to show that we haven't internalized that information at all.
You seem pretty nervous
- You seem pretty nervous, what's the deal with that?
Are you in fear or being attacked, by someone with a bat.
Oh Henry, you never disappoint.
- We're keeping an eye out for detective Mills,
If we see him we'll start running for the hills.
- That man has no heart and shows no sympathy at all...
He treats us like scum, while he stinks of alcohol.
- You know, I once knew him when he was younger,
back in the day when he was a really nice person.
He couldn't bare seeing this town go to shit,
with every year things around here would worsen.
- Everyone around here hates the sight of him now,
and no one would miss him if he turned up dead.
Especially the folk in the local apartment block,
rather than mourning, they'd throw a party instead.
That's the kind of suspiciously specific detail that naturally squirrels itself away in the mind of the adventure game player.
How did you end up on the streets?
- How did you end up living on the streets?
IRS showed up when you didn't have receipts?
- Our stories are the exact same,
we both worked in the steel mills.
It was a much better time for us,
despite lacking luxury and frills.
- Then one day that big pharma research crowd rolled into our town.
They bought the plant for all the land and the mills were shut down.
I'm not saying these guys would know the exact motivations of everybody, but... surely there was somewhere that didn't already have a giant factory that would have to be demolished before any building could begin that the company could have bought for less money?
I know our giant pharma company (that I work at, yeah that's how I have a house and car and suit you guys! I'm a PRETTY big deal no biggie) is supposed to be 'bad', but like, Glengarry Glenn Ross bad, not like Captain Planet bad.
- They demolished it all, and built those skyscrapers as a financial center.
They kicked us all off the property, and now we can't even the grounds enter.
Patently untrue! Stinky Pete is there EVERY DAY, and the security chief can't evict him! Keep it consistent, guys!
- With no other skills or a high school diploma,
We'd be better off if we were in a coma.
- Almost half the town lost their jobs that way.
The drugs and the crime followed without delay.
HALF this town worked for the steel mill? Either this one strip is the ENTIRE town, or I don't think I buy it. I have more of a Detroit feel to this city than a "tiny mountain burg".
Tell me more about Beth
- Tell me more about Beth, she seems really nice.
Unlike everyone else here, she seems free of vice.
Yeah, she's not a drugged out LOSER like you tw... hm.
- Beth is truly our only lifeline.
Her caring kindness so genuine.
- She don't like the locals for being so cold-hearted and cruel.
Without her we'd have died long ago, in this wretched cesspool.
Yes, but what about her SON? Is HE similarly kind?
- She comes out at night to give us food and a sympathetic ear.
Her son apparently really doesn't approve, is what I hear.
- Apparently he's like the other assholes that feel we should all rot and die.
But good old Beth won't have none of it, and just gives him the stink eye.
Ohhhh he's NOT! Great! New information!
- I'd best get going.
If I stay any longer, soon it'll be snowing.
Alright, nothing better to do than check out this creepy old park!
- Says here this is a memorial park, for an orphanage that burnt down.
In memory of the innocence that was lost, they built a playground.
Of course. Of course it was.
- A seesaw that seems guaranteed to give splinters.
I don't think it'll hold up for many more winters...
- These springers sure look pretty eerie in the dark.
Just like all the other contraptions around this park.
- Go down this slide and you'll need a tetanus shot.
Otherwise you'll experience an infectious onslaught!
Just a creepy old abandon-
Not saying that a GOOD person, or even a NORMAL person, wouldn't try to get this child in out of the freezing rain. Just saying that HENRY isn't going to do it.
- Many a parent sat here I'm sure,
watching their children at play, so pure.
Of course, I don't give a crap about THIS kid.
Anyway, out of the park, we're almost through the city!
Ah yes, the classic inner-city, uh, cyber...punks? I think?
- I only talk to True Ones,
who can fathom this cyber life!
I've ascended to a world that's digital,
to escape humanity's strife!
Ok! En...enjoy that!
We duck into the library to avoid talking to that guy further.
What a beautiful building this is!
- This is such a beautiful building!
You're lucky to be working here!
Such a nice change of surroundings,
to the depressing streets out there...
- We'll really be lucky if the building is still standing by spring.
It's in urgent need of structural repairs, to just about everything!
Is the city going to repair the building?
- Is the city going to repair the building soon?
Wasn't there scaffolding outside last June?
- There were big spending plans in place early last year.
But the city went bankrupt as the start date drew near...
Sounds like our old friend FISCAL MISMANAGEMENT is the true existential threat!
- A group of locals are trying to raise money for the work that's needed.
But that'll most likely never reach its goal, the leader has now conceded.
- You know, we take donations for the fund right here...
It'd be a real shame if this service was to disappear...
How much have the locals managed to raise?
- How much money have the locals managed to raise?
People banding together like that deserves a lot of praise!
- So far they've raised twenty bucks, or thereabouts.
Seems like people locally don't like to give handouts.
Yeah that... that's not great. In fact, I'll say that's comically low, to the point that it kind of doesn't make any sense to write! $80 would have been a better choice, probably?
CONTRIBUTE OR NOT THREAD CHOICE
Not a lot of people around today huh?
- This place is pretty empty huh? Must be one of those days?
I would have expected kids working hard on school essays!
- People that can't afford to pay their bills,
seldom attend the Library for cheap thrills.
Do... do you have those here?
- Most locals are too strung out on drink or meth.
They're not really interested in reading Macbeth...
You know, books are only ONE of the services libraries tend to have - continuing education and job application help are two things you can find assistance with at a library, and plus, people with no money go to libraries MUCH MORE than rich-os. This point doesn't make a lot of sense, is what I'm saying.
- The few people that do come in here have to be chased out with a cane.
It's mostly homeless or drunk people trying to get shelter from the rain.
Ohhhh I see. They just chase out anybody who doesn't have money, because they can't buy things from the li... wait.
Are you worried about your job?
- With so few patrons, are you worried about your employment?
It's a heavy question, that I do not ask with great enjoyment.
Just a LITTLE enjoyment, at finding somebody less secure than I am.
- Every day I worry for what the future will hold.
If I lost my job, I would not be able to grow old.
THREAD CHOICE: BE NICE OR MEAN TO THE LIBRARY LADY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF LIBRARIES
How do I borrow a book from here?
- How can I borrow a book from here?
My wife is a big fan of Shakespeare.
- You need to become a member, it will only cost you a dime.
But I'm out of membership forms, come back another time.
Harsh competition between this lady and the prostitute outside!
Have you heard of a local named Beth?
- Have you heard of this local good Samaritan named Beth?
She's saved lots of people from a certain death.
- Oh yes, I know Beth very well.
She always has lovely stories to tell.
- She's one of the few regulars still to frequent this place.
She reads to local children, to bring a smile to their face.
Just in case you missed one of the other 12 conversations.
- Right, I guess I'll lave you to it.
I'm running late, but only a bit.
It's actually a VERY narrow window, and VERY easily missible, but there's another section to the library. Of course, this section is vital to the 'best ending'
- Rows and rows just bursting with knowledge...
Why do people even bother to pay for college?
Henry is just now realizing that books exist in other contexts. Literary ones, too!
A concept that Henry both desperately needs, and will never ever discover on his own.
Final two rooms of the library: break room and office. Neither of which Henry should PARTICULARLY be in, but... hup ho!
- A guide for the staff on how to apply for welfare.
To have to work and seek handouts seems so unfair.
- One is empty, and the other barely works.
A commentary on our society at its worst?
Oh shut up, Henry.
In contrast to the break room, the office is pretty opulent!
- Each "tick" is amplified by a louder "tock".
I don't know if there's a louder clock.
It's these really inane lines that make me remember: we should REALLY be getting home.
- A brand new looking cinder block.
Carrying that would give my back a shock.
TAKE Y/N THREAD CHOICE?
I just love that the police are protesting outside the station, in full uniform, with hilariously uninformative signs. And that there are three of them. No, you can't acknowledge or interact with them at all.
You do have to hand it to Jogger there, it takes some serious dedication to run up and down a crime-ridden downtown in the freezing, pouring rain in a t-shirt.
He's... he's going to die, isn't he.
- Sir, if you want to report a crime, just have a set right over there.
Someone will get to you eventually, we're pretty busy over here...
And if you try to walk to the right...
- Excuse me sir, you can't go back there.
If you need to see someone, wait over here...
Not great on the rhymes, lady! There/here/there/here. I mean, nobody's GREAT at them, but STILL.
And just to round out our thrilling adventure, what's back here in the alley?
- It takes some balls to drop your trash next to a police station!
If caught I'd imagine you'd be looking at more than a citation!
- There appears to be a perfectly good fishing rod in the pile of trash.
I haven't been fishing for years, but I'd like to give it another bash.
TAKE FISHING POLE Y/N?
PHEW, and that's IT. (You can't push the dumpster of course).
Running the half-mile back to our car, we head home, having failed at our one task of getting a video.
I'm sure Grace won't m-
Oh lady, don't feed his self-image. He thinks like this already.
- Can I help...
- You'll get visitors in your dreams!
It won't be as bad as it seems!
O..ok then! That sounds good!
- When mysterious writings begin to appear,
solve the riddle - it'll be worth it, I swear!
- Great things are hidden deep within.
It'll save your dying wife from her sin!
- Now hold on just a-
- Remember, solve the riddle before it's too late.
You can change the course of humanity's fate.
- The flesh of man torn asunder, for the ignorant to eat...
That's when the time is right to seek help, before you're obsolete...
Oh uh, yeah we know about that one already! Doris! So wait! The time is now? Or...
Nope, she just shuffles away.
- How did she know that Grace is ill?
Must have gone through our bins,
and found a medical or hospital bill...
Yeah, man of science. Totally.
THAT ISN'T SCIENTIFIC, HENRY.
Oh who am I kidding, he doesn't know the difference.
Let's check on Grace...
PHEW. No explaining that we didn't do what we promised, and are, I'm assuming, coming home at like 11 PM!
At least we can do ONE thing right, and sleep in the same bed as Grace tonight. OH NO I'M RHYMING
You're... not rhyming?
- Oh hello little boy,
how do you do?
You remind me of someone,
but I can't think of who.
Henry, for... he just told you. He said clearly who he was.
- Don't worry about things like that Henry. It'll give you a headache.
Can you smell the air tonight? It almost smells like glue, doesn't it?
TAKE ME WITH YOU.
Wait, what? Glue?
- Your way of speaking,
it seems quite bizarre.
You can't be from around here,
have you come from afar?
- Heh, yes I'M the one talking strangely around here...
- It's almost that time of year again you know. It was around this time, I'm sure of it.
Be careful of the black spots in the ceiling Henry.
Thanks, "mysterious boy".
Oh boy! Move-in day!
- Oh Henry, I can't believe the place is ours!
It took our life savings, and selling our cars.
Great! Now I can't get to work! We're both giant morons!
- We finally have a house,
where we can raise our baby.
We could get a little cat,
and new wallpapers maybe?
- Sure, sure Grace,
all in due time.
I'll have to do well in work,
we haven't got a dime.
90% of Henry's dialogue to Grace is flashbacks is "shut up babe, I'm concentrating on my job that I refuse to prepare for".
- Once I become a big hit,
at my new office position.
I'll get you all you desire,
to make you happy my mission.
Would we judge Henry more harshly if he really was good at his job? It's an interesting point to ponder.
- By the way, I like when you have your hair down like that!
It gives it a lot of nice volume, and doesn't look as flat.
Again, ladies, this is called "negging" if it's a pattern, and it's a BAD SIGN. Among many!
- Go upstairs and rest a bit,
as we put these boxes away.
If you stand around much longer,
my mind will go astray.
"Don't like lookin' at ya, babe. Scram."
- Oh come on Henry,
you know I want to help.
I'll manage a few boxes,
without making a single yelp.
Sure Henry, just let your pregnant wife haul that giant heavy box up the stairs with no help, then blame THE BOX later.
Oh did I say blame? Ha ha blame for what? Nothing can go wrong with this plan.
OH NO! THE PLAN! SOMETHING WENT WRONG!
- Grace... GRACE!!!
- Henry... the baby...
You know, plot points are a lot more shocking if they haven't been telegraphed for a SOLID HOUR, IFFG.
WELL! Ladies and gentlemen that is day 1!
I know we took our time and picked around, but worry not, things really start accelerating at this point.
We've got quite a few polls for the thread:
TAKE THE SKULL Y/N
BE MEAN TO THE OCCULT STORE GUY Y/N
TAKE FIRE AX Y/N
CONTRIBUTE TO LIBRARY Y/N
BE MEAN TO THE LIBRARIAN Y/N
TAKE CINDER BLOCK Y/N
TAKE FISHING POLE Y/N
And I've got more audio to post. And after THAT, we start getting ON with this story!
Adventure game mechanics!