Saturday, July 15, 2017

Gen 7 Ch 6: Welcome Home

When the moving truck rounded another corner, it finally came into view: a modern mansion built of bare concrete, set against the hazy blue ocean and framed by tall palm trees.

Grace and Jamey emerged from the truck and were greeted by the sound of waves washing against the shore. A faint smell of barbecue hung in the air. The A/C in the truck had been so strong that Grace had to wear several layers, but now she began shrugging them off as the relentless sunlight immediately engulfed her entire body. She smiled as she watched the pavement shimmer in the heat. It felt good to be back home.

The smell of barbecue grew stronger as they walked up to the house. Maybe her dad was throwing them a surprise party!

However, as the smoky smell passed the point of pleasantness and became pervasive, Grace's growing excitement soon turned into apprehension and finally, horror.


The power flowed from Gene's glowing fingertips and he couldn't help but grin. It was working, he could feel it. He was going to fix this mess, this disaster, this...

"Uh oh."

Hisses and creaks and foul smells were not what Gene had expected. A quick glance around the room confirmed his worst fear: something had gone terribly wrong. The kitchen sink's pipe had burst and sprayed a fountain of water, while the dishwasher next to it smoked and threw sparks dangerously. Piles of rotting garbage were strewn all over the floor, their permeating stench making Gene gag.

"You can start whenever," Fred prompted helpfully.

"It's already done," Gene scowled.


As the duo hesitantly surveyed the house, the extent of the destruction became painfully clear. Even rooms that had been completely untouched by the fire were utterly ruined now.

Not a single appliance was still working, not a single piece of furniture left unscathed.

"This is bad," Freddie murmured. He tried to think of something, anything they could do at this point, but nothing came to him.

"This is really bad," Fred repeated, feeling the panic build up. "Really, really bad... Oh plumbob, what do we do?!"

"Dad," Gene said flatly, but Freddie was too absorbed in his dismay to react.


"Dad. She's..."

"She's here."

 Grace's eyes darted around the room. She opened her mouth as if to say something, then closed it again. There were no words.

"The banner is a nice touch," she said finally, hearing her voice crack but desperately trying to keep calm. "What... happened?" Beside her, Jamey covered his nose and retched.

Freddie stood frozen, making Gene feel compelled to fill the uncomfortable silence with words.

"Well, you see, there was a fire, but we stopped it and then..." Gene's voice trailed off.

"Uh, welcome home," Freddie said lamely.

The sound Grace made in response was somewhere between a shriek and a sob.

When her shaky knees finally gave away, a pair of strong arms caught and steadied her.

"Grace," Jamey said softly. His warm brown eyes looking into hers were all the comfort she needed.

"You're right," she breathed. "We can fix this."

And so they tried.

They scrubbed the floors...

... gathered garbage and debris and then scrubbed some more.

But even after days of relentless work, the house was still an absolute ruin.

"Argh, I can't do this anymore," Gene roared angrily, tossing his filthy sponge into a corner. "We'll be stuck scrubbing this place until we're old and grey. Even the puddles are filthy! This is pointless! It's a... a simsyphean task!"

Grace, who had been scrubbing the same stubborn spot on the floor for hours, straightened up. She wiped her forehead with the back of one hand, then pressed it onto her aching back.

"Gene," she began, ready to deliver another one of her patented pep talks. But as she gazed around the room and realized how little progress they had to show for all their efforts, she deflated. "You're right," she said. "We need to call some help."


All in all, the construction work was done quicker than they would have ever anticipated.

The contractors had stripped the walls and floors down to bare wood and concrete. To replace the charred furniture that was beyond salvage, Grace and Jamey had trawled all the thrift stores in the area and found bargains and unique pieces they genuinely loved.

And even though the contractors had bungled some of the ceiling tiles...

... the house finally felt like a home again.

The only thing left missing was one very important family member.


Sorry for the picture spam! Showing off the newly remodeled place <3

I was kind of tired of the way the house looked and wanted a cute hipstery makeover for the new generation, but Grace just doesn't feel like the type to throw away family heirlooms and remodel her childhood home just to suit her own taste. So the solution to my problem was, as usual, fire >:D

Btw, I don't think genies can actually fail at magically cleaning the house. Gene tried over and over and succeeded every time. I ended up having to turn Todd into a witch and adding him to the household temporarily so he could muck up the spell :,D

So yeah, the fire was completely staged in a different save file, in case you were curious :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Gen 7 Ch 5: Surprise Party

Freddie sighed as he glanced around the room. The thought of hiring a maid had never crossed his mind up to this point, but keeping a household was much more difficult than he'd imagined. Things had gotten a little out of hand during Grace's absence.

Just a little.

"Dude, it reeks worse than my gym socks in here," Todd complained, his face contorted in disgust. "When did you say Grace was coming?"

"Just a couple more hours," Freddie groaned, panic rising in his gut. "Todd, I totally messed up. I wanted to have everything ready for a surprise party before she comes, but now time's running out and nothing's ready! The place is a mess, there's no food and the stereo's broken so we won't even have music..."

"I can take care of that," Todd offered helpfully. "I know my way around a wrench."

"Are you sure?" Freddie had never thought of Todd as being particularly handy. "You really know how to repair stuff?"

"Of course," Todd smiled. "It's easy. See, electronic devices are like women - sometimes they want a little TLC. So when they act stubborn, all you've gotta do is poke and prod 'em a little until they return the love."

"Uh, okay." Fred didn't quite get Todd's analogy, but at this point, any glimmer of hope was welcome. "I guess I'll get started on the cooking while you do that then."

And so Todd went to work on the stubborn stereo.

The fridge looked as dismal as the rest of the house, but there were enough ingredients for mac & cheese. Incidentally, this was one of the few things Freddie knew how to make.

Freddie found himself relaxing as he stirred the cheese into the macaroni. Things were looking up! With Todd's help, he might just be able to bring the house to a presentable state before Grace arrived.

"There, I fixed it," Todd proclaimed proudly after just a few minutes. "Now I'll just check if the remote works and--"


After an initial moment of stunned shock, Freddie's ears stopped ringing and he ran over to Todd, who was panicking beside a raging fire that had engulfed half of the living room furniture.

"Ohmyplumbob," Fred yelped. "What happened?! Everything's on fire!"

"It was the damn stereo," Todd shouted, "Why on SimPlanet didn't you get a professional to fix it?!"

Todd didn't give Freddie time to form a reply--he simply turned on his heel and started to run.


"Call the fire department," Todd called over his shoulder. "I've gotta go, sorry!"

Todd had forgotten he had an important appointment...

... someplace not on fire.

 Fortunately, Freddie wasn't left alone for too long.

"Dad, I just saw Todd running--PLUMBOB! What happened?!"


"I can see that, dad!"


"Why isn't the fire alarm going off?!"

"Batteries! For my controller..."

All the while, the macaroni and cheese had been simmering on the stove. Every last bit of liquid had slowly evaporated and now, during this brief exchange, the inevitable happened.

"The mac and cheese," Freddie whined, close to tears.

Fortunately, Gene had the presence of mind to run to the storage closet and bring back two fire extinguishers.

"Take this," he growled as he shoved one into his father's arms. "Just do what I'm doing."

Freddie grabbed the fire extinguisher and followed his son's lead.

It took longer than it should have...

... and many treasured possessions were lost.

The fire was a veritable inferno, devouring everything in its path.

But somehow, finally...

... they got it under control.

Father and son stood amidst the debris that had once been Evelyn's carefully selected furniture. They were sweaty and covered in soot, but otherwise unharmed. The same could not be said for the house.

(To add insult to injury, the dirty laundry on the floor was the only thing impervious to flames.)

After a long silence, Freddie asked hopefully, "Can you... can you do some magic or something?"

Gene sighed. "I guess I could try..."

What other option was there, really?

Gene closed his eyes and pressed his fingers to his temples in an attempt to focus. His relationship with his inborn magic had always bee a fickle one. It was frustrating to say the least - he could feel the enormous power flowing through his body, steadily growing and building up pressure to an uncomfortable level, yet he was unable to release it. 

The most vexing part of it all was that he couldn't even talk to anyone about it. He'd long since given up on trying to convince other people of his magical nature. After being teased mercilessly as a child for his blue skin and crazy stories about being a genie, Gene's athletic achievements and the fact that he rode his very own motorbike to school had finally earned him a spot as one of the cool kids in his teenage years. He was not going to risk losing that again.

Once he'd tried to explain the problem to his sports coach at school. Circumspectly, of course, without ever mentioning the dreaded word magic. Seeing how intently the coach listened, Gene had actually dared to hope for some helpful advice. No such luck. The coach had laughed, slapped Gene on the shoulder and said something about "teenage hormones" and "walking it off".

The only sim that both believed in and encouraged Gene's magic was his dad, and right now he needed Gene's help. What better reason was there to give it another try? Maybe this would finally be the day Gene learned to actively control his powers!

Gene pictured the house the way it had been before... before this distaster. He took his time, making sure he visualized every last corner in minute detail. There was a tingling sensation in his fingertips, then a feeling of warmth and then almost unbearable heat. Gene held on tightly to his image of the house and released his magic.