Tales from the Flipside (4)
Published Oct 29, 2010

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Tales from the Flipside (4: Spiral)

Tales from the Flipside (4: Spiral) The Pennylane Institution of Psychiatric Services (PIPS) (6:15 AM) It has been 10 hours since Jonothan Simanski escaped the facility. PIPS has not experienced a successful escape of one of its patients in over 10 years. Dr. Evelyn Elfman and the rest of the staff have spent all night trying to figure out how that happened, and where he went. They have determined that Jonothan traded clothing with another patient, Bellamy Hart. Unlike Jonothan, who was wearing standard issue PIPS pajamas, Bellamy had personal clothing privileges. Privileges that have since been revoked. But how the patient actually got out of the building—and far enough away that by the time the staff realized his escape he was nowhere near it—that remains a mystery. Besides the relative impossibility of circumventing the facility’s security measures, Jonothan Simanski is acutely agoraphobic. He hates the outdoors. Evelyn is now on the phone with the patient’s twin brother, Jesse Simanski. On previous encounters, she’d had the impression that Jesse didn’t particularly like her. Presently, she has no doubt of his negative opinion. “Listen much? I keep telling you, Jono is capable of going outside, he just doesn’t go outside. He doesn’t need to go outside when he’s at home. Do you think he considers PIPS home? Are you as mental as the patients you shrink?” “Jesse, I understand you’re upset, but insulting me isn’t helping to resolve this situation. We are trying to discover how Jonothan escaped the building without setting off a single alarm, which may lead us to some clue as to where he intended to go—” “If you let my brother get his hands on a computer, there isn’t anything he couldn’t do with it. And as for where he went, that isn’t your problem anymore. I’ll find him. Just stay out of it, and leave the cops out of it.” “Jesse—”
“We’re done. I’ll sign the paperwork. We are so done here, Doc.”
The Simanski house (6:30 AM) Jesse Simanski has just hung up on Dr. Elfman. He is far too frustrated to deal with her. He knows he’s lost valuable time by guessing, incorrectly, that his brother would go home. Over the last 10 hours, he hasn’t tried looking for Jono anywhere but between PIPS and the house. Now he can’t think of anywhere Jono would want to go except… France. But would he try to go that far? Really? “Uncle Jesse? Don’t worry about Dad. I know where he is. He’s going to bring Mama home.” “You know that for sure, Jules? He came here? He told you?” “He called me on my phone last night. From an airplane! Cool, right?” The Marquis Vineyard, France (1:45 PM / 6:45 AM Simanski time) Over the last hour, Danielle Marquis has been slowly inching her way out of the vicinity of her mother’s high society luncheon. Her phone vibrates, and she takes the opportunity to get entirely out of dodge. These people are driving her crazy. The incoming call is Jesse. After a moment’s hesitation, Dani shuts the phone off. Their last phone conversation wasn’t pleasant and she doesn’t want a replay, she doesn’t even want to think about it. So of course, she does think about it. “We need you to come home now, Dani. Right now.”
“Jesse, I can’t do that until I convince my parents to give me access to my trust.”
“We don’t need that money, Dani.”
“Yes, Jesse, we do. We don’t have any insurance and Pennylane is a private hospital—you have to have the bill by now. I told you that place was expensive, you should have taken him to Simovitch in the View—”
“Simovitch Sanitarium sucks. And even if it didn’t, the View is four hours away. I don’t want him that far away, Dani.”
“We can’t afford Pennylane, Jesse. Not without my trust fund.”
“I’ll cover the bill, I’m going to sell my stuff—”
“No, Jesse, you can’t do that!”
“Sure I can, it’s mine, I’ll sell it if I want—”
“It is NOT yours, Jesse! It’s repossessed merchandise that Whistler has used to pay you—which makes it stolen—if you’re caught with it, you’ll go to jail!”
“That’s not going to happen, and what other choice is there? Your psycho parents are never going to let you have that money, not unless you divorce Jono—is that what you’re going to do, Dani? Divorce my brother so you can pay his damn hospital bill?”
". . ."
“Just… give me time to convince them. And don’t be an idiot and try to sell anything Whistler paid you with.”
“Dani, listen—”
“I’ll talk to you later, Jesse.”
“Dani, please, don’t hang up—”
But she had hung up. And then she had cried like an over-emotional baby, because he was—is—probably right. Her parents aren’t going to give her a single simoleon unless she severs ties with Jono. They will insist she divorce him, and oh, in spite of everything (or is it because of everything?) she really doesn’t want to do that.
What she wants to do is go home. She has been gone from her family for one month, and it feels like an eternity. An eternity that somehow manages to be so much worse than several years of a downward spiraling marriage. If she can just get access to her trust fund, she can help. She can start to make up for a multitude of mistakes. She can get out from under this tremendous weight of guilt, and everything will be okay… “Who were you talking to?”
“No one, mother.”
“Your father returns from his business trip this evening. I want you to be pleasant and presentable. The LeBeaus will be attending dinner with us, and you will be on your best behavior.”
“Yes, mother.”
Suzanne turns on her designer heel and marches back to her guests. Dani is 25 years old, and she still cowers to her parents. Her mother in particular. She left her family—her real family—for this. What is wrong with her? How could she let everything get so out of control? Because it is still in her, that’s how. Dani, the only child of Marsilius and Suzanne Marquis, raised in the lap of luxury with a better-than-the-rest-of-you attitude. Dani, the indifferent, the self-assured, the self-absorbed. Whenever the going gets tough, out comes the arrogance to defend and destroy. Her parents taught her well how to protect her own ego… against everyone and everything but them. Before getting pregnant and running away, the only thing Dani had ever done to rebel against the rules of her elitist household was the flirting. She’d started that in high school, and by the time she was 18, she was well known for it and well accomplished at it. Facing an arranged marriage before she’d turn 19, why not mess around? It felt good, even if she never understood what really motivated her to do it; why she felt the need to seek out attention so much warmer than what she experienced at home. She could have gone on forever without understanding that. She may have, if not for the Simanskis, and if not for her son. Once embraced by what family really was, what it could and should be, Dani had realized how starved she’d always been for it. Ironic, then, that once she had that for herself, it would be the fear of losing it that would begin her ruin of it. The earliest years of Dani’s marriage to Jono were the happiest years of her life. Jono was homebound, but that really wasn’t a problem for anyone in the family. He could make more money in a week than Jesse could make in a month, and he did it sitting in front of a computer in the Simanski living room. What he did wasn’t exactly legal, but he was really, really good at it. Dani hardly ever left the house either. With the exceptions of the coin laundry, the grocery, the occasional salon appointment or walk in the park with the baby, Dani was in that house nearly as much as Jono. However nontraditional the marriage may have been, Jono and Dani thrived on it, and so did their little son. Jesse still lived in the house as well. He worked as a repoman for Terrence Whistler’s collections business, as he had since age 16. He took significant part in family-related activity and caretaking, and did whatever else he did best. Which amounted to a whole lot of nothing but a whole lot of fun while doing it. There was only the one noteworthy flaw in the family. Every now and again Jono would be at that sink. Any faucet fixture in the house would do, but the preference was the kitchen sink. Running the water. Shutting it off. Checking that it was off. Repeat. Over and over again. And silently counting every time he did it. Usually he was able to stop on his own. On rarer occasions either Dani or Jesse had to distract him out of the ritual. This was a routine that Jesse called Jono’s “counts,” and Jesse had been handling it solo for quite some time before Dani had entered the picture. Although Jono’s counts were fewer and further between once Jono and Dani were a couple, and even fewer after Jules’ birth, the frequency wasn’t what eventually became a serious concern for Dani. It was the intensity. What would happen if one of those times they couldn’t get him to stop? What if Jono went wherever it was inside his head that his counts took him and didn’t come back out? Jono had no answer to that. Jesse’s answer was, if it happened, they’d deal with it. Medication was Dani’s answer. Jono was resistant to the idea at first, but after months of hearing Dani’s fears he finally agreed to try it. Jesse’s reluctant agreement followed. The whole family went to that doctor appointment. Following a description of symptoms (minus any questions as to why any of those symptoms might be occurring), a prescription for alleviating those symptoms was promptly dispensed. The drug was called Tranquellex. The Simanski family went home and gave it a go. At first the medication seemed to make a difference for the better. Jono was certainly more ‘tranquil,’ and in a matter of days the neurotic behaviors had vanished. But the drug didn’t limit itself to curbing Jono’s less desirable traits. Within a month it had tranquilized his entire personality. Medicated, Jono wasn’t a genius. In fact, he wasn’t even average. He couldn’t effectively play chess or compete with his brother at any of the numerous computer and console games they played, because his mental reflexes had slowed to a dimwitted crawl. And if he couldn’t do that, he certainly couldn’t do what he did with his computer that illegally financed more than half the household. Bad as that was, that wasn’t all. The physical aspect of Jono and Dani’s marriage (something neither of them had any complaints about previously) came to an abrupt halt. Not only did Jono have no interest in instigating it, Dani couldn’t motivate him to have any interest either. No matter how hard she tried. Yet there was no denying the neurotic symptoms were gone. Jono could even go outside with no more distress than a mild crease of the brow. Was it wrong, selfish even, to take that away if his wife and brother weren’t happy with the side effects? Dani and Jesse’s contention over that question allowed the situation to go on much longer than would later prove wise. Six months they lived it. Until the day Jono failed to make the connection that it was a bad idea to allow his toddler to play in a puddle of water near the fried dishwasher. This event ended the debate. Dani and Jesse flushed the pills down the toilet. Unfortunately, getting off the medication only solved the problem of being on it. It did nothing to solve the problems that had arisen because of it. The Tranquellex experience had cracked Jono’s confidence all the way down to the foundation. Consequently, in the attempt to fix the situation, it had just gotten a whole lot worse. On top of that, six months without Jono as a source of income had landed the family in debt. Dani had needed to get a job. There was very little she qualified for, but since living with the Simanskis (although still a terrible cook) she’d learned well how to clean. She didn’t enjoy it, but it was something she could do, and hiring on as a maid for a private household was obscure enough to keep her out of the public eye while doing it—an important consideration for her. Medicated, Jono hadn’t cared when Dani started the maid job. Post-medication, Jono was flat out against it. He knew she would hate it and in fact she already did. But Dani refused to quit. The subject represented the couple’s first serious argument and the first night they didn’t sleep in the same bed since signing their marriage certificate. The downward spiral had begun. It would take the next three years and many, many more mistakes to hit the bottom of it. No mistake worse than the last one. The one where she— “Danielle? What are you doing just standing here idle in the dark?” Suzanne flicks the light switch. Dani blinks at her mother. She has no idea what time it is, but the fact that her mother is angry with her comes as no surprise. The woman has been angry with her for the last seven years. “Your father will be arriving at any moment and you’ve obviously made no effort to make yourself presentable.”
“I’m sorry, mother.”
“You should be. Now get dressed for dinner. And do something about that posture. You look like a stooped street person, not the daughter of a Marquis.” Suzanne exits the bedroom with the standard slam of the door. Dani launches into a mockery of her mother’s overly dramatic ‘why me’ pose. But her defiance ends there. She starts doing as she was told. Going through the motions, it occurs to her that she turned her phone off quite some time ago. She should remedy that. Her son might call. Returning to her room, she recovers her phone from her less presentable clothes and checks the messages. Ten calls from Jules? Fifteen from Jesse? Dear God, what had happened? “Nice. I doubt anyone will mistake you for a stooped street person anymore.” “Jono?!” ((Special thanks to…

* A few of Jesse and Jono’s t-shirts by Modern_Sims at TSR
*Jono’s shirt (last) by Apple_ at TSR
* Prescription bottle by Living Dead Girl at TSR
*Danielle’s jumper (H&M conversion from Sims 2) by Anubis360 at MTS
*Backless shower by HugeLunatic at MTS
* Danielle’s up-hairdo found at PeggyZone
* Info on custom content pictured that has also appeared in earlier episodes can be found in previous credits (Flipside and Cribts)
* My great thanks and greater apologies to all those CC creators I likely failed to credit by name (my CC is starting to get out of control, so I know I’m starting to miss some of you folks, very sorry about that… if you see something that’s yours, toss me a pm, I’ll catch you on the next Flipside)

> A round of applauding paws for our end credit viewers: *clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap* *whistle* *clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap* Repeat. Over and over again ;) ))

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IllandryaNov 7, 2010

You hinted that I would eventually change my mind about Dani - and of course you were right. This wonderful beautiful chapter explains so much. I loved the deeper look into this complicated relationship between the three of them and especially into poor Jono's troubles. The romantic connection between Dani and Jono may not have been what either of them planned (it rarely is), but is finally glaringly obvious. I think I might even kind of sort of agree with Spladoum - they were meant to be! 

ohgodcaitlynNov 6, 2010

Man i love this story soo much, i could see it as a movie! \:D

Jennifer_RNov 6, 2010

That was so wonderful! And what an ending! Eeek! \:eek\: I hope to see no. 5 up soon. Great work once again. Fabulous shots and so well written. \:wub\:

Nygirl08Nov 3, 2010

Excellent chapter as always, cant' wait for the next!!!\:rah\: Congrats on the feature, well deserved as always!

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