Getting to Know Ash Caine, Part 2

What’s your favorite book?
I’m not much for reading books, mainly because when I had time, I couldn’t find a lot about people like me. A few years ago, I found this one fanfic writer, Ewinfic, who wrote Star Trek real person fiction about the actors behind the 2009 JJ Abrams reboot. She wasn’t afraid to push boundaries, either, and I learned some kinky shit from her stories. I also liked the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, but after reading a dozen of those, I got kind of sick of it. If I had to pick a book, it would be something sci-fi, but I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

What’s your most embarrassing memory?
Second grade. Kid named Jeremy Hicks. My mom told me all the kids in my class were supposed to get a Valentine card, and I had a crush on him. Put a heart next to his name on the front, and when they realized I hadn’t done that to any of my other Valentines, I learned real quick what homophobia was. When Charlotte ratted me out, I played it off to our parents like I’d meant to put hearts on all of them, and his was just the first, but that after Jeremy’s was done, I changed my mind. I don’t know if they bought the lie, but they didn’t act like it was a big deal.

If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go and what would you do there? Is your answer now different from what it was before the shit hit the fan?
Vancouver. It’s beautiful, not incredibly hot or cold one way or another, and has a really eclectic culture. Frankly, moving to Canada now seems like a good option, so yeah, that’s still my destination of choice.

What places have you been on vacations and what was your favorite?
I’ve been to San Francisco, Orlando, and Olympic National Park in Washington. Uncle Marvin lives on the edge of it. If I had to pick one, it’d be San Francisco. That was the first place I ever saw two men holding hands, and knew I wasn’t alone in the world. Not that I was going to learn more about San Francisco’s gay community when I was ten, but it was sort of a confirmation I hadn’t known I was waiting for. The wharf was cool, too, and I could have watched the seals on the pier all day.

Tell me about your Mom and Dad. What do you remember most about them?
My dad was fierce, but he was a pretty reserved, self-contained guy. He wasn’t the kind to swagger or brag about what he could do. He knew what he was capable of, and didn’t give a shit if anyone else believed it or not. He also wasn’t the kind of dad to leave all but the playing with us to my mom. He read as many bedtime stories and gave as many baths as she did. But I remember his smell, most. Head & Shoulders shampoo, whatever soap was cheapest, and sweat.

Mom was a little more outspoken than Dad. She was a skinny thing, and tall. She was taller than Dad, and I remember him laughing and saying if he ever needed an ego check, he just had to look up at her to remember there were bigger things than him. He meant her heart, but he teased her about her height. Anyway, she was always smiling, but she was smart. Fantastic poker player. She taught me about body language and tells. Then she promised that for every outdoorsy thing Dad taught us, she had a housekeeping lesson. I don’t like cooking but I can do it. Ironing is the devil, so I do it as little as necessary, but I know how. I learned how to handle debit and credit cards by the time I was fourteen, not that they were in my name. It’s kind of morbid, but she told us how much our monthly income was and used the incoming hospital bills for her cancer treatment to illustrate what happens when you have to juggle payments. But she was fun. She’s the one who let us cover the living room in chairs draped in blankets and call them tents. She’d make kitchen-s’mores—carefully roasting the marshmallows in the gas flame of the stove burners—and let us have them in our tents while crawling in with us to have ghost stories around a flashlight we pretended was a campfire. She’d randomly start singing and dancing in the kitchen, and she helped us set up little skits. Charlotte was the dramatic one, but I liked building the “sets” for her skits, and my parents indulged us both. Mom was the spontaneous one. I can’t pick a single memory I remember most about her.

Have you ever been betrayed by someone you trusted? If yes would you ever forgive them? If not how do you think you’d react if it happened?
When I was in high school, I was Chip Wilkinson’s piece on the side. He was the baseball team’s captain and was “dating” a cheerleader, but I was the one whose bedroom he snuck into in the small hours of the night. My room was in the basement, and he couldn’t climb through a window, so I gave him a key to the back door. Given how far he went to convince his parents he was straight, I shouldn’t have been so surprised when it ended badly. I was “tutoring” him in biology, not that he needed much help from me. He wasn’t a dumb jock, just a bored one and he had a passing grade, but not a great one. Anyway, one afternoon, we were supposed to be studying for a test on the nervous system or something, and instead, we were on the couch with our hands down each other’s pants.
Charlotte walked in on us, home early from work because Riley was sick. She stopped and blinked at us, then took Riley into the bathroom for a cool bath to lower his fever. She never said a word. Chip freaked out. I told him it was no big deal, that Charlotte didn’t think sexual orientation was gossip fodder, but he wasn’t even hearing the words coming out of my mouth. He left and the next morning, he’d spread rumors that I’d come onto him during a study session. A couple guys from his team were waiting to “escort” me to my first class. I never made it. When I could stand again, I walked home and spent the rest of the week at home, trying to convince Charlotte not to go after him, or take me to the hospital. We couldn’t afford the bills, and Mom was gone by then. It was a couple of bruised kidneys, and some bad bruises. One of them tweaked my knee. They were careful enough not to get my face, so when I came back to school, people just assumed I’d been embarrassed by the rumors and stayed away.

I didn’t care what other people thought of me, but Chip… that hurt. He got caught a year later with his catcher in the school showers, and neither of them couldn’t save face, so he was out whether he wanted to be or not. Last I knew, he got a scholarship to play ball at University of Maryland, and didn’t need his parents’ blessing anymore.

Would I forgive him if he apologized? I already have. He was scared. My parents’ deaths were far worse than the fishbowl that was high school, but I had a better support system with my sister and her out-of-wedlock baby than Chip did with his perfect nuclear family, so I understood his reaction. I don’t know if he set up my greeting party that next day. Even if he did, in the long run, he did me a favor. Because of that beating, I learned how to defend myself, to fight back. I also learned to be more careful with my trust.

What’s your Myers-Briggs type? Or, as is my preference, your D&D alignment (and you don’t have to have played the game to answer these – I tried it)?

Your result for The D&D Alignment Test …

True Neutral

You scored 57% Law vs Chaos and 50% Good vs Evil!

Keep this in mind, before you read this and take it too seriously…
This test is based on a system of moral absolutes. There is no subjectivity in D&D, as it is based on a fantasy world of heroes and villains. That is why their alignment system is so simple and polar. So naturally, if I were to apply this simple morality to modern day life, things would look very “black and white”. That is why I watered down the concept of evil and good. It is very unlikely that anyone who takes this test is a mass murderer or a superhero, so Mean vs. Nice will have to take the place of good vs. evil.

Neutrality in a nutshell:
-In regard to Law vs. Chaos, neutral characters are fairly well balanced. They believe that their morality, or lack thereof, is more important than what is legal or illegal.
-In regard to good vs. evil, neutral characters tend to be somewhat selfish. They do not have a strong will to do the right thing, but they do have a conscience.
Your Alignment:
This alignment is suprisingly common. Even I fall into this category.
Most people assume that they are good. They follow the rules and they are nice to people most of the time. But what do we really DO to benefit society? The answer for most of us is… not much. We just play our part, and do our own thing.
Don’t feel bad though. It’s better than being evil.


If you walked into your favorite store to find they had rearranged everything how would you feel and react?
I’d probably get annoyed and grumble about it, but find what I needed anyway and get out. Not really big on shopping.

You just found out you need a good bit of money very quickly. How do you go about getting it?
I mentioned my mother played poker, right? I’d probably hit up a high stakes game and see what I could do. I can hold my own at counting cards. If I needed more than a few hundred or a few thousand, I’d probably talk to my uncle. It would depend on what it was for, though. I’d rather not pop up on anyone’s radar, so illegal means wouldn’t be too helpful.

Answer these as though the catastrophe hasn’t happened yet:

What is in your refrigerator? On your nightstand?
Gatorade, fruit and vegetables, lunchmeat. Nothing exciting. On my nightstand, there’s a lamp, a couple books, my cell phone charger, and a picture of my parents. Maybe a handful of change, unless my asshole roommates stole it.

Time for a typical night out. Where are you going? What are you wearing? What are your plans when you get there? Are you meeting anyone specific?
Probably hit up a club. I’d wear jeans, a t-shirt, and depending on the weather, my leather jacket. Boots. When I got there, I’d have a couple beers, and check out the crowd, see if there are any takers. No one specific. Anonymous would be fine, although I kind of stopped going to clubs in the last several months.

What’s your roommate like? How long have you been roomies?
I have three roommates, and they’re all assholes. The one who shares my room, Jared, I’m pretty sure is fucking his girlfriend in my bed so he doesn’t have to wash his own sheets that often. The other two are kind of obnoxious, but I guess they’re just typical guys. At least they’re all serious about school, though, so I can study without tuning out wild parties and a parade of girls in and out.

If you knew you wouldn’t get caught would you commit a crime? If so, what crime?
Depends on the reason. If I was stuck in a situation where the only solution was to break the law, then yeah. Let’s take your earlier question about what I’d do if I needed a lot of money quickly. Say it was because Charlotte had some kind of problem, like her van got totaled and she needed a car, or something she needed for Riley, like expensive medicine. If I knew I wasn’t going to get caught, I’d probably get a guy I know to hack a bank. I’d try to stay away from stealing from a person, but some of those banks are full of criminals in suits. That would be easier for me to stomach than stealing debit cards or identities. But I don’t think I’d commit a crime without damn good reason, and only if I had no other option.

Do you have any hobbies?
Kickboxing. Building shit. I like to tinker.

What chore do you hate the most? Any you actually enjoy doing?
Housecleaning. Laundry. If I ever have a house, I’m going to have a house cleaner for all that. I don’t mind yard work, though, or even gardening. I prefer fresh veggies not tainted by pesticides, and we didn’t have much of a yard growing up, but we always had a few tomato plants and some other basic vegetables. Useful, good for the environment, and better for our health. Cheaper, too.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
When we were in Orlando, we spent a day at Disney World. There’s this place in the MGM, or whatever they’re calling that park now, called the 50s Prime Time Café. It’s set up like a 1950s diner and the wait staff treat you like they’re your family. What I mean by that is when you sit at your table, they dump the silverware in a pile in the middle and ask you to set the table for them. When you order, they make you get vegetables and they tell you they won’t let you have dessert unless you clean your plate. My dad wanted a beer and it was in the middle of the day. Our waitress gave him the biggest raft of shit for drinking before 5 o’clock. I can remember a couple at a table a few spots over and the guy didn’t want to eat his green beans, so he’d hidden them beneath his chicken and mashed potatoes. The waitress found them when she went to clear their plates and she made a show of making him eat three green beans. She even fed them to him. The whole dining room was laughing, the guy included, and he eventually got his pie or whatever he tried to order. But that stuck with me. The food was good, and it was entertaining. While I have only been there once, it was the most memorable restaurant I’ve ever been to. I was only eight, so I’d like to go back some time and see if it’s really how I remember it.

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