Part 3 – in the interests of deceitful scheming

After having spent more than two decades at an institution for higher learning, there is no denying that Cole Donblas has accumulated a fair sum of knowledge.

dl1-3m

Ironically, one of the most valuable lessons Cole has ever learned,  was not taught inside a classroom. Nonetheless, it is a life skill he has adopted as his personal creed. He has adhered strictly to it, inside both his social and occupational circles.

There is an art to not asking questions.

dl1-3n

Mastering this art has earned Cole a great deal of trust and respect among sims who appreciate a shortage of overt curiosity. Cole’s selective indifference is coupled with an uncanny knowledge regarding contemporary artists and their works. His skill in this area is considerable. But for reasons known only to him, he chooses downplay (if not completely conceal) this talent in most social settings.

dl1-3o

More times than not, attempting to identify what it is that drives Cole will lead to unresolved speculation. In this case, his aloofness can be attributed to earning money. Outside of the occasional commission to restore an old painting, or his “budding” side-business distributing herbs on campus, it would seem there is no way to account for his deep reserves of disposable income.

dl1-3s

Cole’s approach to gainful employment over the past decade has been somewhat unusual. Be it through skill, charm, or dumb-luck, Cole has managed to secure a retainer fee from a local antique dealer to provide professional valuation on rare items. In fairness, the title “antique dealer” may be somewhat misleading in this situation. By those same standards, classifying Cole’s work as  “employment” may also be an exaggeration.

dl1-3p

This is where the art of not asking questions becomes relevant. Cole’s employer might be better classified as an art trafficker; and more times than not, his items cannot be sold on the open market. For Cole, there is no moral dilemma. His role is to simply discern between the rubbish and the real works of art; and at times, to convince a seller that their valuable treasures are actually worthless trash.

dl1-3q

Cole completely ignores the supply chain aspect of his benefactor’s business dealings. His only concern is for protecting art from falling into the hands of rich and greedy sims who do not appreciate art itself, but rather its potential for profitability. Redistributing these fine works to those who actually deserve to own them, prevents wealthy scum from exploiting them into a form of currency. It also rescues the art from being locked away in private vaults to collect dust (and value).

From his own perspective, Cole is doing the art community a great service. It is a plausible enough explanation, containing a great measure of truth, and affording him enough respect to avoid a closer inspection of his motives. But it does not convey the entire truth, which is a somewhat more complicated affair.

dl1-3t

The word sentimental would be an unlikely candidate when describing Cole. There is, however, one, odd, little exception. Some years ago, Cole had discovered the existence of a very rare set of paintings originating from a lineage of prolific artists. For generations, this family had mass-produced sappy, retail-quality religiosity. But among the mass of wasted pigment, there lurked a well-kept secret.

dl1-3u

Once every generation (or thereabouts), as a matter of family tradition, a parent from this family would render a painting as a gift to one of their children. It was said that each one of these private, signature masterpieces were unique and giftedly inspired. Only a handful of them were ever created, and Cole has spent years working toward locating just one. As fortune would have it, he has now located several of them.

It is here that our drama begins to unfold.

fancyrule

To escape notice by sims who might take issue with his activism, Cole must occasionally utilize the relative anonymity of a land-line telephone. His telephonic device of choice resides at the “antique warehouse” which serves as the  nerve-center of  his employer’s operations.

dl1-3L

dl1-3a

It is perfect for placing calls that require careful discretion. Circumstances have now surfaced that require a delicate balance between audacity and paranoia. So, throwing caution to the wind, he has resolved to make a very risky phone call.  Extremely bad things would occur if it were ever traced back to his own personal wireless service. In reality, making the call from any location is probably unwise. But it is a calculated risk he is willing to take.

dl1-3c

The antique warehouse is about an hour’s drive outside town. It’s the kind of place where a sim could easily go into hiding. It’s also the kind of place where a sim could easily be hidden… indefinitely.  Doing his best to ward off the creepy vibes he always gets from visiting this place, Cole walks quickly to a small office and wastes no time dialing a phone number he had not used in many years.

dl1-3b

The speaker on the old handset produces a terrible, tinny sound, as though the apparatus had been fished from the bottom of a lake. After the line connects,  Cole wastes no time on pleasantries, and immediately states his business. He speaks calmly for several minutes before a frantic, male voice emerges from the handset’s speaker. Cole remains cool and self-assured, despite his growing uneasiness.

dl1-3d1

After listening to his father rant, uninterrupted, for no less than two full minutes, Cole recalls why he rarely speaks to the crazy, old crackpot. Unfortunately, Cole needs to extract some very important information.

dl1-3e

“No, dad, they are not alive.”

“Yes, I know where they are.”

“No, I’m not going to tell you.”

“Just tell me what their names are.”

dl1-3f

“I already told you, they are NOT alive. I just need names.”

dl1-3g

Having secured the information he requires, and ignoring the desperate plea for him to come home, Cole ends the call without saying goodbye. There is no need to write anything down. Cole has an eidetic memory for this kind of information.

dl1-3h

Barely able to keep his anxiety in check, Cole moves quickly to a large storage cage. He produces the electric cut-off saw he had stowed in his backpack. Despite his trembling hands, he makes quick work of the lock on the cage. Once inside,  Cole nervously but carefully releases a number of canvases from their bulky frames. He neatly rolls the canvases then slips them into a rigid, waterproof tube. After carefully sealing the container, he slings the entire business over his shoulder. Fumbling with the tube, his backpack, and a mess of broken frame parts, Cole fumbles his way outside.

dl1-3i

dl1-3j

Convincing himself that what he’s doing is justified, he throws the broken bits of frame as far as he can; to the top of a large salvage heap. Cole’s anxiety has peaked, but he feels no shame in accepting his panic. The dubious nature of his activities today give him every right to feel panic.

dl1-3k

Having completed his business, Cole finds himself running toward his motorcycle; which carries him back toward the perceived shelter of his university safe-haven.

that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. – Ephesians 4:14

Advertisements

Part 2 – called to be free

Times change.

dl1-2m

Sims who don’t change with them, risk becoming forgotten relics; tossed aside to make way for those who are more accommodating toward the evolving sociosexual landscape. Cole Donblas takes pride at keeping himself at the bleeding-edge of change and progress. Gratefully, the rewards of maintaining such an open mind are as varied as they are frequent.

dl1-2a

This morning, being a typical sampling of Cole’s lifestyle, finds him greeted with a rousing kiss, initiated by his overnight companion. She does not hide her intention of making this a morning to remember. But a quick time-check interrupts the mood.

dl1-2b

Unfortunately, he’ll have to postpone this intersession, for now. He rolls out of bed, quickly dresses, then invites his young guest to help herself to breakfast while he’s gone; adding that she should leave through the back door, which he leaves unlocked.

dl1-2c

Cole hefts his backpack, grabs an apple from the refrigerator, then races out the same back door. He could have really used another four hours of sleep. But the energetic coed, whom he had left purring in his bed, was in no frame of mind for sleep last night. Cole smirks as he rides to class. It was a really good night. Morning calisthenics would have been mind-blowing.

dl1-2d

For the time being, the immediate, bigger picture must take precedence over his libido. He has already missed too many classes this semester and risks earning unwanted attention from university officials. They tend to frown upon guys like Cole, for a variety of reasons. He suspects there would be some very uncomfortable questions originating from a number of sources, if it became common knowledge that he’d spent the last twenty-five years on campus without earning a degree.

dl1-2l

A quarter century is a long time to be doing any one thing, but the time has passed quickly for Cole. He has excelled at socially integrating (much of the time intimately) with sims who have barely emerged from their teens. To put this all into in perspective, Cole’s companion from last night hasn’t even been alive twenty-five years. In all likelihood, her mother was still in high school when Cole attended his first college course. Thankfully, the university administration is completely unaware of Cole’s tenure.

dl1-2e

At some point, Cole had figured out how to game the system well enough to stay inconspicuous. The trick is keeping things simple and not attracting attention. He asks the right questions, befriends the right sims, and says the right things at the right times. He does a favor here, and gets a favor there. Lost paperwork or an opportunistic computer “glitch”, and a few simoleons slipped under the door, goes a long way to create a situation where the university suddenly “forgets” that he’s been enrolled for the same class at least ten times.

dl1-2f

His lack of a degree does not translate to any lack of trying. On the contrary, Cole is getting exactly the results he is seeking. The vast majority of men his age (many of whom would likely disapprove of Cole’s lifestyle) are weighted down by their miserable status-quo lives. Where is the freedom in merely subsisting while anchored to a wife, kids (if not grandchildren), and a smothering blanket of debt? These so-called “men” work all day and well into the night, just to stay alive. Meanwhile, the profit from of their hard work goes toward making filthy-rich sims more filthy, and more rich. The difference between Cole and his counterparts is easily illustrated. They slave to pay for their daughters’ tuition; while Cole relaxes in the company of those same daughters during an erotic rendezvous or two. He laughs out loud while wondering to himself who, exactly, is more fulfilled in the arrangement.

dl1-2h

His only real threat of exposure exists within the pool of professors working at the school. This is where Cole’s mastery of the situation really shines. Rather than making himself invisible to them, Cole has entrenched himself within the academia. He willingly personifies their ideal of the quintessential, modern man. He is passive and passionate, sensitive, open-minded, and forward-thinking. At the same time, he is tenacious, pretentious, and cavalier when engaging his idealogical opponents. More importantly, he openly embraces the culture of enlightenment that higher education has fought tirelessly to establish. Stale professors are clueless about what it takes to completely connect with the youth. Cole, however,  has been very effective at modeling the message that university is not just about education, but about leading simkind forward into a new age of freethinking.

dl1-2n

And yet, despite these basic truths, there are sims who still resist reality. They cling to useless rituals and superstitions responsible for creating unwanted obstacles. They threaten to become charismatic leaders who command too much influence in opposition. Cole has had much success showing these deceived sims how their beliefs amount to nothing more than irrational fears and learned, bigoted hatred. For many sims, the damage can be undone.

dl1-2j

Others are much more difficult to reach. These sims are lost, and generally beyond Cole’s ability to help. They will take jobs earning unfair, corporate wages or aspire to political careers that stand in the way of necessary social progress. Failing to crush these sims now, leaves open the possibility that they will ascend to power and exploit their simple-minded constituents.

dl1-2i

Cole’s current project is a sim who has already succeeded at forcing her ideas through politics. She had, almost single-handedly, shut down the planned “Woohoo Week” festival on campus with a letter to the mayor. Thankfully, the offending correspondence had been leaked by somebody inside city hall, for all to see. It was a pathetic play on throwback customs, to a pathetic politician who agreed with her misguided ideology. Cole has since engaged her a number of times on campus with very little success. She’d even had the audacity, at one point, to evangelize to him about her superstitions.

dl1-2o

The exchange ended with Cole suffering a slap in the face after suggesting that “woohoo week” would do her a world of good. Cole knows which battles to fight, and which battles are not worth the effort. The young woman had been disliked already, but she is now reviled. Given the fallout from her leaked letter to the mayor, her fate on campus is sealed. She will likely not last another semester here.

dl1-2g

But Cole isn’t willing to let this one go just yet. He’d done some digging and learned that she spends quite a bit of time at her “church”. Cole has had great success separating sims from these kinds of disingenuous fear-mongers; who seem bent on indoctrinating gullible, young sims, and cheating them out of the fruits of their youth.

dl1-2p

He owes society one, final effort to show this lost, little doe the light of day from inside the walls of her stone-aged monastery. Ironically, the church itself will provide the opportunity he will use to succeed.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  – Galatians 5:13

Part 1 – the morning star rises

Not all stories begin at the beginning. Consider the present example, which likely finds the distinguished reader expecting to be introduced to a young sim who will nobly lay the foundation for a family legacy that marches toward an end goal of producing ten generations of offspring.

This is not that kind of story.

dl1-1a

We are introduced, instead, to a middle-aged sim born to the ninth generation of a legacy family that may never achieve its stated goal of producing ten generations. Why introduce a story at the end, and at a point where the legacy is destined to fail? The answer, perhaps, is just simply because this is where things really start to get interesting…

fancyrule

…zzz

dl1-1e

…zzz ….curiously dominated by superstitious, religious symbolism until the recent, modern age of scientific enlightenment. Mythological creatures, such as angels and omnipotent spirits, have been depicted in sim-made works of art all throughout history. These fairy-tale beings can be found in paintings and literature… zzz…

…zzz …earliest surviving works of art show depictions of these so-called messengers sent, presumably, by other, more powerful fictional beings. Obviously, we are much more sophisticated now, and have smart phones to do our messaging for us.

dl1-1d

…zzz …still, some self-described artists (we’ll call them painters) feel compelled to continue recycling these antiquated and barbaric themes. One family in particular, is notorious for peddling their kitsch pieces to low-information sims who still cling to ancient customs and outdated beliefs… zzz…

dl1-1c

…zzz …please come prepared Monday with examples of more contemporary works, where actual artists have demonstrated maturation and a much-needed progression away these simplistic ideals; while delving into more natural subject matter regarding the core sexual identity that defines a sim.

Blah, blah, blah… Sitting through these lectures was never easy. But as Cole Donblas gets older, he is finding that suffering through them has become exponentially more difficult. Make no mistake about it, Cole has sat through more than his share of lectures. It is probably accurate to suggest that he has made a career of it.

dl1-1g

Some sims could argue that Cole has become hopelessly stuck. Certainly, after twenty-five years and several unfinished attempts at earning an undergraduate degree in various areas, it may be easy to reach such a conclusion. But if you ask Cole, “stuck” is not the word he would use. If anything, he would point out evidence suggesting the opposite.

dl1-1f

Cole has become something of a legend on campus. While his celebrity may only extend within the boundaries of the university, he is revered and cherished as a sub-cultural icon. Admittedly, Cole’s charming and easy-going personality is rather disarming. It is not, however, sufficient to explain this curious state of sustained popularity among the campus youth.

dl1-1m

What drives this fascination? Why is it so effortless for him to plug into university culture?  Could it be his own rebellious nature they gravitate toward?  Being the primary supplier of herbs on campus may very likely play a key role. The reality of the matter is fairly simple; and though he’d never admit to it, there is an unmistakable leadership quality he projects. The elusive formula, whatever it may be, seems to work very well for Cole.

dl1-1h

He has no reservations, and he does not hesitate in taking full advantage of his popularity. When he meets a new sim, Cole explains very clearly, before any feelings are hurt, where his interests are aligned. And since university is a time of social experimentation for many young sims, most are eager to show their appreciation for his candidness.

dl1-1i

Cole rarely sleeps alone. He does have a few favorite sims, who find themselves frequent “house guests”. But aside from the occasional marathon, he rarely shares his bed with the same sim on consecutive nights.

dl1-1j

Cole has become very skilled at identifying which young sims share his mindset. He knows the places to frequent, the behaviors to look for, and the approachable demeanors that are consistent with his personal worldview. He’s had quite a lot of practice. And he rarely, if ever, misjudges a new opportunity.

dl1-1l

Then there are those sims who just seem work too hard. They tragically squander their precious time at university by studying in earnest and stressing out about GPA.  Cole can spot these types immediately upon seeing them. Any attempt at outreach is usually wasted effort, and he makes a point of avoiding any socialization beyond the most superficial and cordial interactions. In Cole’s mind, the world could be a much happier place if sims would relax more, and weren’t so unnecessarily attached to the artificial concepts of ambition and fidelity.

dl1-1k

Still, there are some occasions when he does go for the gamble, and against the odds, invites a wall-flower or bookworm to a party. The outcome is almost always the same. He always takes aloofness in stride, and never considers rejection to be a complete loss. Socializing with a sim who poses at least some contention, goes a long way toward keeping his “smooth recovery” skills sharp.

dl1-1n

Rebel, Hippie, Beatnik, and Swinger; he has sold the image perfectly. Cole’s life appears to be simple and carefree. But as we all know, there are few things in life that are so simple; and nothing in life is exactly what it appears to be. Keeping that in mind, as some may have already suspected, Cole Donblas is no exception to the rule.

dl1-1o

Cole Donblas – Irresistible, Rebellious, Party Animal, Mooch, Commitment Issues, Avant Garde* (from rebel social group)

You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. – 2 Peter 1:19