The whole city smelled funny. Vodka, scowling, realized this as the taxi screeched to a halt outside a tall, brick apartment building. With the opening of the car door, a distinct stench of antidepressants and rosebud perfume washed over Bridgeport’s newest residents.
Unlike her father and his jailbreak girlfriend, the green girl had little desire to flee to the city. There was bird poop on the sidewalk and a permanent cloud of smog hovering overhead and an unpleasant smelling woman paraded her chihuahua in a furry pink purse past their new apartment building-this was not preferable to the idyllic sprawl of Pleasantview. At least Pleasantview’s stars shone when the sun sank. Vodka couldn’t imagine that a single person in Bridgeport city limits didn’t wish to be vaporized. Surely such a gloomy bred gloomy people.
For the first time in her short life, Vodka was clueless to the true state of affairs. Starlets and glamour addicts prowled the streets, hunting for their next publicity stunt. Garbage huddled at the bottom of the ocean, lapping up on the battered shoreline. During the day, the city was a wretched place to live. Of this Vodka had been correct.
When daylight faded, however, the city burst into an explosion of color. Vivaciously flicking on all of its light switches, it became a whirlwind of metropolitan grandeur, with taxis squealing around each street corner and hordes of fame seekers searching for celebrities to impregnate. From the most exclusive lounges to the seediest dive bars (which everyone knew were the most fun but had the most questionable toilets touched by the most questionable bottoms), rumors of drained necks and lifeless bodies swept the streets. Vodka did not want to live their roller coaster lives, but yet found herself enthralled by it all. They were of such a magnitude of stupidity that they broke the scale altogether and dove back around to being fascinating.
City life treated Pandora well. A whole new crowd stood at her feet her in, and she threw herself into cultivating new, hopefully lasting friendships. “Why do need all of them?” Vodka would ask each night as she was turning off the lights.
“I love people.” Pandora would smile. “You should try it, too.”
“I don’t love idiots,” scoffed Vodka. While she loved her sister dearly, sometimes she wondered if Pandora wasn’t an idiot, too. This thought disturbed Vodka greatly, and she would hurriedly bleach it from her brain before she fell asleep.
Bender and Nina fell as in love with the city as they were with each other. With one look at the towering skyscrapers, Bender stumbled, astounded, to a kneel and with another look at Nina’s surprised eyes, knew there was no other option than to smoothly produce a ring from his pocket. Smiling so hard her mouth nearly fell from her face, Nina tearfully accepted. While Bender had not planned on proposing, he felt quite alright about the whole ordeal and decided to keep his accident to himself. And so the family, mostly jovial and with only one part sour, paraded to their new apartment.
“Whizzer!” Pandora had cried when they first stepped in; she raced to the new television. Vodka followed, yawning. “This place is way better than the old house, and that movie was super duper wild!”
“Maybe I’d like the apartment better,” said Vodka, “if the elevator didn’t like to blabber on for an hour before actually going anywhere.” She paused. “But I agree, it was great for a rock opera.”
“It’s just being a pal!” protested Pandora. “And what’s a rock opera?”
Vodka, who was not a large fan of the concept of pals-they never talked about interesting or important things, and only seemed good for a game of beer pong and their infinite collection of classic rock music, which they played at full volume twenty-four hours a day three hundred sixty-five days a year, thought the elevator was very silly. If it was trying to be a pal, it wasn’t trying very hard. For starters, thought Vodka, it would have to stop with the smooth jazz. Then it would have to shrink its vocabulary to a few choice phrases involving women’s private parts and hard liquor. Afterwards, it would need to wear a backwards baseball cap on its dial, which Vodka doubted was even possible.
Then, and only then, would the elevator be a true pal, and Vodka would still hate it.
Unfortunately, Bridgeport was a hotbed of irritatingly slow, irritatingly chatty, but yet extremely advanced transportation technology. While the elevator was certainly awful, the worst was yet to come.
The subway was a particularly perplexing invention. As Bender stared at the deceivingly cheerful lines, he began to break into a cold sweat. This happened around three times a week.
“You look like you’re in a rush,” said the subway.
“Shit!” swore Bender, ignoring the subway’s small talk. “This map looks like a fucking coloring book.”
After a brief guessing game, he would always pick the same correct line, and arrive at the junkyard after an excessively long, dark subway ride with many pointless stops for many pointless people. Bender didn’t hesitate to shove all manner of celebrities out of his way as he dashed to the exit. If one protested, he’d shout, “Piss off!” and the train would fall silent, aside from a few brave souls who applauded Bender’s audacity and happened to dislike whichever poor soul he’d pushed out of his way.
Once he arrived at the surface, Bender hailed a cab, popped open a beer, and smoothly sailed to the junkyard. He returned home on the same treacherous route in the evening, and then continue work on his new life’s work: the Simbot.
As Bender tinkered with nuts and bolts, a quivering Nina looked full time employment in the eye. She took a deep breath, smoothed her skirt, and signed up as a movie extra. If she had read the title of her upcoming film, she would have marched back home and searched the newspaper for alternate work, but in her dreamy, newly engaged state, she passed the headline by. The Great Gatsby Two: More Liquor! would ensure that she would remain at the lowest rungs of the acting career, but propelled her to becoming the most famous extra east of Broadway Avenue-not for her talent as an actress, but for her amazing imitation of her drunken husband.
Vodka and Pandora raced to the bus in the mornings, and then would spend their days wasting away in the confines of Bridgeport Elementary. Each day Vodka waited to be teased for her massive black eyes and mint green skin, but the harsh words never came. Amazed, she found herself unable to speak to her classmates. This was in part because of their nonexistent IQs, and also in part because of her overwhelming confusion about the whole matter. Perhaps these city people had seen stranger, Vodka decided during the second week of school. She smiled. Somehow, this thought was comforting. Assuming her notions were correct, she was not alone in her supernatural origins. A second family could be hiding anywhere in the city. If something stranger than an alien lurked the alleyways of Bridgeport, Vodka was going to do her damnedest to find it.
The weeks passed by in a happy daze. The city became more familiar, more like a home, to the Belues. Though they could hardly afford rent, they smiled over the dinner table and laughed about the old gossips of Pleasantview. “I’ve heard Mortimer Goth’s engaged again,” Nina laughed over cold soup.
They all burst into laughter. Smiles illuminated their dark bedrooms, and for a moment, it seemed as if trouble had finally decided to leave them alone.
This all changed on a Friday.
It was not an average Friday. It was the sort of Friday children look forward to, teenagers yearn for, and adults dread. It was a birthday Friday.
Two birthdays, to be precise. It was a day that, if nothing went terribly wrong, was supposed to be the best of Pandora and Vodka’s young lives. They were Belues, however, and so disaster struck.
As Vodka took her daily bathroom break, she looked into the mirror for the first time that day (while Vodka was a stickler for personal hygiene, she didn’t believe one had to look in the mirror to brush their teeth or put on deodorant). She began to scream. Her classmates began to scream with her, and the teacher covered her ears and fell to her knees. She had forgotten to turn down her hearing aid, and subsequently went deaf within the hour. Her following substitute was to be a very polarizing woman with a heavy accent and heavier eyeliner.
Vodka turned on heel and ran, leaving a zoo of shrieking children in her wake. Pandora followed, waving her arms and shouting “Wait!” like a frantic monkey whose bananas have been stolen.
Vodka only stopped running after she was outside, chest heaving, hands trembling. Pandora stepped beside her, brown eyes wide. “Vods, what happened?”
“My eyes!” cried Vodka. “Do you see my eyes?”
“Wow!” Pandora jumped back. “They’re not the usuals!”
Anyone could see that. Vodka rolled her eyes and feared the worst. “Panda, these are human eyes!”
“They’re pretty, though,” said Pandora pleasantly. “I think they look super good on you.”
“They’re disgusting,” hissed Vodka. “I want my old ones back.”
“I heard mom and dad spreading the jam about eyes,” said Pandora slowly, “and I think it might have to do with yours.”
“They were talking really sneaky-like under the table sneaky, ya know? Mom said she’d met one on set, ‘a creature of the night,’ she said. She said they have really shiny eyes, like glow sticks. Dad starting going on about them jacking stuff from the junk hall. Maybe they jacked your eyes, too!”
“Like that movie we were watching?” asked Vodka fearfully. “No, that doesn’t make any sense. Whatever those creatures are, they wouldn’t have repossessed them. I didn’t buy my eyes from some dumb company.”
“Maybe they’re organ stealers!” Pandora’s eyes widened. “They’re going to sell them on the black market!”
“I’m going to find these ‘creatures of the night,'” said Vodka darkly. “They won’t know what hit them.”
“Can we save it for tomorrow? We have a birthday tonight, and Dad said he was going to take us somewhere.”
Later that evening, Bender prepared to take his daughters on a grand adventure, but found his way blocked by the elevator. “First floor once everyone’s in,” said Bender.
“Oh, going down?” asked the elevator. “Are you sure you wouldn’t want to go up? Down is so depressing. I want to see my psychiatrist after each trip-doesn’t that make you sad? It makes me sad.”
“Do you know what’s depressing?” snapped Bender. “I’m arguing with an elevator.”
“We’re not arguing. We’re just discussing your direction. Are you sure you want to go down? Down is a bad, bad path, Mr. Belue. You’re going to go down a road of darkness.”
“Hello, elevator!” chirped Pandora.
“Hiya, Panda!” greeted the elevator. “How are we on this fine evening?”
“It’s Vods and me’s birthday!”
“Oh, good for you! What were your favorite presents?”
“Presents?” mused Pandora. “We didn’t get any presents…”
“MR. BELUE!” roared the elevator. “That is CHILD NEGLECT! You are on a bad path indeed!”
Bender groaned. “I need a drink.”
Two hours passed before they made it to the taxi. The first hour was spent dispelling any notions of child abuse, and the second convincing the elevator to take the frazzled family to the first floor. If it had been made by aliens, thought Vodka, it would’ve been much more efficient, and much less loquacious.
“Waylon’s Haunt,” said Bender to the driver.
The driver nodded.
Turning around in her seat, Vodka whispered to Pandora. “Do you think the creatures will be there?”
“Maybe,” said Pandora simply. “We’ll get the knows, though, yeah?”
The drive was long and frightening and painfully awkward. Bender swore under his breath constantly, causing the taxi driver to swerve wildly. She was an older woman with a stern disposition and a high hairline, and while she despised many things, she despised swearing the most. Being a poor taxi driver and unable to admonish her customers, however, she simply took out her growing frustration on the steering wheel. Vodka and Pandora held onto their seat belts with each squealing corner, each desperately wanting to punch their father in the face.
When they arrived at Waylon’s Haunt, Vodka raised an eyebrow. She turned to Pandora. “This looks too average for them.”
“Dad,” piped up Pandora, “this place gives me the heebie jeebies.”
Bender, who was on a very important mission, ignored her and went inside.
“Should we trail him?” asked Pandora.
“We’ve got to go in there,” said Vodka. “If there’s no creatures, we’ll go home, okay?”
“Okay…” groaned Pandora. Gulping, she followed her older sister into the bar.
“OH HELL YEAH!” shouted Bender, grinning and flexing his muscles. “This place makes me stronger, I swear! I’ll take the whole bottle!”
“I think that’s the booze talking,” said Vodka, rolling her eyes.
“I’m ordering a drink-do you kids want anything?”
“No, thanks,” said Pandora. She bit her lip. “Vods, you got the digs yet?”
Vodka’s gaze swept the room. She sighed. “No glowing eyes here.”
“Does this mean we can motor now?”
“Let’s go,” said Vodka. “Happy freaking birthday, huh?”
“Bye guys!” shouted Bender, and returned to his drink. He smiled. “Thank god for dive bars.”
After a not particularly exciting journey home, Pandora and Vodka arrived to a lovely surprise.
“Surprise!” shouted Nina.
“Whizzer, Mom!” cried Pandora. “You didn’t have to buy us party grub!”
“Why not?” asked Nina, smiling. She was not very close with Pandora or Vodka, and fervently hoped this would help her get to know them better. Both of the girls harbored a secret fear of the woman-those prison scrubs had spoke mountains. Vodka looked down on her soon to be stepmother for the crimes those scrubs revealed, while Pandora feared the hideous fashion statement they implied. That outfit had not done wonders for their relationships.
“Where’s your dad?”
“He’s still at the bar,” said Vodka.
Nina narrowed her eyes. “We’ll just have to carry on without him then, won’t we? Do you want to go first, Vodka?”
Vodka was rather excited to age up. With another age transition under her belt, she was sure she’d be strong enough to obliterate any creature harboring her eyes, and befriend the ones who weren’t. It was a strange word to think of-befriend. She’d never considered befriending someone. Pandora and she had been born into their friendship. She grinned. “Yeah!”
Closing her eyes, Vodka blew out the candles. Her stomach began to whirl; her violet eyes widened.
“I’m going to throw up!” cried Vodka.
Nina clapped her hands. “Don’t panic-it’s just puberty!”
“Puberty!? What does that even mea-?”
In the fold of an instant, Vodka grew six inches taller, six times smarter, and six times more misanthropic. Puberty was not kind to her troubled soul. She crossed her arms across her chest as the apartment door slammed.
“Happy birthday to you, too, ” hissed Vodka, glancing back at her father. It was in that precise moment that she decided to hate him and all others like him. He was a very weak man-the most human of the humans. She couldn’t imagine why he’d been abducted. Had they liked his sweaters? Maybe they were just having a laugh and a little hungry and a little bored and one little thing lead to another, and before anybody knew it, her father was probed and pregnant. Vodka thought this was the most likely answer. If they’d meant to probe him, they would’ve taken more interest in his offspring, and in particular, her missing eyes.
“Hey, Dad!” called Pandora, nervously peeking at Vodka. “You prepped for cake?”
“Cake?” Bender’s eyes lit up. “I’m always ready for cake.”
Pandora blew out her candles, closing her eyes and making a silent wish.
“Wow, that was a breeze,” said Pandora. “Mom, dyou like my garb?”
“My garb. Y’know, the wears, my ragtag ensemble.”
“Um,” said Nina weakly. “Are you sure you’re speaking English?”
“Maybe not English,” commented Vodka, “but she’s sure speaking Panda.”
Vodka blinked, stumbling and taking a step back. A sudden burst of energy exploded in her brain; everything in the room was alive, breathing, whispering Bridgeport’s best kept secrets to the living room air. Matthew Hamming was sleeping with his maid, the mayor was stealing thousands from the city funds, each female bartender spent their paycheck on massive breast augmentations. “Plasma 101,” oozed the couch. Was this what happened to all aliens? wondered Vodka. With her newfound senses, the city was at her fingertips. “Plasma 101,” breathed Vodka, mind racing. Her eyes…could it have her eyes?
It seemed like she had a lead.
Scissor Sisters – “Night Life“
A/N: ^^That song is one of the best songs from one of the best albums ever. 😀
ANYWHO, I’m so excited to say that the Belues are back in action! I really miss their Sims 2 selves, but I think they’ll grow on me a lot more as I play with them more. I actually Vodka and Panda more in the Sims 3, though, but I definitely miss the old Bender and Nina. They look so old in Sims 3. D: Also, I miss Sims 2 lighting.. It was way more natural. But enough complaining-at least I can play the Belues again. (:
“So Bender, when’s the wedding?”