Often, I think of things.  I classify them as such (as "things") because the range and magnitude of these thoughts vary.  A lot.  Where I tend to spend most of my time is in the quagmire of the application of scientific discovery.  Sure, anyone can run around and tell the world about all the cool stuff we could do if a certain scientific breakthrough occurs.

Myself though… I tend to think of what’s going to get most negatively impacted by the discovery.  My latest thoughts have been dealing with parallel dimensions and/or time travel (depending on your viewpoints of the topics, the latter probably creates more of the former).  And what do I think will be most impacted by it?

The legal system.

Just think about it.  When science proves the existence of parallel dimensions, DNA evidence is no longer set in stone and lawyers can start dragging scientists into court to introduce reasonable doubt. 

"So, your evidence is tied to my client’s DNA, correct?  But what if it isn’t really his DNA?  There are any number of dimensions where my client exists in some variation.  How can we know without a reasonable doubt that the DNA is from my client in this dimension and not from some duplicate in another dimension who’d have exactly the same DNA as my client."

And then there’d be the imminent collapse of child support… and the Maury Povich Show. 

"And the results are in.  Bubba Jethro, you ARE the father."

"Now jes’ hang on there a sec, Maury.  I gots me a letter here from one of those scientist types that says the DNA in that there boy might not be mine.  It could be the seed of one of them evil dopplemegangers from another Die-mension."

"Bubba Jethro, you lying [bleepity bleep]!  You know damn well you’re my baby’s father.  Dopplemeganger, my ass.  I seen Star Trek and I know how ta spot one of those goateed evil [bleep bleepers] when I see ‘em."

As 6PM rolls around and everyone jokes and hahas about the end of days, some of us may want to fine-tune our survival skills… just to be on the safe side.  I can’t cover all the scenarios in such a short time, so lets just hit the big DOs and DON’Ts.

DOs…

  • Learn how to build a fire.  It helped primitive man rise to power and it certainly makes for tasty (and less diseased) foodstuffs.  Wanton travelers of the post-apocalyptic realm will know you’re living large because you smell of smoke.
  • Know how to properly stab stuff.  Sure, we’ve stockpiled enough ammo around the States to last for a decade or two after the collapse of civilization, but we’ll eventually run out.  When we do, you better get with the stabbity-stab quickity-quick or you’ll be deadity-dead.
  • Water falls from the sky.  You can make it weeks without food but only days without water.  It’s important and it just falls from the sky… and does so more often in places like rain forests and Seattle.
  • Travel in packs.  Someone has to slow the zombies down and if you’re lone-wolfing it, that someone is you.  Gather up your wall of sacrificial lambs while you can.  Hey, it worked for Invader Zim in the Hobo 13 episode.  Just make sure you replenish your stock regularly.  Waiting until the last minute to bring in new reserves increases your chances of becoming a lone wolf… and we know what happens then.

DON’Ts…

  • Recklessly set everything on fire.  Flames are not conducive to the "living" lifestyle.  They take away breathable air, destroy flesh, and give insurance companies fits (although, it is good advertising for them).  Remember… fire = good.   You in the fire = bad.
  • Stab everything.  You still need those sacrificial lambs to slow the zombies.  Animals are easier to take around if they can walk themselves.  Eyes don’t work so well with holes in them.
  • Move to the rain forest or Seattle.  The zombie hordes know you’re going there for the abundance of fresh water, and they’ll be laying in wait to snack on some well-hydrated brain jellies.  Don’t be fooled and always remember the words of Admiral Ackbar… "It’s a trap!". 
  • Trust anyone.  Groups lead to socialization.  Socialization leads to factions.  Factions lead to politics.  Politics lead to betrayal.  Come on, haven’t you watched Survivor?  Plus in the days after the end days, people will be more cutthroat as they achieve higher levels of crankiness and bitchiness than ever before.  "Oh, I lost my house and my dog and my seven figure salary.  Boo-hoo."  "I can’t believe it’s gone.  That car was a classic and I rebuilt it with my own hands."  "I’d effin’ kill for some chocolate.  Or beer.  Or chocolate beer.  Can you combine chocolate and beer?  I must be dehydrated cause I’m feelin’ kinda loopy."

Inevitably, you’ll encounter one of those moments where it feels like Gravity reaches up and tugs at your “sleepy, collapse into a coma” strings.  Pulling you down into that cozy chair or inviting floor as your energy and vigor slip, slip away.  And this event could occur during even the most mundane of activities… meetings, the Super Bowl, blind dates, waiting in line at Disney.

But there are ways to counter the Sandman’s curse…

  1. Engage your fight-or-flight instincts. It’s a touch more difficult to drift off when your body’s priming for an epic battle… or hasty retreat.  I know what you’re thinking, “How do I pick the right target to fight?  Someone small… preferably genetically engineered with Nerf hands.”  Well, that’s not the (only) way to enable this pick-me-up… you could also tap into the power of visualization.  Picture yourself in combat (or engaged in a combat-like sport… foosball doesn’t count) or facing your greatest fear (again, foosball doesn’t count).  Just the act of mentally “putting yourself in harm’s way” can stimulate enough adrenaline to help get you through the moment.  Bonus: running around the room shouting, “The zombie spiders are crawling on my nards!” will act as a good deed in keeping others awake during a boring status meeting.
  2. Move it or snooze it. This one’s easy.  Get up and get moving.  Do some push-ups  or jumping jacks or shadow boxing or dance moves from the 80s.  Do something that gets that heart pumping blood quickly through the body.  This does two things for you… makes you more attractive to vampires and pushes oxygenated blood out to the body to give you that alert O2 bar buzz.  Well, not quite (the scenery’s often better at the O2 bars), but it does get the heart pushing out energy.
  3. Cut your losses. Just give in to the forces of the universe commanding you to sleep.  Down a few shots of caffeine and then take a nap before your heart explodes.  Give this “nap” twenty minutes to help get the full effects of the caffeine.  It’ll almost feel like a full night’s sleep… just don’t forget to get real sleep later because it’s just illusionary sleep.  This one might be tricky to implement in some places, but if the boss asks why you’ve brought a folding cot to the meeting, tell him there’s room to share.
  4. Shatter some senses. You can stimulate the body to stimulate the mind, so I guess this would be the next best thing to thinning out the blood circulating in your caffeine system.  Scents like peppermint and citrus can do the trick, but I hear smoke and fire can also get the job done (see “engage your fight-or-flight instincts” above).  Besides the nasally senses, you can also get use out of that sense of touch.  Apply some pressure (or thumb tacks point-side-up) to the tips of your fingers and drive that touch center in the brain crazy, “OMGWTFKFC!  Something’s wrong with the hands!  Do something, brain… we need those for… uhh… social networking.”

Well, you had to expect we’d still be working on characters with an ensemble cast story.  So, let’s get to the next one…

Name: Geoffery Black (writing pseudonym) aka too old to care who he really was 
Gender: Male
Marital Status: single and not looking

Physical Appearance: Tall, athletic build of an ultimate fighting champion in his prime.  Fairly goth in appearance now as far as clothes go… dark with a hint of "don’t mess with me or I’ll rain hail and lightning bolts of misery down on your sunny day".  These are mostly to keep people at a distance.

Core Personality Traits: Recluse by choice.  He spent so many years mindlessly hurting others that he retreated from it all.  He appears all doom-and-gloom, but he’s found peace with himself over the years and tried to pass that lesson along to a younger generation with a series of popular young adult novels.

Flaws:  After being released from his years of slavery at the hands of a mystical fight manager, he vowed never to fight again, so he’s become a devout pacifist.

Advantages: His body was mystically preserved at the prime of his physical capabilities and will maintain those physical attributes until the end of days.  Since his body will always revert to that state, he heals quickly from injury and is practically immortal.

Background: The youngest of five boys, "Black" (short for "black-n-blue") found himself entrenched in a world of rough-housing and rassling at an early age.  At a serious disadvantage, he convinced his dad to let him study martial arts, and he took to it as a natural.  But even though he was gifted, he worked at it and eventually grew up to compete in international tournaments.

As his career began to flourish, a world-renowned fight manager approached him and signed him under his collection of elite fighters from around the world.  If there was championship for any kind of fighting–boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, ultimate fighting–this guy managed the people who won those championships on a regular basis.  And he knew all the tricks to keeping them in fighting shape for years-and-years.

As he found out, it turned out to be all a trick.  Once Black reached the top of his fighting form… when he peaked and hit his prime, the manager took him out to celebrate.  The manager poisoned him during the celebration and took his body to a secret "training" facility where he used dark magic to bring the boy back as another of his undead servants.  The ritual that brought him back made him forever a slave to the manager who had him win fight after fight after fight.  No slowing down.  No remorse for opponents injured.  No time to cope mentally.  No vacations.  No social life.  His life boiled down to battling, training, and making money for the manager.

Eventually, the manager passed away of old age and when he died, the fighters found themselves freed at long last.  The manager did keep his bargain and kept bank accounts for them where they received their share of the money earned, so the fighters all had money they’d never spent all those years.  They all took their riches went their separate ways to make new lives for themselves in the world of the living.

Black hermited himself away to a nice house and land on a small island estate where he began writing to help get the guilt and sorrow and malaise out of his system.  He eventually became adept at it and authored a series of popular books that allowed him to share his feelings with others and help guide younger kids in a better direction.

You always wonder what you’d do if you received a decent chunk of money all at once (like a payment you forgot about or a bonus or a smaller lottery win).  Well, I have some extra money of this sort on its way… and it’s tough deciding what to use the money for.

  1. Buy all the components to build a new (upgraded) computer system.
    1. Pros: less waiting on computer slowdowns, computer will be stout enough to handle DCUO and Diablo III, more energy savings than my 9-year old beast of a computer, future-proof enough to support games and high-end apps (graphic rendering, movie editing, etc) for another 6-8 years.
    2. Cons: time sink (since computer will be stout enough to handle DCUO and Diablo III), need to reinstall all my current programs (and upgrade a few).
  2. Hire an artist to draw a comic book or webcomic.
    1. Pros: more samples of my writing available, more content to share with readers, able to keep showing everyone "I’m still out there producing".
    2. Cons: couldn’t afford a full graphic novel or mini-series run (close, but not quite), webcomic would only have about 4-5 months to establish itself (not an easy task), would still have to build up a pool of money for promoting the book/webcomic.
  3. Take a vacation.
    1. Pros: I need a vacation, more family memories.
    2. Cons: not sure I’d come back fully refreshed and recharged, might not want to come back
  4. Pay tuition for a class to enhance some skills.
    1. Pros: definitely some things I’d like to learn, additional creative skills to add to the resume/portfolio (investment towards a new career), forced deadlines and productivity.
    2. Cons: deciding on what to learn, finding the time to learn (and might have to settle for an online class since random weeks of travel is always possible with my day job).

And I have more thoughts on it than just that, but those definitely sit comfortably at the top of the list.  And weighing out the good and the bad didn’t help with the decision-making process that much.  I might have to roll dice for it… or I could have them battle it out in a death match.

You should know… I usually agonize for days building characters (with profiles/backgrounds twice as long as what I’ve been doing here).  These 15 (to 30) minutes posts have been fun and allow me to just let go with things.  And sometimes you come up with some crazy ideas that turn out fun. 

With the last character, I sat there watching the clock tick down as I thought about what role Spook played in the underworld.  I wanted something with a measure of reach and influence but not a position that would normally be considered a threat.  I finally hit a point where I said to myself, "The first thing that pops into your brain jellies in the next 5 seconds."  Craft services king.  And well, it kinda works, so I ran with it.

But the great thing about burning through it like that?  You have something you can play with.  It may not be perfect, but it’s enough to get the job done.  Besides, most characters adapt and develop further as you write their stories, so I always need to remember not to sweat over the small details now.  And with that, on to the next character…

Name: Caprice aka Jana Robinson
Gender: Female
Marital Status: single but willing

Physical Appearance: The tall, athletic body of a well-trained demon assassin.  Nearly 7 feet tall, wiry strong muscles and red skin (but a little on the pale side).  Small but sharp horn-like protrusions stick out from her forehead, forearms and shins to give her a more demonic appearance (and some nasty natural weaponry).

Core Personality Traits: Introverted.  Shy and a bit clumsy.  Smart and well-read, but every bit the reclusive geek/gamer girl with a self-esteem problem… who hasn’t quite adjusted to being cool on two fronts–a fierce, awe-inspiring demon and a ninja.

Flaws:  Even though she has this powerful demon body, she’s still just an awkward, geeky teenager at heart and is still "growing into" the body and still encountering your typical clumsiness a la growing pains.  The other factor that plays into this is that a demon’s power and strength derive from fierceness and confidence, which is why she’s unable to tap into the full potential of this body.  She could have developed that confidence by now, but her self-image gets tampered with on a regular basis by the voice of the original owner of this body chattering in the back of her brain when she’s under duress.  If she ever loses enough confidence and "gives up", the original demon could take back control of the body.

Advantages: Demon.  Ninja.  Enhanced strength, agility, speed and senses.  Innate martial skill imprinted into the body from years of training.  Capable of surrounding herself with an aura that prevents all detection–sight, sound, smell, heat sensors, motion detectors, etc.

Background: As a child, Jana grew up in the middle of nowhere with no television and a stack of hardcover friends from the likes of Verne, Tolkien, Lewis, and more.  When she finally got the chance to go to school, she soured on sociality rather quickly as she buried her nose in books to escape the teasing she wasn’t used to.  But she found it easy enough to avoid the rest of the kids attending a small town school.

She never really broke out of her shell and when she first arrived on campus for college, she discovered a brand new feeling… panic attacks.  She avoided crowds and ate when the cafeteria wasn’t busy.  She spent a lot of time in the library meeting new paperback friends she’d never knew existed.

Then one night as she experienced the crowded library with finals approaching, she decided to walk to the public library in town hoping it would be quieter.  It turned out to be nearly barren of people.  The perfect place for her to escape the hours.  She stayed until closing and made the long walk back at night with more new books to keep her company over the coming days.

But her walk brought her into the middle of a battle between a vigilant human sect and demon warriors that had been waging a secret war on this planet for centuries.  The forces were battling over a mystical item known as a merging stone.  With it, either side could merge their best warriors into a single warrior with all the combined strength, agility and skills on the ones being merged.

As one of the human warriors ran from the battle with the prize evading an invisible assassin chasing him down, he stumbled into Jana and fell into the street where he was hit by a passing car.  The gem shattered on impact and embedded into Jana’s body and merged her with the nearest creature at the time… the demon assassin.

In pain and confused, Jana sprinted back to her dorm room… faster than she’d ever run before.  In her room, she spotted herself in the mirror and saw the exotic demon/human hybrid body standing there.

Let’s continue on with developing characters here.  Next, we take a look at Marq’s parter-in-hunting, Spook.  This little cat appears to be just a cute, purr-y sidekick for the monster hunter, but he does have a much larger role in the story (and in potential future storylines)…

Name: Spook
Gender: Male Cat
Marital Status: none (that we know of)

Physical Appearance: cat with soft grey and white fur.  Innocent looking.

Core Personality Traits: Arrogance.  He used to be a minor devil lord but wound up being banished to the world of man due to treasonous acts.  Even though he’s trapped in the appearance of a cat, he still has the attitude of a devil and merely "plays the part" at time to manipulate others to further his plans.

Flaws: Arrogance.  Having once been a powerful creature, he still acts like one… without the power and minions to back up that attitude, he’ll find plenty of reasons to regret insulting the wrong person at the wrong time.

Advantages: Even though he trapped himself in the form of a cat, he did invest a measure of his devilish power into the making of this disguise to keep it from dying.  The body will regenerate and be healthy again within minutes of fatal harm.  The magicks used to create the cat "vessel" also keep it hidden from other devils.  Being a devil at the core, Spook can detect other devils, their magicks and other creatures of a supernatural nature and can still perform ritualized magic if needed as long as it draws from other sources of power and not his (former) inherent devilish power.

Background: As a minor lord of devils, Spook (as he’s now known)commanded a services division within the unholy realms.  Decorators, caterers, entertainers, escorts, throne-bearers, and the like.  As such, he wielded a certain amount of influence since most devils wouldn’t agree to attend a gathering or function hosted by other devils unless it was catered by a third party with no ties or affiliations.  He was the neutral party to hold this honor within the realms.

But that didn’t mean he wasn’t without ambitions, and his neutrality gave him access to all the lords that ranked above him.  It would just take one perfectly planned party with just the right guest list for him to take them all down and rise in power.

Unfortunately, someone else came up with the same idea and sabotaged a dinner he catered, which killed a number of lords… not enough for him to rise in power to a level where he was above punishment for the actions he was framed for (but the saboteur did gain enough to make sure Spook paid for the atrocities).

He was stripped of his powers and sent to the mortal realm where he would be hunted, tortured and released to be hunted again until the end of his days.  But being overly ambitious does mean being prepared in case the plan fails, so he magicked bodies on various realms he could hide in where his presence couldn’t be detected by other devils.

He activated the body and wandered across Marq and his family.  A family that’s always on the move made a good choice to keep from the devils hunting him, but Spook found out there was a flaw to his disguise.  If the body died and the magicks resurrected him, it pulsed with a spike of devilish energies that sent up a big flare to those hunting him.

After being gravely injured while wandering from the family’s RV one day, the magicks brought him back and that night, the devils attacked the RV.  Spook managed to escape with Marq’s help, and with Marq’s quest to avenge his family’s deaths, Spook saw opportunity… a means for ambitions to live again.

Let’s try 15 minutes of rambling blog post to end up the first month of this blogging resolution.  It’ll be like a peek inside my mind… yeah, scary thought, isn’t it?

  • Great video by Eric Powell of the Goon for The Creators’ Front for Diversity in Comics.  Not sure it entirely stays on point, but people will remember the video and what inspired it.  Check it out (and a lot of polarized comments) over at The Beat.
  • Conventions on the brain… Comicpalooza, STAPLE!, GenCon Indy, Austin Comic Con, but sadly, no C2E2 this year because it’s the same weekend as a work conference I’m presenting at.  I also missed the New Orleans Comic Con, which looked like it would be a lot of fun (and oddly enough is in the same city my work conference will be in).
  • Quantum physics and Portal.  If scientists can get a particle to mimic the quantum state of another particle no matter what the distance (quantum entanglement), how feasible would a real portal device be one day?
  • Best birthday present given out this year? Darth Vader teddy bear from Build-a-Bear Workshop.
  • Working on a story where I have a character I planned on being male, but instincts keep telling me the character wants to act more like a girl.  If I’m gonna make the change, I should do it now.  Should I stick with initial thoughts or second thoughts?  Debate, debate, murmur, grumble… work on something else for now.
  • Cold weather hitting Texas tomorrow… at least, that’s what the Weather Channel app keeps telling me.  Time to warm up the pipes.
  • The Cape.  Still not watching it… the tweets of @NateCosBOOM are more enjoyable than any trailer of the show I’ve seen.

We never really think about pain and its impact on us until we get injured.  Get hurt, suffer, heal, and get back to normal life.  When you have a high threshold for pain, you have to be even more cautious.  Sure, being resistant to pain sounds like a good thing, but it has its disadvantages.  With a good tolerance for pain, the scenario often winds up being… get hurt, don’t notice and continue damaging the injured area, finally feel it when it’s really messed up, suffer for longer, take longer to heal, and then finally get back to life.

To deal with this, you have to take extra precautions.  Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way.  A number of years after the rehabilitation of a knee injury, I eventually learned that the doctors missed a minor tear (because of my tolerance to pain), and this went on to grind up the cartilage in my knee.  It felt like some minor soreness to me, and with a little stretching and ice, I was good-to-go the next day. 

Over time, the soreness lasted longer and longer and one day it gave out on me while playing basketball.  X-rays… nothing broken.  Doctor twists it around… "Does this hurt?"  "Not really."  "How about this?"  "A little."  And after all that, they gave me some crutches, put me through a few weeks of rehab and declared me fit for duty.

But they were wrong.  The big mistake?  Asking me if it hurt.  They tell you to be honest, and I was… it didn’t hurt that much.  It would give if I tried to put weight on it… but it didn’t hurt, so the doctor set up treatment for me that matched the evaluation.  Not a lot of pain and some swelling and weakness.  Probably just a sprain… ice, rehab, move on.

If he had put me through an MRI, he would have seen the actual damage in the knee.  When I finally got to a point where I needed to see a doctor again for the knee, I mentioned I had a high tolerance to pain, so he decided to scope the knee out just to be safe.  My wife waited outside for me to get through my 45 minute procedure… and she wound up waiting for two and a half hours.  When the doctor came to her, he stated, "I don’t know how he was walking on that knee let alone running 2-3 miles a day."

Turns out that since I did have a high tolerance to pain, my legs built up in strength to be able to compensate for the injury.  When the doctor did the stretching and twisting tests, my muscles held everything in place to make the joint appear stable and strong.  When I went in for the scope, the anesthetic relaxed my muscles and he was able to see the full extent of the damage… 80 percent of the meniscus ground to hamburger, split ACL, bones starting to show wear from grinding together and the onset of a degenerative arthritic condition in the knee.

Did that change my ways?  No… too stubborn and afraid of hospitals for it to be that easy.  I eventually ran into more situations where things that would normally be causing people pain would just be getting worse for me.  Tonsils the size of golfballs?  Meh, just a little trouble swallowing, that’s all.  Sure, it was a major cause of my 10 years of sleep apnea, but it didn’t hurt.

Then during an exam for possible bronchitis, my doctor discovered I had an umbilical hernia.  From his description of the signs for it, I’d had it for months.  That’s when I decided I needed to make a change to how I approach things… I needed to do more than just go by the feeling of pain.

Now, I take extra precautions when dealing with injuries.  I treat them as best I can but if anything doesn’t seem right at all after the first few days, I go see the doctor.  I make sure the doctor knows I have a high tolerance to pain and that the muscles in my legs don’t relax very well.  That alone makes a big difference in how he looks at the injury. 

I also self-examine my body every few days to see if there’s anything wrong (that should be causing me pain).  It’s odd how many cuts and scabs and bruises I find on my body where I can’t even place where they’re from because I never felt them occur.  I also check my joints with various balance and stability drills/checks.  Since I can’t always rely on the amount of pain, I can see how the various joints hold up under stress to see if they feel like they’ll give or wobble, etc.

So, just be wary, no matter how tough you think you are… that same toughness and tolerance to pain can take you down without you even realizing it.  If you know that describes you, be sure to take precautions early on in your life and it’ll do you a world of good.

[NOTE: this was supposed to auto-post Friday morning while I was working (since I wrote it way early in the morning), but I just noticed this morning that it didn't post.  I'll have to check and see why that feature's not working in my WordPress, but for now, this post will just have to show up late and Monday's post will go up this evening.]

Next article, we’ll dive into the other characters.  For this post, I wanted to go back to the two (mostly) fleshed out characters and bring a critical eye to them.  Things editors or writing buddies might point out.  Things like…

"Their backgrounds are really similar.  Both tragic and involving the death of loved ones.  Seems a little matchy-match to me."

If it’s a real editor speaking, take the notes and adjust things as you see fit.  Or calmly explain your thoughts behind it and make suggestions for capturing that same feel in different ways.  [Hint: if you can't think of anything actually stronger than your initial instincts and impressions... provide weaker options and hope the strongest thought wins out].

Now, if the person doing the talking here is your "inner editor" creeping up to fill your head up with logic and negative self-image issues… then bitchslap him/her back into the holding pen and get back to writing.

For the two characters of The Ubataurrik and Marq, I actually wanted them to have similar backgrounds.  I wanted to show how similar tragedies spawn different personalities… complementary souls to become a buddy comedy team.  The following is the first impressions of the characters rattling through my head.

Yes, both had loved ones dies by the other race.  The Ubataurrik had his loved one killed by humans.  Marq had his loved ones killed by monsters.  But the tragedy changed them both in different ways. 

The Ubataurrik protected the faer-folk in the enchanted glade in the woods.  He came from a position of responsibility.  Protector.  Guardian.  That’s serious business.  When he failed, he gave up on shouldering responsibility.  His mind began refusing to take on any form of responsibility.  He overreacted and became wild and carefree like the ones he used to protect.  No responsibilities… no future guilt from failure.

Marq was a kid.  Carefree and enjoying his time as a kid.  Growing up with no real responsibility… help mom and dad… be a kid.  He took on more responsibility than what was requested of him.  Not due to pride or duty… but because it was fun.  Work isn’t work if you enjoy it.  When the monsters killed his family, he overreacted in the sense of taking on responsibility for all the harm monsters cause from that day forward.  If he doesn’t catch them and they make someone else suffer like this, then it’s his fault because he didn’t do his job.  He didn’t stop them.  He’s the protector now… the self-appointed guardian to keep humanity safe from all of these monsters.

They started out as opposites and through tragic suffering… became opposites once more.  But deep down, they still have similarities.  The Ubataurrik will never be free of the guardian inside of him and Marq still has youth buried in his heart somewhere.  And maybe a little forced togetherness will help drag the best out of both of them.