I can't really believe I'm feeling compelled to create another one of these pages.  The Author's Cut was never something I saw going much of any where.  But it ended up being a section of this site that I personally enjoy reading.  Just kinda ripe with trips down memory lane.  What you may notice about recent Author's Cut updates is that I've shifted from focusing solely on cut material.  Now I'm also adding my thoughts about some Newsletters in their final form.  Mostly for my own amusement and nostalgic needs.  But if you're here, hope you have some fun!

God bless,
Jenni (3-4-06)

JABB 177- Sappy Spiders ~ JABB 183- "Adam and Andrew Read Fanfic"

Thoughts on JABB 184- Dye Day in Dyeland ~ JABB 192- The Trialies JABB 194- "For Thou Art with Me"

JABB 200- More Things We've Learned from JABB JABB 208- A Second Chance Christmas 

JABB 224- JABB's 9th Anniversary in Dyeland

How Vincent Met Psyche Measuring a Life

JABB 177- Sappy Spiders

Okay, here's just a snippet I cut from 2005's Halloween issue.  Cliff is showing the prodigal Lady JenniAnn around the "October Fun Festival" and brings her to the Halloween section.  She jokes that Halloween-hater Andrew must be staying away from that particular area and Cliff answers:  (Typed out 1-5-06)

“For the most part.  Oh except this one thing.  He insisted it be included among the Halloween decorations.”

JenniAnn looked at the man with a raised eye brow.  “What Halloween décor could Andrew possibly be attached to?”

“This here.  I think it’s weird.  Awfully girly don't you think?”  Cliff indicated a small, brown, ceramic spider with little blue ribbons tied onto its legs.

“Itsy!” JenniAnn exclaimed.  “This spider isn’t Andrew’s.  It’s mine.  Sorta.  My mother gave me a lil black one named Teensy and I adored it.  I have that in my home in Nebraska but last year I made this one to put out in Dyeland for Halloween.  He must have remembered.”  She was touched by it and smiled warmly at the smiling arachnid then looked back to the makeshift football field where Andrew was being tackled by Jess and Miriam.  She laughed thinking what sordid conclusions her over-dramatic mind had come to earlier.  Football had bedeviled her once again…

I don't know, I guess in the end I liked leaving the means of Itsy's appearance a mystery.  And while I had established some personal meaning with the spider for JenniAnn and Andrew the previous Halloween, this seemed a lil too sappy.  The idea of Andrew going through her *Halloween* decorations, searching for this spider, and insisting the Halloween contingent find a place for the spider just to have a part of LJA there seemed a bit... well, like something John Cusack might do in one of his movies.  Not particularly Andrewish.  But who knows!  Somehow the spider got there.

JABB 183- "Adam and Andrew Read Fanfic"

I wrote the following on September 8th 2005 after an IM conversation with a friend about some of the more dramatic aspects of TBAA fanfic.  I just couldn't resist the idea of Andrew reading about all this stuff he was up to or that happened to him in these stories.  And I always wished TBAA had had more Andrew and Adam scenes cause they were quite enjoyable to watch together.  So I brought the two together for this.  I hesitated using it for JABB (it took me 4 months to work up the nerve) because I didn't want to alienate any fanfic authors.  However, I did really like the piece.  Of course, what actually ended up in the newsletter was something that diverged from this original.  My friend Jess had some spare time and I'd been wanting to co-author something with her since we'd written a conversation-story about the "Heart of the Beholder" trailer.  So basically JABB 183 started as a conversation between the two AODs but then shifted to a conversation between Andrew, Lady JenniAnn, and Jess O'Neill.  I'm really happy with how that turned out.  It's one of my favorite JABBs.  But I thought I'd put the original form, featuring only the AODs, here.  (Typed out 3-3-06 and 3-4-06)

Adam walks into a computer lab somewhere in Dyeland. He notices Andrew is all ready there and staring at a computer screen. His eyes are rather glazed over and his lips are pursed as if thinking on some big problem.

Adam: Andrew, you okay there?

Andrew: I'm dying.

Adam: What?!

Andrew: Yeah I just got shot... Oh... yeah... there's the flatline. I'm dead.

Adam: ::plops down into a chair in front of the nearest computer:: *What* are you reading?

Andrew: Fanfiction.

Adam: ::hurriedly types the url into his own browser:: Hmm... ::begins chuckling::

Andrew: What?

Adam: Look here, Romeo.

Andrew: ::reading:: Andrew gazed longingly across the room. He couldn't keep it in any longer. He loved Monica and he was going to show her. ::pauses:: Uh, no he's NOT. ::starts guzzling ginger ale:: 
(I just want to clarify that I do not think shippers are bad or immoral or anything of that nature.  I do not want all shipper-fics to disappear.  Whatever floats your boat!  However, I am not personally comfortable with Monica and Andrew as a couple.  So the angels as they appear on JABB don't form romantic attachments.  As such, I assume in the JABB universe they'd find such talk a bit blush-inducing.)

Adam: Oh, hey you're going into cardiac arrest over here. And, by the way, that gazing across the room is nothing compared to some of this stuff. Congrats, you're going to be a father! What's Monica doing slumming with a guy like you, though? ::devilish grin, grabs own bottle of ginger ale and taps it against Andrew's::

Andrew: Hey now! At least I've not married Gloria. Geez, Adam! What is she five? That's pretty pervy.

Adam: ::laughs:: Pervy, Andrew?

Andrew: ::shrugs:: I heard some of the girls use it.

(Okay, all of the above was pretty much what started the story in JABB 183.  At this point in the final draft, Adam excused himself because he had an assignment to go to.  Eventually both Lady JenniAnn and Jess showed up.  But here Adam stays and the two examine more fanfic.)

Adam: Well, I may be pervy but at least I don't seem to be forever on the verge of cheating on the missus.

Andrew: Oh great, now I'm breaking Commandments on top of being in a sordid, oft forbidden romance!

Adam: At least your stories are interesting. Barring the Gloria one, I just spend a lot of time burying you or otherwise mourning you. By the way, you have cancer. Sorry to have to tell you. Oh and you've been stabbed. And... ooh that's harsh. Let's just skip over *that* one. 
(That's a reference to one fanfic someone posted ages ago that I simply could not handle.  Seriously, it made me want to bash my head into a wall.  And I'm not generally self-destructive.  :0)

Andrew: I hope we have good health coverage!

Adam: Andrew, are you sure these people really like you? I don't know... you may wanna watch your back. Many of them seem awfully bent on destroying you. Hey, you're in Hell now. 
(giggle...  I'll admit, sometimes I wonder how people do manage to write about really bad things befalling Andrew.  I've tried and it's really tough!)

Andrew: ::dramatically bangs head on desk:: 
(Ha!  He's like me!)

Adam: Stop that! You're going to give yourself brain damage and I'm gonna have to lug you to a hospital and my back's just not up to it today! Then I'll probably feel obliged to work to support all your misbegotten progeny. ::more ginger ale:: 
(For some reason I really liked the sound of the phrase "misbegotten progeny" and was sorry to lose it.  Hmm... may be that could be a good band name?  "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome.... MISGOTTEN PROGENY!!  WOOOOOO!!  AAAHHH!!!  MOSH PIT!!!"  Okay, may be not...) 

Andrew: I think I may have just killed a guy... Well, that's it. I'm out. ::clicks off computer:: I'm supposed to meet Monica and Tess at the Cafe. Wanna come?

Adam: Sure, that way I can be sure you don't try to seduce Monica. 
(Haha!  How much do I love Adam in this??  Seriously, I wish I had an Adam around to say something delightfully droll or sarcastic whenever I started to get moody.)

Andrew: ::rolls eyes:: Well, then I'll be sure you don't sit by Gloria if she comes, you dirty old man!

Adam: Let's just not mention this to them, okay?

Andrew: I couldn't agree more.

The End

Yay!  Okay, so as much as I liked some of the dialogue it didn't seem real.  And, despite my own inclinations otherwise, I really doubt Andrew would bang his head into a desk.  There was also another version of this I toyed with also.  As I said, this switched from solely Adam and Andrew to involving also JenniAnn and Jess who show up after Adam leaves for an assignment.  In the finished product, Adam never sees either of the women.  However, for a time I considered that JenniAnn entered after he and Andrew had left the room.  She reads the fanfic, mistakes it for a blog, goes into hysterics, and when Andrew re-enters basically throws herself at him in grief and dismay.  Adam was then going to re-enter, having forgotten something, and say "Geez, Andrew would you just stop seducing the women?!" with a wide, teasing grin.  And I think Adam would really say something like that to Andrew cause, well, he's a kidder.  But he wouldn't say it with LJA present cause I think he'd be sensitive to her unrequited interest in his friend and not want to cause her embarrassment.  I ran it by Jess who agreed heartily that that wouldn't do.  Also, I (in a saptastic mood) had written an Adam and LJA moment in JABB 182 and didn't want to ruin that by following it with an awkward, insensitive moment.

Thoughts on JABB 184- Dye Day in Dyeland

I really don't have much to say on this.  Just that I was inordinately proud of myself for letting Adam say "damn" in it.  LOL  Seriously, it just came out and I was like "Oh... that may not be good."  But his email just wasn't *him* with out it.  So I allowed it.  I just kinda feel like when a character's that insistent about something I should just go ahead and let them say their peace.  I just hope and pray Gloria never insists on giving a long lecture about sports.  Cause that would seriously bore me to tears.  ;-)  (Typed out 4-28-06)

JABB 192- The Trialies

So this year I was faced with the problem of how to celebrate JABB's faux holiday "The Commemoration of the Murder Trial that Wasn't" given that last year I wrote that there *was* a murder trial.  Well, I decided what would most likely happen is someone in the Dyeland contingent would opt to try and reclaim the day as something fun.  That person ended up being Lady JenniAnn.

I'm a HUGE fan of "The Office" on NBC.  And this season they did an episode entitled "The Dundies."  The Dundies are awards given out by office manager, Michael Scott, for various dubious achievements among his co-workers.  That's what inspired my Trialies.  Unfortunately, I drank a bit too much caffeine on the day I'd intended to write about the Trialies.  Felt like I was gonna pass out.  So to keep myself up I wrote the following but eventually decided it was too choppy and emotionally uneven.  So I lifted quotes from it to make up the real JABB 192. 

And I have no idea what was with the foil fixation.  We had lots of foil-wrapped leftover pizza in the fridge.  May be that's why???  (Typed out 5-12-06)

It’s May 13th, 2006 in Dyeland.  The Willowveil ballroom is hastily decorated in black and white.  Strains of “Jailhouse Rock,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and assorted other jail-themed songs can be heard.  About twenty angels and humans drift around the room, each asking the others if they have the slightest idea why they’ve been called there.  Monica and a few of the Dyelanders immediately locate a table filled with coffee products in black and white striped mugs.  Another table is brimming with assorted types of bottled water and breads.  Gloria stands beside that table animatedly listing off the country of origin for all the different bread products.  Tess eyes the microphone on stage suspiciously.  She prays Lady JenniAnn, who is suspiciously absent, hasn’t arranged another karaoke night.  Jess O’Neill wonders why her old “Free Andrew Now” signs are taped all over the ballroom walls.  Near the stage, Andrew examines what can only be described as potentially the world’s biggest foil sculpture of a gavel as Adam approaches.

Adam: ::eyes the sculpture::  That is one very oddly shaped and very large baked potato…

Andrew: ::laughs::  I’m just wondering what the judge looks like that this belongs to.  I don’t suppose Lady JenniAnn gave you any idea why we’ve been called here?

Adam: ::shakes his head::  No.  She just told me to be sure and come.  There’d be food.  ::bites into a focaccia::  I’m going to guess that this has something to do with that “Commemoration of the Murder Trial that Wasn’t” bogus holiday she made up.  (I really was craving a Panera asiago focaccia at the time...)

Andrew: ::bites his lip and considers this::  I guess I assumed since there was a trial last year she’d let that go.  ::unconsciously rubs at his wrists, recalling handcuffs::
Adam, Andrew, and the rest of the crowd are surprised by a loud booming noise.  Their eyes all drift to the stage where Lady JenniAnn has appeared, clad in a black and white striped dress and looking red-faced at the microphone she’s just hit.

LJA: Sorry…  Ahem.  ::straightens herself up and takes a deep breath::  As many of you probly recall, at this time last year we were all in the midst of one of our most trying times as a group.  Our poor Andrew had been arrested and put on trial for murder.  On the eve of our celebration of the lack of a fictional trial to boot!  We were all very troubled by this but through all that so many of you were so wonderfully supportive.  So when the former “Commemoration of the Murder Trial that Wasn’t” rolled around this year I decided I wanted to do something to mark the occasion.  So, this year, for the first time I thought we could celebrate the “Commemoration of the Murder Trial that Wasn’t then Was.”  So everyone please, grab a seat, and let’s get on with the Trialies.  ::She indicates the three tables set up near the stage and walks off stage::

Jess O’Neill: ::takes a seat near the front and leans over to Monica who is in the chair next to her::  The Trialies?

Monica: ::shrugs, sips from a black and white coffee cup::  It involves coffee so…  (I was generally unhappy with my writing of Monica in this.  I mean I  think she's my weakest angel anyway but she just wasn't coming through at all this time.)

Andrew: ::eyes a cart filled with metallic items that JenniAnn has pulled on stage::  I think this is an award show.  A very bizarre award show…

Adam: I bet there’s an interpretive dance number!  ::grins devilishly::  Or may be someone will come out and perform “It’s Hard Out There for an AOD.”  (What may very well turn out to be JABB's one and only reference to the 2005 Academy Award winning song "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp" by Three 6 Mafia.)

Tess: ::rolls eyes::  That rap stuff is *not* music.  (I actually heard Della Reese voice this sentiment on a talk show so thought it'd work for Tess.)

Back on stage JenniAnn is fumbling with some index cards.  At last she smiles out at the audience.

LJA: So... umm... The Trialies were founded in 2006 by myself to honor those who behaved so admirably while Andrew was on trial.  Because I wasn't sure what else to do with a holiday that was no longer accurate nor particularly festive.  Cause, uh, last year was, like, really, really, really hard.  And we were so worried and Andrew...  ::gazes at the angel of death and wipes at a tear::  I was so worried I'd never see you again outside of a 10 by 10 cell.  Not to mention that fluorescent lighting didn't really do much for your really very nice complexion.  And your poor hair...  Well, no really that still looked utterly fantastic.

Andrew: ::blushes and begins to squirm in his chair::  Thanks... 

LJA: ::nods and wipes away a tear then smiles broadly::  Uh huh.  So our first category of the night is "Best Performance by the Leader of a Protest Posse."  And the winner is...  drum roll please... shoot... I forgot to get a drummer!  ::looks around helplessly::

Adam: I'll do the honors!  ::begins hitting the table with his hands::

LJA: ::grins::  Thanks!  Right, so the winner is...  Jess O'Neill!  Jess helped organize "Free Andrew Now" which was a very vocal and visual presence during Andrew's trial.  Jess, please come up here to accept this megaphone made completely of aluminum foil!

Jess: ::raises her eye brows but then makes her way to the podium::  Thanks, this is really... great.  ::turns the megaphone around, examining it curiously::  Uh, I guess I'd like to thank Andrew for inspiring me to create FAN by being a great friend, angel, and fishing buddy.  Oh and to the Crayola company for creating the art supplies we used for the posters.  Our signs would have been very dull with out their crayons and markers.  ::waves and then goes back to her seat::

LJA: Congrats Jess!  Now for the Trialie in the "Most Amusing Performance by a Witness."  And the winner is...  Gloria who regaled the court with her recollections concerning Andrew and labyrinths and also a certain illicit drug.  ::winks::

Gloria: ::practically skips to the stage and accepts a foil circle with a labyrinth design on it::  Wow!  I don't think I've ever won an award before.  I'm really honored!  I'd like to thank Tess for asking me to testify for Andrew.  Ooh and also Andrew for being a great friend that I was really honored to testify on behalf of.  Oops I just ended a sentence with a preposition which I should know better because once I was reading a book on grammar and...  ::laughs::  Well, may be I should let others claim their awards.  Thanks!

LJA:  ::steps back to the podium, trying really hard not to laugh::  Well that sort of reaction makes this all worth it!  Now for our next award which goes to a very special group of people.  These ladies and one gentleman dedicated several hours of time to trying to discover the person really guilty of the crime Andrew was tried for.  Oops there's a preposition at the end of a sentence again!  ::laughs::  Anyhow, they may not have found the guy but you can't deny their dedication.  So I present the winners of the "Most Sherlock Holmes-like Behavior" award: Audrey, Margherita, Daisy, and Cliff!  Congratulations, c'mon up!

The four quickly make their way up to the stage and accept foil magnifying glasses.  Or perhaps they are very large aluminum bubble wands.  Audrey seems to be the spokesperson of the group and takes to the podium.

Audrey: Thanks, JenniAnn, for these awards.  Good to see my absence from the castle hasn't put an end to your crazy schemes. 

LJA: Nope!  And you've not even seen the interpretative dance number yet!  ::ushers everyone off the stage as the lights dim::

Adam: I told you! 

Tess: What exactly does she intend to interpret?  Andrew sitting alone in a cell?  No offense, Angel Boy.  ::pats his hand::

Andrew: None taken.  I was wondering the same thing myself. 

As everyone looks on strains of  Hildegard of Bingen's "O ignis spiritus" begin playing.  Lights of assorted colors and shapes begin to flicker and dance against the backdrop behind the stage in time to the music.  (Light machines are awesome.)

Andrew: ::sighs with relief::  At least it's not the dancing handcuffs I was worried about. 

Gloria: I feel like I'm at a rave again...

After a few minutes the "interpretative dance" ends and JenniAnn reclaims the stage. 

LJA: We've come to our final four awards.  First, we have the "Even More Cool than Matlock" award which goes to Tess!  Yay!  ::claps enthusiastically::

Tess: ::goes to the podium and looks over a foil scales of justice that's already falling apart::  Thank you for... this.  I'd just like to say I'm grateful the Father gave me an opportunity to help Angel Boy.  ::smiles lovingly at Andrew::  I was so proud of you, baby.  But I don't want to ever have to do it again!  ::goes back to her place and hugs Andrew::

LJA:  Awww!  Now for the "Greatest Ability to Remain Cool and Impartial When Your Friend is Being Tried for a Crime He Did Not Commit" award...  Whew, that's a long one!  Anyhow, it goes to... Monica!  ::reaches for the oversized foil pen and pad of paper and hands it to Monica once she reaches her::

Monica: Thank you, Lady JenniAnn.  And a heartfelt thank you to my good friend, Andrew.  ::tearfully smiles at Andrew::  You were there for me after my own wee jail stay...  ::blushes::  Multiple stays to tell the truth.  If I helped you at all during yours, even if I couldn't be there with you... I thank the Father for that.  And for you, my friend.  ::quickly goes to Andrew and hugs him::  (How many times was Monica in jail, anyhow?  I counted at least three: Voice of an Angel, Black Like Monica, Lady of the Lake.  Any others?)

Andrew: You ever need some coffee smuggled into you again, I'm your angel.

Monica: ::laughs::  Aye, I know it. 

LJA: ::choked up::  That ladies and gentlemen is real friendship there.  Smuggling your favorite drink to you after you've been arrested...  ::recovers control of her emotions::  Our next winner actually gets two awards cause I couldn't decide which to give him.  So with out further adieu, the winner of both the "Best Driver of a Mini-Van Full of Dyelanders" and the "Best Elvis Impersonator" awards is...  Adam!! 

Adam: ::sprints to the podium::  Well thank you, Lady JenniAnn, for this aluminum car key and microphone.  I will treasure them always until I need some foil so I can MacGuyver myself out of a dangerous situation.  Or get better reception on a really old TV.  I'd like to thank Henry Ford who taught me how to drive, Mike at the gas station who refueled the van, and, of course, Elvis.  ::waves foil microphone around and then hops off the stage::

LJA: Wow!  Henry Ford?!  Awesome.  ::sobers::  Now for our final award.  This person went through the most of any of us last May.  And through it all he maintained a hopeful, compassionate, and patient attitude.  And he... he's just wonderful.  So the winner of the "Cool Under Pressure, Loving Above All Else" award is...  ::sighs and gets all misty-eyed::  Someone who at one time or another has been there for us all...  Andrew.

Everyone breaks into enthusiastic applause as Andrew makes his way to the podium to accept an insanely large foil heart with "Friends Forever" scrawled across it in red permanent marker.

Andrew: ::accepts the heart::  Wow, well, thanks...  This is... this means a lot.  Thank you.  And thank you again to all of you who supported me last May.  And all of you that have offered me unconditional love and support any time before or after that.  I just... I'm really grateful for you all being in my life.  So I accept this award on your behalf and the Father's behalf.  He taught me about love and you've shown it to me.  ::smiles in that way he does while everyone gets appropriately weepy::   Now, I'm going to ask a question that I think has been on all our minds.  JenniAnn, what's with the foil?

LJA: Oh!  Well, it was on sale and I'm not allowed near clay any more so it was the only other thing I knew how to make sculptures out of.

Andrew:  ::confused::  Why are you not allowed near clay?  ::begins to wonder why Tess is shaking her head::

LJA: ::puts hand on microphone so only Andrew can hear:: Oh!  Tess caught me watching "Ghost" while I was staying with her last December.  I admitted the part with the pottery wheel made me think about you.  So I'm not allowed around clay or pottery wheels now. 
(Giggle.  Although to be honest if I was going to pick a romantic movie scene to appear in with Andrew, that one would not rank for me.  Too messy.)

Andrew: ::blushes furiously::  Uh huh... 

LJA: ::grins mischeviously::  Or may be it was just cause I only thought of this idea this morning and clay wouldn't dry in time.  I'll let you decide.  ::hops off the stage and joins the others::

Andrew: ::sees one remaining index card on the podium::  Umm, I guess it's up to me to end the 1st Annual Trialies: recognizing achievements in reactions to beloved angels of death being falsely accused of murder and put on trial.  We hope you've enjoyed our show!  Thank you and good night Dyeland!

JABB 194- "For Thou Art with Me"

Because of the amount of material I felt I needed to cover in regards to my Salem witch-hint inspired issue, I made a separate page for my commentary regarding it.  The commentary includes a complete list of the sources I consulted in writing the story, discussion on various difficulties I had in writing it, and my thoughts about the characterizations I used in the story.  You can view that page here.  (Typed out 7-18-06)

JABB 200- More Things We've Learned from JABB

When I first started trying to collect items for a list of "200 Things I Have Learned for JABB," I got panicked cause I wasn't getting many submissions at all.  Ironically, after all that fretting, I ended up with over 200 list items.  This was largely in thanks to Jarrod who suggested having a chat to gather ideas and who wrote many himself.  Unfortunately, this meant I was unable to use all of his ideas so the ones left off the final version are available here.  The following weren't left off for any particular reasons.  They were just the last ones on his list.  Enjoy!  (Typed out 9-21-06)

I've learned:
(from Jarrod)

That "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" made it into a JABB issue.

That you can buy "Save the Turkeys!" shirts through JABB.

That even Satan's minions made it into JABB issues.

That Dyeland has its own demon.  His name is Eben. 

That many debate over whether Andrew should grow a beard.

That "Star Wars" characters have made it into issues.

That JABB has a Graffiti Wall.

That Jabbins had sextuplets.

That Sara created the "John Dye Perfect Man Clone".

That Audrey and Jenni were the first co-presidents of JABB.

That there is an Androoler Keepers List.

That in a fan fiction  written by Jess, there was a "Mandrew".

That Dyeland only has one pub that is owned by Margherita.

That at one point Andrew offered support to Monica with people having trouble with school or just needing coffee.

Not to call Andrew, Andy, unless you are Tess or Tess is around b/c then he won't say anything about it.

That the people, Angels, and pets of Dyeland pretty much all have nicknames.

That Jenni, Jess, Karen and Liz are known as The JABB Sisterhood.

Thoughts on JABB 208- A Second Chance Christmas

Another JABB Christmas story!  This one was interesting for me because it turned out nothing like what I intended.  I had intended it to be like another JABB 181 with a series of Christmas movie parodies one right after the other.  Unfortunately, I never found the time to watch but three Christmas movies (It's a Wonderful Life, A Muppet's Christmas Carol, and The Year With Out Santa Claus) so that put the kibosh on that.  Which meant I had to come up with an actual story.  A natural idea was just to cover a Dyeland gift exchange.  However, by the time I could sit and write JABB (mere days before Christmas) I was so burnt out on shopping and gifts that I couldn't bring myself to write about them.  In short, I was grouchy, felt rushed, and overwhelmed.  Not a good mental place to be when you're trying to write a Christmas story!

In the meantime, Dyeland activity on the JABB YahooGroup was in full swing.  It came out that Andrew would be hosting the party and several characters quickly RSVPed.  In the previous weeks it had become a running joke on the list that Andrew could NOT cook (something mentioned in "Missing in Action").  Lady Beth had been giving him cooking lessons and, while he was improving, he still had some culinary problems.  In posting to the YG about this, I got a mental image of Andrew sitting, near tears, on his kitchen floor with light smoke billowing around.  Obviously that alone did not make for a good Christmas story but the image stuck with me.  Why would Andrew get so upset about burnt food?  We're talking about someone who has seen a lot of pain and tragedy.  While it's true we sometimes cry over small things and put on a brave face during truly trying times, I knew there was more to his grief here.

Two years ago I had seen a production of Tom Mula's "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" and had purchased the book.  I had marked the quote "We all, every one of us, deserve a chance to change, a chance to do better...  Remember someone gave you another chance," in my copy of the book because I really liked it.  This year I read the book again and upon seeing the quote I knew it was a perfect match to my story.  Andrew was not simply upset over burnt food.  He was upset over what he saw as a failed attempt to show his friends how much his God-given second chance with them meant.

Again, activity on the YahooGroup plays a big part in the backstory here.  In November we had a storyline going wherein Andrew returned from a really horrible assignment.  He took refuge in his home in Dyeland.  Some rallied around him, others were appalled by his seeming rejection of Dyeland society and failure to communicate his feelings.  Chaos ensued.  Friends bickered.  Eventually peace was restored, of course.  JABB in all its forms is, after all, a fan-run spin-off of TBAA so true, dismal tragedy in the manner of "King Lear" just doesn't happen here.  Nonetheless, there was an impact.  Andrew would still feel regret, I'm sure. 

So this JABB YG backstory and my own experience of chaos and second chances merged together as such:
(Typed out 1-1-07)

Thoughts on JABB 224- JABB's 9th Anniversary in Dyeland

Because this was something of an unusual writing experience for me, I wanted to say a bit (or more) about this story.  JABB's 9th anniversary hit during the height of my big move.  So trying to work, keep up with the JABB YG, paint, clean, move AND write was a challenge.  I had wanted to have this story completed by July 19th.  However, I ended up putting it back til that following weekend.  Even at that it was only half done and it would be another few days before I'd finish it.  It was a far cry from previous JABBs that I had written in one sitting.  In some ways, I am afraid the story suffered for it.  There are transitions I wish had been smoother and memories I wish had been more fleshed out.  But all in all, I enjoyed writing it and reading the finished product.  Of course, I couldn't have done it with out a lot of help.  This time around I asked people to submit just a basic idea for a memory their character might have about Andrew.  Those submissions proved vital.  So I just want to thank Yvette, Liz, and Nicole for their help with that.  Now I'm gonna go through the characters one by one and share a bit about how their individual stories came to be.

Lady JenniAnn- Hers was by far and away the easiest.  After playing Dyeland for so many years, it's sometimes hard to turn it off.  Some days I'll just have mental flashes of things that might happen there.  It was a year or two ago that I had just such a mental flash that depicted Andrew trying to teach LJA to drive.  She was terribly nervous and to lighten the mood, Andrew made a crack about if she thought she might crash she should crash on his side.  Not understanding, she asked him why and he answered that he was immortal and therefore couldn't be hurt by her poor driving.  It made me laugh and I hope others, too.  In any case, I'm glad it was finally put to good use. 

My original intention was to have each memory reflect or call to mind a particular TBAA episode.  I eventually gave up on that idea but it was a part of this one with LJA making a direct reference to the TBAA finale field scene.

Vincent- Strangely, this ended up being the most personal sub-story for me.  Another of my original intentions was to rotate between funny memories and sad ones.  Since LJA's goofy bad driving memory had preceded this one, I wanted it to be serious.  This is what came to mind.  I was actually somewhat horrified by the darkness of it.  References to drug use and dying girls just aren't what one usually finds in JABB.  But one does find them in both TBAA and BatB so I ended up feeling okay with letting this one in.

I will admit I nearly cried over this one.  Actually I probly would have had I not felt so rushed to complete the story.  It was as if I was seeing this one on TV and Phoebe's equating Vincent with Aslan was unexpected to me and heartbreaking.  If you've read Narnia you know that Aslan had the power to restore health and even life.  The contrast between this magnificent lion some consider to be a fictionalized Jesus and a very mortal and grieving Vincent was nearly too much.  Vincent could not restore Phoebe and, of course, not even Andrew could.  Again, the temptation was to cut that dialogue.  As the years have gone on, such temptations are increasingly ignored.

Perhaps the most difficult passage of all to write was Vincent lashing out at Andrew:
"Her final moments?  She couldn't have been eighteen, Andrew!  What age is that for final moments?"  Vincent at once felt remorse for snapping at the angel and his tone grew more gentle.  "I used to read Narnia to the children.  Children barely younger than Phoebe.  And I cannot help but think... Who read it to her?  Where are they now?  Do they pray for her safe return?"  His sobs began again. 

They are far too close to words that have run through my mind as I think of a young friend who left this world far, far too early.  In the end, this particular memory/story ended up being pretty therapeutic for me.  In writing Andrew's response to Vincent, I ended up having to answer my own heart.

This sub-story was also written while I was still trying to reflect a TBAA episode with each story.  I wanted Phoebe to call China from "Children of the Night" to mind.  In addition, Vincent being able to see Phoebe in Heaven was my answer to Monica showing the grieving mother her baby in "The Southbound Bus."  I had wanted to celebrate the show that brought us together by doing this sorta homage. 

One final note about this one: In my original version, Vincent carried Phoebe's body to a morgue so that she would be properly laid to rest.  This was something I vaguely recall Vincent actually doing on BatB.  Anyhow, he was supposed to have done that and only then been confronted by Andrew who would have said something to the effect of being glad that Vincent was there to do what AODs cannot.  Vincent would have bitterly countered that any service he rendered was far too late for the victim.  To which Andrew would answer that in ensuring the body would be cared for, Vincent was enabling the families to be notified and not left to endlessly wonder.  I decided that wasn't near as poignant and, in regards to AODs not being able to do the same, not even necessarily true.  There are occasions on TBAA when Andrew did see to it that people were respectfully mourned and buried.  "The Compass" comes to mind.

Yva- This was the first one I wrote based off a memory idea submitted by someone else, Yvette in this case.  It actually worked out really well, I think.  I was concerned that someone might submit something I couldn't work with but that just didn't happen.  Yay!

Anyhow, this one just flew naturally from the Dyeland events that played out on the YG last year.  I was concerned that it came out sounding a lil anti-Monica but I hope I stressed that it was more Andrew's reaction to Monica than Monica herself that could prove problematic.  That all was never spoken of on the show.  Andrew never said he repressed his emotions to protect Monica.  I just thought it seemed likely given what we did see of them.  Other than that, this one doesn't reflect a particular TBAA episode and is where I start to get away from my original intent to have homages to episodes in each memory.

For what it's worth, Yva gets one of my favorite lines in this story which is:
"Andrew, we never wanted a superhero.  We just wanted a friend and friends not only give comfort but accept it when they need it.  You've prayed with us and for us.  You've held our hands as we cried.  But may be sometimes we need to be the ones praying for you and holding your hand."

And, for the record, it was Yvette that came up with Yva sometimes calling Andrew "sweet angel."  I think it makes sense.  :-)

Nigel- Again, Yvette submitted a memory and I worked from that.  It flows pretty much from Yva's memory and probably happened with in days of hers.  I suppose this one served as more of a recap of previous Dyeland happenings.  One thing that was kinda difficult was remembering which characters were around when.  I almost had Andrew mention a place with significance to Rose during his tour with Nigel.  However, Rose didn't come until April 2007 so that wouldn't have made sense.

I'm afraid I don't write Nigel's dialect as well as Yvette does so that was probly the hardest bit of this part.  And, of course, it was probly one of the most dialogue driven memories! 

And I've been such a space cadet of late that I forgot I never finished this so here's me picking it back up on the 9th of Sept.  Thankfully, I still remember writing this story pretty well. 

- This time the memory was submitted by Liz.  Storywise this might have been my favorite one to work with since it was a departure from anything previously mentioned on the JABB YG or the newsletter.  So I could really go wherever I wanted to with it.  I've always liked the idea of the AOD Band so I was glad Liz suggested using them.  And her idea of having them play for sick children was really touching, I thought.  However, because it's so difficult to think of children suffering, I wanted to have a bit of lightness in this vignette which I why I started with the mullet jokes. 

My only regret with this story is that it is just a typed story.  We'll never actually get to watch the AOD Band perform.  I think that woulda been fun.  :-)

Lady Beth- Again based off an idea submitted by Liz.  And I think this was the only sub-story that sent me searching through the YG archives cause I couldn't remember why it was Lady Beth crashed Andrew's assignment.  Even though I was writing for Andrew at the time, I forgot the bit about his hand getting hurt by an abusive assignment.  Anyhow... I think this one's very sweet and I enjoyed writing it.  However...

This whole time I've been writing Dyeland, there's been a bit of a dark thought that sometimes pops into my head.  And in this memory, I finally expressed it via Andrew in the following passage:
"One of the things I dread most is having something happen to one of you and to be there and... to not be able to do a thing to help you."  He sat down in a near by chair.  "I couldn't stand that," he finished, his voice barely audible.  "I pray all the time that it never happens."

Over the years I've been tempted to write a story in which just such a scenario does happen.  However, I haven't yet and I'm not sure I ever will.  But whenever I write, in every sweet scene and every loving word passed one of the AODs and the ladies, I think about that.  Their world and their relationships are precarious miracles.  Like much of real life, I suppose.

Adam- This one made me tear up.  Hippies sometimes do that for me.  So much promise and hope and a good deal of heartache.  And just the image of a lone, hesitant soldier walking among them made me sad.  Especially since he was Adam.  I suppose it was also sad for me because I'm not so sure barriers will fall down just over a football game but who knows.  And, for the record, I wasn't trying to make any sorta statement about current global politics.  I'm pretty sure most everyone agrees war isn't tons of fun which was my only point.

Rose- My only regret with this one is that part of me wishes I'd told this story first since it would have been a good introduction to the characters for any new members.  Oh well!  This one was suggested by Nicole.  On the YG we'd never really delved into how the face-to-face meeting between Andrew and Rose went so it was fun to do that.  I liked the easyness of the conversation between the two characters although with a touch of awkwardness when Andrew gets to the AOD bit.  One wonders how many people have reacted poorly to him after learning of that.  But hopefully never in Dyeland.  :-)

I was tempted to not have Andrew make the party but I relented.  I just figured realistically he wouldn't be able to attend everything.  But then Dyeland isn't entirely realistic!  But Andrew's closing words are really mine.  JABB has been through a lot together, we have helped each other, and I do hope the Father gives us many years together!

And I hope it never takes me this long to complete work on a single newsletter again!

(Typed out 8-9-07 through 8-20-07 and 9-9-07)

How Vincent Met Psyche

As those on the JABB YG know, I write for Vincent on the list.  And also Andrew and Lady JenniAnn and occasionally Catherine.  It had been established for some years that Vincent was both JenniAnn's cousin (via Catherine) and her godfather.  However, it had never really been said how the two met.  So in March of 2007, I decided to make something up.  Vincent then wrote the following letter to LJA (whom he calls Psyche).  I posted a url leading to the letter for anyone interested in the backstory.  However, I've since decided to also put it here lest I actually need a refresher on how the two characters came to meet. 

The letter also kind of explains how the TV show "Beauty and the Beast" figures into the Dyeland storyline.  Unlike TBAA, it's not embraced.

(Typed out 11-16-07)

Dear JenniAnn,

I hope you know, Psyche, that one of the last things I would ever want to do would be to hurt you.  I spent a very long time, when you were younger, contemplating what I should tell you and what should be kept secret.  I did not want to darken the happiness of your childhood.  Despite the strangeness of your very early years, you were a smiling, joyful child.  For me to have dimmed that smile would have been unforgivable.  But now it seems fate has brought us to this place.  I had intended to tell you how we met in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  I had not intended to tell you the entire story which I will set forth to do now.  As you read this please know above all else that I love you.

It was the fall of 1984.  September 8th, to be exact.  Catherine and I had met that previous April.  I loved her from the moment I saw her and I knew I would do anything to keep her from pain.  I protected her and I hurt people in doing that.  Sometimes I killed them.  I received no joy from this, no pride.  It was something I had to do to protect the woman I loved.  That does not mean I felt no remorse.  Sometimes it would keep me up at nights.  I wondered if I had orphaned children and of how many widows I had made.  Catherine tried her best to console me as did Father.  This was, in fact, what Catherine was doing as we walked the Tunnels that day.  She was trying to convince me that not only had I saved her but countless others these men may have brought to harm.

"I am not God, Catherine.  It is not right that I decide who lives and dies.  This violence with in me..." I whispered, looking away from her.  I stared down at my hands and their sharp nails.

Catherine sighed and put her hand on my arm.  "They gave you no choice."

"I showed no mercy," I continued.  "I'm a..."

"Monser!!!" a childish voice cried.  "Monser!!!" came the scream again.

I prayed that no child had followed us and heard all we'd said.  I scanned the dim cavern for another presence.  Then suddenly I felt a pressure against my leg.
"Hello sweetheart!" Catherine greeted and stooped down.

I was in a daze.  I looked down and saw a small, blonde girl clinging to me, her face pressed against my cape.  "Monser, monser..." she repeated.  Her shoulders shook and by this I knew she was crying.

I whipped my hood around my face and stared at Catherine.  "Take her to Mary.  Do not let her see me."

Catherine nodded and tried to pry the little one away.  The child shrugged her off.  "Vincent, she won't come to me.  She seems to like you."

"This child is terrified of a monster.  If she sees me..."


"We cannot pretend my face is not frightening, everyone who first sees me is frightened."

Catherine looked away at that and her face colored.  I had not meant to make her feel bad but I knew at once she was thinking of our first meeting.

"Do you have any candy?" I asked, trying to change the subject.  "Perhaps, a bribe..."

Catherine withdrew a candy bar of same variety from her purse.  She offered it to the child who looked at her briefly and shook her head.  Still she clung to me.

"Vincent, I think you're going to have to speak to her."

"Child, say hello to Catherine.  She wants to help you," I tried, still carefully guarding my face and keeping my hands behind my back.

"NO!" she cried, obstinate.  That's when she looked up at me.  "Up, up."

Catherine chuckled.  "She's stubborn, that's for sure."

I responded with silence.

Catherine sobered then.  "Vincent, please, I know this frightens you.  I know how much it hurts when people look at you with fear.  But this little girl needs help and for whatever reason she thinks she needs it from you."

It was my turn to sigh then.  I knew she was right.  I braced myself and bent down to pick up our small visitor.  I stared at her and she stared back.  She bore a quizzical expression.  I could see tears in her eyes as she blinked but they seemed to be from before.

"Monser," was all she said and pointed to another cavern.

Silently, Catherine and I, with the child balanced on my hip, walked to where she pointed.  Only upon entering the next chamber did she cry out in fear and burrow her face into my shoulder.  "Monser..." came the plaintive cry.

Catherine and I surveyed the area but saw nothing.  Then Catherine pointed.

"Look at that rock formation.  It looks rather ghoulish.  May be that scared her.  May be that's her monster."

It was only then I was finally able to transfer the little one to Catherine.  The two looked on as I approached the rock.  I touched it.  "See, it is only stone.  Come here and see."

Catherine set the child down and she toddled toward me and hesitantly touched the rock.  She began to laugh heartily.  "No monser!"

Catherine smiled.  "That's right, there are no monsters here," she agreed and cast me a pointed look.

I smiled at her and then picked our new friend back up.  The three of us headed back to the hub of the Tunnels where Mary fussed over the newcomer a great deal.  She cleaned her up and clothed her in warmer garb then returned her to Catherine and me.  We fixed her hot chocolate and fed her all manner of foods.

I had fetched some children's books and after her meal, I let her choose one for me to read.  She seemed to carefully consider each and then chose an illustrated version of "Cupid and Psyche."  So we read the myth.  After I finished she asked me to read it again.  Five times I read that book before she fell asleep.

"Rest well, Psyche," I whispered, naming the child since she had offered no name to Mary nor myself.

And that, Psyche, is how we met.
After the practical matters of getting you comfortable, fed, and feeling secure in your new environment were taken care of; we moved onto other matters.  Father was concerned that, perhaps, you were a child of the band of people who had gathered around Paracelsus.  Spies were sent to listen for any whisperings of a missing child but none were heard.  Catherine scanned local missing children reports from Above to no avail.  You were a mystery.  I suppose that's part of why I felt such a kinship with you.

You were a quiet child and when you did speak it was often only in single, lisped words.  However, in only a week your speech had improved and we guessed it had only floundered for lack of use.  Father gave you what we assumed was your first check-up and declared you to be in perfect health, though malnourished.  But you had a healthy appetite and this was soon remedied.

While you seemed to enjoy the company of the other children your age, you were shy and often clung to myself or occasionally Catherine.  Unfortunately, you kept Mary up many times crying through the night.  Father, at last, grew tired of seeing her sleepwalk through the day and one day I re-entered my chamber to find a crib at the foot of my bed and Father sitting in my chair holding you.  You were squirming and looking quite irritated although a bit intimidated.

"Mary needs to sleep, Vincent.  You're the only one that seems able to keep this child quiet."  Then he handed you to me and left the room.

"Please read 'Psyche', Vincen?" you asked, completely nonplussed by being unceremoniously left with me.

I chuckled and grabbed your favorite book and began to read.   And so went our lives for many weeks.  I took you to class and you played on the floor with blocks as I taught the older children about the stars, Romanticism, Jean Val Jean and Anna Karenina.  Eventually your social circle widened and you grew more comfortable around others.  Indeed, it seemed as if you had been with us since birth.
It was about two months after Catherine and I discovered you that Father approached me holding his record book.  "Psyche's name should be entered, Vincent.  She's part of us now it would seem," he said.  He was smiling and I thought seemed proud although I was unsure why.

I had never entered anyone into the record book.  That was always Father's domain.  Nonetheless, he handed that and a pen to me.  I stared at the columns.  "Date of arrival", "Name," and "Parents' Names(s)."  I quickly filled in "September 8th, 1984" and "Psyche."  Then I looked at Father.

"I do not know who her parents are, Father," I reminded.

Father looked to the crib where you still slept, not yet having outgrown it.  "I do," he answered and looked up at me.

"Father, no!  I cannot give her the life she deserves.  What if when she grows she wants to move Above?  How can I possibly prepare her for life in a world that has never been mine, Father?"  I began to pace, not believing he was asking this.

"Many of your peers have only known this world.  Did that prevent them from having children?"

"It is hardly the same thing and you know it.  It is enough that Catherine has to mold her life around my limitations.  I will not subject my child to that!"  I paused then.  I realized what I had said.

"Your child, eh?" Father asked with a knowing smile.

I looked at him and I looked at you and I signed my name.
You were thoroughly spoiled that first Christmas.  All the children were.  Catherine was overjoyed when I told her of your adoption and she channeled that joy into new books and toys.  It was a happy time for us as a couple.  Fatherhood gave me a new appreciation for my protective nature.  I cannot say that it did not still trouble me when I went Above to protect Catherine, but when you giggled and wrapped your fingers around one of mine and said "Don't be sad, Vincen.  Cath'rine love you.  Me too," things did not seem so dark.
It was only a few days after my birthday and you were playing in the box that a record player Father had Mouse build for me had been wrapped in.  Musetta's Waltz was playing.  I was reading when suddenly an overwhelming sense of shock and then great sadness came over me.  Catherine's sadness.  Frantic, I looked to the clock.  10 AM.  I knew Catherine was at her office and there was no way I could go there.  However, I sensed her drawing near.  She was coming Below.  I scooped you up and brought you to Father.

"It's Catherine, something has happened.  She is filled with sadness.  I need to speak with her," I explained hurriedly.  "Please watch Psyche."

Clearly troubled, Father nodded and took you.  You were whimpering, sensing something was wrong, I believe.  I kissed your hair and rushed out of the chamber.  The last thing I heard was Father singing you a lullaby.  The same lullaby he had regularly sung to me.
I made my way to the entry tunnel where Catherine and I often met.  I could feel her drawing still nearer.  She had taken off work to see me, that alone betrayed the seriousness of the situation.

When I saw her I knew at once she'd been crying.

"Catherine!  What is wrong?  Please tell me!" I embraced her and could feel her shoulders shake.  "Is your father unwell?"

She shook her head.

"Did something happen at work?"

A nod.

"Catherine, whatever it is, please tell me.  It is not right you bear this burden alone."

She pulled away and, with a shaking hand, withdrew a piece of paper and held it out to me.

All I could think was that it was a newspaper article.  Coverage of something I had done.  I steeled myself then turned it over.

"Oh Vincent, I'm so sorry!" she cried and threw her arms around me.

I stared at it.  I read the words but my mind could not process what they meant.

"It turns out they're distant cousins of mine.  I don't even know them.  I didn't even know they had a daughter, let alone a missing one.  I was looking through missing children reports for a case.  This one shouldn't have even been in there.  They were supposed to be only New York abductions but this... Nebraska.  Vincent... tell me I'm mistaken.  Tell me that's not Psyche!"

But the photos were unmistakably you.  The real photo of the infant and the age progressed graphic both looked exactly like you.

"I will be alright, Catherine," I assured her more out of habit than genuine feeling.  I did not feel alright.  I felt disoriented and angry and sad.  Yet, even then some tiny part of me leaned towards happiness.  At least you would know of your origins.  At least you would know your family had loved you, they had not abandoned you, and they were desperately hoping for your safe return.  They could give you a life I could not, Psyche.  They could give you theatre and amusement parks and cathedrals and museums.  "What do we need to do now?"

Catherine stared at me blankly.  "I... uh, I guess I should take a photo.  Send it to the detective in Omaha for verification.  He'll notify her parents if..."

"This is the same child, Catherine.  Do not give into false hope.  It will only hurt you."

She nodded.  "I'll take her Above.  Invite the family to my apartment to... to pick her up.  I'll... I'll tell them I found her wandering, alone."

I looked at the paper again.  "JenniAnn Chandler.  It is a beautiful name," I murmured.

"I just can't believe... she's my cousin.  What are the odds?"

"It's not odds, Catherine.  It's God.  As hard as it may be to bear, this is God's will."  I held her for a moment then.  She later told me I spoke at some length about the miracle of our finding you, of the flyer ending up on her desk, and of everything now being as it should be.  I do not recall any of this.  I only remember that after I left I returned to Father, muttered something of what had occurred, and took you back to my chamber.

Trying to gain control of myself, I grabbed your book, sat down with you in my lap, and began to read.  "Once there was a maiden named Psyche.  She lived with her father and two sisters.  Her father loved her very much..."

Untroubled, you sat and listened and giggled happily when Cupid came onto the scene with his long blonde hair and green eyes and boyish smile.   (I have often wondered if that book planted the seeds of what would become your love for Andrew.)

I was crying by the time the book had ended.  So were you.  I did not know whether it was because I was or whether some part of you knew something was going to happen.

"I love you, Psyche, my child," I told you, hoping that even if you forgot me you would not forget that.

"Love you, Vincen," you responded and then nestled your face against my shoulder and fell asleep.
Father woke us up for dinner.  He had told everyone of the developments so the sad task would not fall to me.  It was a quiet meal.  Few people spoke and those that did only to offer condolences.  I had never expected fatherhood and certainly they had not expected it of me.  But they only wanted me to be happy and so, when you were found, they all rejoiced.  This was a difficult blow for everyone.

Along with me, Catherine fared the worst.  I believe she felt guilty for having found what she did.  I tried to assure her that night as we took turns holding you as you slept.  I do not know that she took my words to heart.

And I do not know how she made it through the following work day.  Certainly, neither of us had slept.  Around 9 she got the call from the detective.  He and your parents had verified Catherine's photo of you.  Your parents enthusiastically booked the earliest possible flight to Manhattan.  Catherine spoke to them over the phone.  She told me she had seldom heard such joy in adult voices as she did that morning.  She arranged for them to meet you at her apartment around 9:30 that evening and even offered them her spare room for the night which they gladly accepted.

At 8 that night she came Below to retrieve you.  I had put this off for as long as I could but it was time now to tell you.

I sat you on my knee and tried to put on my bravest smile.  "Psyche, Catherine has found your parents and she's going to take you to meet them."

You only looked confused.  "I live here."

"I know, dear, little Psyche, and we have loved having you here but your parents have been looking for you and it is time you lived with them.  They love you very much and they are so happy..."

"So you come too?"

I froze.

"No, Vincent's not coming.  Your parents don't live here.  They live far away and they want to take you to your home.  With your room and your toys and your books and I hear you even have a dog," Catherine told in a voice far cheerier than she actually felt.

"I have books and toys and this is my chamer.  I stay with Vincen!" You slid off my lap and stomped your feet in a very dramatic fashion.  I could not help but laugh but that soon gave way to tears.  Then you started to cry.

"Wanna stay here!!!"

"Catherine, you must take her now!" I cried.

Catherine swooped you up and tried to console you.  I handed you a doll Mary had made and your "blankie."  You just kept screaming.

"I love you, be well," I whispered and kissed your hair.  I stared pleadingly at Catherine.  "Please, a delay only makes this harder.  Take her."

She did.  I just stood and listened to your cries echoing down the corridors.
After I composed myself as best I could, I went Above and to Catherine's balcony.  Unlike previous times, I went with little joy.  I stood there and looked into Catherine's living room.  You sat on the floor with some blocks, looking less sullen.  The doorbell rang and Catherine answered it.  In an instant your parents had you in their arms, passing you back and forth.  They were crying and laughing.  You smiled, too.  It was the first time since Catherine showed me the flyer that I felt peace.  Still an aching sadness but peace.

The next day you traveled home with them and I never thought to see you again though I prayed for you every night.
What happened next I later heard from Helpers and your parents but some explanation about what happened in our community needs to be made.  Catherine and I fell more deeply in love.  It was a source of joy to all who knew us.  But I am afraid to one it was something else entirely.  About a year after you left, Morgana, one of our Tunnel dwellers moved Topside.  She had always been a creative sort and told us she went Above to pursue a dream of being an author.  What happened was quiet different.  She tried to pitch a book about the love between a half-lion, half-man living in the tunnels beneath New York City and a beautiful DA.  The publishers were uninterested but word got to a TV executive.

One day Catherine came to me, devastated.  She told me she'd seen previews for a TV show that looked stunningly like our story.  It did not take long for our Helpers to piece together what had happened.  They pleaded with Morgana to stop this, fearing such publicity would make it more difficult for Catherine and I.  But it was too late.
The ads made their way to Nebraska, as well, in the summer of 1987.  One day your mother was flipping through a magazine and you saw a full-page promotional shot.

"Vincent!" you cried out.

Your mother looked at you, thoroughly mystified, and a little bemused at the similarity between the woman in the photo and her husband's cousin, Catherine.

You clamored for the photo.

"JenniAnn, what are you doing?  Who's Vincent?" she asked.

"There!"  You pointed to the photo.

"Sweetheart, that's just a man in some make-up.  An actor.  Remember how we talked about make-believe?"

"Vincent!"  You stomped your feet.

"Whoa there, missy," she gently scolded and then called for your father.  "Honey, can you please come here?"  He appeared then.

"Look at this," your mother directed.  "JenniAnn, tell daddy who this is."


"What do you make of that?"

"He looks like someone out of her fairy tale books.  She probably just names the characters that don't have names.  After all, it's not entirely polite to only refer to someone as 'Beast.'  Although... that actress looks strikingly like my cousin.  Catherine.  The one who found JenniAnn."

"Of course, I remember who Catherine is.  But you're probably right."

At ease, your parents went back to what they were doing and the matter was forgotten for some weeks.
Curious, your mother tuned in when the first episode of "Beauty and the Beast" aired.  As the show progressed, she grew more and more uneasy.  The hero's name was Vincent.  The heroine?  Catherine Chandler.  Your mother called Catherine, with whom they'd kept in touch, immediately.

Catherine had spent that evening answering phone calls from friends teasing her about her similarities to this newest TV character.  In a fake merry voice she laughed them off.  Then came your mother's call.

Voice shaking she said, "I'd like to know why my daughter correctly identified that character as Vincent months before this show aired.  Please Catherine, I always sensed your story of how you found JenniAnn was not complete but I trusted you had good reason to keep your own counsel.  But... I need to know."

As I said, your parents and Catherine had kept in touch.  Catherine knew your parents were good and trustworthy people.  So she told your mother everything.
That winter your parents took you to New York.  Catherine met you at the airport.  You quickly left all your bags at her apartment and then headed to the basement.  For the first time in nearly three years, you came Below.

I worried how you would react.  It had been three years since you had been in the Tunnels.*  I worried, too, what effect the television show might have had on you.  I learned only later that your parents had kept you from it after you had spent an entire night wailing following an episode in which my character was help captive by gangsters and rendered temporarily blind.

When I heard the approaching voices of Catherine and your parents, my heart began to race.  I wondered if may be this was a bad idea.  My worries were quickly put at ease.

"Vincent!!!" you cried and ran to me.  I picked you up and hugged you and began to cry happy, relieved tears.

My Psyche was back.
When Catherine told them of my intention to adopt you when we had thought you orphaned or abandoned, your parents were moved and named me as your godfather.  And so you came back to the Tunnels every summer after that and sometimes during other times through out the year.  In time I think you began to believe it had always been so.  You have even commented, at times, on when I babysat you when you were very young.  I was content to let you believe it was only ever that.  I was relieved that you seemed not to remember that, in fact, during that period you were living Below, as my child, and not a visitor.  I did not want you to ever think I had wanted to give you up or that it had been easy.  It was the right thing to do.  I still believe that.

I also did not want you to harbor ill will against your parents for taking you Above.  This was especially a fear or mine when you were a teenager and often said you wished you lived with us.  It was when you began saying those things that I retrieved the record book from Father and smudged out my name on the line designating myself as your parent.
I am still not sure how you came to the Tunnels.  I can only guess that you found a portal to our home when you had been staying with Kiwi's family in Dyeland (then Asteriana).  I have wondered if perhaps you watched us for some days and that is why you were not disturbed by my features.  But these are things we may never know.
But there is something I do believe.  Everything worked out as God intended.  You were born Above, your early months were spent in Asteriana, and for a few wonderful months you were a child of the Tunnels.  I've wondered if that nontraditional upbringing might have set you up for a feeling of being detached, never quite knowing where home was.  But perhaps if it were not for your ties to those three places, the friendships and bonds that stretch between Dyeland and the World Above and the World Below would not be there.  I hope that brings you peace, my Psyche.

Please remember that I am here for you. Now I will answer all you ask and tell you all I can.

Be well, my child,

* This originally read
"It had been three years since you had seen me" but was altered to reflect later developments.  LJA had seen Vincent.  He visited her on occasion when she would stay with Catherine.

Measuring a Life

I was very tempted to dub this entry "The Last Temptation of Vincent Wells" but decided that was a bit much.  But "The Last Temptation of Christ" was an inspiration in writing this.  Whatever people want to make of the film theologically, I couldn't help but embrace the premise of someone desiring a different life than their own only to find out they preferred their real life.  I had actually thought it woulda been really intriguing for "Beauty and the Beast" to have a storyline in which Vincent saw what his life would be like were he to look "normal" and found it less than desirable.  Plus, woulda given Ron Perlman a break from make-up for a few days.  That never happened for him but I decided to play around with the idea myself.

In June of 2007, we had a storyline on the JABB YG in which a young girl, Andi (introduced by Yvette), beecame infatuated with first Vincent and then Nigel.  During her Vincent phase, she became terribly reckless.  She had a poster-sized photo of Vincent on display.  Obviously given Vincent's uniqueness, this was very problematic.  Had he been found out he would have no doubt ended up either paraded around like a circus freak or else vilified.  It would also have meant exposing the Tunnel World and led to its demise.  So in our story, Vincent decided the safest plan of action was to leave the main Tunnels and go off by himself.  He then intended to turn himself over to any curious invaders and sacrifice himself to save his world.  This was obviously very troubling for Father, the Dyelanders, and especially Catherine who was to marry Vincent on the 30th of June.  But he would accept no arguments and off he went.

While alone, Vincent began to believe that none of these terrible things would have happened had he just been born looking like a normal man.  But he learned that by living that life those he loves still faced terrible dangers.

I wrote this intending to post it to the YG but it became far too long, involved characters I wasn't sure people would recognize, and was considerably darker than anything I'd previously written for JABB.  I mean two and possibly three main characters die!  But as this is my Author's Cut, I decided to put some finishing touches on it and put it here.

This probly isn't as polished as something I would have eventually put on the YG or a JABB Newsletter but oh well.  It's kinda jumpy but I decided I liked that.  Made it more dream-like.

I decided to open with a quote from RENT cause I love it.  But later there are other song lyrics sung by Catherine.  They're from the BatB episode "Ashes, Ashes."  I hope I transcribed them correctly.  In any case, the episode was written by Gus Trikonis so I assume he wrote the lyrics. 

One more note: I had a heckuva time thinking of a last name for alternate-world Vincent.  Paulson was actually derived from St. Paul who, in "Last Temptation," is the character who really gives Jesus pause and makes him realize that his "better" life is anything but.  (Typed up on 11-16-07)

"How can you measure the life of a woman or man?
In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned, or the way that she died."
~from Jonathan Larson's RENT

Vincent sat in the lobby of the police station.  A woman at a desk cast him what he hoped were prematurely sympathetic looks.  After what had only been minutes but seemed hours, a uniformed officer came for him.

"Dr. Paulson, this way, please."

And Vincent followed him to the morgue.  As the smell of chemicals grew stronger and his heart beat more loudly in his ears, he began to wonder when everything had gone wrong.  What choices had he made that had brought him to this?  His memory drifted back to the first moment in his life he'd begun to think he was missing something, that somewhere along the line he had gone horribly and irrevocably off his path.


To outsiders, Vincent seemingly led a charmed life.  He'd grown up in a mansion, the only son of a banker and his wife.  He'd gone to the best schools, had the best cars, and wanted for nothing except the acceptance of his parents.  To them he was never handsome, smart, ambitious, or charming enough.  They were ashamed of their quiet, reflective son and had more or less written him off when he'd gone to college to pursue psychology.  He was determined to become a psychiatrist, have his own little clinic, and help those who needed him most.  But then he had met Lisa.  She was sparkling and beautiful and social.  She was studying dance, ballet specifically, and everything he was not.  He proposed the evening of their graduation and they were married by summer's end.

Only weeks after their honeymoon, Lisa was accepted into the New York City Ballet.  Life changed dramatically then.  Their little brownstone was no longer homey but shabby in her eyes.   They needed a glamorous apartment like her friends all had.  Of course, a glamorous apartment needed copious rent money.  So Vincent gave up his job at a little clinic in Greenwich and accepted a position at a prestigious psychiatrist practice frequented by stock brokers, debutantes, and those who didn't seem to have a job beyond living off their inherited wealth.  He promised himself it would only be a few years, just long enough to save enough money to give Lisa the life she craved.  A part of him thought, too, it made sense to build up a nest egg.  They had both discussed having children and had both agreed to it.

So Lisa spent her days dancing and Vincent spent his listening to corporate lawyers complain about spouses who just didn't understand and bosses who were clowns or jerks or associates who were the boss' untalented progeny. 

Years passed.  Occasionally Vincent would bring up the prospect of children but Lisa would always defer it for just one more year.  She just needed one more chance at playing Juliet or Copelia.  Finally after one such discussion, Vincent brought up adoption.  Lisa readily agreed (too quickly, Vincent would later decide).  She suggested adopting an older child.  A toddler that "wouldn't need diapers changed or any of that mess."  Vincent had raised his eye brow at Lisa's logic.  Diapers or not, it did make sense.  Older children were more difficult to adopt out.  They could give one a chance at a good life. 

Vincent set about preparing a room for the child.  Lisa had insisted she couldn't possibly give up her practice room and so Vincent converted his office into a child's dreamworld, retaining only a small, partitioned corner for himself which he would renege when the he or she grew older.  He waited anxiously for the call that would tell them their child was on the way. 

In August of 1983, Jennifer entered their life.  Lisa cooed and danced about with the two-year-old.  Occasionally the girl would giggle but it became obvious to Vincent she, like him, was a pensive, quiet child.  Lisa's attentions grew less.  Even on days she was off she had the nanny come. 

One night Vincent returned home after a late night meeting with his partners and found Lisa sleeping on the couch.  Vincent proceeded into Jennifer's room and crept up to the little bed.  He grew troubled when he noted it was empty.  Alarmed, he ran out of the room.  But a soft noise drew him back in.  He peeked around the corner of his little cubicle and there saw the small girl, seated in his chair, a large book on her lap.

"There you are!  Daddy was worried when you weren't in bed.  What have you got there?" 


"I see that.  It looks like one of my books," he answered, not entirely disapprovingly.  "Jung."  He laughed.  "Reading about the psyche are you?"

"Psyche," she echoed.

Vincent smiled then.  Psyche.  It somehow seemed appropriate as a nickname for her.  He'd thought from the first that Jennifer was too trendy and too formal for such a little girl.  "Yes.  And you're my Psyche.  Come on, let's get you to bed and find something else to read."

"I'm hungry."

"Didn't mommy feed you?"

Jennifer-now-Psyche shook her head.

Vincent felt his face color in anger.  One night Lisa was left alone with their child and she couldn't manage to feed her!  Covering with a smile, Vincent scooped the little one up and proceeded to the kitchen where they ate sandwiches together and talked about their days.


Vincent never got over the incident of that night.  Lisa's neglect of their daughter was unforgivable.  Despite his relief, he ached when she made no attempt at seeking custody when they divorced. 

Vincent adjusted to life as a single-father better than he would have supposed.  Psyche, that was all he ever called her now, loved her nanny and seemed happy enough.  Lisa called every so often but she'd left for a world tour after the divorce was finalized.  Even thought he felt sorry for his motherless daughter, he was not terribly sorry for Lisa's absence.  He'd worried what her disinterest would have eventually done to the child's sense of self-worth.

For the girl's sake, Vincent kept his well-paying job but supplemented it with one or two days a week volunteering at the free clinic he'd once worked at.  But it was during one of his days at the uptown clinic that he first felt the nagging feeling that things were desperately wrong. 

It way May 22nd, 1984 and he had a new patient arriving.  Another corporate lawyer.  Charles Chandler.  But from the first glimpse, Vincent sensed this man had more than the woes of the corporate world weighing on him.  His hair was disheveled and his expensive suit wrinkled.  Deep lines creased a face whose eyes were rimmed in red.  Charles seemed unsure of himself and deeply sad.  After introductions, the man sat down and, for a moment, merely rested his head in his hands. 

"A friend recommended I come see you," he said finally.

"I'm glad you did, Mr. Chandler.  How can I help you?"

"My... my daughter," his voice broke and he began to sob.

Vincent set a hand on his shoulder.  "I'm sorry.  I read..."

"I... I just think about what those last moments... of her being... being alone...  God!  Cathy!"  Charles sobbed more and Vincent let him.  "She was so beautiful and she had so much to give.  Here let me..."  He reached into his pocket and drew out a billfold.

Vincent found himself staring at a beautiful, smiling woman of about 32.  Her green eyes shown and seemed to be staring at him.  He felt as if he'd been punched in the gut.  A strange guilt crept into him.  "Why weren't you there?" a woman's voice whispered.  That was the moment it began.  The moment he felt his entire life was a mistake.


The years drew on.  The feelings of discontent grew in Vincent.  He saw other patients that brought about the same heart-breaking sense of lostness that Catherine Chandler's photo had.  There was Jacob, the elderly institutionalized man that was brought to his office during his days at the free clinic.  Then there was a transient whose name he didn't know but that dropped in every week.  He was a young, blonde fellow that spoke little but only stared at, sometimes shaking his head.  The feeling came again when another transient was brought to him.  This one's name was Andrew.  Of his history a bit more was known.  He'd been working as an investigator into internet crimes when his partner was raped and murdered during an investigation.  He had lost it then.  He confided he'd thrown away friendships through his refusal to speak of what he felt. 

But worst of all was his Psyche.  As she grew older, she grew more distant.  Despite all the love he poured onto his daughter, Vincent seemed unable to save her from a sense of unworth.  The girl had grown up adoring her mother from afar, collecting articles from papers and magazines.  But Lisa had always remained aloof.  She tried to visit every few months but never did a good job at feigning interest as Psyche spoke about school and friends and little girl things.  Lisa's gifts were always expensive but showed little thought.  At first Vincent thought Psyche didn't notice but with age came wisdom.  Psyche knew her mother cared little for her and so she withdrew into herself.  Increasingly, Vincent noted times when not even he could get through to her.  Then came that horrible day the high school called.  She'd never shown up.  Vincent thought, then, of the unexpected hug she had given him that morning.  The "I love you, Daddy" that he'd not heard for years.

The police were called.  Vincent himself searched all through the night.  That morning two officers found him in Central Park.  He began to walk away when he saw their grim faces.  Something wild in him made him want to run away from them and into the trees.  But it passed and instead, he calmly let them usher him into their squad car.  He sat silently as they drove to the station.  Silently as they told him about finding a body and needing an ID.  He sat silently in that lobby.  Silent as he walked into the cold, sterile room.  Only after they lifted the sheet did he choke out the name of his eternally silent daughter. 


Lisa came to the funeral.  She sat next to him, staring blankly at the coffin.  Though stuck in his own grief, he briefly noted genuine tears sliding down his ex-wife's cheeks.  She had loved Psyche in her own way, a way that could never be complete.  Some of Vincent's clients were there.  Jacob sat on his other side, occasionally patting his hand.

Vincent remained even after everyone had left.  He stared at the sad pile of freshly turned dirt.  He wept until he couldn't any longer.  Then he stood up and walked aimlessly around the cemetery.  Not knowing why, he suddenly stopped and stared down at a near by grave.  He read the words upon the stone:
Catherine Chandler
Beloved Daughter

Charles' daughter.  As Vincent stared at the marker, grief rose up anew in him.  He fell to his knees and began to sob again.  When he looked up, the sun was setting.  He saw two figures standing beneath a tree.  As if hypnotized, he went to them.  He gasped as he came nearer.  They were Psyche and Catherine Chandler!  His eyes traveled quickly from one to the other.  They looked terribly sad and there was something else... a hint of accusation. 

"Why weren't you there, Vincent?" Catherine asked.

"Why weren't you there?" Psyche echoed. 

Vincent stood, dumb and staring.  The two pairs of green eyes welled with tears.  They turned their backs to him and began to walk away.  Vincent reached out, calling their names, but they continued.  As they drew farther, the two figures faded into wisps of light and then nothing at all.  Vincent began to stumble.  Air suddenly seemed very difficult to bring in.  He felt dizzy.  Then he felt as if he were falling.  His head hit the ground.  His face was turned towards the gravestone.  "Catherine Chandler, Beloved Daughter, 1957-1984."

Then all went black.


"Sleep my pretty one. Rest now my pretty one.
Close your eyes, the day is nearly done.
Rest your head, tomorrow will surely come."

The sweet voice penetrated the darkness.  Vincent was confused.  His head no longer rested on the hardened earth but on something soft.  He wanted to see where he was but heavy eyelids refused to obey.

"He better wake up soon.  The wax is dripping all over my fingers," a male voice said. 

"Shhh!" came an indignant female voice.  "Don't be such a jerk, Eliot."

"If I don't laugh... I think I'll cry."

"Sleep my pretty one. Rest now my pretty one.
Close your eyes, the day is nearly done."

"Look now, he's beginning to stir.  Vincent, are you alright, my boy?  Andrew, I may need your help getting him to his feet in time." 

Running footsteps.

"Where's my brother?  Oh God!  Is he okay?"

"He feels a touch feverish but I believe he's only sleeping, Yva."

"Everyone keep your candles lit.  I want him to see we all came looking for him.  He'll wake up soon.  I feel it."  The voice lowered.  "Open your eyes, my love.  See all the love shining around you." 

Soft lips brushed his and with that the last of the weariness was gone.  Vincent's eyes fluttered open.

"Catherine..." he murmured. 

She smiled and brushed at some tears. 

Unbelieving, Vincent reached up for her face but saw... fur covered hands with sharp nails!  Everything came rushing back to him.  Andi's obsession, the ensuing panic, knowing that her attachment to him threatened to destroy his entire world and then praying desperately, in a way he had not for years, that he would have been born looking like any other man.  If he looked normal... the Tunnel world would not be facing the risk it now was.  So he had pled with God.  Then felt immensely tired.  And in that sleep he had seen life as it would have been had God heeded his prayer.  He had been granted life as a normal man but at what cost?  Catherine's life.  And Psyche's.  Father, Mouse and Andrew had all been harmed, too.  Perhaps others, too.

"Psyche?" he called to assure himself.

"I'm here, Vincent," she knelt beside him and took one of his hands. 

Vincent raised his head from off the pillow that had been carefully placed beneath his head.  Catherine wrapped an arm around his shoulders to support him.  Vincent surveyed the crowd.  Each member stood holding a white candle.  Father, Mouse, Mary, Pascal, Andrew, Lady Beth, Yva, and so many others he couldn't take them all in at once.  But he could tell they were all well.  And each one was smiling at him.

"Let's get you home," Father said.

"Home," Vincent repeated, his voice tender.

Andrew and Eliot helped him to his feet and then let Catherine take over.

"Thank you," Vincent said softly.  He raised his eyes and again surveyed the crowd.  They all seemed to glow by candlelight.  Angels.  His angels, whether literally or not.  They had saved him and never again would he regret who and what he was.  "Thank you," he said again, loudly.  Several people came up to embrace him as they made the trek back to the main hub of the Tunnels.  As they did Vincent thanked them individually.

Once back to the chamber he and Catherine shared, Father saw to it that he was immediately put to bed.  Catherine sat beside him, reading and holding his hand.  Vincent had been quiet for some minutes and she believed he was asleep until she heard him speak.

"Thank you, Father."

Catherine glanced over at Vincent.  His eyes were trained to the ceiling.  For a moment she panicked, thinking he was delirious and thought he saw Father.  But then she knew.  Something had happened to him in that abandoned tunnel.  God had given him a gift and, whatever it was, it had brought him back to her.  She looked up to the same spot on the ceiling and whispered her own prayer of thanksgiving to God. 

Catherine set aside her book and snuggled next to her soon-to-be husband.  They exchanged sleepy smiles and then drifted to sleep to dream only of their wedding day.

Author's Cut Part 1
Author's Cut Part 2
Author's Cut Part 4
Author's Cut Part 5
Author's Cut Part 6
 Author's Cut Part 7
"The Carpenter's Stories"

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(Photo Credits: The photograph used on this page is from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  It is not being used to seek profit.)