While eating rummaged mac and cheese, I think back over my first week in Murkland.
Suddenly, I hear a friendly voice. Could it be?
Whoa, it’s my first ever visitor!
Chiliad is a lazy, snobby politician, one of those Salamanders who recently moved into Fort Murkland.
Sure are a lot of Murklanders in the politician career. Why is that?
Fort Murkland is up north on the lot where the Landgraabs used to live.
I’ve only heard rumors about Cliff City and Fort Murkland up north.
Both places are off limits, unless one achieves Level 7 Gardening and Level 8 Charisma.
Really looking forward to visiting them both, eventually!
Introducing myself to Chiliad, I’m so glad he doesn’t seem to mind the stench.
It’s rude of me to eat in front of Chiliad, I know. But I’m starving!
Considering how smelly and filthy I am, I’m surprised how friendly Chiliad turns out to be.
He’s the son of The Mayor of Murkland, you know!
Even more surprising, Chiliad ends up becoming my first good friend!
Hey, Mitch Kalani, move your mahalo mug along. You’re not murky enough for this gal!
When I drop by the Burner Camp to socialize, I’m surprised to notice we aren’t friends.
Erm, did I really just introduce myself then tend their garden that first visit?
We’re all buddy-buddy now, thanks to a group story. See all the friendly sparkles?
Since I’m now incredibly friendly, I decide to take a few of my fave neighbors to the Fire & Music Festival.
Who else but the Freegans?
Veegan: Hey, Hermit Blake sent a message by carrier pigeon to thank me for the gift.
What did she say when she opened the box? Was she surprised? Delighted?
oshizu: Well, first, she muttered something about having asked for Sebastian’s two-sided pillow cover.
But then once she changed covers on her hug pillow, she blissfully embraced it and forgot all about me.
I’d say your gift was a great success!
Veegan: You’ve no idea how many bribes it took to smuggle that silly thing into Murkland!
Brennan: I’m so glad you decided to get murky, oshizu. Hey, stop inhaling so deeply!
Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to use one of these?
oshizu: Eh, even water-filtered smoke can damage the lungs. I’m more of a brownie fan…
In fact, did I ever tell you about the time I baked a brownie that was thiiiiiiiissss big.
Brennachan: *looks extremely skeptical
While sitting around the hookah exchanging tall tales, Brennachan and I become good friends.
oshizu: Have you heard the dirt about Veegan? I hear he’s custom-ordered daki-makura pillow covers with his picture on it!
Brennachan: No, get outta here! Who would even want one of those?
I have a BFF in Murkland! But I’m not living under a rock!
Brennachan’s the most popular sim in Murkland, so I know everyone wants to be her BFF.
But today, I happily bask in the miracle of being best friends with Mother Murkland!
Brennachan: I might not have accepted if she hadn’t cleaned up earlier! *sniffs her hair suspiciously
Forest Tree: Oh, oshizu, I’m absolutely gutted! How could you do this to me?
I was your very first friend, so I’ve been expecting to become your BFF, too! *sobs
Brennachan: Dude! Get over yourself and toke up!
Forest Tree goes home, but the rest of us are still feeling adventurous.
Heading to the western part of Murkland for the first time, I look around for signs of life.
Mad Mud owns this Puffer Dome restaurant. You already know that it only serves the worst-quality pufferfish nigiri-zushi, right?
My friends keep inviting me out to dine here, but I’m not ready to die yet.
This must be the Old FEMA Camp, where Uma and Lyndon live.
I recall Rainee’s explanation that FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Formerly, this now-defunct agency belonged to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
Everybody probably already knows this already, but I had to ask what FEMA meant.
I’m not wanting to socialize much with the Infected until I know whether their infection is, well, infectious.
Huh!? Did I just answer my own question? Anyhow, looks like nobody’s home.
When my gaze turns to the neighboring lot, I realize it’s the Mutant Racoon Hideout!
Veegan: Be careful! They’re mutant AND radioactive!
They may be radioactive, but how can I not chill with them!?
They’re so cute and friendly! Awwww!
I know they’re called raccoons, but they only appeared with City Living.
So I can’t help but wonder if they’re actually tanuki, a canine species from Japan.
In Japanese folklore, the tanuki is a supernatural being, a mischievous and sociable shapeshifter.
Tanuki love sake and also enjoy beating on their “belly-drums.”
Anyway, these mutant raccoons remind me of the 1994 Studio Ghibli movie “Pom Poko” about tanuki.
The two images o the right come from “Pom Poko.”
The lower left image is a commonly-seen popular version of a tanuki statue.
These mutant raccoons have a cool pad, complete with toilet facilities they must have nicked from Granite Falls.
In the middle of a convo with these other three raccoons, I make a 20th friend. Imagine that!
Problem is, I’m not really sure which raccoon is the 20th cuz it’s hard to tell who’s who.
But I’m pretty sure it’s that one covering her mouth–the mutant muchacha with the high-pitched feminine voice.
Returning to the front of the Hideout, I see Veegan and Brennachan chatting with Yuki Behr and someone new.
The adult Veegan and Yuki are feeling inappropriately flirty. Yo, she still be a teenager!
The pale-skinned newcomer is Lucas the Infected.
Lucas leaves quickly, right after I introduce myself. Was it something I said?
From now on, I’m going to try and make a friend in each clan!
Veegan: What’s that building over there, Brennachan?
Brennachan: That’s the recently-completed Murkland Mercantile Co.
In fact, my alter-ego contractor just finished building it a few hours ago!
Veegan: Hey, isn’t that Mayor Epoch Salamander of Fort Murkland? Does he own the store?
Mayor Epoch: Let’s see, where’s that darn list? Set the markup to 100%. Check!
Lock the kitchen door to everyone except employees. Check!
And one last thing: hiring the clerks. Let’s see…
Aeon Salamander (his wife): Look at how skilled oshizu and Lisa Bee are! What about those two?
Mayor: Oh heck no! I hear those two are nothing but trouble!
Aeon Salamander: What about Count Vladislaus Straud IV! We could open the store 24/7!!!
Mayor: So far, we’ve all been super careful not to use any of the vampire-related socials.
I don’t want my Murklanders always worrying about being drained by vampires in their sleep!
*hires Carlos Coyote
Mayor Epoch: I need to sit and get my bearings for a minute. Why do I feel so disoriented?
oshizu: Hey, let’s stop peeking on the Mayor, people!
Pretty sure he and his store are none of our business while I’m living in the Murkland Starter!
A sim from Windenburg named Moira Fyres invites me to join her Garden Gnomes club.
Since I’ve been wanting to visit the Overgrown Library, I invite Moira along.
oshizu: Oh Aspen! I didn’t know you worked as a barista at the Overgrown Library.
Aspen: Neither did I! Um, aren’t you the one who just hired me?
After a heated discussion about the management of Garden Gnomes…
oshizu: …and that’s why I feel you should step down as the leader of Garden Gnomes.
Moira: You’re right, oshizu. Maybe you should lead Garden Gnomes.
Moira: By the way, I heard you suffered extensive head damage before finding yourself in Murkland.
oshizu: Nah, I was out for several days but I’ve never lost my love of cheese…