I’m just a curb-side prophet
With my hand in my pocket
And I’m waiting for my rocket to come
Mraz, Curbside Prophet
Day 1, December 20, 2009
My name is Logan Huntzberger. Or so I’m told. Four days ago, I was in a car crash. I don’t really remember much about the accident. Or anything for that matter. They say this type of complete retrograde amnesia only happens out of one in a hundred thousand accidents, contrary to all the soap operas. Lucky me.
They found me with my head bleeding, left arm broken, left knee injured and ribs bruised. They were able to recover only a two feet foot tall rocket – my work documents and briefcase were burned. No one really seems to know what the rocket was. Maybe a gag gift. It’s been placed on the table next to my bed. I study it from time to time, hoping it’ll give me some clue to what happened.
My doctors told me to start a diary. It’s supposed to help me cope with my new life better. Diary, however, sounds way too girly, memory or no memory. This is a journal, no matter what Honor says. She’s my sister. I’m told. But, before I get into the details, here’s what I’ve discovered about myself so far.
Name: Logan Huntzberger.
Nicknames: Logan, Huntz, Loogiebear (my ex-girlfriend’s old name for me), Butt-faced miscreant (my ex-girlfriend’s new name for me)
Civil Status: Single and pathetically unable to maintain a relationship longer than two weeks. Or so I’m told.
Occupation: Chief Operating Officer, Huntzberger Publishing Group. Behind my back, people say COO is really ‘Child of Owner’.
Educational Attainment: Shifted from prep school to prep school where my most famous stunt was sinking the dean’s car into the lake; college at Yale where my most famous stunt was skydiving off a cliff in Costa Rica drunk, almost forgetting to pull the parachute string
Net Worth: Ten bajillion dollars, which in Finn-speak means lots.
Father’s Name: Mitchum Huntzberger.
Father’s Profession: Newspaper magnate and all-around asshole.
Mother’s Name: Shira Huntzberger.
Mother’s Profession: Socialite and stress smoker.
Siblings: Honor Waldorf, nee Huntzberger. Obsessive Compulsive art expert.
Best Friends: Colin McCrae and Finn – no last name, like Madonna. He said he had it legally changed. Go figure.
Not too shabby.
My doctor’s good. His name is Dr. Schultz. He’s supposed to be one of the best surgeons in the business. He was my surgeon during the famous Costa Rican skydiving incident of 2005. Apart from the surgeon, I have to see a physical therapist for my knee (originally wounded in the great Fiji escape of 2003, aggravated during Spring Break 2005 and Christmas 2008), a neurologist for the amnesia, and a psychologist to help me cope.
I’m not allowed to try to figure out everything in one day. My doctors have my parents, friends, and colleagues under strict orders not to try to make me remember everything. I don’t really mind though. I’m waited on hand and foot, always have good company, nurses keep flirting with me. It’s not a bad life really. I’m rich, successful, good looking (or will be after all these bandages are out) – and have no responsibilities. My father stopped by to tell me that he’d take over my job. Apparently we’d been in the middle of transitioning. Good thing, too. I know nothing about the newspaper business.
My friends tell me I don’t have the best relationship with my dad, that he’s manipulative and evil. He seems pretty ok to me though. All ‘How’re you doing, son?’ and ‘You gave us a scare there, Logan’. Not at all Darth Vader like. Whoever that is. We talked mostly about my medical problems and a bit about the business, until my mother shooed him away and told him not to pressure me during my recovery.
I’m told my mother dotes on me. She’s always hovering, making sure my sheets are Egyptian cotton, and that my pillow is hypoallergenic. She also drops in hints about ‘that lovely Van Der Woodsen girl with the green eyes’ and ‘Mrs. Livingston’s daughter with the beautiful ebony hair’.
As there is nothing to do after visiting hours but watch TV, I watch TV. My doctor has recommended I watch the news to help me get more acclimatized to the year, without really overtaxing me much.
Ok, here we go. CNN.
Screw it. I’m watching Top
Day 2, December 21, 2009
Things are going well. Fewer bandages on my face now, just one more around my head. Finn made sure the bandage was camouflage print. I didn’t even know they had bandages like that.
Honor’s spent the morning here, sobbing over Brittany Murphy’s death. Must find out who that is.
Despite all the waterworks, my family seems all right. I don’t know why Finn and Colin keep telling me my family’s a nightmare. My parents at least. My dad and I had a long talk over the family business, he didn’t press too hard asking about what I remembered. I actually did remember some stuff, like the layout of the office and the November 30 issue of the Times.
The psychiatrist was in today and tried to explain my condition a bit. As far as they can tell, the cause of the amnesia was the trauma to the head. They’re hoping time will heal the damage. Most cases don’t require invasive treatment at all. I think that’s good news. The doctors also say that I’m well enough so that they I can start trying to get familiar with my old environment. My mom’s coming here in the afternoon with some of my old clothes and pictures. At least I’ll have something to keep me occupied until Top Gear.
I’ve been trying to figure out that rocket. I can’t help but feel that it means something. I mean, it’s a two foot rocket. That’s not exactly something you’d find in your average car. I asked my mom, and she said I’d never had an interest in astronomy or space travel or anything like that. It doesn’t seem to be a replica of any famous rocket either.
Discovery of the day: My tongue
can reach my nose.
Day 3, December 22, 2009
Busted. Now I really have to watch the news, at least from 7:45 – 8:00. Dr. Schultz made that adamantly clear. Dammit. There goes Top Gear.
The foreign correspondent’s hot. She’s got legs that go on forever. Might not be that bad to watch this.
I told my dad the foreign correspondent was hot, and he spit out his coffee. It was the weirdest reaction I’d ever seen until I told Colin and Finn the same things later when I told them I wanted to watch the 7:45 segment. Finn actually started choking.
Ok, what is with people freaking out when I tell them the foreign correspondent of CNN is attractive? I say things like that about my nurses all the time. Worse things in fact. I told Honor and she started coughing then went out to say her phone was ringing.
Discovery of the day: I hate
Clueless. I finally found out who Brittany Murphy was. Brittany Murphy
was in Clueless, Girl Interrupted, Happy Feet, and 8 Mile. I know this
because Honor made me watch them all. I had to sit through Clueless twice.
Day 4, December 23, 2009
This is not a good day. Some girl dropped by my room to throw a glass of orange soda in my face. She said she was trying for wine, but orange soda was the best the hospital vending machine could do. It took two nurses to drag her away. Colin told me later I had been the ‘other guy’ that she had dumped her boyfriend for, but that I had never actually committed to her. An extremely smart thing to do since she’s totally nuts, Finn told me happily. And now that she’s on the rebound, desperate and willing, Logan you are our hero once again.
The police also came by to talk about the accident. It turns out it wasn’t one. Someone had intentionally tampered with the electric system. The car crash was definitely foul play. The police said that the safety mechanisms were still in place though – most likely the perpetrator’s intent was to give me a scare and not kill me. My life is getting more screwed up by the minute.
DOTD: I’m kind of an asshole.
Day 5, December 24, 2009
Remember how I said it didn’t suck to be me? Yeah, I take that back. It sucks big time. I’ve been around my family and friends for four days now, and I’ve sort of figured out the person I’ve become. Colin and Finn are not my best friends. They’re people who push me to do irresponsible things. And I’m probably just like them. They’re good buddies, don’t get me wrong. They mean well. They’re just not the type of person I am. I mean, not the type of person I want to be. They’re sort of perpetual children who don’t take responsibility for anything because they don’t have to. I don’t want to be them. They were in here today, joking about all the cars they’d crashed. Finn’s crashed four, not including two motorcycles, and Colin’s crashed three. I’ve crashed only twice, but apparently what I lack in quantity I make up for in quality. I drove the dean’s car into the lake, and sank my father’s yacht. Not technically a car, just awesome, says Finn.
I couldn’t help but think of the other people that might have been injured, the risk they put themselves in, and the cost of all the damages. They hurt a lot of people those stunts, and it’s nothing to them but a fun ‘you wouldn’t believe what I did when I was drunk’ story. My dad says they’re bad influences, and he’s probably right. Partially. I was probably more than willing to go along with everything. The ideas might even have come from me.
Oh and my dad? Not that great. I see the asshole everyone was talking about now. He came in here a while ago to talk business with me, talking a bit about moves for next year. He’s laying off about one hundred people, and firing some people who have been working for HPG for twenty years. Never mind that it used to be company policy not to lay off people without due cause if they had been working at HPG for over fifteen. My dad said we’d already talked about it and approved it the past three board meetings. We. As in him and me. I had had a part in it. I had thought it was a good thing to fire people who’d been loyal, thought they had job security, and had done nothing wrong.
I also have a crappy dating record. Aside from my random hook-ups, I’ve had exactly one girlfriend, who was an unfeeling career woman who only looked out for herself and caused a rift in our family. My mom told me all these horror stories about her; I wonder what possessed me to ever date anyone so self-involved. Maybe I was too self-involved myself to care? Or maybe I was cheating on her. I can’t exactly be sure, but my dad sort of hinted that I had. Something about Honor’s bridesmaids. I asked Honor if I’d ever cheated on my ex-girlfriend. She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no either.
I had another long talk with the police officer investigating the crash. It looks like I’ve got a long list of enemies. My Dad and Colin helped me come up with the names – it was five pages long. Disgruntled employees, disgruntled girls. Just great.
DOTD: I’m scum.
Day 6, December 25, 2009
DOTD: Reporter girl is my ex-girlfriend.
It’s Christmas today, and my family was nice enough to have lunch in my hospital room to make up for leaving me the night before to host the annual Huntzberger Christmas party. They even decorated and stuck a Christmas tree on my rocket. I don’t feel the Christmas spirit at all though.
Finally found out that reporter girl was my ex-girlfriend. I can see why I dated her. Turns out she was love of my life girlfriend. I proposed and she turned me down. My mom says she’s been trying to get me back for years, but I’ve learned not to fall prey to her “wily ways”.
Honor says that reporter girl and I were really just friends now. She also told me not to believe anything my mom said about her. Honor brought a picture of the two of us, back when we were together. There was an inscription on the back from ‘Ace’. Whatever kind of a nickname that was. Maybe she had eccentric parents.
We both looked pretty happy.
“You were,” Honor told me. “It was a shame it didn’t work out.”
“Was it my fault?” I asked Honor. I didn’t ask what happened. I just needed to know if it was my fault. I didn’t need to know the gory details of how horrible I was.
“I don’t think it was anyone’s fault exactly. You both wanted different things. You wanted to get married and settle down; she wanted to travel and work. You guys didn’t speak at all the first year you were broken up, but you’re pretty good friends now.”
It was a small measure of comfort
that I wasn’t a total dick. It was sad because even Top Gear wasn’t
cheering me up anymore.
Day 7, December 26, 2009
DOTD: Physical therapy is not fun. When I can use both hands again, I’m going to bash that doctor’s head in. With his own cane.
Reporter Girl called. I thought talking to her would give me more of an idea of who Logan Huntzberger was, because I definitely didn’t know that guy. Logan Huntzberger was a stranger.
“Logan, oh my god, Honor called me, but I was in Copenhagen!” The words on the phone came out in a rush. “Are you all right? She said it was amnesia and you don’t remember anything, so I don’t want you to overtax yourself or to remember any traumatic experiences, I mean it always goes bad in soap operas, you know? So maybe I should only ask you innocuous things, like how’s the weather? Wait, do you have a window? Of course you have a window- you haven’t forgotten what a window is have you? It’s one of those - I’m babbling.”
“It does seem that way.” It was amazing how many words she could speak in a span of seconds.
Nervous laughter. “I babble when I’m nervous. I’m Rory, by the way.”
“Honor told me.” Who was Ace?
“We used to date,” she informed me. “But we’re friends now. And I don’t have designs or an agenda, whatever your mother might say. I think you’re a jerk who can’t handle commitment so you have meaningless sex and lead a frivolous life. I disapprove. You never listen to me.”
Ouch. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I’m really not this angry most of the time.” There was an instant change in her tone. I could almost feel her fidgeting nervously on the other end of the line.
“I can tell.”
“I’m normally like Buddha friendly. Thumper friendly. Ask anyone. I don’t even like killing flies. I hold little funerals for them in my head.”
“No,” she admitted sheepishly. “Too scared to go near them. But I would if I ever did. I had a caterpillar funeral once. It was really sad.”
“What was his name?” I couldn’t help but smile as the mental image of a young girl going door to door inviting people to a caterpillar funeral entered my head. Talking to this girl was… fun. I’ve never really said that and meant it. Talking to her was genuinely fun. The most fun I’ve had in a while.
“Carter. He was the most loyal pet anyone could ask for.” she told me. “But enough about the caterpillar, may he rest in peace. How’re you doing?
I glanced in the mirror that Honor brought. I looked decidedly puffy. “Well I don’t look like a mummy anymore.”
“No mummy. As in dead Egyptian ruler.”
“Oh sorry – connection’s getting choppy. I totally would have gotten the simile if I’d heard it. I’m an English major. I know my figures of speech. Miss Simile, that’s me. I like similes. As far as figures of speech go they’re really cute. Take out an I and you’ve got smile! Whoever came up with the word ‘simile’ must have been as cheerful- I’m in babble mode. Since you’re new at this, you should know. Stop me.”
I glanced at my bedside table and the mysterious rocket. “Well there was something I wanted to ask you. In the car crash, they found a rocket with me. I have no idea what it means. You wouldn’t know anything about it would you? It’s silver, thin, about two feet high?
And for the first time, I got a helpful answer. “I remember that rocket. You gave it to me when you first left for London in… 2006, I think. I gave it back to you maybe three months ago? Well gave is putting it nicely. I threw it at your head. Base first not pointy side first, so you wouldn’t get scarred or anything. Don’t worry though. I throw like a girl,” she reassured me. “You caught it before it hit you.”
I winced. “Big fight?”
“Big fight,” she confirmed. “Listen, I’ve got to go but I’ll come visit you as soon as I get back, maybe Monday. Don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone.”
“With nurses watching me 24/7?”
“I know your every move Huntzberger.
Even the moves you don’t know you know yet. Stay safe. Merry Christmas.”
Day 8, December 27, 2009
DOTD: My dad’s hair? Toupee.
After all the doctors in the morning, Colin and Finn and a few other college friends visited in the afternoon. I asked them about Ace.
“Ace was your pet name for Rory,” Finn told me.
“Horrible one if you ask me,” Rosemary informed me. “Not romantic at all. Who wants to be named after a playing card? You might as well have called her Queen. Or Joker. Or seven.”
“Ace as in ace reporter,” Colin replied dismissively. “Not the playing card.”
“Although I’m sure they had their fair share of games,” Finn replied. “We played one delightful one during that frightfully boring party at Gilmore’s house. I say we play it now and liven up this dreary dreary room.”
“There’s no booze Finn,” Steph shot back quickly.
“I never said it was a drinking game!” Finn protested.
Steph arched an eyebrow. “You don’t know any other kind.”
“True. Well I’m all out of ideas then. What do you do for fun around here then Logan?”
“The nurses,” Robert snickered.
I forced a laugh. “Well, they do have that uniform going for them.”
“Excellent, we can leave you to the nurses and the delightful Rory Gilmore is officially up for grabs.”
2nd DOTD: My left arm is broken,
but my right hand still can punch.
Day 9, December 28, 2009
DOTD: The rocket is from an episode of the Twilight Zone. I actually remember a lot of these episodes, just not the one with the rocket.
I thought I had a new breakthrough in the rocket, but before I could watch the Twilight Zone episode that had the rocket, I was interrupted by a female voice that wasn’t my sister, mother, or nurse. My hand automatically flew up to my face. Soda up the nose really hurts.
“That wasn’t the reaction I was expecting.”
“That would be me,” she smiled. “How’re you doing, Logan?”
“Uh… good,” I stammered. Dear lord, stammered. That was nice and out of character. “You’re taller than I expected.”
“People say that a lot.”
“Must mean something, then.”
She frowned. “There’s something bothering you.”
“Someone wants me maimed, HPG company policies are horrible, I can’t remember anything, I’m still in the hospital - yeah, I’d say there’s something bothering me.” I thought this girl was supposed to be smart. “Several somethings in fact.”
“I lived with you for three years, Logan. I know your every tell. You tilt your head to the side when you lie by omission. There’s something bigger bothering you.”
I wasn’t planning to say anything. It just came out. There was just something about her. She felt familiar. She felt safe.
“I think… I think I’m evil.”
Rory’s eyes widened. I never realized how blue they were. “What? What would make you think that?”
“My work, my love life, my family, my friends. It’s all just so screwed up. And it’s so unfair. It’s like there are two of me. Logan1 and Logan2.” I leant back in bed. “Logan1 is this horrible person who doesn’t care about anyone but himself and Logan2 is just finding out all the horrible things Logan1 has done, but before he can do anything about it, the consequences happen. Like that girl getting dumped and me getting soda in my face and those people getting fired. I should be able to do something about it, but I can’t.”
“Logan-” She put a hand on my wrist. I jerked my hand away. It felt strange. What the hell was I doing, spilling my soul to some girl who walked into my room.
I cut her off before she could say anything. “I’m not ready to talk about it. I know we have a history, but right now, you’re a total stranger. I feel weird enough that I just told you all that.”
Rory started to say something but seemed to think better of it and turned away. “Your rocket’s here.”
I was grateful for the change in topic. “Yeah. I know it’s from an episode of the Twilight Zone, but I don’t know much past that. I’m hoping it’ll give me some information about where I was going, what I was doing.”
“No one knew?”
“Nope. All I know is that I didn’t show up at work for two days and was my car was found on Route 162.”
“I think you were on your way to my place. You only ever take that highway when you head to Star’s Hollow. And the rocket-” she played with the ends of her sweater. “It’s from an episode of the Twilight Zone. This guy and girl fell in love, but the guy was going to be put in suspended animation in space. The guy took himself out though so when he got back, he could be old with her. You told me that that was true love.”
She shook her head. “That was a long time ago. May I?” she asked, extending her hand. I handed it over to her, and she promptly dropped it. She glared at me. “Don’t laugh. Being this clumsy is a skill. An art form, if you will.”
But that wasn’t what I had found odd. “Did you hear that?”
“That clanging noise when you dropped it. There’s something inside.”
Rory picked it up. “It never opened before.” She shook it. Something definitely clanged inside. She twisted the base and the body of the rocket. It loosened. A roll of papers came out. And a ring box.
Rory’s breath caught in her throat. “Oh my.”
I looked at some of the papers. “It’s a skeleton of the HPG Budget, but this isn’t the one my dad showed me. There are a few pay cuts, no company outing- but not as many layoffs.”
Rory was busy reading another document. “I think this might explain things,” she said, sniffing. Her eyes were red-rimmed. Curious, I took the document from her.
“What is it?”
“The answers you’re looking for.” She was full out crying. But happy crying, I think. She was smiling.
You were right. I was wrong to just agree to my dad’s demands like in the name of profit and “efficiency”. I spent two days with Philip reworking the budget. We’ll be able to save a lot of people’s jobs. Not everyone, I can’t do anything about the recession, but about 90% should be safe. Here, ye of little faith, is a copy.
I’m also sorry for chickening out and insisting we keep the relationship secret. I was afraid to take that leap again. It drove me crazy when you turned me down the first time. Aside from the pain of rejection, I couldn’t take the whispers and pitying looks. I should have been ecstatic that we had a second chance to work things out. I should never have let my pride get in the way.
It was a good thing you threw the rocket at me. Maybe it was fate that had you standing next to it while we were arguing. As I was driving home, I remembered the moment I recognized true love, and the feeling I had when I first bought this for you before I left for London. Love isn’t selfish. The Twilight Zone couple waited decades for each other. I could wait a couple years. You’re it for me. I can’t imagine loving anyone else.
So Rory Gilmore, I asked you a question two years ago. I ask it again, in the hopes that you give me a different answer, but also with a renewed understanding of love. I’ll wait, Ace. However long, I’ll wait. You want to see the world, to explore life. I want in. I’m in. I’m all in.
You jump, I jump Jack.
DOTD: Maybe I’m not such
a jerk after all.
Epilogue: Post-Hospital, January 4, 2010
Today, I remembered my relationship with Rory. By myself. Rory took me to our old apartment in college, and I remembered. It was a good feeling. We walked around Yale, and it felt good to know. I wasn’t just told. I knew the Logan Huntzberger who had fallen for Rory Gilmore.
My dad came on board and approved the changed budget; he bought the spin Philip and I made. HPG has to be set apart from all the other companies. If we stay strong and protect our employees during troubled times, the different communities those papers are based in will respect us for it. HPG will continue to stand for quality and trust. Or at least he claimed to buy it. Not much he could do as we’d already gotten approvals from the majority of the board.
The police still don’t know who tampered with my car, but the death threats have stopped since it became public knowledge that there would be minimal layoffs. I hadn’t even known I was getting death threats.
“You know I think you’re the best almost-maybe-fiancé a guy could ask for. You’re patient and smart and helped me figure out the rocket thing-”
Rory frowned. “You want to watch Top Gear, don’t you?”
Back at her place, I glanced at the rocket on her side table as we settled down on the couch, Top Gear DVD in place. It amazed me. It was hard to believe, as I told my psychiatrist yesterday, that I had despaired of my life for the past few months, even before my accident. But it was all a matter of perspective. It’s hard to change the world, but a lot of the hardest change to do is internal.
Many times we have the things we’re looking for, we just don’t recognize them for what they are. I was looking for purpose in my life. I didn’t think my position in HPG was good for anything, I didn’t think that I could ever have the same relationship with Rory again. I blindly carried out my father’s orders in HPG and blindly searched for “the one” with countless women. I didn’t think my position could actually be utilized for the better in HPG. Even though Rory remained in my life, I never thought we could have what we once had again. Things are definitely looking up.
DOTD: Best things in
life - love, knowing yourself, a clean conscience - are closer than
they appear. Sometimes literally.
Make it witty and smart, add
some fun banter, angst that serves the storyline, a dash of fluff and
some seriousness where needed. I want to feel happy after reading it.
Maybe you can incorporate the idea that sometimes the best things in
life are actually closer than they seem. This can be love, a thing a
character thought they had lost, success, you name it. I enjoy reading
about the inner "workings" of a character.
As for the setting, seasons 5 and 6 and a future fic are totally fine, please ignore the disgraceful parts of season 7, you're welcome to go AU for that season but please don't deviate from the original storyline too much if you choose to set the story in season 5 or 6. A future fic shouldn't be OOC, I still want to recognize the characters I love, at least at some point in the story.
R/L should be the main focus of the story, other characters are fine to some extend if they are actually needed for the storyline. Like many others, Lorelai is not my favorite person in the world, but if she serves a purpose, go ahead and include her.