Playable: Message Decoded, Deconstructed, and Delivered

Cathy Tea


“Who’s this C. Goth writing us?”

“Hey, babe. Do you know any C. Goth?” SimJim called to me one morning.

“Not personally.”

“How about an Angers guy? Oh! Dimenche. That’s Dimenche! The legacy guy!”


“What’s Cassie doing writing us on behalf of d’Angers for?”

“Yeah! Dimenche!” I  answered. “He’s the guy that discovered Annette and helped arrange for her and everybody to come over here!”

“So, I guess he’s sort of like another-reason-that-we’re-here kind of guy.”

Cathy Tea

“I’d be careful about letting him know that we know that he’s like basically the reason for our entire existence!”

“Yup. Just don’t let him hear you saying that! He’s already got kinda a swell head. If he hears that, he won’t only think he’s the Lord of Oakenstead, he’ll start thinking he’s all that! Like the Lord of the Universe, or something!”

“Says here he’s ‘the Duc of Willow Creek,'” SimJim said. “Listen to this email message…”


“Yadda, yadda, yadda. Blah, blah, blah.”

To: Cathy Tea & Jim Bee
From: Cassandra Goth on behalf of Dimenche d’Angers, Duc de Willow Brook

Please convey to Ms. Annette Thayer, Ms. Maya and their companions our congratulations for their swift and save arrival in Motherlode. It appears to be a wonderful opportunity for all of them, but let it be known that if, for any reason, any of them should wish to leave Motherlode, they would be welcome here.

We also want to convey joyous tidings — the arrival of Dimenche II and his twin sister, named for our dear friend Annette. The children are well, in large part thanks to your associate Rick Bernal, whose decision to remain here as our steward has been a blessing on the household.

We note as well that our author, Eric Lewis, is there with you. That was unexpected. We know the situation was unsettled when you left his World, but we have not heard from any of your traveling companions since your departure. If you learn anything about their fate, or that of the local instances of Bella Goth and Geoffrey Landgraab, we would appreciate any information or intuitions you may have.


C.Goth for Dimenche d’Angers

Cathy Tea

“Holy cow. I’m not really sure what to make of this.”

“Which ‘local instances’ do you think she’s referring to?” I asked. “All the pre-mades were deleted from this world before we were even moved in. And the switch to the second person throws me. Is she referring to Annette there?”

“I’m guessing for Annette–‘…you left this world.’ That would be Annette.”


“This is meant for Annette! Cassie wants you to pass on the message.”

“It’s kinda formal, isn’t it?” I asked. “And geez. It’s so steeped in stratospheric distinctions amongst the classes of Sims! I can’t even focus on the meaning, because I’m so focused on the subtext, you know what I mean? I mean, we’ve got the landed pre-mades (Goths and Lewises and Landgraabs), the CAS gentility, the serving moved-in Townies, the rebellious emigrants. Holy cow.”

“Right. It’s kind of dense. And you know what I say about the word, ‘but.'”


“It’s like she’s saying, ‘you live in a great place, but…’ “

“That it cancels out everything that comes before,” I replied.  “‘It seems like a really wonderful place, but...’ In other words, it stinks.”

“Yup. And the use of ‘appears,’ too. She’s not admitting it is a good opportunity. Just that it ‘appears‘ to be.”

“Ok, read it again.”

After hearing it a second time, once I got passed that distancing use of the formal, and then once I got over her extreme classism and stratification–which is especially offensive since this is a world explicitly designed with the intention of removing that stratification–then I was finally able to begin to take in the information Cassandra was trying to convey.

“Wow,” I said. “Dimenche and Katelynn had twins! That’s so exciting!”

“Oh yeah,” SimJim said. “Two more towards 180. It’s going to be hard to maintain zero-population growth when you get twins on the first try. You know they’ll keep trying for more. But still, I agree. It’s exciting for them. A legacy needs an heir and spare.”


“Now they’ve got an heir and a spare!”

“Ok. So. Twins. What else? Anytime anybody wants to come back they can. Eric is here. Doesn’t it sound like she’s sort of digging at us for not letting them know Eric was here? And Eric is their ‘author?’ What’s up with that? And finally, where are Annette’s other traveling companions? I guess she’s asking about the Sims that went with her to Eric Lewis Prime’s world?”

“You know, Cath. I think she’s maybe worried about her mom.”


“She hasn’t heard from her mom and she wants to know if she’s ok!”

“She’s worried about Bella?”

“Well, think about it. Bella does have a history of disappearing. Cassandra has been abandoned before.”

And with that, all my snarkiness disappeared. I felt compassion for Cassandra and an eagerness to help. Once a child gets that scar from being abandoned by a parent, it’s hard to ever heal completely. All of her distancing tactics, all of her refuge-seeking in class stratification, all forgiven. This is a girl who’s been burned in the past, who misses her mom and is worried about her safety.

I ran over to Annette’s to deliver the message right away. She was still in her nightgown, using the computer in Paula’s room.

Annette seemed to already know all the information that Cassandra asked me to pass on.


“They had twins and the baby girl is named after you!” “I know! It’s so exciting!”

When I told her about Cassie and Dimenche’s offer that any of them could return at any time, she seemed interested.


“I would very much like to go back sometime.”

“I hope you’ll wait a little while, at least,” I said. “I have a feeling that your trip here was pretty hard on you. It’s good to give yourself a little while to stabilize before moving back around again.”


“The time stream there moves so quickly.”

“I’m not sure how long I can wait!” she said. “Time there moves so much more rapidly. We’ve only been here a few days, but there, the twins are children already. I may not have the luxury of waiting for complete stabilization between my trips. But you forget–I thrive on instability!”

I mentioned their particular interest in Eric Lewis Prime. She wasn’t surprised.

“He’s their player,” she replied. “Their player and their author. It’s like with Cathy T.-on-the-other-side-of-the-screen. What if you were to learn third-hand that she had moved to, say, Portland? You’d be curious and a little concerned, right? You would want to know that your player and author were all right and were still planning to continue playing and writing about Sims.”


“Keep in mind that, as their author, his well-being is paramount to them!”

I had thought that Bilmonaghan was their player and author. But Annette reminded me that Bilmonaghan is Eric Lewis Prime’s player, and that it is Eric Lewis Prime who is Dimenche, et al.’s, player and author.

“And my former author,” she giggled. “And a sort of current love interest!”


“I was flirting with my former author!”

Then I got to what seems to be the main purpose and intent of Cassandra’s message: to find out if her mom is ok.

“My feelings are that Bella is fine. She and her agents are doing something, I’m not sure what. But everything is working out the way it should. Cassandra can put that worry to bed and focus on more important things, like this little rose that’s beginning to blossom in her own heart when it basks in the sunlight of a certain steward, perhaps.”


“Bella’s on the trail of something, but my intuition tells me that it’s working out just fine.”

Annette thanked me for passing on the message. She asked if I’d email them back, assuring them of Eric and Allison’s safety and well-being, letting them know that she and the other emigrants were settling in well and felt grateful to know they could return to the homeland at any time, and, especially, to reassure Cassandra that Bella was ok, and so were Bryon  and Vivek. She couldn’t answer for Geoffrey, as she had no feel for him.


“Thanks for delivering her message! Let her know her mom’s fine.”

I spent the afternoon there, mostly because Annette invited me to try out her garret studio, and I was feeling inspired to paint.

Cathy Tea

What a great work space!

Cathy Tea

I call this one, “When Goths and Landgraabs are allowed into Motherlode.”

As soon as I got back home, I emailed Cassandra. With the weird way that time works between the worlds, who knows when she’ll get it? Maybe years later, maybe within a few minutes, maybe even before she sends her message!

Cathy Tea

Remember, call her Cassandra, not Cassie.

I wrote a quick draft.

“Babe?” I called. “Can you come and look this over before I send it off? I want to make sure none of my grumbliness from this morning crept in.”


“What? I think ‘noblesse oblige’ is laying it on a little too thick!”

SimJim changed a few words, and sent it off.


“There. That does the job. Right to the point, letting her know all the essentials.”

So, we find ourselves in the role of courier. I guess since we’re the ones who established the firewall designed to keep out the Goths and the Landgraabs, we’re the right ones for the job.

Contributing author: Bilmonaghan,