“Heck, good enough” was my feeling about these last two pages, too. You may not be laughing at Frigg here, and yes, this might be the meanest thing she’s ever done, but it’s nasty-funny to me and Phil both for reasons I can’t articulate. Yes, Frigg, fucking a dude whom no one but you calls a girl is indeed “super gay.” The GAYEST.

The last two panels are solid payoff for earlier planting, and one of the bits of my original outline that I’m glad survived.

As Phil and I were finishing this chapter, we were getting our Kickstarter approved at last. This did not make us any less tense with each other as we bit our fingernails over Guilded Age‘s financial future. I remember letting a call from Phil go to voice mail while I was looking for a new living situation: a yurt on a goat and chicken farm, where I would carry out certain duties in lieu of rent. I’m not kidding, that was the actual offer. I was a little too nervous around some of the animals to be the farm owners’ first choice, but I tried.

I got back from the farm to find a volley of angry texts from Phil for ignoring his call, despite the fact that I’d TOLD him I was apartment-hunting. This was the last straw. The straw that broke the Campbell’s back.

Or it WOULD have been the last straw if not for what happened next. My replies included the quotes “I WAS AT THE HOUSING MEETING I FUCKING TOLD YOU ABOUT, YOU RIDICULOUS RAGE MANIAC” and “I should have been treated like a freakin’ HERO for shoving everything else in my life aside, during the PEAK of the roommate trouble AND Income Tax Day when I worked for a tax company, and getting that shit DONE.”

I cannot do justice to how cathartic that text session was, mostly because Phil took it like an adult and admitted I was right. Maybe not about EVERYTHING, but certainly about those two things. This is one of the things I deeply admire about Phil: as combative as he can be, he will often admit fault and apologize when others would defensively double down. He values HONESTY, and that is worth treasuring.

One solid apology doesn’t fix everything, of course. But it moved us onto a better footing as we approached the next chapter, which may have been harder on Phil than this one was on me.