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Flanked

The girls apartment is actually based on one I had in Lakeland with some roommates of my own. Ours was three bedrooms, but the two bedroom layout is practically the same. The blueprint for it is eternally burned into my head when drawing and setting up each panel contained within this environment. Apt UPDATE: Yeah I'm failing miserably at getting this comic done. I'll have to push it to Monday, but it is 4 tiers, and it's the content of all missed posts. My apologies. I had a rough time getting this one how I wanted. :

166 thoughts on “Flanked

        1. If you’re lost you can look – and you will find me
          Time after time
          If you fall I will catch you – I’ll be waiting
          Time after time

  1. …being as I’ve rented the same house since moving out of my parents, I’m not seeing the plot here. What, is he trying to corner the market on Lakeland real estate?

      1. Sure but that contract is utterly unenforceable. Signing it made a fool buy them some cars, but it doesn’t constrain future actions except by their own honor.

        Much more importantly, TiredGuy has footage of them assaulting Alex. The door is small potatoes to going up the river for assault.

        1. That depends on the laws of this world, it may in fact be legally binding here, that if they do talk about it he can sue them for all of the money spent on them. Also did he get footage? Because the door was knocked down so that camera should be out, and the cat swallowed the others, the phone was in the freezer and the rest were in their apartments.

        2. Using the footage might become problematic for him anyway, given this new information. For the question would come up of how it was acquired. And that would quite likely lead to the question if he, as actual holder of the appartment Danny used, was involved in the business coordinated from there.

          We know he wasn’t. But it might be difficult to prove.

          Sure, he could argue to have found the record in the appartment. He’d then have to explain as to why he was searching his subletters personal possessions though.

        3. Ignoring the fact that Ellie, as a policeman’s daughter, would probably get a more favorable treatment, he could point to his nephew directing him to the site due to the apartment looking like his. Unless he worked fairly heavily in computers, he could play the age card on himself for it taking time to track down where the site was coming from, and as the lease holder for the apartment Danny was subletting, having a tenant breaking the rental agreement is an issue he would have to show movement against to defend himself.

          Now unless there’s also evidence that Danny told him what he was up to and wanted to do in renting the apartment, then I think he can probably get away with using the video. Primarily because his use of the video isn’t for something the legal system would consider to be a gain for him, but just to notify the legal system (and/or rich and possibly lawsuit-happy rich parents of the victim) of a crime.

          The real thing that would bite him is if he talked Alex into going to visit them. If he went that far and it gets discovered, then this backfires very badly upon him (and Alex, probably).

        4. Actually considering he wants Quinn’s appartment and has already acquired all those around hers, it would be him trying to gain something from this. Which would at the least place some doubt on his claims to not have been involved in any kind of way. Which the nephew in question of course couldn’t have known.

          He might be able to get away with it, if he was going to use the video. But he might also get into trouble himself. And it certainly wouldn’t be all that easy getting out of the mess he’d create with what he wants.

        5. Tired Guy to police officer: “My nephew pointed out a website to me because he said the backgrounds looked like my apartment. I recognized my upstairs neighbors. I have had disagreements with these neighbors in the past, which even included the darker haired girl cutting my air hose. Since I have reason to be concerned, I continued watching occasionally. I happened to see evidence of an assault and my computer allowed me to save it. I am concerned with my safety and hope you can help me.”

          If there isn’t any evidence that he knew Danny was peeping on them or that he set up Alex to go get his ass kicked, I don’t see that backfiring on Tired Guy.

        6. He can’t be that stupid. But how did Danny boy get in touch with Tired Guy in the first place? If it was through the site users, then there is that link that would crap on Tired Guy’s plans faster than Quinn with a second pair of scissors and a second air tube.

          Officer: where were you sir, when this girl cut your air hose?

        7. Yeah, there is definitely the question of how he ended up subletting to Danny. Though Danny certainly could’ve been looking for openings in the building and found it himself and that wouldn’t seem odd at all. Would be a bit odder for Tired Guy to approach some guy spending time around Ellie and try to ask him if he wasn’t to do something awful to them.

        8. Quinn to said police officer: “He’s been pretty much stalking me for months now. Trying to weasel his way into my appartment and using every opportunity to threaten me with having me removed from the building. Now after months of unsuccessful threats, harassment and desperate attempts to find any pretence by which he could have the landlord throw me out, someone illegally installs cameras in the appartment me and Ellie Buckingham are living in. Someone that was provided an appartment by our neighbour in question, which is used as a base for this operation. And he is part of the watching community pretty much from the start.
          Now nevermind that Alex had an amazingly good timing showing up after the first hours did of videos did not show anything that could compromise my status as holder of the lease. And pretty much went out of his way to provoke us into throwing him out. That whole setup still stinks. Especially considering he’s aiming for complete holding of all the appartments in this building and mine is the last one he’d need for that. He’s already proven in the past to go to deep lows to achieve his goal. So who says the whole thing wasn’t set up by him?
          Oh, the air hose? Yeah, he was trespassing in my appartment and wouldn’t leave even after continued demand to do so. So since I knew that wouldn’t cause him any more trouble than having to go back to his own flat and get one of his spares, thus forcing him to leave, I cut the line. No harm done there, except the few dollars for the hose.”

          To land him in some trouble, there doesn’t need to be clear evidence he orchestrated it. All there’s needed to start an investigation would be sufficient ground for suspecting. And that – your mileage may vary of course, but here Ellie’s background might come in as an advantage – is actually there.
          Now as far as we know there is no clear evidence whatsoever, so he would most likely be cleared in the end. But that would take a while and still seriously harm his reputation with anyone he’d want to gain for his side in the conflict with Quinn either way.
          And chances are good that even if the girls had to answer for whatever they did to Alex (and we still don’t really know what they did), they wouldn’t lose the appartment over it, given the circumstances. So the whole thing sounds like way too much trouble for no real gain.

          Trying to use it as leverage against the girls in the hope that they don’t think too far and react as he wants to. That I could see.

        9. You’re missing that an elderly man on oxygen presenting a video of two teen girls who live in his building beating the crap out of another young man would likely cause him to be believed on fearing for his safety. That being the case, the police, ignoring benefits of Ellie being related to chief, would investigate the girls and not communicate anything about the older man. Had he done that and not shown up here to taunt them, they wouldn’t have even had any idea he was on Danny’s site or owned the apartment.

          However, if he gave the video to Alex’s rich parents, he can taunt them without too much trouble in any case as long as he didn’t put Alex up to it. All he did was give some upset parents evidence to help them find their son’s attackers. Also at that point Ellie’s connections don’t help as they’d probably just abuse them in civil court effectively forever.

        10. I think that’s basically the point why giving the video to the police would lead to the mentioned problems for him: That he showed up taunting the two and even let slip that he knows about the site. Otherwise, he’d have had a decent chance of only getting them into trouble. Though at one point, the police would have had to talk with the two about it. They wouldn’t have known it was by virtue of him and probably suspect, if anyone, Danny behind it.

          Now giving the video to Alex’s kin is something I didn’t think of. Yet it would probably be the plan with the highest chance of success of any that involve such a video.

        11. I can see the video going to Alex’s parents easier than I could see Tired Guy going to the police. And the only way that Alex’s parents are going to find out is if and only if Alex and Tired Guy have some sort of thing going on.

        12. Quinn & Alex dated for months, and he apparently hears a lot that goes on there. All it’d take is something cluing him in to the boyfriend having rich parents and a last name and he can probably track them down.

          If Alex ended up in the hospital, he might be able to track the hospital and find the parents there, too. Granted, that’d be easier if there were a police report, and I suspect there wasn’t here.

        13. It also depends if subleasing is legal in that particular state and town.

          For example in NYC, technically he wouldn’t be able to hold that many apartments because he can’t live in them all.
          Subletting is only allowed if the owner plans to come back to singular piece of property that he or she is subletting. It’s temporary and the renting is for more than 30 days. If he claims that each apartment is subletted to family, the law will still kick his claim to those apartments out because he would need to prove that they are immediate family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents don’t count.

        14. Most leases I’ve signed have explicitly barred subleases, which leads me to believe that in all those places subleasing is legal and must be in the lease for the landlord to have any means to stop.

          If it is illegal there, then he would’ve been very dumb to tell the girls that he has eight apartments leased.

        15. It’s legal under strict laws under NYC’s system.
          It becomes illegal if the person that subletted doesn’t follow the laws as it’s written. Usually what happens is that the person that was subleased to, complains to the city about something which brings about an investigation. The Landlord or the owner of the property usually gets out of trouble because his or her leases will mark subleasing as not allowed on the property. The person that subleased will be hit with massive fines and some punishments and then the IRS gets involved.
          The people that are living in the apartment are given a few weeks to a few days ( depending on which county of NYC this is happening in) to vacate the property. The landlord or the owner may then decide to go after the fool who subleased to make that person’s grief even worse. The landlord will be able to claim a financial loss and the law will give it to him.

        16. oh and the people that lived in the apartment will also be able to sue the person that subleased the apartment to get some money back especially if the rent they were being charged was higher than the rent that the landlord was charging the fool that subleased.

        17. Let’s go with that.

          He would have seen Alex there while he was with Quinn. So he knows what he looks like and possibly how he gets around. And if he’s got the other tennants by the short and curlies, then he’s got a near anonymous way of getting messages around.

          Tired Guy wants something, he’s got more faces than Harvey Dent and Janus combined. So let’s suggest that it’s a 50/50 that he prodded Alex into showing up with the possibility of ______ with one of the girls. Which one was not mentioned.

          Additionally, he could have forced one of the other tennants into forging a note just for Alex.

        18. More then four faces? Then he’s an evil Darkman? ( I can’t think of any other face changing fictional character at the moment. )

        1. See I’d agree but A: tired guy don’t care. B: It was standing when they called to find out where Danny was.

        1. So……. someone stole something from old guy and hid it in the duct work of the girls apartments, and he’s been slowly purchasing the leases of the surrounding apartments to cut off access to theirs, and now it’s just a matter of getting them removed so he can purchase the lease of that apartment and finally gain access to the something that’s hidden there?

        2. mumble mumble Air ducts mumble mumble “Cupcake thingy” mumble mumble chika (or what ever) mumble mumble Thunderbolt and Lightfoot? mumble mumble THE CAT”S HOLDING OUT ON US!

        3. Even before I read your post, I was thinking that this plot was becoming more Scooby-doo-esque by the moment.

        4. If you’d said Doctor Who (since it returned to the air after a decade), I’d assume the plot involved aligning all of the apartments into some sort of doomsday device. This would to be done to set unimaginably high stakes that no one would expect to be lost, as a stand-in for having likeable-but-disposable characters in reasonable peril, to engage the audience emotionally in the outcome.

    1. Interesting. If his goal was noise abatement he would only need to monopolise the first and second floor apartments and occupy the ground unit (and being old and decrepit it would make sense not having to climb stairs). If his goal was to isolate Quinn & Co. for whatever reason, he would only need the second and third floor units. So there’s some reason he’s renting all the units. Heist money behind the blackboard(s)?

        1. True, but I would be at the end of the line. I guess what I was trying to say was that Tired Guy isn’t just after Quinn’s apt. but ALL the units, Quinn’s is just the last one. IF there’s money or other valuables hidden in all of them he’s probably retrieved most of it/them, which would explain how he could afford eight leases, but wouldn’t explain why he’s STILL renting them, unless he has them for a full year.

        2. Even if you have to shove an injection needle into your heart to survive a neurotoxin first?

    2. I think he’s using the apartments to brew Montage.

      Danny was a client, that’s how he knew to sub-let from Tired Guy.

  2. This guy really likes his privacy. Too much.
    It’s a way to make money for sure. And ensure who your neighbors are.

    Does Tired Guy own the building in some way?

  3. Wait a second. . . He sub let to Danny boy, he surmised who they were from the get go. He can not use anything against the girls, because his intentions were and are circumspect. If he has some financial gain from those other apartments is HE breaking any fair trade with the owners and/or management office in his actions in having a primary lease with those 8 apartments?

    Also, what kind of borken ass kerfluffle is Tired Guy trying to pull? He has some hand somewhere in Danny boy’s website by pproviding the location. Maybe legal maybe not. If not I say he hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

        1. Hm… So… Basically it’s a free for all. And you try to send down the others while at the same time using your tupperware as a shield. Last person standing is the winner and gets the price.

        2. I was thinking more something like you sit in a circle and first person failing to make the Tupperware burp gets tazed until you get down to few enough people for the next round (whatever that is).

      1. If you go to comic The Chain Part VII (currently 26 Mar 2015) where Caleb breaks the door down, you will see the hinges are attached to the flying door and pieces of the wood along the door frame are missing from said door frame and flying through the air.

        If you go to comic Number 400 (currently 28 April 2015) where the ladies walk in on them which appears to be the morning after Caleb appeared, they entered the apartment without waking them up and the door is propped diagonally behind them.

        Now it was in the door frame when Ellie called him in the previous comic (The Chain Part XX), though.

        So the two scenarios would be that Danny & Caleb fixed the door that evening and girls broke it again without waking either of them up (they were drinking, but Ellie & Quinn were standing patiently behind them until they woke up, so we’re not talking hours here), or Danny & Caleb propped the door back in the frame and didn’t fix it and the girls noticed when they touched it and quietly set it down to avoid waking them up with the door breaking.

        Second one seems more likely to me.

      2. And until we find out that the lease is broken, YES I USED BROKEN. Danny Boy is the rightful owner of that property, and the door. Tired Guy has no legal say until we find out that the lease was broken.

        1. He could probably make an argument about hearing crashing and going to knock found the door detached and taking the same “not breaking and entering if the door’s busted” approach. However, I believe there is usually some form of “exigent maintenance circumstances” that generally allow landlords to enter tenants’ apartments, so he could be going that route too (and with a busted door and a lot of damage to tenant’s stuff, could justify more than just a quick look).

          Another possibility is that he’s been to visit Danny in jail and is there with Danny’s blessing for some reason.

          Additionally Danny’s check might’ve bounced after Caleb drained the account to pay the girls’ bribes and then transfer the rest back to his main account. That shouldn’t be enough to evict him, but may allow some degree of suspension of his rights.

          Finally we don’t know what Tired Guy put in the subletting agreement. It might give him more permission than a usual lease.

  4. So he’s got a naked sketch of Ellie, and now (I assume) he has videos of Ellie undressing on his hard drive. The evidence he’s gathered to get them evicted is only making him look creepier and creepier.

  5. Ok, so having a good look at Tired Guy in today’s and Friday’s comic, he bears a VERY striking resemblance to a character in a TV show from the mid-90s called “The Pretender”, dress shirt, oxygen tank and everything. And yes, I am that old.

  6. Okay. So, here’s some support for Chris and the Shuffleverse via the Top Web Comic TWC.

    We are currently #50 in the list. We’ve got up about 25 spots since last month. We’ve gotten an average of 41 votes per day. We’re out of the 70s and into the 50s. Please, no stewardess jokes.

    -The 40th slot has an average of 55 votes per day, 14 more votes needed to reach this level.
    -30th with about 61 votes per day, twenty more votes needed.
    -20th slot with around 89 per day, 48 more votes.
    -10th has an average of 199 votes per day, 158 more votes.
    -#1 slot has an average of 2,247 votes per day. That would be 2,206 more votes to tie about.

    1. Okay, let’s bring out the TV dinner jokes!

      Every time lightning strikes the peach cobbler goes out!

      …cobbler!

  7. I like the slogan “Almost Affordable” for the apartment complex.

    Stewardess jokes are acceptable replies if you can come up with good ones (I don’t know any).

  8. Clearly the only reasonable course of action is to knock Tired Guy unconscious, drag him back to “his” apartment, and set him on fire after planting evidence that makes it look like he was smoking in bed.

        1. Jumping to Last Resort level usually saves time, yes, but if you have to move all the stuff you care about out of your own apartment to set fire to the guy in the apartment below yours to convince folks he was smoking in bed, that might change the time equation a little. [grin]

  9. My guess, Tired Guy wants to turn the apartments into a single large condo for himself. Or he is trying to buy the entire building, but doing so secretly. Or he has a ton of money, and is really bored with his retirement and just doing whatever catches his whim, which is currently involves owning all the apartments in that building or something.

      1. Maybe he’s keeping tabs on Quinn for her dad, who wants to force her to fall back on him? I dunno. Patriarchy!

    1. I’m wondering WTF he’s up to that he needs to completely isolate his abode sound-wise from other people while still living in an area with high population density. After all, it would be far cheaper to pay the mortgage on a single-family home for what 9 units would cost (9 since he’s trying to surround the one he lives in with the surrounding 8). Along with the observation that he must have *been* someone, I suspect that he’s former intelligence or some such.

  10. OK, let see. The old guy has several units surrounding our heroines. He sublets (something most apartment complexes don’t allow) the apartment to a person (a person just arrested for montage) who sets up illegal video and audio cameras in their home. He keeps said illegal videos.

    I personally hope he doesn’t try to blackmail them out of the apartment. After all, it will look like he stalked them. The girls can truthfully and contractually say they had no idea they were being monitored. He’d have to explain where he got the video and that he had nothing to do with creating the video. Kind of hard when he leases all the surrounding apartments and subletted to the guy who did the dirty work.

    If he leased that many apartments, he could easily move down one floor and not hear anything as there would be an entire apartment between him and the girls. He’s looking like a pervert/stalker.

    1. Well, I’m sure extortion is going to be happening, succeed or fail, but how and with what he’s going to threaten our heroines is currently unknown. We know he saw the site but was he alerted to it by his sleezy nephew or did he already know about it and was watching when sleezy nephew contacted him? Did he save any video and what would said video show? Did he know what Danny was up to when he sub-let the apt? Maybe he hopes Quinn and Ellie thinks if the fact they were on such a site gets out it would ruin them or something. We’ll find out soon enough.

  11. That awkward moment when… you realise your browser reset on an update and ate a few bookmarks for reasons random. -_-

  12. Ellie really is too nice sometimes. Looking back at the first panel again it looks like she has an, “Awww, poor old guy doesn’t remember where he lives! I should help him!” expression on her face.

  13. I’d laugh more at the “almost affordable” bit, except that I live in New York, and the rents there are just plain ludicrous.

    1. How much is there rent again? Also I am guessing that Quinn is the one in the master bedroom. Not that it really matters as they both seem to have there own bathrooms.

      1. I have no doubt that Quinn’s room is the right hand bedroom with the ensuite bath. The other bathroom however, opens into the hallway, so it would be used by any guest to the apartment as well as Ellie. She should make sure it’s kept spotless. It would also make it rather difficult for Ellie to use Quinn’s shampoo.
        My big question is where does the door in the dining room (next to the window) lead to?

        1. Nah, that’s actually marked down adjacent to the living room. It’s gotta be something that is not considered part of the lease.

        2. You’re quite correct, I didn’t look back at it.

          I suppose fire escape is possible, but I don’t think it’s generally required for each apartment to have one from a building code stance, so would seem unexpected to have that many of them.

          Granted, I can’t think of anything else that seems remotely likely either.

        3. It might be storage space. You know those odd, cut down doors about three feet high that have attic space behind them because the roof and ceiling slopes down and there’s a short wall you can’t stand beside but you could put a table or other furniture against what do you CALL that you know what I mean, right?

        4. It was waaaay past my bed time when I wrote that post, and it just popped into my mind but I couldn’t compose it well. I think one term for it is ‘null space’. The door looks too big for it to be storage, maybe it just opens into the open air, like mR. Blue said, a patio was cut. Actually, just because something is on a floor plan doesn’t mean it’s there in reality.
          mR. Blue, are you refering to the utility room left of the kitchen? I believe that’s where the clothes washer & dryer go. Good place to store some stuff as well.

        5. Drawing copy/paste error for where the third bedroom goes in the 3 bedroom layout is a possibility.

        6. Although I just checked the small plans Tired Guy is holding in his hands in the comic. And it seems that all the bedrooms in the three bedroom layout are still on the same side of the appartment. Just that the bedrooms are smaller there. The appartments however mostly or completely of the same size.

        7. I didn’t think about the sledding option. I was more thinking percentage of the year it’d be enjoyable, but the sledding option certainly opens up more there, possibly even for a larger percentage of the year that it’d be usable than Florida.

      2. I think that they have the B2 style. But I need to scope the floor plan above. Yep, they’ve got that one. The rent is listed as $815 – $925. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms. And it seems to fit Quinn’s running from the kitchen into her bedroom past Ellie’s door.

        Now, let’s speculate, perhaps Tired Guy added 25% to the rent in order to make spending money, and 33% tops to make money in addition to spending money and oxygen tanks. That brings the subleasor’s rent to a range from $1,018.75 – $1,156.25 at 25% and $1,083.95 – $1,230.25 at a 33% increase.

        If we work on the square footage off of the suggested rent prices found in an online search, the girls have 1,129 square feet in their apartment. Tired Guy more than likely has a one bedroom abode, and those floor plans are 707 square feet in total. If the apartments are based on square footage costs, then they should be somewhere around $0.72 to $0.82 for the girls apartment. This could translate to a possible cost of 510 – 580 at a minimum for Tired Guy’s apartment.

        I’ve come up with eight different numbers, based on the possibility that Tired Guy is splitting the difference with the management office which could be one of the ways that might explain how he’s got eight different leases. $46.88, $79.48, $101.88, $115.63, $134.48, $152.63, $170.63, $207.63. Seven of these numbers will pay for his own rent while the sublets pay for their own rent as well. He needs to get a minimum of $63.75 to pay for his own apartment using this scheme. Everything else is cake.

        1. You’re the first one here to address what I had been thinking: this man is a land baron in this for the money, and these girls are “squatters” on “his” land. And the landlord above him might be okay with this as long as the rent gets paid.

      3. I think I had this whole conversation with Rusche a while back, when Ellie first moved in. If I recall correctly, I believe he said Ellie’s share of the rent was in the range of $400 per month, and so the whole unit is probably around $800. It wasn’t an exact amount, I just wanted a general idea.

        1. Yeah, I was thinking something in the $650-$700 range for some reason. I can’t decide if $150 in utilities would be too low, though. Apartments generally don’t have particularly efficient HVAC or water heaters if they’re per/unit, but this building is big enough that might be central, which would put that on the landlord (so he’d buy more efficient) and lower the girls’ utility bills so that $100-$150 might be about right.

    2. Actually that makes me wonder how good is the building they’re in. Is it well constructed , inexpensively built, or shoddily thrown up. How old is it and how would it fare in a hurricane, ect ect.

  14. With a sublet, generally, the landlord should be kept appraised of the situation. It behooves the rentor to work with his landlord to check that the party renting the sublet property passes acumen, muster or at least the credit and rental history checks.

    However, the first renter then becomes the landlord for the subletting party.

  15. “Little do these girls realize that in ten years they are going to be building the railway through here.”

  16. I just signed up as a Patron, and I’d like to catch up on all the Patron-only comics. Is there an easy way to read them sequentially? It’s really time-consuming to have to re-load the entire page with all the comics and comments every single time.

    1. Well, thing I’d do is log in and then click on the Shotgun Shuffle page and go to the posts tab/section where you’ll see several. From there I’d just scroll down opening browser tabs for new comics until I got to what was posted on the main site already. Rusche put a “[Patreon]” on the archive page list for all of those.

  17. With him “owning” as much of the building as he does, depending on the tenant aggreement, he could vote them evicted at a condo board meeting. It would depend on the wording of the condo board charter.

  18. Hey there people. At this time, it’s time for the Top Web Comic status.
    Right now, SHOTGUN SHUFFLE is #57 in the list, seven down from the #50 spot we were seeing on the 10th. With a current total of 619 votes in 16 days, that comes out to an average vote per day of 38.6875 people per day. This is a solid 38 people voting per day, we’re down three from the 41 that were voting on a daily basis.

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