I’m here. It’s 11:49 pm and I have finally arrived at my new home. Me? Oh, my name is Phoenix Drifter. I come from a long line of house builders. We believe in starting from scratch, proving to the world that you have what it takes to succeed.

Which is why I’m standing in front of an empty apartment at midnight. Basically, it’s a box. The landlord said the place needed some TLC and I told him I was pretty handy with a hammer. So he cut me a deal. Rent at half the price if I spruce up the place. Ha! Pretty sure I’ve been hoodwinked cuz I’m pretty sure most apartments are supposed to come with a toilet?

I called my parents first thing to let them know I arrived, with the time difference between here and Oasis Springs I figured they’d still be up. They were. It was good to hear their voices.

“Hi honey, how was the trip?” Mom asked as she answered the phone on the first ring. I bet she’d been waiting by the phone.

“Fine, long. But I wanted to let you know I have arrived.”

“Oh, how is San Myshuno? I’ve heard it was lovely. Your father and I visited one or twice early on, but we haven’t been there since we settled down.”

“It’s um,” I looked around the apartment, bare pipes on the wall and what looked suspiciously like a mouse hole. “pretty minimalistic.”

“Well, feel free to invite us over, we’d love to see your place.”

“Sure, once I have settled in a bit, bought some furniture, I’d love for you to come visit.” I half-lied. It wasn’t that I didn’t want my parents to visit. Not in the least. I just didn’t want them to visit anytime soon.

“Oh, your dad wants to talk to you, take care honey, call again.”

“I will. Love you, mama.”

I waited while they passed the phone.

“Thanks for calling Phoenix,” Dad said and I could hear the smile in his voice.

“Mom getting on your nerves?”

“She was counting the minutes since your train was set to arrive.”

“Haha, well I had to walk to the apartment, so that took me a little longer.”

“But you’re there now, it’s what – midnight? Oh wow, we should let you go to sleep.”

“It’s okay, I’m still on Oasis Springs time, so I’m not tired yet. Should have packed more of that birthday cake, though.”

“Starting to get peckish are you?” Dad had been the one to insist I bring sandwiches on the train, which after two pieces of chocolate birthday cake earlier that day had seemed like more food than I’d ever want.

“A bit…” I paused and looked around my room one more time. Better now than never, “Uh, dad. How much does a toilet cost to buy?”

There was silence on the phone at first and I had to check to see if we were still connected. Then I heard a snort. I grinned as my father started laughing.

“Ha, I thought that you would have it better than me heading out to that fancy city. Don’t worry, you’ll save up enough in no time.”

Not exactly the kindest response, but it was reassuring. I knew Dad had landed on his plot of land with nothing. And look at that huge house he and his sister had managed to build. Although he had collectibles and fishing he could do to make money. I wasn’t sure if there would be anything like that in the city.

We said our goodbyes and I hung up. It had been good to hear their voices and for a moment I could image I was back home. Now though, the weight of my situation came rushing back. I was alone in my new apartment. Box really. Can it be called an apartment at this state? Although I had to admit the view was stellar.

I hadn’t been lying to my dad, I really wasn’t tired yet. And as I watched the street below my feet, I could see that, despite the late hour, the city wasn’t asleep either. So, with nothing to do in my apartment, I headed outside. There was a little group of stalls no far from my front door. Not that I could do much there unless they were willing to give handouts. But there was music playing and without much better to do, I found myself drawing closer to the busker and thus closer to this island of activity in the middle of the night.

Despite the quality of her instrument, she played very well. I wished I could have at least tossed her a few simoleons to help her out. I would have to remember to carry change in the future. If I ever found a way to make money.

I lucked out though – one of the food stalls was giving away free drink samples and I managed to score myself a free cup of something. It was enough to take the edge off my growing hunger and keep me in a charitable mood towards my new home.

It’s true what they say, San Myshuno never sleeps for I wasn’t the only one wandering around the park at 2 am. And soon I was joined at my table by other insomniacs. Both Genevieve and Bradford were like me, new to the city and looking for a job. It was great to commiserate with others in my situation and since they’d been in town longer both of them had some great advice for me. The job market, I learned, was really really tight. They’d both been looking for weeks.

I thought about asking them if their apartments had toilets or not. But both of them appeared clean and happy. Dad used to tell us about his early days on the lot with no toilet or shower. Only a cooler for food and he said that he and Aunt Rowan smelled for weeks until they finally made enough money. Both Bradford and Genevieve smelled and looked pretty clean. I wondered how long it would be before I started to stink.

Bradford, I learned was living with a relative in the spice market. He was hoping to score a job with the local basketball team since he’d been pretty good back in High School. He spent his afternoons shooting hoops outside the apartment hoping to be spotted by talent scouts. It seemed rather far-fetched to me. Genevieve was in a similar situation although living with some roommates that had been in town longer. She was spending her days auditioning as she wanted to be a model. She was pretty so I wished her luck with that. By now my stomach was protesting quite audibly. And when Brandon looked at me sidelong after a particularly audible grown, I had to admit I was currently broke. I take back everything bad I thought about his dreams for stardom. Brandon fished a twenty out of his wallet and pointed me at the Moroccan stall just a few feet away.

“The tajine there is the absolute best. And very filling.”

After my first bite, I had to agree. It was magnificent. Sure I was starving, but no amount of hunger could mask the perfect blend of spices and sauce. I’m pretty sure I died at my first bite. When I finished I had to return to the stall to thank the man running it.

“That was positively the best food I’ve ever tasted, Mr. uh….”

“Loren,” the man introduced himself with a huge smile.

“I’m Phoenix,” I smiled back.

“You’re new to town?” Loren asked. “Sorry, I was listening to your conversation.” He gestured back to the picnic table we’d been sitting.

“Yeah, just arrived tonight…last night I guess since it’s morning now.”

“I remember my own arrival to the city,” the man laughed. “It was very different from back home, so busy and crowded all the time. But I learned to love it.”

“Yeah, it’s quite different from Oasis Springs.” I agreed. “There it’s very flat and hot.” I shrugged and tried not to shiver in my jacket. I was used to the chill desert air, but the pre-dawn wind was a different story. “But this is my home now,” I said with a smile. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the sights and perhaps eating all the good food.”

“That is good. Many come to the city to seek their fortune, but their hearts are back home. They seek to match their lives before rather than embracing the new.”

“Oh, no chance of that.” I laugh. “Not that I don’t love my parents, but their house is 100% theirs, I’m more interested in finding my own way.”

Loren nodded in approval then he paused. “What is it that you wish to do?”

“I’d do anything,” I admitted. It was true, I’d do any job required if it meant I could buy myself a toilet.

“But if you could do anything?” Loren pressed.

“If I could be picky and choose? Well back before I came here my cousin and I would make plans on how we would open and run a restaurant. She wanted to manage the front and I was to be her cook.” I smiled ruefully, “I’ll admit it’s one of the reasons I wanted to talk with you. I was wondering if you could tell me the spice blend for the tajine. I could hardly do it justice, but I’d love to learn the recipe.”

I wondered briefly when Loren didn’t say anything. Perhpas this was a secret recipe and I had been rude to ask. But then Loren burst out laughing.

“Oh, it’s too perfect. You are just like me when I arrived here. Of course, I can share the recipe. And I think I can do one better. You are looking for a job, no?”

I nodded.

“Well, I am looking for a new dishwasher. True,” he held up his hand, “it’s not a chef – yet, but everyone must start somewhere.”

“Really?” I was shocked. Genevieve and Brandon had made it seem like finding a job was impossible and here I was being offered one on my first day. “Of, of course.” I agreed on the spot. Didn’t really matter if it was a terrible job, I had to do something.

“Excellent. Come to my restaurant tomorrow afternoon and you can get started.”

“Thanks, I’m not sure what to say. But wow, that’s just … thanks.”

“No need to thank me yet, I will teach you what I know, but you will have to work hard. I don’t accept slackers in my restaurant.” He handed me two cards, one was the business card for Loren’s Grub with an address on the back. The other was a recipe card for the tajine. As I thanked him again, another customer arrived and I backed away holding my new treasures. Loren turned to tend to his new customer. As I was leaving though, I noticed that he had a whole display of recipe cards on his cart, for 10 simoleons a piece. I looked down at the recipe card in my hand, well, that certainly explained that.

The sun had fully come up although it was still early and I was finally tired enough that I figured I could fall asleep on the floor. So I headed back to my apartment with a wave goodbye to my new friends. Hopefully we’d meet again. At the door to the building, I saw a box just outside the alley with a small “free” sign on it. I bent to look. Not that I was expecting a couch or bed to materialize for free in such a small box, but it might just have a few creature comforts that would help me out. I pulled out a small and slightly stained blanket. Better than nothing?

As I turned to walk away, my treasure in hand, I stopped suddenly as I heard a noise nearby. A rattling from the garbage bin. I turned an looked and gasped. I almost fell over I was so surprised. There poking its nose into the trash bins stood the largest raccoon I had ever seen. Way bigger than any animal I had seen in Oasis Springs. I bit back a scream and hi-tailed it out of there not wishing to provoke the creature. Perhaps it was all the delicious food that let them grow so big?

Back safe in my apartment I tucked the two cards from Loren in my back pocket and laid out the blanket in one of the darker corners of the room. It wasn’t much. But I tacked the photo Dad and I had taken before I left home on the wall of my new “bedroom” and closed my eyes.

I was asleep in moments.


Welcome to Switch. When I started my Drifter Challenge I created a New Game save after bulldozing all the lots in Oasis Springs, Willow Creek, and Windenburg. (Windenburg wasn’t required for Drifter, but well, I secretly knew I wanted to build new lots on all the worlds. The Maxis ones are fine, but a bit boring.) I’ve been planning someday to do the Build Newcrest Challenge, once I find the right Sim. which covers that World and Drifter gave me the base worlds and some of the Windenburg Lots. Playing Switch gets me San Myshuno. I have also deleted Magnolia Promenade, Granite Falls, and now Forgotten Hallow. I also am rebuilding the Get to Work lots when they come up. I have the Hosptial and now the Science Lab – (the Police Station is harder to get right).

Each generation of Switch consists of about 4 apartments to go through. Apartments have a target value and once you reach the value – you can move to the next. You want to get the last house done before the heir reaches young adult – similar to Drifter. The only restrictions for this Switch are not traveling outside your neighborhood unless you have §250 and I am playing on Extreme, which means I get to rebuild the walls. I haven’t decided if I”m playing for points or not.

Thanks to Illusory Thrall for the Challenge!

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