You despicable ball of a slime!
I received your package all right. I could hear the postman laughing all the way to the Newman's house. He needed to take a breather halfway through! I don't know what you're playing at, but I'm not going to take it from you. I spent hours - hours! - working on that damn bird of yours and if you don't pay me properly, there are going to be consequences! What on earth were you thinking? Just because your papá runs a pomegrenate orchard, you can trade with those disgusting red lumps of sugar, expecting it to be a fair deal?
How do you even eat one of those?
Not that it matters. I expect to be paid in full as we'd agreed, or your crow friend ends up in tar, with some lovely goose feathers for ornaments (oh, you bet I still have those).
The clock is ticking!
Fricking finally! Not the best render I could've hoped for, but it will have to do. (As long as you don't look at the crow monster - and I implore you not to, because I'm really ashamed of it. So much so that it doesn't have its own close-up render. Bad bird...)
I spent most of the week doing non-Blender stuff again and it clearly shows. I managed to finish texturing the laptop (which I'm fairly happy with), beget the crow monster, and finalize the scene.
Turns out I wasn't kidding when I said I was going to label the keyboard manually. If I was making a professional-looking game asset, I would've gone for alpha images, but as it happened, I had free reign to do as I pleased and I used it to amuse myself by squiggling tiny white letters and red hieroglyphs on tiny black boxes. I'd be very surprised if that wasn't a universal definition of fun.
The laptop is a wanna-be-replica of a machine I have at home. I played with the thought of typing the story on it, taking a picture of the screen, and using it in the render. But I wasn't sure whether I could make it look like a real, lit up screen, so I abandoned the concept.
As for the crow, I used one of my SculptJanuary submissions as a basis, and melted it beyond recognition. Then I did a quick retopo, with a bunch of clumped hair thrown on top. A bit of tweaking later, and the definitely-not-a-crow bird was ready to be perched on top of the desk. It's a good thing that the story calls for a shabby-looking piece of work. (Yes, of course it is a coincidence, why do you ask?)
Since I don't have much more to add to this, I'm going to finish the post here. I'll have to carefully consider my next move, though. I quite enjoy this format, but I clearly don't have enough time to make a good job of it. And ever since I started to be more active, I feel less and less inclined to sit in front of the computer for extra 20-30 hours a week. At the same time, however, I don't want to quit doing these projects... Well. That's some conundrum we have here, isn't it? Let's hope that I can come up with a solution by the end of the next week.