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Welcome to another edition of “Standing in the Shadows” for Survivor: Cook Islands! For those readers unfamiliar with it, each season our writers and mods “stand in the shadow” of a Survivor until their torch is snuffed. You get to read what we believe is really going on in the mind of each player. Without further ado. . . .

Rebecca
Mmmph. I really should have bought that bikini with the underwire top. The girls were bouncing so hard when I was running down the beach to dive in the water that I swear one of them hit me in the forehead and gave me a concussion. It just shows you the value of support. The next several minutes are a bit blurry but I think I got lapped by Yul or a dolphin. I’m not sure which. Tired. Tired. Exhausted. Must drag self up beach. What? Pull top down? Oh! Damn the girls have been feeling a little smothered but they didn’t need that much air. *Black out* What am I doing with my back flat on the mat and my knees raised? Did I miss something? Good thing for Brad that I could barely stay vertical when we got back to camp. Otherwise, I would have strangled his skinny little neck. Good at puzzles my ass! Adam, Jenny, and I showed him who is really good at puzzles at the immunity challenge. He needs to stick to swimming.

Yul
What the others don't know is that I’m one of those people who’s always quietly plotting and scheming internally, and I’ve got the elimination order all mapped out for Aitu: the first person to go should be Ozzy, followed by Flicka, Sundra, and Jonathan. Wait, what if the moon is full? In that case, the order should probably be Ozzy, Flicka, Jonathan, then Sundra. Wait a minute…what if it rains? In that case, we should have Flicka go first, then Sundra, Jonathan and Ozzy. *scratches head* Er, ah, but if high tide comes early, the order should be Sundra, Flicka, Jonathan…. Damn! *shakes head in utter confusion, then bangs head on nearby palm tree*

Becky
My mother was a genius teaching me the fine art of solving jigsaw puzzles when I was a youngster, and I still remember how she’d help me arrange those wooden pieces so everything would line up and snap into place. The minute I saw that today’s Reward Challenge included a puzzle, I knew this was my moment to shine, and I could already taste that mouth-watering peanut butter, yummmm-my. I didn’t waste any time getting that puzzle solved (who needs Jonathan?), and my team’s taste buds have me to thank, by golly. Now, if I could have just pushed those other bitches off the platform so that I could have solved the second puzzle all by myself, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now staring at Jeff’s ugly mug. Freakin’ idiots.

Jenny
Did you see me on that puzzle today? No? Well, I guess my plan is working. Yeah, that’s right, my old plan is new again…I’ve disappeared into the background once again! Well, for the most part, I guess. I had to come out from behind my tree to slap that puzzle together and prevent Raro from going to Tribal Council again. If I hadn’t, well, honestly you probably wouldn’t be seeing a lot of me anyway. I mean, they were talking about voting me out before that bitch Cristina was gone, and now she’s not here to buffer me from a torch snuffing. I did move fast, didn’t I? Slap! Bang! Boom! Puzzle’s done! Now it’s time to activate stealth mode again. Ignore the girl behind the curtain. It’s just someone from production. *whistles softly*

Ozzy
BEHOLD, I AM YOUR GOD! Hell, Jeff basically laid it out for all of you. I swim LIKE A DOLPHIN, and my hairdo always dries nice and curly, never frizzy. I’m an excellent provider – if it wasn’t for me you all would be eating bark and leaves instead of succulent island bird and seafood, and I can climb a tree like a monkey to rain down coconuts on your helpless little heads. In the entire history of Survivor there has never been a person so indispensable and yet so likeable and self-effacing as I. Muahhahahah I AM YOUR LEADER fellow castaways, but you’ll never know it because I am using subliminal mind control on you. Vote out Jonathan, vote out Jonathan, vote out Jonathan. Oops, I meant to say Flicka.

Candice
Did you see Flicka giving away all our tribal secrets to Nate? Not that she knew any, and not that she can keep a thought in her head longer than it takes to open up her mouth and spew it, but still! Girlfriend wanted to get all chummy with me, so I gave her the kiss of betrayal. Well, actually it was the kiss of peanut butter to get all technical, but I knew she was going home. Bye-bye Flicks. And now, oh, Goody! We’re one step closer to the merge, and I can hardly wait to curl up with my snuggle-puddle Adam. He had to spend the night on Exile Island all alone, and he was cold and wet and everything. Candy will make it up to you, baby, I promise. In the end it’ll be just you and me on our own deserted island. I’ll play Eve, and you can play, well, Adam. *giggle*

Sundra
Once again, I am trying to make a name as most unseen Survivor ever. Maybe if I make it to the merge, I’ll get actually do something interesting and get air time. I sat out the Reward Challenge, and didn’t help Aitu out any in the Immunity Challenge, so… yeah. I’m really not sure why I haven’t been a target for elimination yet. I guess it could be considered that I’m awesome at this Survivor game because of how I am just doing my thing and the others don’t see me as a threat, but really I’m just boring.

Jonathan
I’m beginning to really wish that I’d been able to find the Immunity Idol on one of my two trips to Exile Island, but I honestly thought I wouldn’t need it. Why would my tribe turn against me? I offer them guidance, advice, and I am obviously the paternal figure so many of them desperately need. Flicka definitely has daddy issues, and Ozzy’s constant food gathering is just a cry for help. Aitu needs me, pure and simple. I don’t know what to do. I wish I could call my therapist- she’d help me reach out to these kids and convince them that I am the most deserving of the million dollar prize. I guess next time I’ll just start with not sitting out a challenge that obviously needs my brawn and brains.

Parvati
Who does Jeff think he is, embarrassing me like that during the challenge? Yeah, I know he's like, the host and all, but still. Maybe I didn't want to swim all the way back. Maybe I was trying to look all Baywatch-y and get some good slo-mo shots of me running in the water. I have to think about getting some exposure for after the show, you know? Though not as much exposure as Rebecca had! Sheesh. I'm glad everyone on our tribe is pissed at Brad for wanting to be puzzle-boy, now I can jump on the bandwagon too. And take the heat off me for not swimming. I really could have punched him in the mouth, you know. That wasn't just big talk. When I was model-boxing they showed us how to make a real fist and everything. I could totally do it if I wanted to. I think.

Nathan
Meh. My stint with Aitu turned out to be a bust. Sure, I learned that Yul is the big man on campus but that was pretty much a given anyways. I think he and I might have something going on when we merge. It’s doubtful that Jonathan will still be around for that. He’s pretty vocal and the looks that Becky was giving him told a million tales. But enough about them. I was shocked when we got back to camp after the reward challenge. Everyone was tired and Nate had to come to the rescue and catch up on all the chores. I am a hot commodity. My body is pretty, too. Speaking of hard bodies, dayum, Pavarti was looking good on that zipline. I mean, I looked good and all flying down that thing as well. You could hear the “zing” all across the water but Pavarti is my home girl. I’m taking her as far as I can for the sole purpose of having eye candy.

Adam
Urrgh! 3 more than 2. 3 want bread with peanut butter, only 2 want potatoes. Uh? Fish and potatoes? No. It meat and potatoes. Fish not meat. Fish make Adam smell bad in front of pretty Candice. Then Candice no like Adam. Ohhhhh! Candice in water!! Me in water too!! Me look Candice then look for key. Candice pretty. Wait..me see shiny! Key shiny! Adam like shiny! Swim, get key. Urrgh! Me work hard, no win reward. Me go exile. Rain make Adam cold. Rain sting. Rain suck. Lose suck. Adam tribe no lose again? Adam happy.

Brad
Oh my God! What is up with this group? Don’t they know that bread will only last us, like, a day?!? But potatoes are potatoes! We can make them last and last. We can make an awesome fish stew with potatoes Geez, people, don’t you even have a clue? The fish broth will soak into the potatoes and it will be oh so good. And then we can have the peanut butter for dessert. Helllloooooo. Whatever. It didn’t even matter, anyway. That Neanderthal and those girls swam so sloooowww. I didn’t even get a chance to show off my puzzle solving skills. I learned them from my Mommy. She would dress me up all pretty and put bows in my hair and then we’d have puzzle hour. Whoops…TMI. Anyway, Nate can take his “You should have been swimming” and stuff it. I mean, geez, I’m great at solving puzzles, and Rebecca said she could swim. It’s not like I got to eat a tasty meal of lamb shanks and bread and then get to hang out and gossip with our enemy. And then he didn’t even compete for us. All he could do was rip on me for going with my strengths. Hmmph!

Jessica

I can't believe they voted me out! How did this happen? I asked them all who they were voting for, and no one said they were voting for me! I asked them several times! I can't understand it. Even though they blindsided me last time, I totally believed they would tell me what was going on this time. After all, I told them over and over that I wanted to be clued in. I guess Jonathan's evil influence is greater than I suspected. Clearly his spiritual allies are stronger than my own. I'm going to go back home to gather my psychic energy and direct it toward making him lose this game. Karma will win out, even if I didn't.

We would like to thank the following writers for contributing to this article: Dinahann, mrdobolina, Brandy, Mariner, Yardgnome, AJane, waywyrd, Lucy, SueEllenMishke, speedbump, suncat7, roseskid and totoro.