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Winter drove across the earth. Autumn did not awake on time. Winter forced her mother, Nature, to let her sister sleep in. It was her turn, she demanded. She wished to see the wonders of school beginning, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, the leaves turning crimson, gold, and orange. Yet on her little holiday, Winter noticed schoolchildren crying, their last days of August ruined with dead brown leaves on the ground. Superstitious townsfolk, believing in imminent apocalypse, locked themselves in their houses. Disappointed, costumed children roamed the empty streets in late October. Smug weathermen smirked, pretending to have foreseen the strange weather.
Toilet paper crowned the trees of Professor Cracken’s trees when he woke up. His wife, Mary, stood at the window in their kitchen gaping, still dressed in her New York Athletic Club shorts and one of his old Reed t-shirts. He peered up in wonder at the decorations. She passed him her cup of tea and he sipped. “I can’t deal with this mess this morning, Sam. I have a review due at noon.”
He stood closer to the window and looked at one piece hanging off of the shutter. “Is there… writing on there?”
“Samuel, what does it matter?”
Throwing out the old mantras of flagrant abuse towards women would aid our society in disbanding the practice of sexist superiority, imagined or not. Women are dumb. Women can’t drive. Women are highly emotional. When women are highly emotional, they must be on their periods or at least about to be. Women could never be leaders or writers or anything else without being cajoled by their own kind’s sentiments, whatever they may be. Of course, stereotypes of all sorts have existed for centuries in the ridiculous generalizations. I blame men. Men are such pigs. They only think with their penises.
Rules of Etiquette: Expressing Gratitude
Note: Gratitude is best shown by not telling someone you are thankful. When someone says, “Don’t mention it,” they mean it. Take this saying to heart. When it comes to thanks,
When receiving a gift in front of the giver, stare him down with a blank expression and place the gift to the side. He’ll know.
When a favor has been granted, an equation of protocol should be used. The bigger the gesture, the quieter you should be.
Finally, don’t ever thank anyone for picking you up from the airport. They know.
Nigel Enderbury was known for his phlegmatic state amongst family, neighbors, co-workers, and irate customers. Being a phone support technician for a large software company that sold a poor product, Nigel didn’t encounter many patient people. He became flustered when others would rush him, which caused him to slow down even more.
One morning, his neighbors were shocked to see him galloping through his yard. The previous nigh at cooking class he’d met a pretty girl. He couldn’t fall asleep as he panicked over meeting her again. He consequently slept through his alarm and had to race for the bus.
The outer shell wears down with the acceptance of a vulnerable exterior being a strength. To reach this state, an emotional understanding, rather than a simple intellectual one, must occur. Of course, finding yourself in a place of acceptance and leaping into that gooey self-improvement-aisle spot in your life can be difficult. People probably fear pain more than death, emotional and physical. While you may far your own vulnerability and your susceptibility to pain, you may fear hurting someone else even more. Yet, to enter the world of possibility a shell must be shed and a nest deserted.
Happy Seventh Birthday. I already know your mother is working three jobs for your breathing condition. However, even as I draft this letter from a stained armchair in Shady Pine Cone Rehabilitation Center, I recognize that the past (or you, Lisa) can’t keep me from my dreams. I always wanted businesses, hookers, fearful employees, and cocaine. By becoming Big Louis, rather than simply Christopher, I could make that dream a reality. You cannot put me on a guilt train, Lacey. I will not show up at that hellhole of a station.
Breathe deep and don’t expect money,
I refuse to let my bad mood determine whether or not this entry gets done. I refuse to let passive-aggressive, petty, presumptuous people dictate whether I am a good worker, leader, or human being. I refuse to let my imagination run wild into negative scenarios. I am loved. I refuse to let myself lose trust in those I know to be trustful. I refuse to let my self-worth be valued by other people.
I was in an incredibly happy mood this morning, happier than I have been in a very long time. I refuse to let Los Angeles ruin me.
When Lucy left prison the second time, I offered her back her childhood room. She refused, less politely than I taught her, and returned to living in sin with the barman Bobby Vale. She claims his prospects don’t matter, that I should only worry about her future. I do worry. While laundry is an important household skill, it should not be a career at Davo’s Launderama. She tells me that times are different. She says she won’t become like me, an old housewife being sent ten thousand dollar checks twice a month from her estranged oil tycoon of a husband.
Paul stood at the edge of the airplane’s hatch, strapped to Kip. He wished Jeremy had taken his place instead of Annie’s, the eight year-old whose parents brought her skydiving since the age of five. Yet, Annie sat up in the cockpit cheerfully watching the pilot steady the plane. Paul couldn’t help but think he might discharge all of the green tea he had drunken earlier to calm himself. And then there was Kip, the cocky instructor who claimed he received a boner every time he skydived. Paul only wanted to be back on the ground, hyperventilating like Tina was.
August lost; September found
Jasper Wiggins loved his trench coat. He would wear it over heavy sweaters in the winter and carry it across his arm in the summertime. He believed himself to look prepared for all sorts of weather and handsome as well. Inside his left pocket, he kept candies for himself and his nephews. He favored butterscotch and the candies whose wrapping looked like strawberries. His right pocket contained a mustard seed, which he would squeeze in trying times or whenever he thought poorly of himself. While he was not religious, he believed God was always with him.
The fan circulated over her head. She ran her fingers through her still cold hair and pressed it against her scalp. The afternoon’s stickiness clung to her. The lemonade glass’s ring stared at her with a gloomy eye. She flipped a page in her book; the page glued to her sweaty finger for a moment. In that moment, she thought she could kill her landlord, kill him for going to Peru for three weeks. Exploring Machu Picchu was clearly not nearly as important as her air conditioner and, thus, he should die. The page fell away and the thought escaped.
Whenever he chose to run along the river path, he found the trees would speak to him and offer conflicting advice on his troubles. As a boy, they were simple instructions of living life dangerously versus watching where he placed his feet. He came to find the Great Oak to be the wisest, the palms to be the most selfish, and the weeping willows to be simply emotional. Upon growing up, he could understand much of the advice in hindsight but he could not predict anything. He could never possess foresight, though, as a child, he believed the trees did.
My mother is a butcher. You would think that with my previous ranting about her that I would be talking about her being a vile human being, someone who often tries to kill my independent soul. She’s not a metaphor of a butcher. Actually, she’s quite sweet. She’s just overly cautious and old-fashioned.
Anyway, my mother is a butcher. She runs the shop my father set up for her. Sometimes people come in and cannot find her but hear the slicing of huge knives behind the counter. She only stands four feet and eight inches tall. She loves her job.
A cluttered mind met a cluttered space whenever she climbed into the old office. Her parents’ books and notes and photographs and journal articles and abandoned power bars invaded her sight and choked her allergy-prone nose. An old Macintosh computer huddled beneath a pile of “vital and imaginative literary journals, without which your father’s academic career might not exist, young lady.” As a child, she played a game like Space Invaders called Falcons. The “F” key was now long lost. She popped in the floppy disc and stared at the menu, yet the keyboard would not let her go beyond.
My dad built me a treehouse. It was a railed platform accessible by ladder, surrounding a easily climbable tree. Neighborhood friends constructed hammocks in its branches. My cousins and I would extend a rope from the branches down to another smaller tree. We’d steal my bathmat to protect our hands and use the rope as a zipline.
We sold the house and moved several states away.
Now there are ugly, unattended potted plants dumped into the treehouse.
I imagine staring at the sky from between the branches as I lie against the wood and feel ants crawl up my shirt.
A random side note: I hate when people write about writer’s block. Instead of whining, It try to push myself into something new.
Tyler McDowell enjoys shaved coconut on his French fries. He pretends to like pot but actually hates its scratchy effect on his throat. His best friend, Callie, is the only one who calls bullshit on his hypocrisy. He fluctuates between wanting to please and wanting to be accepted by his father. He wears his hair long and loudly proclaims himself a cultural studies major. Yet, he also studies business after his father’s death during his freshman year.
The day the meanest kid died was a happy one for a split second. Apparently, during his family vacation to a distant nation, he managed to fall through a wooden rope bridge. The tour guide warned him to be careful, but he was arrogant and pig-headed. So, he plummeted.
No more pushing, no more whisperings of rumors caused by him, no more wedgies or swirlies. It was going to be a wonderful year. Then the students remembered that a kid of eight years had died and that they could die, too. Guilt nudged them into feeling sorry for even him.
He glared at the king, who watched his daughter dance. Her long red hair swished as she danced under the light cascading from above. Her eyes were the same from the forest, cheerfully exploring their surroundings. He clutched his dagger and his pistol, feeling his blood throb against their strangely cool and comforting metals. She turned her head, and he swore he saw her wink. He swallowed his fear, his conscience. He shifted his hands from his pockets, set to charge the king. In that instant, a roar sounded in the hall and the patrons started, searching for the disturbance.
Jullianna wrote on her fingertips daily in chemistry class. Her handwriting tightened and expanded when its cramped easel would move. I’d stare at her, wishing I could shift closer to grasp her marked hands and read her thoughts there. I hoped she wrote “I love Charlie Myers” with a heart over the “I” in my first name. Although, if she were that type of girl, I’d probably stop liking her.
One day, she stopped me in the hallway. She grabbed my shoulder so hard that I thought some asshole was feeling like going on a power trip. “What?!” I snapped.
“On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers conducted the first flight here in the Kill Devil Hills. Orville Wright flew while his brother and several villagers from Kitty Hawk watched.
“Today, I am proud to have you here to watch my first flight. I humbly admit it will not break any barriers. But, I think… well, I think it’s nice to have support from my two best friends.”
Biff starts up his motored model plane and guides it into takeoff.
“Happy Birthday, Biff,” Callie says.
Biff shrugs. “Did you know they couldn’t repeat it at the centennial?”
“No, I didn’t.”
Winifred went on a cruise in her early fifties, intent on finding three things: a one-night stand, a gay best friend, and a chance to stand on a glacier. The Caribbean was obviously scratched from her list of places with ports. However, Alaska suited her. She packed up several ski suits, not because she was planning on skiing but because she became cold rather easily. She phoned the neighbors several times until they could no longer avoid her calls and agreed to watch her yapping “rat-dog” as they lovingly called Foo-Foo. Of course, Winifred never saw the alien invasion coming.
A new list of resolutions…
Do your old list of resolutions. Get up before eleven. Update blog. Forget fear or laziness towards asking people for jobs. Put best foot forward in applying for jobs. Stop thinking too much. Learn a new language. Converse more in Spanish with native speakers. Ask people who know how to do things to teach you – drums, languages, photography, drawing, etc. Ask people for constructive criticism on your work. Produce more writing. One hundred words a day is not enough. Eat more healthfully. Spend time outdoors. Exercise your body, mind and spirit. Keep in touch. Pray.
The exile knew it was his last glance. Those exiled from the valley were tainted by the outside world and would poison all of those within the valley. Exile was as much a punishment of loneliness as it was a punishment in the knowledge that if you tried to return, you could kill your former brethren. Of course, leaving Stony Loch did not mean he would not meet people of any kind. “Those people” were just ones any citizen of Stony Loch would fear or at least snub. The first of those people he met was Leonard, the sugar salesman.
Honey cakes tricked the fairies into stopping for a moment, which allowed the curious humans to pester them for a fortune or a glimpse into the future. Grandmother set a plate of the cakes on the stoop the night the exile appeared. She believed in good strangers and trust in the unknown but she was also pragmatic. If someone requested lodging from her, she would be a welcoming host but she would never place herself or her granddaughter in a dangerous situation without forethought.
She trapped a foolish sprite in the middle of the night. She awoke to him squealing.
He didn’t know the answer. Despite most of the old woman’s beliefs, this one was complete untrue against the reality of the world. Only a few of his kind actually communicated consistently with the lights of the forest. The rest simply saw the tips of the universe’s elbows. If you had never seen an elbow and you saw it for the first time, unattached to a human body, you would probably think of it as strange and maybe interesting. At the least, you would be curious by the strange lump. He had only seen the elbows so, naturally, he lied.
Piper woke to the man cursing. Her hair was mussed up from tossing in a nightmare. The night before had been harrowing for her. She’d never stepped beyond the creek. Yet, the man bounded across it last night, holding her weight without crashing loudly to the ground. He refused to let his size impede him from moving stealthily.
The morning broke through the makeshift tent, illuminating him as he crouched over his hands. They shook, which frightened her. Then she saw the blood smeared all over them and she screamed. He immediately hid his hands and glared at her. “Shush!”
They made the surrounding gardens and fields and creeks their domain during the summer and the attic their headquarters during the winter. At the age of fourteen, they were there playing a strategy game when their parents came to collect them for bed.
Jane dies at age eight. Bart remains unhappy until he goes on a quest and his partner beats the happy into him. Bart is angry when accused of his negative emotions being related to Jane.
The best of this entry could not be posted due to computer difficulties. Excuses and clippings paste this together to create chaos.
A rope coiled around burnt apart threads singed and rested on the dry earth lighting it aflame the sizzle burns the little growth, the biggest forest destroy the old and remember it in a later generation’s mold the new leaves burst through the with a hint of purple a hint of difference a hint of strangeness eccentricity a step beyond the known wish for the turn, the shift, the pirouette into another shadow, light, beginning feet torn from the rugged path, excited by the pain, relieved by a reprieve bored by the comforts of the massaging clockwork
once more. again.
Remarks Possibly Regretted, Possibly Retaliated
“You cry like a goat.” “I really thought you were going to be someone interesting.” “Please understand that it is a matter of principle for me to not like people like you.” “Your whining makes me feel like you hit puberty only to legitimize your complaining.” “When I kiss you, my head hurts.” “People say you look like me. Great.” “Repeat that again and I will probably tell most of my friends what an idiot you are behind your back.” “Wait – don’t smile for the picture. It makes you look not right in the head.”
The children failed to find breakfast that morning and no one in the village blamed them. The night before the wolves ate everything – the livestock, the crops, and the fruits from the orchard. These wolves could climb trees, which scared the villagers. However, wolves are not necessarily the most violent of creatures. The more discerning villagers considered that perhaps these wolves, if they were even wolves for no one had seen them, were pushed into starving the village. Perhaps they were starving from some external force. The villagers themselves may have caused it by some unacknowledged action from years past.
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