Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Writ - Round 3

Unreal Estate (continued): A co-created work by The Writ

To say that Knuckles and Mad Dog were surprised when they entered the makeshift operating room would be an understatement of epic proportion. They had been given all the proper passcodes by Martini, had waited for hours in blind obedience, waiting for their opportunity.  Everything was supposed to have been arranged…Martini had purchased Squeeze’s permanent allegiance when he paid for the opulent lair.  Martini knew that Jacks would run to his old friend for medical help and that Kahlua would be there, as well.  She was, after all, Squeeze’s niece; a secret that had been kept even from Jacks.  What they found, however, was Squeeze, dead on the floor, with a scalpel sticking out of his neck, and blood everywhere. Kahlua and Jacks were nowhere to be found.  They were at a loss, until they heard the sound of a car screaming down the driveway.

    “How did you know?” Kahlua asked.  While she was one of the best agents Jacks had ever worked with, and known for her keen intuition, even she was surprised by the sequence of events she had just witnessed. Thinking Jacks was completely unconscious, the sight of him grabbing Squeeze’s arm, stealing the scalpel away from him, and turning it on the man that was supposed to be his savior had taken even her by surprise. Daniel had quickly ordered Kahlua to help him up, through the hallway, and into the adjacent garage, where they made their escape.  “How did you know that Squeeze was working with Martini?” she repeated.  

    “The house was the first sign”, he said.  “I’ve known Squeeze long enough, and witnessed his gambling addiction in person on several occasions…there’s no way he could have afforded a house like that.  Then, while I was lying there, and I heard him say that he didn’t have any anesthesia?  How many doctors do you know that don’t always have at least a small bottle of Lidocaine in their bag?”  Kahlua was wondering how someone so badly injured could be so astute, when the sight of headlights in the distance behind them brought her back to the moment.  “So”, she asked, “what now, Superman??”.   (Mitch 08/08/11)

“Damn, Kahlua, spare me the sarcasm!” said Daniel with as much humor as he could muster.  He was still in a great deal of pain.  The reality was they were on their own at this moment, trying to escape two of the most deadly hit men in existence today.   They needed a plan.  Daniel’s main focus was Kahlua.   He had fallen in love with her during this covert operation, but knew it was against the ‘code of ethics’.   Did she know?  In his mind his thoughts were frantic, “I have to gut up and transcend this pain. This is the first woman I have ever had any respect for, any feelings of trust and love.  If it kills me, I am going to get us out of this shit.” 

“Any ideas, Superwoman?” Daniel said this jokingly, but he knew outwardly and physically Kahlua WAS a Superwoman.  He also sensed that on the inside, there was a wounded, gentle side that she kept hidden from the world for some reason.   This is what had drawn him to her.  He looked over and saw her looking in the rear view mirror every couple of seconds.  “Are they getting any closer?”  Kahlua told him she thought they were just tailing them for the moment.

They looked at each other and almost simultaneously asked, “What are we going to do next?”  Neither of their cell phones was working out here in ‘No Man’s Land’.  There was no way to let their contact know that they were in deep trouble, that the whole plan had gone awry.  And then there was Daniel’s injuries…how long could his body endure without medical attention?  (Nico 8/11/11)

    Daniel pushed the gas pedal to the floor.  "Hold on.  I've got an idea.  We'll die trying."  

     Kahlua pushed her legs to the floor, bracing herself.  She reached her hand over to Daniel and squeezed tightly.  "At least we'll die together."

     The car behind them sped up and continued right on their tail.  Daniel watched the speedometer creep up...100...102...105.  He knew the speed was dangerous, but on this road, any loose rock or stick could mean instant death.  106...109...110.  Ahead Daniel could just make out a space where the sky seemed lower.  He prayed he remembered which way the road turned from last night.  Gently he turned the wheel.  He didn't want to give too much away to the car behind him.  111...112...113.  "God, I hope I'm right."  He turned the wheel sharply to the right.  The brakes behind him squealed and the wheels spun, but Daniel's gamble paid off.  The trailing car slid over the cliff and into the ocean below.   (Tiffany 8/13/11)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unreal Estate: A co-created work by The Writ

Unreal Estate

The moon was shining fiercely, more intense than any full moon he could ever recall. It was almost blindingly bright. Of course, he had never taken in the moon from his back, lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
“At least I can still see it there,” he thought, breathing heavily. “That means that I’m still alive.” But the swirl of the night’s events was overtaking his mind like an out of control carousel. The party, the jokes… who was insulted? Who started screaming accusations? “Why did I run?” he muttered. Nothing made sense.
He needed to be clear, clearer than he had ever been in his entire life… the life that now hung in the balance. (Rich 7/11/11)
Slowly he turned his head to the right and the movement made him grunt – excruciating pain, bolts of white flashes of that fierce moon like a rocket into his pulsating brain. The need to start assessing the reality of his situation was necessary but not tempting.
Memories where starting to line up in a more orderly fashion and he didn’t enjoy the way that the scenery unfolded. ”Oh no, he whispered,”I didn’t say that did I? Damn that Tequila….”
He could barely open his eyes, if he remembered it correctly there were a couple of terrible blows to both eyebrows and the swelling was troublesome to say the least. When he finally got his vision under control – he gasped for air. (Magdis 7/11/11)
Pain wracked his chest. The taste of blood flooded his mouth, and he began to choke. It was strange to hear your own death cry. He always pictured his final sound as a rebel yell, not this strange gurgling sound. He rolled over, agonizingly slow, and continued coughing up blood until only dry heaves remained. He spit the remaining blood out of his mouth and dropped his head to the dirt.
“Are you done yet? That’s quite the death cry you had going there. Leave it to you to die in the dirt, choking on your own blood. Though from the looks of it, I would say you don’t have much left in you. It’ll save me the trouble of killing you.” Though the voice was melodic, the words were cold steel.
Holding his rib, he struggled to his knees, gasping for breath. Dark hair covered his proud defiant eyes, but not the familiar smirk. A silver 9 mm handgun touched his forehead. He didn’t recognize the gun, but he knew its owner. Tequila, the woman who had started this whole mess. (Tiffany 7/12/11)
“Ah, you are still with it enough to recognize me. Good. I want you totally aware of how you feel.” Tequila’s voice was strong and filled with vengeance. She stood over Daniel Jacks staring through unsympathetic eyes. There was not an ounce of pity in her to ooze out and mingle with his blood. She gently shoved his body back to the earth.
She was thinking out loud, “We have no time to waste. It is only a few hours until sunrise.” By this time, Daniel was feeling very weak and disoriented. He begged her, “Please stop. Why are you doing this to me?” He was trying his best to gather what little strength he had left to pull himself up. But, every time he managed to lift his body just slightly off the ground, Tequila would lift her foot up and gently push him down. The time and place seemed surreal to Daniel. All he could think was that maybe hopefully someone had seen them leaving the party together… someone that knew their history.
Daniel was getting frantic inside. He needed to escape. With all his injuries and the pain he was enduring, he knew escape was impossible. Silently, his mind was racing, “Think, Daniel, think…you can’t just lay here like a victim. You have to try and fight back. You can’t let her do this again.” (Nico 7/12/2011)
Oddly, I Will Survive began wafting through the halls of his psyche, his head seemingly throbbing to the beat. "What the . . . ?" He'd always been one to lean more toward Alice Cooper than Gloria Gaynor, more likely to be seen in some ramshackle biker bar than Studio 54. Just as he began wondering if he'd ever see his Harley again, another kick to the ribs brought him back to the present moment.
"I suggest you say your prayers." Tequila hissed. Although it was still dark, the lunar sheen on her makeup-streaked face conjured visions of some primitive warpainted she-bitch. He couldn't help wondering, however briefly, what he'd ever seen in that mascara disaster.
"Wait a minute though," he thought. "If her makeup is streaked, she's been crying." He'd been down that road with her more than once. This time, however, the potential to use her emotion against her became a growing ray of hope. (Melinda 7/13/11)
Daniel was a master manipulator, a connoisseur of con-artistry. He prided himself on being able to manipulate anyone into giving him anything that he wanted, especially women, but Tequila had been a challenge. She seemed to be able to see through him, through his exaggerations and lies. Tequila had fought back, both mentally and physically.
Daniel whispered, trying to catch her eye and conjure up a tear of his own, “Tequila, baby, don't do this. You know that I would never hurt you. I love y...”.
Daniel stopped cold when he made eye contact. The malice in her eyes held him still and nearly stopped his heart. Fear consumed him when he realized that she was no simple woman who's emotions could be toyed with. Tequila wasn't even human. (Amber 7/16/11)
"You do realize", Tequila said, "that as soon as I'm finished with you, I'm going to find that bitch Kahlua, don't you?  And I'm going to take Mad Dog with me.  I'm sure he'll want to have some fun with her before we're done. Mr. Martini just wants you both dead.  After the way you treated me when you left, I was the one that wanted to see you suffer."

Instantly, the stillness of the early morning was shattered by two explosions. In a moment of lucidity, Jacks realized that every time Tequila pushed him back down with one foot, she left herself vulnerable.  Drawing on every last bit of strength, he raised his butt slightly, as if to try and get up.  Tequila, as he had hoped, lifted her foot to push him back down and when she did, Daniel rolled quickly, grabbing her ankle and twisting as hard as he could. The explosion of sound caused when her tibia was ripped from the femur, tearing apart tendons and ligaments, was exceeded only by the primal scream leaving Tequila's lips.  The second explosion, a millisecond later, resulted from the chambered and cocked handgun hitting the pavement and firing.

After watching Tequila die, gurgling and gasping for air, Daniel drug himself to her car and pulled himself into the driver's seat. He'd worked for Martini and Rossi long enough to know that as soon as they heard of Tequila's failure, others would quickly follow.  He had to get to Kahlua before they did.  (Mitch 7/17/11)
He knew that she was in grave danger.  If Martini found out Kahlua was the one who tipped him off, she wouldn't see the sunrise.  The only problem was, he had no idea where she was at the moment.  Was she smart enough to go underground?  

He shook his head and groaned at the effort.  Well, he'd give her that much, Tequila could sure give you a kick when she wanted to.  He'd loved her once and hated her always.  He was glad she was dead, and he hated himself for the thought.

He never should have agreed to this bootlegging business.  He was sick of running away.  No matter how much money he brought in, it was never good enough for Martini.  He might be able to negotiate with Rossi, but if Martini was around, he didn't stand a chance.
(Tiffany 7/20/11)

The Valentine Honey Nut Bee

          7th grade was going to be the year of Tiff.  I was no longer a sixth-grade baby.  I was a 7th grader entitled to all the rights and rewards that came with that title.  I didn’t know what those rights and rewards would be, but they had to be fabulous, right?  7th grade was a once in a lifetime occasion, after all.
            Tim was a gorgeous blond who made heads turn as he walked down the halls of our middle school.  I’m not sure where he got it, but a spotlight followed Tim everywhere he went, making his hair glow with ethereal light.  He was a God and we were his unworthy subjects.  I would have been happy to fall at his feet and worship him, but that was so sixth grade.  This was 7th grade.  The year of Tiff.  This year I would walk up to this Adonnis and tell him my name.  He would smile and say, “I know.  I have had a crush on you since the moment I saw you.  I was just too shy to say anything to you.”  Then he would smile and hold my hand and we would walk down the hall together.  No sunset required.  We would bask in the adoration of all of our friends as we strolled arm in arm down the hall of our future. 
Ugh, right?  Too bad that twelve-year-old love is just as brutal as ten-year-old love.
            I bided my time, waiting for the right moment.  Knowing he was shy and crushing on me, I needed to be careful not to scare him away.  As he walked by, I smiled at his back so he would feel the energy of my love supporting him. 
            After a few weeks of that, I felt he was ready to move on to the next level.  I began to cast sideways glances at him as he walked by.  Just enough to show him I was interested, but not so forward that he would run for cover. 
            He seemed fine with that, so I moved my game up a little bit more.  I began to smile at him as he walked towards me in the halls.  Once in awhile, he would actually look at me.  Those were scary times when I would have to remind my heart to start beating again. 
After a few careful weeks of that, I felt he was ready for our first word.  I waited next to his locker, trying to look as nonchalant and carefree as you can look after spending three hours on your make-up and hair.  When he headed my way, I moved past him and said the word he had been dying to hear, “Hi.”  I think my voice wavered.  It might have even cracked a little, but that would just show him how much he meant to me. 
            He looked at me and said, “Hey.”  Then he began to do his combo so I wouldn’t see him blushing with pleasure over our first words.  I could feel the tension in his shoulders as he tried to ignore me.  Finally a man who was as passionate about me as I was about him.
            I couldn’t wait to see him again.  I plotted his classes and managed to make it outside every one of his classes at every break.  My teachers didn’t seem to mind when I walked in late every day.  I think they said something to me, but I am pretty sure they were congratulating me on the way I was handling 7th grade and admiring the mature way I was taking it slow with Tim. 
            The day of our first school dance dawned as any other ordinary day.  I rubbed my hands on my dress so Tim wouldn’t have to hold sweaty hands.  I paced the gym looking for the silver glow of Tim’s hair.  Finally I saw the flash of blond highlights and breathed a sigh of relief.  He walked over to me with his entourage pulling up behind.  He stopped, smiled, and said, “Wanna dance?” 
People may say that hearts can’t sing, but anyone who has been in love will tell you this is totally untrue.  Hearts can sing and people can walk on air and dance on clouds. 
I managed to nonchalantly wipe my sweaty hands one last time before I put my hands on his shoulders.  I was careful to keep a yardstick’s length between us so I wouldn’t scare him away.  As we danced, I noticed how good he smelled and tried to discreetly smell myself, in hopes I didn’t smell too bad.  With all this going on, I managed to carefully look over his shoulder so he wouldn’t get lost in my mesmerizing green eyes.  His friends kept trying to push us closer together, but I resisted, knowing how easily he could be scared away from me.  Neither of us said anything, but words were not needed for this perfect moment. 
            The song ended and we went our separate ways, knowing we were meant to be together.  I admired the way he didn’t want to rub our love into the faces of everyone around us.  We had our dance, and now we could both go back to our friends and be there for them.  He was so mature that way.
            We went back to saying “hey” in the halls, but he added a smile every now and then so I would know how he truly felt about me.  I replayed those moments over and over in my head as I fell asleep each night.  “Hey.”  It was the most beautiful word in the English language.  It was Tim’s word for me.
            Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday that year.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I knew Tim wouldn’t want to make our friends uncomfortable by doing something at school, so I decided to do something a bit more discreet.  I pulled out every poster board I owned and my best markers that hadn’t run out of ink yet.  I added some glitter and a little lace, a few pieces of cupid confetti and a spritz of perfume.  Just one spritz this time.  After all, I was in 7th grade now.  Finally my tribute to our love was complete.
            Now, the only problem was how to get it to Tim’s house.  I could walk my valentine over to Tim’s house, but I was babysitting my brothers and sisters.  If my mom and dad came home and found out I had left the kids home alone, I would never have the chance to leave the house again.  That could really put a damper on our love.  Luckily Tammy walked into my room to see what I was doing.  Fate was taking a hand.  Tammy could deliver it for me.
            “Tammy, will you do me a big favor?”
            “Will you take this valentine to Tim’s house and give it to him for me?”
            “Please?   Pretty please….!”
            “I’ll be your best friend.”
            “You’re already my best friend.”
            “I’ll do your chores!”
            “For a week!  I’ll even clean the bathroom!”
            “Okay.  I guess I will do it.”
            I hugged her and kissed her and told her she was the best sister ever.  Then I told her how to get to his house.
            She left and I waited anxiously at the window for her to return.  Just as it was getting dark and I was starting to panic, she came up the street.  I opened the door and stood waiting for her.
            “What did he say?  Did he smile?  Did he like it?  Did he ask about me?  What was he wearing?  What did you say?  Was he cute?  Tammy, talk to me.  Tell me what happened!”
“What do you mean, nothing?” 
“I mean, nothing.  I walked up to the door and rang the doorbell.  He answered the door.  I handed him the valentine and walked away.  He yelled, “Who are you?”
I started dancing down the driveway and shouted, ‘I’m the Honey Nut Bee!’”
            “No!!!!!!  You didn’t!!!!”
            “I did!”
            Although I prayed for the weekend to crawl by, my embarrassment didn’t stop Monday from coming around again.
            Monday there was no, ”Hey.”  There was only silence and a hurried glance away from me.  The death knoll sounded through the halls.  I wanted to yell, “I don’t even like the Honey Nut Bee, but it seemed pointless to argue the obvious. 
Tim and I continued to ignore each other until our next school dance, where I caught him making out with my best friend, Denise.  Love sucks – whether you are a honey nut bee or not.    

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zip Codes, True Love, and My Baby Sister

     There is nothing like being a ten-year-old in love.  People might try to tell you it is just “puppy love” or a “crush,” but don’t believe them.  Your first love is always true love.  Take me and Shaun Cassidy, for example. 
     My dad has always been a Hardy Boys fan.  I never knew that about my dad until my tenth summer.  That summer, a new series started that was loosely based on the book series.  My dad wanted to share this piece of his childhood with us, so he called Tammy and me in to watch it with him.  I didn’t know what a Hardy Boy was, but I knew better than to question my dad.  I stopped playing outside and dutifully came in and sat down in front of the tv.  On the inside I was sulkily biding my time until I could escape from watching TV. 
     The credits ended and the most beautiful face I had ever seen appeared larger than life on my TV screen.  I fell completely, madly, and totally in love with this man.  I stared in rapt attention at the TV for an hour.  I didn’t breathe or blink during the show.  My body patiently waited until commercials to waste time on such trivial interests.
     When he smiled, I felt myself melting inside, like the center of a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie.  I knew that smile was a special one meant only for me.  That beautiful woman might think his smile was for her, but she was far from good enough for this perfect man.  After she died, I felt guilty, but also vindicated.  I wasn’t the only one who felt she wasn’t good enough for him, even the writers had to kill her off.    
     After Joe Hardy found out she died, he took out his guitar and sang the most beautiful song I had ever heard.  I wept…for her…and for him…and for the loss of love my ten-year-old-heart had never known, but somehow knew all great love stories must end tragically. 
     At the end of the show, I scanned the credits to find this beautiful man’s real name.  Not just the character’s name, but a real name.  Shaun Cassidy.  Even his name was perfection.
     The station went to a commercial for Shaun Cassidy’s new album Da Doo Ron Ron, out in stores everywhere.  Every waking thought went to Shaun Cassidy and the album I had to own.  I counted down the days until Sunday, when I could see Shaun and his special smiles and winks that he saved just for me.
     Santa Claus has a special place in his heart for me and granted my only wish – the new Shaun Cassidy album.  Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, I pulled out the album and discovered two posters tucked inside.  I grabbed the tape out of the kitchen and ran up the stairs.  I climbed up on my bed and hung the poster of his face with my special smile over my bed so I could see it when I fell asleep at night.  I got down and climbed up on Tammy’s bed.  This was the perfect wall for the full length body shot.  You couldn’t see his face as well, or his beautiful smile, but it would still be fun to look at when I looked over from Tammy’s side of the room.  I didn’t even ask Tammy if that was okay.  It just needed to be done. 
     Now that the decorations were complete, I could get down to business.  I pulled out the album and turned on the record player.  I carefully set the needle down and lay on my bed letting the music surround me.  That album never left my record player.  My dad warned me that leaving it on the record player would scratch it, but I didn’t care.  There was no way his album would be removed from my record player to be replaced by someone else.  Every minute that I was home was filled with Shaun Cassidy singing me the soundtrack of my life.  I knew every song by heart and sang along with him as loudly as I dared to sing without getting grounded from the record player for being annoying.  I danced all over the room and across our twin beds, over to the poster for a quick kiss and back around the room. 
     When he sang
“Hey, there lonely girl, lonely girl,
Let me make your broken heart like new
Oh, my lonely girl, lonely girl,
Don’t you know this lonely boy loves you?”
I just knew he was singing just to me.  Somehow he had opened up my heart and peered inside my soul.  He could tell how lonely I was and he loved me anyway.  I just knew that if we ever had the chance to meet, he would come swoop me out of my fragile world and take me to a world of love and happiness and beaches and sunshine and all the other things true love brings to the ones who fight for their love.
     We went to California often, but I didn’t know if my mom and dad would take me to Shaun’s house.  Sometimes they seemed to think I was too young to be in love.  I didn’t know how often he came to Utah, but it seemed silly to wait.  After all, fate helps the ones who fight for their dreams.  Well, if fighting is what it took, a fight it would be.  I decided the only sensible thing to do was to write him a letter and introduce myself.  Once he read my letter, he would feel the powerful connection we had, and he would go to the edge of the Earth to find me, or at least use my return address on the envelope.  Depending on the day, I would take my sister with me or I would leave her behind begging me to let her come with us.  Sometimes I would relent and allow her to come and clean my new mansion. 
     Love letters call for special materials, so I pulled out my best stationary.  I grabbed a brand new pencil and sharpened it to the fine point required for writing my fanciest cursive letters.  I remembered to use big words and my best handwriting.  Boys like that in the women they date.  Showing him I was wise beyond my years was an important part of showing him how much we had in common. 
     I snuck the letter into the bathroom and pulled out my mom’s favorite perfume.  This stuff must be good.  It was expensive, and it seemed to work on my dad.  I pulled off the lid and spritzed two sprays of perfume on my letter.  I turned it over and added an extra spritz to the envelope to show how serious I was about our love.  As the perfume hit the paper, the words smudged.  I should rewrite the letter, but the intoxicating smell of my perfume was more important than the mere words on the page.  I carefully wrote my address so he would know where to find me.
     I waited until my babysitter came over and poured my heart out to her.  She was wise beyond her fourteen years, and she knew everything there was to know about true love.  I begged her to help me send this token of love to the man I was meant to love forever.  She agreed. 
     That night I was so happy, I couldn’t sleep.  I stared at the poster of my true love and whispered, “It won’t be long now, love.”
     The next morning I set my time scale.  After accounting for the day it was mailed and the amount of time it probably took a love letter to get to California, the time it would take for him to read my letter and fly his plane to Utah, I marked the date on my calendar.  Do love letters travel faster than the other mail, knowing they have people anxiously awaiting their arrival?  If not, it should be about two weeks.  That didn’t seem so bad.  I circled a heart around the date on the calendar so no one would miss this momentous occasion.
     Boy, was I wrong.  It was two weeks of torture.  Every time the mail arrived, I was right there ready to greet the mailman.  If the doorbell rang, I rushed to answer it.  Every time the phone rang, my heart skipped a beat.  Every car that passed me as I walked to school was going to be Shaun’s limo coming to sweep me off my feet and off to the magical world of California. 
     I learned the power of symbolism when my brother stepped on my Shaun Cassidy record and broke it into pieces.  A smarter girl would have realized my love was unrequited, but I was always a sucker for love.
     Two weeks of that kind of anticipation can quickly destroy you.  I hadn’t slept or eaten in two weeks.  It made me turn mean.  When my babysitter returned for another night with us, I turned on her and snarled, “Did you mail my letter?  Why didn’t he answer me back?  Why didn’t he come to my house?  You didn’t send it, did you?  You want him for yourself.  You were always jealous of me.  I hate you!!!” 
     After my tirade was over, she looked at me and said, “You didn’t put your zip code on it, so the mailman couldn’t deliver it.”
     I was crushed.  How could true love be defeated by a zip code?  Didn’t the mailman know how much this letter meant to me?  This was the biggest moment of my life and it was ruined by five numbers.  I ran upstairs and cried myself to sleep.
     The next day I sulked in my room, trying to hold out hope that Shaun didn’t need a zip code to find me.  Our love was so true, the connection would lead him to my house.  He would knock on the door and say, “Excuse me, you don’t know me yet, but we are meant to be together.”   I would fall into his arms and off we would walk into the sunset.  He would literally walk, with me in his arms, into the sunset.  The vision ended there.  My ten-year-old life experience couldn’t fathom what real life would be like, only the romantic illusions.
     As I sat trying to create a mental connection with my missing true love, Tammy came in and sat on the windowsill, bouncing against the screen in the window.
     “Doink, doink, doink, doink.”
     “Tammy, shut up!”
     “I’m not saying anything.”
     “Doink.  Doink.  Doink.”  Each bounce pushed the screen farther out the window.
     “Tammy, stop it!  You are going to fall out the window!”
     “You’re not the boss of me!”
     “Doink!  Doink!  Doink!”
     Silence.  Silence.  Silence. 
     I looked over and saw an empty window.  No screen.  No sister.
     I ran to the window and peered over the edge.  Twenty-feet below lay my sister in the bushes.  The tams.  My Tam.  My baby sister needed me.  All I could think about was how selfish I had been to get so caught up in my own love and now my sister was dead.  I had killed my sister.  Love was SO not what it was cracked up to be. 
     I ran downstairs and out the front door.  I rushed over to the tams and held my hand over her mouth to see if she was breathing.  She opened her eyes and looked at me and mumbled, “I’m not dead.”  It was the best moment of my life.  Who needed Shaun Cassidy when I had my little sister back.  I helped her up and brushed the broken bushes from her back.  I put my arm around her and walked her back inside.   I made a promise that no boy would ever be as important to me as my sister.  Not even Shaun Cassidy. 
     Luckily he must have picked up my psychic message because he respected my wishes and never rang my doorbell or pulled up alongside me in his limousine.  It is a good thing, too, because my love for my sister is rock solid, but riding in a limo would be a pretty cool way to get back at my nemesis, Martha.    

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Bear

The Bear
One long summer day, I found myself in Yellowstone National Park, squished in the backseat of the car with Tammy.  Although my mom and dad loved the scenery and the feel of nature rushing past the car, I was hot and bored.  Scenery held no interest to my six-year-old mind.  The only thing I was looking forward to was a melodrama in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and maybe a motel with a swimming pool, if I got lucky.  To pass the time, we had been snacking on food all day.  The half-eaten bag of cookies lay in the front seat between my mom and dad. 
Animals weren’t scenery, and I enjoyed seeing the bison and other animals walking in the meadows outside the car.  It was fun to get out and walk out in the meadow to get a closer look, although it made it harder to get back in the car. 
After leaving the hot pots behind, the smell of sulphur never quite leaving my clothes, I was more than happy to get in the car and begin driving towards the hotel.   I curled up in my blanket and was settling down for my afternoon nap, when I noticed the car gradually slowing down.  I sat up to investigate the delay in my visions of swimming pools.  
“Dad, why is everyone stopping?”
“We just passed some black bears by the side of the road.  All of the cars stopped to oogle the bears.  Look, over there.  Do you see them?  Wow, that’s a big one, all right.”
My mom rolled down her window to allow us to get a better view of the bears.  I leaned over to look over my mom’s shoulder and out the window.  I began to hyperventilate.  I was new to this bear thing, but I was pretty sure that the bears weren’t supposed to come towards your car while your mom had the window rolled down.  I yanked my head back in and yelled, “Dad, the bear is coming to get us.”
“Don’t be silly.  He doesn’t want you.  He just smells the cookies.”
“Throw the cookies at him, quick, Dad!”
“Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you.  He’s as scared of you as you are of him.  He’s just
The bear kept coming closer to the car.  My mom began to roll up her window.  When the bear reached her car door, he stood up on his hind legs next to the window.  Luckily my mom almost had the window rolled all the way up.  Unfortunately, bears really like the same kind of cookies my mom bought. He put his claws over the edge of the window where my mom hadn’t quite finished rolling it up all the way.   
The cars in front of us started to move slowly forward.  My dad began to drive. 
“Don’t worry, the bear will get down when we start driving.” 
The bear didn’t move his claws out of the top of our window.  With his claws inches away from my mom’s face, he began walking alongside the car. 
I was certain we were all about to die.  My dad didn’t know anything about bears.  The bear wasn’t getting down.  He wanted the cookies and he was getting mad.  I could hear rumbles coming from his chest.  Any minute now he would stop playing with us, break the glass, eat us and then eat the cookies for desert. 
 Hiding was my only hope.  If bears had bad eyesight and couldn’t see us, there was a chance Tammy and I could survive this ordeal.  There was no hope for my mom and dad.  They were sitting next to the cookies.  Maybe I could keep us hidden while the bear attacked and then, while he was busy eating the cookies, he wouldn’t notice an odd shaped blanket scurrying away from the car. 
I threw my blanket over Tammy and me.  Tammy pulled at the blanket trying to get a better look at the action. 
            “Tammy,” I screamed.  “What are you doing?  Get back under here so the bear won’t eat you!” 
            “I want to see the bear!” 
            “Do you want to die?  The bear will eat you!”  I began to sob hysterically.
            Flash!  The camera went off.  “Is everyone in this family crazy?” I thought.  The bear is going to eat us and we are taking his picture.  At least everyone will know what ate us when they develop the film. 
            Finally the bear got tired of keeping pace with our car.  I guess even the best cookies aren’t worth that amount of exercise.  My mom rolled her window down enough for the bear to pull his claws free.  He loped off across the meadow and disappeared into the trees.  I watched him to make sure he really left and wasn’t trying to trick me into leaving the car.
            My mom and dad were amazed at how lucky we were to see a bear come right up to our car.  Tammy was on cloud nine from all of the excitement. I was shell-shocked in my blankets anxious to go home. 
            The rest of the trip was uneventful, but I did not feel safe until I was safe at home in my own room, nowhere near any bears or cookies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Tie Ride (To My Sister)

The Tie Ride
Pushing Tammy around K-Mart in the cart was one of my favorite big sister jobs.  She was so cute.  Little old ladies would stop us to admire my beautiful sister, and there were plenty of old ladies shopping at K-Mart.  As they oohed and aaahed over her golden hair and baby blue eyes, I would proudly announce, “I’m her big sister.  I take good care of her.” 
At least that was the official story.  In reality, I truly loved pushing my sister around K-Mart because I was in charge.  When you are pushing a cart, people get out of your way.  If they don’t, you run into their ankles.  They usually learn that lesson pretty fast.  I also liked being in charge for a change.  Tammy would have to go wherever I pushed her and look at whatever I wanted to look at in the store.  Besides that, my parents might sneak off and leave me to live in the store, but they would never do that to Tammy.  Everyone loved Tammy.
            Every time we went to K-Mart, we went to the men’s department to look for clothes for my dad.  K-Mart had an awesome way of displaying ties.  The ties hung from a five-foot rack in a rainbow of colors and designs.  Everywhere you looked, ties hung down in vivid colors.  I loved the silk feel in my hands and the variety of colors and styles to choose from.  It was about the only time I was jealous of my brothers, because they would be able to grow up and wear these beautiful ties. 
            I loved to run my hands through the ties and feel the soft silkiness on the backs of my hands.  Carefully, I would hold one up and rub it along my cheek.  I could just imagine how good it would feel to run through those endless ties and feel them across my cheeks and my hands.  As I stood there, imagining the “Calgon Moment” in the ties, I realized they also looked like a car wash.  The hanging ties looked like car wash brushes hanging down. 
            Fate comes along every once in a while and knocks me flat on my back.  This was one of those moments.  I couldn’t pass up this lifetime opportunity.  I turned back to the cart and told Tammy my plan. 
            “Tammy, let’s run through the ties.  It will be so fun!”
            “No, Tiff!  There is a bar in there and I will get hurt!”
            “No, you won’t!  It is just a hollow set of ties.  There isn’t even room for a bar in there.”
            “Are you sure?  I’m scared.”
            “Of course I’m sure.  If there was a bar in there, you would be able to see it.  You don’t see a bar, do you?”
            “Well, no.”
            “All right, then.  Just trust me.  I know about these things because I’m not a kid anymore.”
            I pulled her backwards to get a running start.  “On your mark, get set, go!!!!” 
            I ran as fast as I could directly into the ties.  It was total bliss.  The silky ties caressed my hands and face as I ran. 
            “Clonk!”  The bar reverberated and shook in my hand as I heard the sound of the clonk.
The cart sprang back in my hand and pushed me backwards on to the floor.  The cart tipped over and fell sideways, spilling my sister out on to the floor. 
Ties flew everywhere.  The floor was strewn with ties.  People came running from all over the store to see what had happened.  My mom was hysterical. 
Tammy looked at me and said, “I told you there was a bar inside the ties.” 
The manager of the store came running over to see what had happened.  I stood up surrounded by ties and broken pieces of the display that had apparently been in the middle of the ties.  My mom’s face was beet red.  She looked like she was either going to murder me or burst into tears.  She croaked out, in a voice I barely recognized, “Go to the car, NOW!” 
            I grabbed my sister and went out to the car.  Tammy burst into tears.  I sat there shocked, humiliated, and confused.  How could this be?  I was sure that the ties were hollow. 
I turned to Tammy and told her, “I’m sorry!  I was sure there was nothing but a car wash of ties” 
            She looked at me and cried, “You always say to trust you, but your plans never work out.  They always get us into trouble.”
            Suddenly I had a new idea for a plan.  We could trick my mom into thinking that there were other people in the car, not us.  I told her to sit up on her legs so she would be taller.  Then I sat as tall as I could in the back seat, sure that my mom would think we were someone else’s kids. 
My mom started walking towards the car, and I held my breath.  Would she buy it?  I did not think about what would happen if she did buy it and we actually had to go home with some stranger instead of our mom.  All I cared about at the moment was finding a way to get us out of trouble.  Closer…closer…closer.  She opened the door and did not say a word to either of us.  Tammy shot me a dirty look and I shrugged my shoulders at her.  How was I supposed to know that my plan wouldn’t work?  At least this time we didn’t get in trouble.