The Price Of Books

Price of Books

At the beginning of December, Herminia wrote a post titled, “The Disadvantages of Buying Books.” Then we started talking in the comments and an idea sprouted.

One of the disadvantages of buying books that Herminia mentioned was the cost of books. Sure, $10 doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you add up your entire bookshelf?

I was going to look at the prices on all the books I own. Some may have been discounted, some may have been gifts, some might not even have the prices on them. Yet, I was curious to see how much money it was.

I didn’t do it because I have too many books and didn’t feel like spending the time to go through them all like that. Surprise, surprise.

So, for 2016, Herminia and I decided to keep track of how much money we spend on books.

When we buy a book we’ll jot down the price we paid written on the receipt. Not the actual price, because we might get a discount and/or pay tax. We want to write the exact amount we paid for.

I might post updates on my blog, I haven’t decided yet. I do know that December of next year I will write a post of the total amount of money I spent on books for the year.

Herminia and Kris said they’ll do this with me, though I don’t know if they’ll post updates on their blog about it at all.

If you’re a book lover and find yourself at the bookstore way too often, feel free to join us. I’m sure it’ll be an interesting experiment to see how much money one person can spend on books.

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge (Part One)

I was nominated by Herminia. So thank you Herminia!

Rules:

–Post one quote a day for three days (from others or your own).
–Nominate three other bloggers to participate per post.
–Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.

Quote:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss

I thought I would put questions related to writing on these posts, but I absolutely love this quote. It means a lot to me; especially since I’ve been through so much change in my life (some good, some bad… but all ends up well in the end).

Dr. Seuss was an author though, so I figured that counted.

Nominations:

Skye Hegyes
Topaz Winters
Sacha Black

I’m not telling people I nominated them because I’m lazy, but anyone can do this–nominated or not.

Have fun with it!

Short Story Sunday #65

SSS Good Book

            Diane turned the page of her latest novel with wide eyes and her lips moving quickly, but with no sound. Her eyes darted across the page from left to the right eagerly wanting to turn the page again. She slouched down in her lounge chair, propping her feet up on the chair next to her.

Her husband, Josh, sat on the opposite side of the table with his laptop in front of him. He eyed Diane trying not to laugh.

“You’re making funny faces again.” He observed.

“Shush!” Diane said sharply. Her eyes did not leave the page and only paused for a split second to the turn the page once more.

A breeze blew by and Diane slapped her hand on the table to keep her bookmark from flying away as she continued to read.

Josh closed his laptop and leaned his elbows on it. He smirked at his wife. “I take it I picked out a good book to give you for your birthday?”

Shush!” she said more harshly.

Josh rubbed his lips together trying to hold in his laughter.

A robin swooped down from their roof and landed on top of the umbrella that shielded them and most of the deck. Josh stood up from the table and looked up at the bird. He smiled. Spring was officially here.

“Diane, look! It’s a robin and she’s looking pretty plump.”

Daine growled.

Josh lifted an eyebrow at his wife. He hadn’t seen her get this excited over a book in a long time.

Finally, he walked off the back deck and reached the hose.

“Diane, I’m not afraid to use this. I’ve done it before.” Josh smirked. Whenever Diane was in the middle of the good book, it was difficult for Josh to get her attention. He sprayed a mist over her one time and it freaked her out so whenever he got the hose, Diane would immediately look up at him.

This time, she blatantly ignored him.

“One, two…” Josh counted in whispers as he slowly turned on the water. “Three…”

He put the nozzle on mist on the hose and sprayed Daine laughing. The robin flew away in frenzy, but Diane didn’t bat an eyelash. She only turned to the next page in her book.

Josh chuckled to himself thinking that he would be funny. He set the nozzle on an actual spray to get Diane wet enough, but not soaked—he kept in mind his laptop was right there.

“One, two…” Josh counted once more.

Diane slammed her book closed and grinned widely at her husband. “I finished!”

“Three…!”

The hose turned on and Diane squealed.

June: All-Nighter

For this month’s #YearOfHappy, the challenge was to do something you always wanted to do as a kid.

Well, like every other month, I’m tweaking the rules. I decided to do something I used to do as a kid that I stopped doing when I became an adult.

I used to stay up all night with my friends during sleepovers just like any other kid. Of course, when I got older I couldn’t do that because I would have school the next day or work or church. There was always something.

Now that it’s summer vacation for me and I have no more school and work is done for a few months, I decided to stay up all night.

I love staying up throughout the night. I don’t know why, but there’s something lovely about being the only one awake in the house. It’s peaceful and I’m guaranteed privacy.

I thought of staying up to write and/or read all night, but then had a different idea.

Because Kris and I are geeks, we’ve always wanted to have a marathon of the three Lord of the Rings and three Hobbit movies. To watch all six in a row would take a little over 21 hours (this counts for the extended edition to all the movies except the latest one). We rounded up to 24 hours because we need to pause for bathroom, snacks, etc.

If we wanted to watch all six movies straight through right in a row, we would have to stay up all night. So that’s just what we did–or what we tried.

We started with the Hobbit movies to watch the story in chronological order. Plus, we’ve never seen The Battle of the Five Armies and we knew we’d cry. So we wanted to get that out of the way.

By the time we finished watching the first two Hobbit movies, it was about 1:30 in the morning. We decided to go to bed. Neither one of us were really tired, but wanted sole focus on the last movie since we’ve never seen it.

We woke up early the next morning and watched the last Hobbit movie and all three Lord of the Rings movies–which ended around one in the morning.

So, we didn’t stay up all night but we did stay pretty late for two nights in a row.

PuzzleWe worked on a Lion King puzzle while watching the movies so I think that was what kept us up. Plus, we bought snacks before we started the marathon. So we were eating plenty of chocolate and such.

I originally thought I would write or read all night long–be productive. Instead, I ended up spending two days not being productive.

It was nice, though. I’ve been on summer vacation for a week, but that was really the first time in a while that I didn’t have anything planned. It was nice to have plans to do nothing.

Short Story Sunday #57

SSS Crowd

            She was carried along by the crowd. She tried to reach her arms through people and also tried to see over their heads, but she was too small. She called out his name a few times, but the crowd was so loud in yelling and stampeding through the streets, that no one could hear her; she couldn’t even hear herself.

Amanda, when she could no longer see Jeff, turned around and started walking among the crowd. She didn’t know where they were going, but she thought that it would be easier to walk with the crowd than against. Maybe she could find a small gap that she could fit through and make it to the sidewalk. Then she could backtrack and try to find Jeff again.

She hoped Jeff was thinking the same thing and was trying to find his way back to her.

Amanda picked up her feet and was marching through the streets. She felt so small with the entire crowd surrounding her that if she walked as she normally did, she knew for sure that she would fall and get trampled.

Finally, she found a small opening and tried to walk through it when someone grabbed her arm. She was startled and tried to wriggle free, but she couldn’t get out of the grip.

“Stop, it’s me! Jeff!”

Amanda turned around and noticed Jeff right behind her holding onto her arm. She let out a sigh of relief.

“What are you walking with the crowd for?” Jeff demanded glaring at her.

“I was trying to get away, but I wasn’t strong enough to walk the opposite way. I was trying to make my way to the sidewalk.” Amanda explained.

“Hold onto my arm and do not let go. Follow me.” Jeff was still holding onto Amanda’s arm and she was holding onto his other arm.

He led the way diagonally. They were walking with the crowd, but there were making their way to the sidewalk where no one seemed to be around. Amanda was thankful that the stampede was protesting in the street and not the sidewalk. She thought that was odd, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it.

Finally, she and Jeff made it safely to the sidewalk. Holding onto her tighter, Jeff turned around and started running in the opposite direction of the crowd.

“Where are going to go?” Amanda called trying to keep up with him. Her legs were a lot shorter than his to the point that he was practically dragging her down the sidewalk.

“We’re going home to get some supplies and then we’re leaving the city.” Jeff answered, but he didn’t turn his head to look at her. He was too focused on where he was going.

“What is going on, anyway? Why are all these people so angry?” Amanda wondered.

“We’ll talk about that later in private!” Jeff shouted over the crowd. “We don’t want anyone overhearing our conversation. No more talking until we find the car.”

Amanda nodded her head even though Jeff wasn’t looking at her. With Jeff holding onto her hand and leading her, she watched the crowd trample by them going in the opposite direction. No one seemed to notice that other people were running the opposite way. None of the protesters seemed to care that they were scaring the lives out of some people.

Amanda had woken up that morning to crashes and bangs. When she peeked out the window she noticed that parts of the city were destroyed and on fire. She didn’t understand what was going on. She didn’t understand why the protestors were rioting. She went outside to look for her husband Jeff when she was accidentally swept away by the crowd.

Apparently Jeff was trying to pack the car and get their things together in an attempt to leave the city. That was why Amanda couldn’t find him in the morning and now that the crowd carried her so far away, she ended up delaying their escape.

However, she wasn’t sure what they were escaping from. She didn’t want to leave the city. She didn’t want to leave her home. It was the first house and her husband bought together when they first got married. They were going to start a family together soon. If they left the city, they would have nowhere to go. They would be homeless.

They made it back to the house and Jeff let go of Amanda’s arm. He barked some orders to her and Amanda immediately obeyed without asking any questions.

Together, the two of them ran into their house and grabbed as many belongings as they could. They didn’t bother to pack anything in suitcases; they just threw everything into the minivan and tossed the suitcases in after. They would sort through it all later.

“Is there anything else you need to get?” Jeff asked starting up the van.

Amanda looked back at the house. She and Jeff grabbed all their clothes, all the food they could carry, their stash of money, and any other essentials they needed. They were even able to throw in some things that had sentimental value.

“The house,” Amanda replied without thinking.

Jeff frowned.

“I know… maybe when this is all over we can come back with hopes that it’s not burned to the ground or broken into. I wish we could pack everything we have, including the furniture and the house itself. But we just can’t. Amanda, is there anything else you need to get? We need to leave… immediately.” Jeff explained looking sad.

Amanda shook her head and hopped into the front seat of the car. As she buckled her seatbelt, Jeff revved the engine and sped off. Amanda watched her house shrink in the distance through the side mirror and allowed a few tears to come down her cheek.

“What was going on?” she whispered to Jeff.

“They’re bringing the war here.” Jeff had a tear rolling down his cheek as well.

777 Challenge

A few months ago I posted the Lucky Seven Challenge that I found through another blog. I was going to make that a regular thing on my blog since I had so many works in progress, but decided not to.

The first time I did this challenge, I did it for George Florence 2 because that was what I was currently working on. Now I realize that I never did it for the first novel.

The lovely Gwendolyn suggested I do this challenge again. I thought I would do it from George Florence since it’s in the editing stages so it’s technically still a work in progress.

The point is this:

1. On your current WIP, scroll to page seven.
2. Count seven sentences down.
3. Then share the following seven sentences after that.

The first time I did this the challenge was to count down seven lines and then share the next seven lines. I think sharing sentences makes much more sense because, if I recall correctly, I added extra because the seven lines ended in the middle of a sentence.

Anyway… here’s seven sentences from the seventh page of George Florence:

“Call me George.”

“You got to know my father. I didn’t.” Lilah ignored my comment looking me in the eyes once more. Now I noticed she had the same emerald eyes like her father, as well.

“I didn’t come to you because I want to know more about being a detective in case my writing career doesn’t work out—which will work out, by the way—I came here to get to know my father a little bit more.” Lilah announced.

Hm… I think that a decent teaser, don’t you?

Now I have the option of tagging people to do this challenge, but I don’t think I will. I do hope some of you do the challenge, though. I think it’s fun and I would love to see what comes from your works in progress!

Short Story Sunday #56

SSS Warning

            Ginny had been warned, but now it was too late. She didn’t think anything of it at first. She thought that people were just making a big deal out of nothing. However, when the day came she realized that she had taken the situation a little too lightly.

Ginny had a huge AP math exam. She was good at math; especially since she was in the highest math class. However, it was because that she was good at math, she thought herself to be a little too good. She didn’t put all her effort into her homework because according to her, she all ready knew it all. She never studied for her tests because she knew all the material all ready. That didn’t matter because she still managed to get good grades on her tests and even on her homework. Her homework didn’t even take her long to do at home after school.

It was her favorite class because she didn’t even need to pay attention in it. She was just that good at math. Since she never paid attention in class, she never bothered to take any notes. People in her class were amazed because even when the teacher called on her to answer a question, she was able to know the answer and get it right.

“How can she know all the answers if she doesn’t pay attention in class? She doesn’t even take any notes!” people would say about her.

Ginny would smile and smirk when she overheard some of these comments. She knew she was great at math and she had no problem showing it off; especially since math was such a tricky subject to some people.

“We’re all in the same AP math class, guys,” Ginny would say arrogantly, “you guys know the material, too. You’re probably just over thinking it all.”

No one liked it when she said things like that. Most people got angry with her because she was all about herself and how smart she was in math. She was too confident and it bothered people. However, Ginny never seemed to notice that.

So, when the final AP math exam was coming up at the end of the year, all the kids in her class were panicking. Ginny, on the other hand, was cool as cucumber. She still didn’t bother to take any notes or pay any attention in class, her homework was done in about ten minutes, and she never studied the review quizzes that her teacher would give her and the class to practice on for the exam.

“This exam is going to be a lot harder than what we’ve been prepared for all year.” One girl named Bea explained to their lunch table. “I know because my sister had Professor Henry. She said that he prepares you up to a certain point and then he expects you to do the rest of the preparing yourself. That’s why he gives us those tough review quizzes. He’s subtly telling us that the exam is going to be a lot harder than we think.”

“That’s stupid,”

“Yeah, that’s not fair!”

Ginny would laugh and smirk at everyone’s comments about the math exam. Once she snickered too loud, everyone looked over at her and glared.

“Just because you seem to think that you know it all, doesn’t mean that you should rub it in all of our faces.” Bea snarled. “Ginny, you should be studying, too. I believe every word my sister says. The test is going to be a lot harder than any of us has ever imagined. That includes you.”

“No,” Ginny chuckled, “I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

The bell rang to end the lunch period and Ginny stood up from the table. She smiled at all her classmates.

“If any one of you thinks you’ll need some extra help, I’ll be available to tutor you.” Ginny thought it was a nice gesture, but her classmates didn’t seem to think so. They assumed she was just rubbing it in again.

Ginny walked away with a smile on her face. She didn’t realize it, but maybe she was rubbing it all in.

A week later, it was time for the exam. Professor Henry passed out a large packet of math problem. Ginny stared at the packet in horror flipping through all the pages. She knew the exam was going to be big, but she didn’t expect it to be this big. Some of the pages only had one problem on it because the entire page was going to be needed to show work on how they found the answer.

Ginny looked around at her classmates and she was relieved to see that they all had the same expressions on their faces. They were all flipping through the pages looking at what kind of questions were going to be expected of them to know. Ginny shrugged her shoulders and closed the packet to the first page again. She folded her hands on her desk and waited confidently for Professor Henry to give them the okay to start.

“Now as you all can see,” Professor Henry paced at the front of the room, “the exam is rather large. That is why I decided that whatever questions you do not finish or get to, will not be counted against you. However, keep in mind that the less questions you do, the more points they’re worth.

“For example, if you only get to ten questions that mean each of those questions are worth ten points in order to add up to 100. If you get five out of those ten questions wrong, then you have a 50 on the exam and you fail. Does everyone understand?” Professor Henry stopped pacing and looked around the classroom.

Ginny too looked around the classroom with confidence. She chuckled to herself as all her classmates looked as though they were panicking on the inside.

“Wonderful,” Professor Henry stated with no emotion, “begin.”

Ginny looked down at the math packet and read the first question. She paused and her eyes widened. She had no idea what the question was asking her to do. She lifted her head and gazed around the room. Every single one of her classmates had their pencils moving. They seemed to know what they were doing, or they had an idea of what they were supposed to bed doing.

Ginny shook her head and tried not to panic right away like the rest of her classmates. She skipped the first question and looked down at the second question on the paper. She swallowed a large lump in her throat upon realizing that she had no idea what that question was asking, either.

I have an idea, she thought to herself.

Ginny flipped to the back of the packet and looked at the last question. Professor Henry tended to make each question harder as the tests went on. Maybe if she started with the hardest one and made her way to the easy questions, the information would come back to her and she would be able to do each question without a problem.

However, she had no idea what the last question was asking of her, either.

Ginny leaned back in her chair and glanced up at the clock. Five minutes have all ready passed by. She all ready wasted five minutes and she didn’t even start one question, yet. She didn’t even pick a question to start working on. She looked around the room once more and noticed that everyone was still scribbling away in their own packets. Some seemed to be on the same question and others seemed to have moved onto the next one.

Ginny sighed and looked back at the very first question once more. She put her pencil on the paper and took a deep breath.

Here goes nothing.

Short Story Sunday #55

SSS Glass

            The sound of breaking glass stopped her. She ran into the living room to see what had happened. There she saw her young daughter and their new puppy standing over a broken lamp. The dog and her daughter looked at each other with worried expressions as though they were both wondering how they were going to get out of that one.

“And just what do the two of you think you’re doing?” Anna placed both hands on her hips. She was glaring at her daughter.

“Uh…” her daughter smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The dog laid down at her feet and acted as though he was unfazed by the situation.

“Julie, you and Spot and need to get out of the living room right now,” Anna pointed to the stairs. “Go up to your bedroom and don’t come out until I go up there and talk to you. Watch your step; you’re not wearing any socks. The last thing we need right now is for your or Spot to step on a piece of glass.”

Julie bent down and grabbed Spot’s collar. She pulled him to his feet and motioned for him to follow her. He obeyed and together they walked up the stairs and disappeared out of the room. Anna stood her ground for a few moments and once she heard Julie’s bedroom door close, she then left to grab the vacuum cleaner.

Anna vacuumed up all the glass shards and threw away the big pieces. She looked at the coffee table and shook her head. That was the only lamp in the room. Now she was going to have to buy a new one if anyone wanted to hang out in the living room after dark.

She walked up the stairs and knocked on Julie’s bedroom door. Without waiting for a reply, she opened the door a crack and saw both Julie and Spot lying down on her bed.

“Okay, are you two ready to tell me what happened now?” Anna asked.

Julie sat up in her bed and Spot followed her lead.

“Well, Spot and I were trying to see who could run the fastest. I accidentally tripped over the coffee table and the lamp fell.” Julie explained sheepishly.

“You were trying to see who could run the fastest… in the living room? Where there’s furniture all over the place?” Anna deadpanned.

Julie nodded her head slowly.

Anna sighed, “Julie, do you think that sounds like a good idea? The broken lamp aside, do you think it makes sense to be running around a small area with a lot of objects in the way?”

Julie shook her head and Spot whined.

“I cleaned it all up for you. Please don’t let it happen again. Now we don’t have a lamp in the living room.” Anna explained.

“Sorry,” Julie stated softly.

“If you and Spot want to run around, please go outside next time. In fact, I think that’s a wonderful idea. You and Spot can go hang outside for a little bit. Go on,” Anna stepped aside so Julie and Spot could exit the room.

Julie looked as though she was going to protest at first, but she thought better about it. She hopped off her bed, Spot following her lead, and together the two of them walked out the front door.

Anna looked out the window and smiled when she saw Julie laughing and running around with the dog chasing her.

She walked back into the kitchen and resuming her cooking dinner with a smile on her face. It was quiet all of the sudden so it was nice to have that moment as she cooked. She should have forced Julie and Spot to go outside more often.

Anna turned around to bring something to sink when her elbow collided with her glass mixing bowl. That and all the ingredients inside it fell to the floor, shattering the mixing bowl. Anna’s shoulders slumped down in annoyance. She stopped what she was doing and grabbed the dust pan and broom.

Now only did she have glass all over the tiled floor, but now their dinner was all over the floor as well.

Camp NaNo: The End

Stats

It’s the last day of Camp NaNo. For some–depending on where you live–it’s already over. Did you hit your word goal and validate it? Did you go above and beyond? Did you finish your novel and are you satisfied with it?

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m going to take a break from my NaNo project. I thought the story was ready to be told, but I guess I got ahead of myself.

With that being said, I’ll be focusing on a few other projects that I’ll explain in another post.

Even though my novel didn’t go over as well as I thought it would, the main goal was to get the idea down on paper. I hit my 50k word goal.

My cabin, filled with 12 people total, had an overall goal of 600k.

Cabin Stats

As you can see, we rocked it!

For one person to hit 600k in 30 days, they would have to write 20k a day. Can you imagine? I’ve written 10k in a day before, but I think 20k is a bit much; especially if you have to do it for 30 days straight. It would certainly be an interesting challenge.

One of these days I would love to have my word count goal be 100k. I think that’s much more doable.

I hope you all had a wonderful April and you all won your Camp NaNo challenge!

Short Story Sunday #54

OFFICE

            Everyone in the office turned and stared. Of course, he didn’t really understand why. Sure, he was a bit late for work and sure, he was still wearing his pajama bottoms, but was that such a bad thing? He was going to be sitting at a desk all day. Clients would only be able to see his shirt, which was a clean work shirt.

A few of the girls at the office were snickering as he walked by. A few of the men were shaking their head in disgust. However, some men were shaking their head as though they felt sorry for him.

He was carrying a small box tucked underneath his arm. It was all that he could grab at the moment and he was so upset that he didn’t want to leave it in the car. He wanted it to stay right next to him at his desk.

“Charlie, what happened?”

Charlie sat down at his desk and immediately his work friend was peeking over his cubicle shaking his head and staring down at Charlie as though he was in trouble.

“I really screwed up this time, Fred.” Charlie sighed. He gazed into the box that had a few of his belongings. “This was all I could grab this morning before she really lost her temper with me. I have to go home after work and grab the rest of my things… if she doesn’t throw them out for me or something…”

“You know, I feel bad for you, but I’m angry at myself for feeling bad for you.” Fred shook his head in disgust at himself. He ducked away and walked around coming inside Charlie’s cubicle.

“What did I tell you about having a mistress? If you don’t love your wife anymore, then you should have come clean and told her. You shouldn’t have been snooping around her back. You and Marcy are my best friends. I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now.” Fred scolded him.

“It’s not that I don’t love Marcy anymore. I do love her. I really do.” Charlie looked Fred in the eyes. “It’s just that I met Linda and… we sort of clicked. I don’t really know how that sort of thing happens. We just met a couple of times as friends and then it eventually escalated. I didn’t mean for it to get out of control.”

“If you were just friends in the beginning, then why didn’t you tell Marcy where you were going for lunch every Friday?” Fred glared at him.

“Huh?”

“Marcy called me to talk and ask if I say anything at our weekly lunch dates. I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I told her that you and I never have lunch together on Fridays because you,” Fred pointed to Charlie, “told me that you always went home to have lunch with your wife!”

Charlie buried his face in his hands.

“If you’re going to use me in a lie, at least tell me about it. I hate lying to Marcy, but that was a stupid move on your part.” Fred stated.

“You know, I’m not the only victim here.” Charlie growled.

“Really? Because where I stand, your wife was the one who was cheated on. Not you.” Fred retorted.

“No, I was cheated on too!” Charlie growled standing up. “Linda’s married. I can’t believe she would do such a thing!”

“I cannot believe what you just said…” Fred’s jaw dropped. “So it’s okay for you to cheat on your wife with another woman, but it’s not okay for someone else to cheat on their significant other with someone else? That’s basically what you’re saying.”

“No, I just mean…”

“No, you’re pissed at Linda because she chose you as the ‘other man’ when you were using Linda as the ‘other woman’. I can’t believe you!” Fred’s voice escalated.

A large man stormed down the hallway and turned into Charlie’s cubicle. He was glaring at Fred and Charlie.

“What is going on here?” he growled. “I can hear Fred all the way down at my office. Charlie, why are you not dressed? Why were you late today?”

Fred took a step back not wanting to get into a tiff with his boss.

“Sorry, Charlie and I were just sorting something out. I’ll get back to work.” He stated and walked away.

Charlie turned on his computer and didn’t say a word to his boss. He just pretended that he was wearing h full work suit and that he had all ready been at work for the past two hours like he was supposed to be.

“Charlie, what happened?” his boss asked.

“My wife kicked me out of the house. That’s why I was late because I was trying to get back into my own home. That’s why I’m not fully dressed because she kicked me out before I was able to finish getting dressed.” Charlie explained.

His boss stared at him as though he knew exactly why Charlie had gotten kicked out of his house.

“I heard your conversation with Fred from my office. I know what happened.” He said quietly.

“Yeah, well I’m not really in the mood for any sympathy at the moment. I’ll just get back to work.” Charlie said arrogantly.

“Sympathy?” his boss glared at him. “I don’t give sympathy to anyone who cheats on their wife; especially when they cheat on their wife with my wife!”

Charlie stopped typing on the computer and looked up spacing out with wide eyes.

Oops.

Short Story Sunday #53

KNOW-IT-ALL

            He just wouldn’t shut up. Everyone in the class was getting super annoyed with him. The professor was even getting frustrated with him as well. No matter what anyone said or did, this kid had something to say. He always had to have the last word.

He was older than myself and the rest of the kids in my class. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but he had to at least be in his 40s or 50s. I didn’t understand why he was back in school; or still in school. Of course, he was coming back to school to learn something new or to prepare for a new career, than more power to him. However, in order to learn in class you need to keep your mouth shut and listen to what the professor was saying.

Every time the professor began a lecture, he would raise his hand and interrupt without waiting for her to call on him. It always related to what we were learning in class, but he always had something to say. Whether it was a statement or a question, he had to let everyone know that he knew exactly what was going on and that he was… well, smarter than everyone else.

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be a know-it-all or if that was just his personality. However, he was giving the professor and the rest of my classmates the wrong impression. Every time his hand rose into the air, everyone rolled their eyes. Every time he opened his mouth and began to speak, people groaned.

Most of the time he was asking questions as though he was trying to challenge the professor. It was almost as if he didn’t believe anything she was saying to us about the subject matter and he was trying to prove her wrong. I wasn’t sure if he knew what he was talking about or not, but he certainly acted as though he knew everything. The professor felt the same way, I think.

Whenever this man raised his hand and began to speak, she would glare at him. Professors are supposed to want their students to be engaged in a discussion about the subject matter and ask questions. However, that was just not the case for this guy. She knew that he was trying to be a know-it-all. She knew that he was trying to challenge her and question her knowledge about the subject matter.

I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to learn more about the subject matter and the only way he felt he could do that was to be difficult and challenge the professor or if he was just trying to be mean and rude. I wondered if he felt as though the professor didn’t know what she was talking about so he just kind of tried to take over the class.

The problem was, if he did say anything useful to myself and the other students, we would never know. Once we hear his voice, we just end up tuning him out until we hear the professor get back on track about what we were talking about before.

Some of the questions he ask are probably useful information that we need to know or we’ll need to know eventually. He might bring up some pretty good points that the professor needs to explain further and none of us know what those points are because we don’t pay any attention to when he speaks. He might even end up teaching the professor something and none of us would ever know.

The class is an hour long, so it’s tough because I end up having to listen to my classmate for about 45 minutes of the time while I only get to listen to my professor for about 15 minutes of the time. Since he talks so much and the professor speaks to little because of him, you wouldn’t think that we would be learning much in class. You would think that the entire class time is wasted by listening to the old man ramble on about everything that the professor was supposed to be teaching us. Sometimes I wondered if the professor and my classmate should switch spots for a day… he would teach and she would be one of the students. I wondered if that ever happened, how much would we learn? If we paid any attention to his monotone voice, that is. How much would the professor learn? Would we learn more from him or more from the professor herself? I wondered just how much this guy really knew. According to him, he seemed to know a lot.

I went home from class that night and began to study for the final exam that was going to happen in two days. It was a lot of material to study and I hoped that the professor was able to talk to us enough without being interrupted that she was actually able to teach us something. I flipped through all my notes from her lectures and from my textbook. I re-read the chapters in the textbook. There were many things from my notes and from my textbook that I couldn’t remember actually going over in class. I grunted to myself because I figured that was probably because I had to keep tuning out my classmate because he was probably busy distracting the professor from explaining more as he wasted all our time.

It was a lot of study and it was a tough exam, but I managed to get through it. In two days, I went into class and took the final feeling a little confident, but also feeling a little nervous that I didn’t know enough. The test was easy enough as it was only 100 multiple choice questions. Multiple choice is easy because you can easily narrow down your answer and also see the correct one; even if you don’t know what it is. Something, though, by seeing the right answer it comes back to you.

I passed, but barely. The rest of the class barely passed as well. Mr. Know-It-All had a perfect score.

Short Story Sunday #51

TIME TRAVELER

            I didn’t think it would work. So, when I stepped through the portal and I realized that I was in an unfamiliar place, I was beyond astonished. I was amazed that the portal had succeeded. I was in awe at the place I ended up in. I was confused on how I was going to get back and what I was supposed to do from there. I didn’t know where I was or where I was supposed to go. I turned around to look behind me and the portal was gone.

He never told me how I was supposed to come back. Maybe he wasn’t very confident that it would work, either.

There wasn’t anyone around. However, if the portal worked as well as it I thought it did, then that meant I was well into the future. For all I knew, people didn’t exist anymore. I shivered. What a scary thought; being in the future when I was from the past and having no human life around me. I would be all alone in this unfamiliar place which looked nothing like my hometown anymore. What a difference 30 years made!

I noticed a red box sitting on the side of the side walk. It looked like one of those old-fashioned blue mailboxes, but it wasn’t a mailbox. I peered inside through the glass and saw a stack of newspapers. The date read November 22, 2044. Yes, I was certainly 30 years into the future. The portal had definitely worked.

I heard a loud bang coming from behind me. I jumped startled and hid behind the newspaper box. I didn’t know who was behind me, what the noise was, or how much trouble I was about to be in. Peering over the top of the newspapers, I saw a circle of blue electricity with white swirling around it. It whirred like a vacuum cleaner. I stood up taller and slowly inched my way towards it. It was the portal.

Should I go through it? Was this William trying to bring me back home? What if I stepped through it and it brought me someplace else? What if this was a completely different portal?

Before I could think any further, a man emerged out of the circle of light. It was William. The moment he came out of the portal, it disappeared.

I ran over to him with my arms stretched out wide. I wrapped my arms around his neck in a big hug and beamed at me.

“It worked, William! You’re portal worked!” I exclaimed.

“Yes it did,” William panted, “and I’m glad to see that you’re safe, Ariana.”

“Yes, I’m fine. Why did you follow me here?” I wondered.

“I wanted to make sure that it worked. I was afraid that if I accidentally brought you into some abyss dimension that you would be hurt or… dead. I came here looking for you.” William explained.

“If I was dead, then you would be dead too.” I glared at him. “What a stupid thing to do!”

“Well, we may as well be as good as dead.” William rubbed the back of his neck. He turned around and looked at the spot where the portal have been. “I have no idea how to get ourselves back. I don’t have my lab here so I don’t think there’s a way to get us back unless someone from the past is controlling the portal for us. We have no idea to get in touch with the past, though.”

I frowned looking down at the ground.

“We’ll figure something out, though.” William tried to reassure me.

“Let’s see if we can find your lab here. It might look different, but there might still be something there. We’re 30 years into the future, but you might still be living in the same place.” I suggested.

William shook his head, “If I am still living in the same place, we can’t just waltz up to my future self and explained what happened.”

“Why not? It’s the future; he might remember coming here and going back home.” I shrugged my shoulders.

“It’s not good for people who meddle with time, Ariana. We shouldn’t have done this in the first place.” William grumbled to himself. He was seriously regretting his invention now.

“It’s worth a shot. What plan do you have?” Ariana placed both hands on her hips glaring at him.

William finally nodded his head reluctantly agreeing.

Together, William and I wandered through the streets of our hometown. We were in awe at how much the place has changed. However, there were no cars or people around. It made us a bit nervous because we weren’t sure if we were the only people in town. If that was the case, where did everyone go and why?

As we continued walking down the road, we came across a cemetery. I glanced at a few of the headstones as we walked by. I wanted to see if I recognized any names. I knew my elderly neighbor wasn’t doing so well, so I assumed that he was most likely dead in 30 years. However, two names that I saw surprised me.

“William!” I shrieked.

William stopped like a deer in the headlights and looked at me nervously. “What? What is it?”

“Look,” I pointed to two headstones.

One was my grave and the one next to it was William’s grave.

William’s jaw dropped when he saw it. He was 25-years-old and I was 23-years old. Now that we were 30 years into the future, his future self should have been 55-years-old and my future self should have been 53-years-old. According to our graves, we had both died 10 years ago.

“I died at the age of 45 and you died at the age of 43… we were so young. What happened to us?” William looked at me.

“Look,” I pointed again, “we both died on the same day.”

William scratched the top of his head. “I guess we won’t be finding me at my lab….”

Camp NaNo: Week One

Ready…

Set…

GO!

Today marks day one of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo 2015. Not only is it day one for the entire session, but it is also day one of week one.

Week one, just like all the other weeks, is important. It’s the beginning–the beginning the month, the session, and your story, and your journey through writing that story as well as your journey for getting through camp.

Week one is all about finding a routine, a schedule for your writing. For the next 30 days you will need to write at least 1,667 words a day (note: words per day varies depending on your word count goal). In order to make sure you can meet your daily word count, it’s helpful to find a good balance between writing and life.

Maybe there’s a certain time a day that you usually have free. Maybe that time of day is the when your best writing happens. Maybe you write better if you write a certain amount of words, take a break, then write again.

Whatever it is, week one is the time to find that routine so you can do the best you can with your writing and meet your goal by the 30-day deadline.

By the end of week one, if you have the standard 50,000-word goal, you should have about 11, 669 words written.

Good luck, everyone. We’re all going to need it.

Short Story Sunday #50

LAVENDER

The scent of lavender was overpowering. I wanted to sneeze, but I couldn’t. I had to try to hold it in as long as I possibly could. It wouldn’t look good if I sneezed all over the girl of my dreams on our first date; especially since our faces were so close to each other.

She leaned back in her chair and stared at me with her big, blue eyes. She looked as though she was expecting me to say something or to do something, but I wasn’t sure what. I sat down on the other end of the table and smiled at her. She smiled back, but seemed confuse. What did she expect of me?

“Are you ready to order?” the waitress asked immediately stopping by our table.

“Yes,” I answered and gave my order.

The waitress looked at my date expectantly.

“Uh, no… I’m not ready, sorry.” She stammered and ducked her head into the menu.

Oops. I got ahead of myself there.

“I’ll put his order in and come back.” The waitress stated.

“Wait to put my order in please!” I shouted to her, but I didn’t think she heard me.

Emily scanned the menu. Her eyes darting from one side of the menu to the next. I couldn’t tell if she was actually reading it or if she was just nervous and was giving herself something to do.

“Sorry about that.” I cleared my throat.

“That’s fine,” she didn’t bother to look up at me.

Great. I screwed it up all because I was hungry… at dinner.

“You should get the salad.” I blurted.

She slowly peeked over the top of her menu and lifted an eyebrow at me. “Excuse me?”

“It’s really good.” I shrugged. “Salads are… good.” I turned my head the other way awkwardly.

“Are you trying to tell me something?” she put her menu down flat on the table and glared at me over the candle light.

“Uh…” I stared at her with wide eyes. Was she implying that I was implying that she’s fat? Is that how girls think? How did she get that when I told her that the salad is good?

“I just meant that they have really good salads here. You don’t have to get it if you don’t want to. I just thought it might be something tasty to start off with.” I explained as best as I could hoping that wouldn’t cause her to be even more angry with me.

“You could have offered me the steak like what you’re having.” She snapped.

“But then we can’t share our food and be romantic like in Lady and the Tramp.” I smirked trying to be smooth. Girls loved Disney movies, didn’t they? They loved romantic guys, didn’t they?

She looked at me with disgust and buried her face in her menu once more.

I groaned to myself. I clearly was not doing too well.

The waitress came over and placed my food in front of me.

“It’s here already?” I exclaimed.

The waitress didn’t answer and turned to my date.

“I’ll have the spaghetti.” She ordered.

“So you do like Disney.” I confirmed.

Emily stared at me as though she thought I was an alien.

“Never mind,” I took a bite out of my steak.

Emily stared at me with her mouth slightly gaped open. She furrowed her eyebrows at me into a glare, but I didn’t notice until I shoved the fifth piece of steak into my mouth.

“Oh…” I swallowed a mouthful of meat, “did you want me to wait until your food comes out?”

“No, by all means.” She said with no emotion.

“Okay,” I shrugged and continued eating. “I mean, it’s in front of me and who knows how long it’s going to take for your food to come out. I don’t want my food to get cold.”

She leaned back in her seat folding her arms across her chest. She turned the other way not looking at me. I sensed that she was feeling annoyed by something, but I didn’t understand what. She couldn’t expect me to wait for her food to come out… then mine wouldn’t taste good. She should have just gotten the salad like I recommended.

The moment I finished my steak was the moment the waitress brought out Emily’s food. She turned to me and took out her notepad and pen once more.

“Dessert?” she looked at me.

“Oh, no thanks. I’m stuffed. We’ll just have the check.” I smiled and she walked away.

I looked at Emily, who was glaring at me from across the table.

“Oh… you didn’t want dessert, did you? That looks like a lot of spaghetti. You might get too full.” I don’t know why I kept talking.

She glared at me harder.

Did she think that I just tried to call her fat again?

The waitress brought over the check.

I picked it up and put down the exact change plus a small tip. Then I leaned back in my chair and shrugged.

“Take your time. I’m in no hurry.” I stated.

Emily pushed her plate out of the way and wiped her mouth with her napkin. “I think I just lost my appetite.”

“Oh, okay.” I stood up not thinking anything of it. “Are you ready for the movies?”

“Actually, I think I just want to go home. I’m not feeling all that well.” Emily stated.

Well, that was pretty convenient for her.

“Okay, I’ll drive you home and see if my friend wants your ticket.” I whipped out my cell phone and then immediately put it away before doing anything. I noticed her staring at me and if looks could kill, then I knew I would be dead at that very moment.

I smirked at her and then lead the way out of the restaurant. It was a long drive home. What in the world was wrong with me tonight?

Short Story Sunday #49

WHERE

“And where did you come from?” an old man bent down so that he was eye-level with her. She looked up at him with wide eyes and shrugged her shoulders in response. She didn’t dare to speak a word.

The old man stood up straight once again and scratched the top of his head. He looked all around, but there wasn’t anyone in sight. He smiled at the little girl again.

“Is your mommy around?” he wondered.

She shook her head.

He frowned.

“Where is she?” he prompted.

She shrugged her shoulders again.

The old man twisted his neck to look over his shoulders and saw someone round the corner on the other end of the street. He squinted his eyes hoping to see that it was a female; maybe looking for her lost child. He frowned once more when he realized who it was. It was no stranger and it was no female. It was his son.

“Dad, I’ve been looking all over for you. You know that you shouldn’t be wandering around the streets alone like this.” His son let out a sigh of relief as soon as he reached the old man.

“Look,” the old man pointed to the little girl, “I found her, but I don’t know where her mother is.”

“Who is her mother?”

“I don’t know that, either.”

The son squatted down on the sidewalk and smiled at the little girl.

“Are you lost?” he asked.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“It seems to me that she is not the one who is lost. Her mother sounds as though she is the one who is lost.” The old man observed. He turned around and started looking up and down the streets with the simple gaze of his eyes.

“Well, we can’t just leave her here.” The son stood up and whispered to his father. “But we can’t really take her, either… that would be kidnapping.”

“It’s not kidnapping if you’re trying to help her find her mother.” The old man retorted.

“What if the mother just ran into the store real quick and told her daughter to wait out here? We’ll take the kid, the mother will come out, and she’ll be panicked because she won’t be able to find her child.” The son explained.

“She should have thought of that before leaving her child in the first place. What if we were actual kidnappers? We wouldn’t be giving this little girl a second thought. We would just take her by the hand and go.” The old man pretended to strut away trying to prove his point.

His son let out a deep breath. He supposed that h and his father could bring the little girl to the police station. It was only a five minute walk from where they stood. He looked down to where the little girl was standing and then tapped his father on the arm.

“Where did she go?”

“You lost her?” the old man came out of his fantasy and looked at the empty spot on the sidewalk.

“What do you mean I lost her?” the son grumbled.

“Well, she couldn’t have gone too far.” The old man scanned the area once more.

“Dad, I feel awful for saying this, but she’s not our problem. Maybe she just left to go back home. Maybe she was wandering around taking a walk like she wasn’t supposed to… like you.” The son explained.

The old man twisted his neck this way and that trying to see if he could spot the little girl once more. He finally let out a sigh.

“I suppose you’re right. Maybe she had just left to go home. Maybe she lives right around the corner.”

“Yes, very good.” The son began to walk in one direction while the old man walked in the opposite direction.

“Let’s check it out just to be on the safe side!” he announced.

“Dad!” his son scolded him.

However, his father was already halfway to the corner and his son had no choice but to follow him.

Together, they rounded the corner and there happened to be the little girl. She was sitting on the front steps of an apartment complex. She looked bored. She looked as though she was waiting for someone. Or something.

“See? She’s fine. That must be where she lives.” The son whispered to his father.

“Hello,” the old man ignored his son and waltzed right up to the little girl once more, “do you live here?”

“Dad, you can’t just go around asking little girls questions like that! You’re going to sound like a creep.” His son scowled.

The little girl nodded.

“Is your mother up there?” the old man pressed on.

The young girl nodded once more.

The old man turned to his son and smiled. “That’s all I wanted to know. Now we can go home.”

The son and his father walked all the way back to their house. When they got there, the newspaper was sitting on their front steps. The old man picked it up and gasped.

“It’s the little girl we just saw on the front cover.”

“What?” the son deadpanned in shock.

“Yesterday afternoon a call was placed to the police due to an odor coming from her apartment. The single mother had died a few days ago and her daughter was still living there.” The old man read aloud.

“That’s awful…” the son sighed.

“The daughter is too young to realize what happened to her mother. Now at an orphanage, she tends to sit on the front steps of her apartment thinking that her mother is still up there.” The old man folded the newspaper and tossed it to the side.

“Well, someone has to explain it to her.” The old man grumbled.

“It’s not your place, Dad.” The son warned.

“I didn’t say that it was. I just feel awful. Could you ever imagine… actually, I do not even want to think about it anymore.” The old man entered the house and sat down in his armchair in the living room like he did most days.

He never rounded that corner again as he was afraid to see the scene again.