Enough Doors: A Short Story by Nina Friis

Graham knew when he found the house. He knew. He just knew.

Actually, he’d found some sort of house. Some sort of dwelling.

It was a tiny, brick building built into the hillside. He’d practically run into it after struggling out of the ravine.

It was empty. Of inhabitants, anyway. There was a table and stool, some ratty shirts hanging in the open closet, odds and ends and cobwebs everywhere else. He couldn’t see much through the rain-stained, dusty window.

He tried the door. It wasn’t much of a door. It was thick plywood with a lock. No lintel. And no budging it.

There was a garage door. Strange, he thought. That wouldn’t budge either.

He could break it down; he could break it all down. It was a pile of rubbish.

He looked through the window again. This time, he saw one of the shirts rustling in the closet. There must be a breeze coming through the other side.

Graham squinted as he remembered there was no other side. He worried his bottom lip and pushed back from the window. Narrowly missing the railroad tie behind him, he walked up the grass by the side of the house.

He couldn’t quite tell, but nestled among the trees, there appeared to be a large, dark metal shed.

Another locked door and another locked garage door. No windows to peer through this time.

Beside the shed was a gravel road lined with trees. Perhaps he’d found the driveway.

The gravel road led directly to another shed. White. Wooden. The door wedged closed with a log.

The log was easy enough to twist and roll off of the door. It slipped against the worn timber and clunked to the ground.

Graham instinctually looked around, but knew he wouldn’t have roused anyone in the vicinity. There was no one in the vicinity.

He fed his fingers through the opening of the door and pulled it open. After only a few inches, it got caught up on some rocks, the rocks acting like a foyer runner, hindering the door’s ability.

Kicking the rocks away, he was able to incrementally shove the door further and further open.

He coughed on the God-knows-how-many-year’s-worth-of dust and waved his hand in front of his face.

Until now, he’d made his way by what little sight he had and by feel. Now, inside this shed, he fished his mobile out of his pocket.

Graham flicked on the phone’s flashlight with his thumb. He swept the light back and forth slowly, waiting for a reflection of something, anything.

He raised the phone over his head to see into the rafters. Only planks of wood. A few belts, maybe for an old tractor.

He heard the door scrape across the rocks behind him. Fight or flight kicked in immediately, but as soon as he made to face either certain death or certain arrest, the door had stopped moving and remained propped mostly open.

With his heart rate sped up, he decided the shed wasn’t haunted, nor was it worth a heart attack. He gingerly pressed his fingertips to the door, expecting some sort of resistance. It required little at all, in fact, as he exited the old shed.

He looked down at the rocks and noticed that they seemed less rucked up like a rug and more smoothed away. Well, he did that, right? When he had to get the door open in the first place. Yeah. That’s right.

Graham took a deep breath and looked up at the giant Christmas trees that met him. His mobile flashlight was still in use, so he shined it at the tall pines.

It looked like a balcony had been built out of the top of one of them. Clearly not right.

That’s when there was a glint off of some glass.

Lots of glass.

Holy shit, there’s an actual house on this property.

He walked around to the wooden deck behind the trees. It was attached to a two-story house.

He couldn’t see a door, so he walked to his right, following the edge of the concrete foundation.

In the darkness, he could make out the length of an exterior wall that met another wall perpendicularly.

A few steps further revealed another jut of a wing and another deck. The house seemed to wrap around him as he got closer.

Graham turned off his flashlight and followed the line of the house, nearly running straight into an air conditioning unit and then even more nearly off of a retaining wall.

Below the retaining wall was a landing and a door. It was a double-wide door with no window.

This couldn’t be a house. Maybe a business. But the sheds… no, this had to be a house.

Past the door, he came up against the other wing of the house and felt his way along until he reached a corner.

He was under the other deck now, and on yet another landing, there was yet another door. This door was mostly glass, but had the blinds drawn tight.

He dumbly tried the handle. Locked, of course.

To his right, he followed the concrete landing with his eyes and made out the ridge of a step. He peered around the corner to find a winding trail of concrete stairs and an overgrown sidewalk.

He got out his flashlight again and trained it on his path.

It was a low-grade staircase, but fighting the long-dead hostas was treacherous, even with light.

About halfway up, the concrete disappeared altogether. It was completely littered with fallen branches and twigs.

Graham crouched to hold his phone closer to the ground. He walked with flat feet over the limbs, correcting here and there to maintain balance.

Finally out of the thicket, he began to straighten back up. He stretched his back and rolled his shoulders. How long had he been hunched over?

He twisted round and shone the flashlight down the path, seeing only a few steps and then the corner of the house.

It couldn’t be. It looked only about ten meters away.

“Bullshit,” he said aloud to no one, and looked down at the ground in preparation to head back. He had to check again, this time without being so careful.

He was about to take his first step toward verification when he felt a whoosh in front of his face.

He jumped back just as the branch hit the ground loudly.

He looked up, like there was someone up there to yell at about it.

Not wanting to test his luck, he turned around and continued up the path.

Rounding the corner, he ducked beneath the low branches of rotten fruit tree.

River rocks skittered across the sidewalk as he stepped free. He moved his phone to light his surroundings. He seemed to be standing in a yard now. A front yard. Yes, there was an actual driveway past a tree.

This was definitely a house.

Graham followed the rest of the sidewalk that ran in front of it.

It passed a bank of two windows jutting from the siding. Must be a windowseat.

The sidewalk curved around some overgrown landscaping and ended with two names written by finger in the wet cement, long-since dried.

Just past the names was a step to a porch.

Shining his light up at the front door, he noticed an official-looking piece of paper affixed behind the glass.

He stepped up onto the porch and reached for the door handle. Locked, naturally.

He held the light up above the paper and read: VACANT. PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO TRESPASSING. LAST INSPECTION: 05/2012.

There was a list of previous inspection dates, like the ones you find in restaurant bathrooms.

It either hadn’t been inspected in over two years, or the inspectors have neglected to mark the sheet.

He expected the former.

Graham looked behind him at the driveway. It was a long driveway. Leading up to a bend in the road: a road that looked as abandoned as the house.

He walked the length of the porch and came to another bank of windows. Another windowseat.

He cupped his hands around his eyes and leant up to the glass.

There was hardly any visibility, of course. And nothing to see, anyway. Some bits of packing materials strewn about on the dark carpet, light tile in the entryway, French doors leading to another room.

He straightened up. There was a step down to the garage door.

He saw a keypad on the door frame. He punched a few buttons and hit the pound key. It beeped at him, but nothing else happened. He knew nothing would.

He turned around and looked at the flat expanse of the driveway before him. An almost-burnt-out streetlight hummed near the end. A lot of help that was providing.

He looked to his left and saw what looked like yet another sidewalk leading around the house.

Graham kept his flashlight in front of him as he went around the corner. He swept the light around and found, “Jesus Christ,” another shed.

He kept walking, ignoring the millionth shed, until he had to round another corner to, “fucking hell,” another deck.

Shaking his head, he took the first step up. The unused wood groaned under his foot.

He paused, one foot on the step and the other just with the toe of his shoe grazing the ground. Slowly, he straightened his leg and brought his other foot to the next step.

Testing it with two heavy presses, he determined that it was sound and hopped quickly up the next two to the top.

He let out a sigh of relief and found a sliding glass door ahead of him. He checked it.

Locked.

He tried to get a good look through it, but there were thick blinds blocking his view.

He stepped back and walked to the end of the deck. There was a built-in bench that went all the way around. He knelt on it and looked out into the darkness.

He could see the large, metal shed he passed earlier. He thought about it; it seemed like ages ago.

He stood up and sighed. Maybe there’s something interesting in the new shed.

As he turned around, he moved his light to relocate the stairs. As the light passed the glass door, he spotted movement: the blinds were swaying gently.

Graham stared at the blinds moving on their own. Or what must be on their own, because, well, the house is vacant. Or should be.

He stayed frozen there on the deck, light fixed on the blinds, wondering again if he was facing certain death or certain arrest. Or certain insanity.

Finally, he decided that he should probably run. Just in case.

He kept his eyes on the blinds until he shifted the flashlight back toward the stairs for a quick getaway.

This is when he found yet. another. door.

He gaped at it. Just how many goddamn doors and decks and sheds does this property have.

He told himself that everything is locked. It doesn’t matter. He just needs to go. He’s been lucky so far and his luck won’t last forever. He should go.

After he tries this last door.

Graham decided not to take a last glance over at the blinds and just head straight for the door.

Which opened for him.

He stumbled into a pressing darkness. He saw the tiniest sliver of light ahead of him. He was in the garage.

He searched with his phone and found nothing but empty shelves.

And, expectedly, another door.

This one had to be open. Suddenly, his faith was in success and not failure.

He reached out and grasped the handle. He shone his light at the door and a compact, white box caught his eye.

It was a burglar alarm.

Shit.

There was a little, green light that said, READY.

He lit the box directly and saw that there was a light over the word ARMED that was not glowing.

He worried his top lip, for variety’s sake. If the alarm is hooked up, he can just run right back out the door and back into the woods.

If it’s not, well.

Graham took a deep breath and twisted the doorknob.

It went willingly with his hand.

He hesitated before pushing it open.

Moment of truth.

He let out the held breath and took in another.

He gathered potential energy in his arm and mentally counted to three.

On three, he shoved the door open and jumped back off the step.

There was a momentary panic as he heard a loud, rapid beep-beep-beep-beep-beep.

And then it was silent.

Five beeps. That couldn’t have been the alarm.

He waited a full minute, straining his ears to hear God-knows-what.

And heard nothing.

He realized he’d been breathing incredibly shallowly and took a few relieving gulps of air.

He rolled his eyes at himself and stepped back to the door to the house.

He crossed the threshold and then froze.

It was pitch black.

7 Feb – 16 Feb

I’m seriously resisting February. It was such a shitty, annoying month. These prompts are no different.

February 7th – Right to health:
Is access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?
I am honestly ignorant in this topic, like most, and as a result, I can’t really answer. People should have medical care when they need it. I think that sums it up. Are there drawbacks to people getting the healthcare they need? Mmm. Now I’m being purposefully mocking. Of course there are drawbacks, as there are to anything. I’m moving on because it’s 530am and I can’t focus on this.

February 8th – Karma chameleon:
Reincarnation: Do you believe in it?
No.

February 9th – Childhood revisited:
Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
I’m so distracted by the awkward grammar, I … Okay. Yes, I did turn out pretty well. I hate to sound like a spoiled brat, because I’m not – there are plenty of shitty things that I’d not enjoy going through again – however, every single thing that happened in my childhood has helped shape me into the person I am today. The good things, the bad things, the frustrating things, the lovely things. Everything came together like puzzle pieces and although the picture isn’t finished, all the straight edges and corners are in place. 
Oh I see now, the second part of the question wants to know if I have kids now. Well, I don’t, but I could say there are things I will try my hardest to do differently for them because of things I went through or didn’t go through. There are things I want my kids to experience that I wasn’t able to experience and there are things I’ll try to keep them from going through. One thing I always give my parents shit for is letting up on Conor’s phone curfew when they let up on mine, although he’s four years younger. Ya know, stuff like that 😉

February 10th – Teachable moment:
You have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?
Any time I’ve had to learn something new for work, and probably in general and I’ve just never noticed, I’ve always wanted to have a mix of learning techniques going on. For example, when I started my receptionist job a hundred years ago, I sat with my trainer as she told me about everything she has to do in the course of a shift, she’d point out the different buttons and what they did, in what order she had to push the buttons to page someone or transfer a call, etc; I’d write everything down so that I wouldn’t have to ask again; then I’d sit and watch her do everything for a few hours. After all of that, I’d feel comfortable jumping in. I did the same thing when I started as an escrow officer. At least as a receptionist, I’d seen a telephone before. But ask me where to put the HOA on the HUD and how much to charge for the DOT and I’ll be able to answer you correctly.
If it’s like, putting together a desk or table and chairs from Nebraska Furniture Mart, just give me the directions and walk away.

February 11th – Whoa!:
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?
Oh, yes. Finally, I have an answer on the tip of my tongue for one of these. Sigh. Most surreal experience – may or may not be the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, but it’s sure as hell dreamlike – was meeting Martin Freeman. Well, not so much ‘meeting,’ since it’s not like we shook hands and introduced ourselves, but meeting nonetheless. 
In London, on North Gower, watching Sherlock being filmed. Already surreal, seeing a couple of my heroes in person and watching them create bits of a television show that has taken over my life. They took a break in filming and were setting up a different camera angle, so they had to have some of us fans shift around. My friends went off to the left and I went off to the right. I went across the side street to a smaller fan area and I think at that moment, I saw Mr Cumberbatch going over to the other side of the street. ‘Fuck,’ I thought. There was no way I was getting back over there. I looked up then and saw Mr Freeman coming over to my side of the street. I was behind a multitude of people, probably about four or five back from the barrier so I thought, again, ‘fuck,’ I’ll never get through. (And I’m not the pushing through the crowd type unless I’m at a concert). As I was giving up, I noticed him going further down my side of the street. The people were thinning out toward that end. Fuck it. It’s now or never. I hope to God I didn’t trot, but I made it quickly to where he was and he was talking to some woman in front of me. She was telling him what a huge fan her daughter was and how hard it can be to be a parent sometimes, or something like that, and Martin listened so intently and held her hand the whole way through her story. As soon as it was wrapping up, I stepped forward with my phone ready on camera-mode and shakily asked, “Martin, could I have a photo please?” (In retrospect, I wish I wouldn’t have been such a clot and called him Mr Freeman instead, ffs). But anyway, he just looked up and smiled and said, “sure, sure!” I kind of scooted next to the barrier that separated us, and held my phone out so that I could line up the shot. I’m fucking shocked that it wasn’t a blurry mess because when I said ‘shakily,’ I meant like, beginning stages of Parkinson’s. So yeah. I said thank you, or at least I hope I did, I don’t know, I was stunned, and he went back to filming. 
Even now, I can’t believe it. I think I texted about ten people and told them what happened. At that point, I’d already met Benedict and I think I’d met Andrew Scott? Either way, Conor was like, “how the fuck does this keep happening?” Oh, um, yeah, those were two other surreal experiences. 

February 12th – All about you:
Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.
Aw yiss. So my blog’s title is ‘Consumed with that which it is nourish’d by’ and it’s from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. Easy, really: I’m consumed with writing/journaling and I’m nourished by it. I always say that it keeps me sane and I’m not exaggerating in the least. Even earlier tonight, I felt like writing, so I picked up my journal and wrote about four pages of bosh. But it doesn’t matter that it was bosh, because I instantly had clear vision. Sometimes shit gets a bit cloudy, like all of a sudden life is shot through a diffuser. It’s not always a romantic look that the diffuser provides. Usually I’m fairly good at recognizing when that film slips in place and I can wipe it all away with the stroke of a pen. Hot damn.
Got off track. Maybe not really. But yes, that’s what journaling means to me, that’s what my blog title means to me. 

February 13th – Shoulda, woulda, coulda:
Tell us about something you know you should do… but don’t.
You mean besides working out?

February 14th – Cupid’s arrow:
It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!
Oh Christ.
I think if the answer doesn’t automatically come to me…

February 15th – Proud:
When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?
Probably super recently. My parents are always proud of me for some reason or another lol That’s not to say that it has lost its meaning – I am very blessed to have parents that take pride in me and I’m equally as proud to call them my parents. 

February 16th – The clock:
Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”
This is just screaming for fanfiction. Or maybe I’m screaming for fanfiction. I scream, you scream.
-> She was in her hometown tonight. She’d gone downtown for a drink at her favorite bar. She went alone because she didn’t mind being alone, really. In fact, she usually preferred it.
Unfortunately, tonight there were a few men who kept coming over to talk to her. Theirs was attention she didn’t want. “Look, guys, I’m flattered, but no thanks,” she said, trying to get them away from her as politely as possible.
One of the men didn’t very much like being denied and as he leant in to put his arm around her, her stool tipped to the side. She found herself shoulder to shoulder with the man next to her. She hadn’t paid any attention to anyone all night because she just wanted a goddamn drink in peace.
The man startled and looked down at her. Instantly, they recognized each other. In his lovely English accent, he said, “hello, darling.”
“Thomas, hi,” she answered, strained at the effort of holding herself up against him.
“What, you know this fucking guy?” One of the drunk men asked.
“In fact, she does, gentlemen; so why don’t you bugger off and leave us, eh?” Thomas said to the man.
She cringed. These didn’t look like the type of men to simply ‘bugger off’ when asked. In fact, they weren’t at all.
“What the fuck did you say?”
And that’s when the fight broke out. One of the drunk men raised his fist and wound up to hit Tom. Tom dodged the first one easily enough, but hadn’t seen the second drunk man’s fist coming from the right. His fist collided with Tom’s left cheekbone and he was thrown against the bar. She picked up her beer bottle and performed the biggest cliché she could think of: she broke it against the bartop.
She pointed it at the drunk man who’d swung first and then waved it at the man who’d actually made contact with James.
“When a lady says no, she fucking means no; so unless you guys want to spend the night in the ICU, why don’t you fuck off already?” she shouted.
The man closest to her started to laugh, so she stopped forward and brought the jagged bottle closer to his face. “By the way, I know the nurse on-call, so I can make sure you get the best care.”
The man put his hands up in surrender, seeing how serious she was. “Alright, alright, fuck.” They stumbled away.
She put the bottle on the bar and put up her hand to the bartender who was about to tell her to hit the road. “I know, I know.”
She looked at Thomas, who had been staring at her with his wide eyes, made even wider by her actions. “Blimey! Remind me not to fuck with you.”
“Goddamn right.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the exit. At the end of the bar, she spied a glass of ice, so she checked for the bartender and then took the glass.
Outside the bar, she held the glass of ice to Thomas’s cheekbone. “Here,” she said, “hold this.”
He exclaimed as the glass touched his face. “Jesus!”
“We should probably get moving in case those assholes decide to leave, or more likely, get themselves thrown out,” she offered.
“Right.” He answered as they started down the sidewalk.
“My car’s in the parking garage just a block over,” she said, digging in her purse for her keys. He answered again, “right.”
Once they found her car, he set the glass of melted ice on the barrier. “No,” she said, “take that. I’ll wash it.” He gave her a look as she got in the driver’s seat. “What? It’s a free glass,” she said with a wink.
Fortunately, it was still early in the evening, so maneuvering out of the parking garage was a breeze. Once she’d gotten them out and away from downtown, she asked him what hotel he was staying at.
“Um, the Marriott,” he answered quietly.
Not responding to his answer, she asked another question. “What are you doing here, anyway?” She cringed at her approach and immediately felt bad. He had taken a punch for her after all.
“I, um, well, I was here for an assignment. A project.” So he hadn’t scaled down after all. She wondered if that meant- “So yeah, as I’m sure you’re thinking, I’m divorced.” He looked down at the lighter line of skin on his left ring finger.
She let out a breath. Yikes. “I’m so sorry, Thomas. I didn’t- She didn’t-“
“No,” he said, “after you left me that night, I stood there staring out at nothing for ages. I felt like as soon as I moved from that spot, I’d have to make a decision. And I didn’t want to. I wanted to go after you, to be honest.”
She sucked in a breath at that. She remembered thinking she wished he would have. She kept preparing herself to be grabbed by the arm and spun around by him. It never happened and she never looked back.
“But I knew I couldn’t do that. I could have made things so much worse for myself by doing that, um, no offense- I mean, I hope you understand what I-“
“Of course,” she cut him off. “No, the last thing you should have done was come after me,” she admitted. Sealing her lips, she focused on the drive.
“I finally decided to just call her right there, so I didn’t have to move.” He made a sad sounding chuckle. “I tried to tell her that I could cut back on what I was doing and still be there for her and the boys, but she was so tired of it all by then… She had already made up her mind.” He sighed and rubbed at his eyes, flinching a bit, forgetting about his sore cheek.
She didn’t know what to say. It was just as well, as she pulled up to the entrance of the hotel.
“Well,” she started. As she was taking a breath to start again, he interrupted her.
“Stay with me.” It wasn’t a question. Not really a command.
Without a word, she put her car back in drive and pulled away toward the hotel’s parking lot.
She knew it would be only once. Just as it would have been before. This would never work as anything. But it would kill her to leave in the morning all the same.
She found a spot relatively close to the front door and grabbed her purse out of the back seat.
He met her behind her car and took her hand. She appreciated the gesture and smiled at him. She hoped he wouldn’t be able to read in her face what was really going on in her mind.
They made their way through the lobby to the bank of elevators. She was hoping his room was on a high floor so that she could look out over her city. It might help ground her.
He was. He motioned for her to exit the elevator first and then followed, grabbing her hand again in pursuit of his room. She was sick to her stomach when they reached his door. She almost hoped his key wouldn’t work so she could run.
It worked. She couldn’t deny that she wanted this, and he was divorced now, but it still felt entirely stupid. She’d do it anyway.
His room was fairly large. A nice room. A king-sized bed. The bed where, she couldn’t help but anticipate, a huge mistake was about to be made.
“I think I’ll, um,” she began, “I’m going to use the restroom.” With that, she stepped in and locked the door behind her.
Fuck. She thought. What the fuck am I doing? I always think I know what I’m doing and then I end up in these goddamn situations. She let out a breath. Her eyes caught her reflection in the mirror. She looked good, but she looked how she felt: conflicted. She listened for clues in the room. She didn’t hear anything. Surprised she didn’t hear a belt buckle or a boot dropping to the floor.
I mean, I don’t have to do this, she thought. It’s not like I’m obligated, and I’m sure he’s not the kind to force me into something. She squeezed her eyes shut and took another deep breath.
I’ll just tell him I can’t. I’m so glad I drove us here and not to my apartment.
She took one last deep breath and gripped the door handle. I can do this. I can tell him I can’t do this.
She opened the door slowly and listened again. She couldn’t hear anything. She practically tiptoed out of the restroom and around the corner. Then she saw him.
Passed out on top of the comforter, Thomas was fully clothed.
She had to stifle a laugh now. All of that for nothing. He must have been a bit more intoxicated than she noticed. Either that or he hid it well.
She went over to him and sat down beside him. She brushed his bangs off of his forehead. He stirred a little.
“Hey,” she whispered. He moaned a sleepy response.
She made to take off his boots. He tried to help by pushing his toes against the other foot’s heel, but his toes kept slipping off of the leathery boot.
“Stop it,” she giggled, “just let me fuckin’ do it.” He moaned another sleepy response.
Once she’d gotten his boots off, she put them at the end of the bed and decided against wrestling the comforter from underneath him. Luckily, there was a spare blanket in the closet. She covered him up to his chin and tucked the end of the blanket under his feet.
She stood and looked at him for a minute or two, secretly thankful for the decision she didn’t have to make. Again, he’d taken a blow for her. She bent over and brushed her lips against his forehead. He was completely out now.
Noticing the standard notepad and pen on the nightstand, she picked both up and went to the little desk by the television.
What do I even say? “Thomas,” she started. She froze for a moment before putting the pen down and quietly ripping the sheet from the pad. She tore it up and put it in the bin. She sighed.
She turned around to look at him. He had grabbed the blanket and pulled it tightly against him. He looked like such a child.
She stared at the notepad. She should thank him for defending her against that asshole at the bar. She should tell him again how sorry she is for his marriage falling apart. She should apologize for not being there in the morning.
“Talk soon,” she wrote.
She signed her name and put the pen down. She got up and went to the window overlooking downtown. She heard a car door slam and immediately looked at the clock. Jesus, she’d been standing there for twenty minutes. It was time to go.
“Goodnight,” she whispered. 

1 Feb – 6 Feb

Ugh. I’ve been putting off these daily blogs because the beginning of February prompts are obnoxious. I’m going to power through them now, rather than ignore them altogether, even though that would be best.

February 1st – Flangiprop!
Invent a definition for the word ‘flangiprop,’ then use the word in a post.
Sigh. Flangiprop sounds like a noun, but I’m going to make it a verb. It means to balance your hand on the fingertips of your first and middle finger and holding the other two fingers back with your thumb (ie: an upsidedown peace sign) and then do some sort of movement as if your fingers were someone’s legs. 
“Did you see Joann flangipropping the can-can throughout the entire meeting?”
“She’s such a bitch.”

February 2nd – Think global, act local:
‘Think global, act local.’ Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.
How about grammar and literacy? ‘Think globally, act locally’ maybe? And uh, no.

 February 3rd – Writing room:
A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?
In trying to come up with something spectacular, I realized all I’d want for reading is somewhere comfortable and well-lit. With a sturdy surface on which to put my tea or coffee or wine. Yeah, my wine. In fact, I should probably have a wine fridge, a tea kettle, and a Starbucks on site. I probably need the same time of set-up for writing. Definitely wine in that case. I’m super original.

February 4th – Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes:
You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?
Depends on the major change – am I chopping off all my hair? All at once. Am I trying to lose thirty pounds? Incrementally. Moving to a new place? All at once. 

February 5th – Call me, maybe:
Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your life-line, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?
As long as I’ve had a phone, so, for twelve years, it’s always been about staying connected. When I was younger, it was about being able to stay in touch with my parents when I was driving somewhere by myself; which quickly evolved into being able to text my friends all day and all of the night; today, it’s still about both of those things. But it’s also about being able to IMDb that goddamn actress whose name you can’t remember for the life of you; it’s about being able to sigh longingly whenever Richard Hammond tweets; it’s about being able to reblog the four-thousandth photo of Benedict Cumberbatch because there sure as hell ain’t enough of that on your Tumblr feed. So yeah, it’s a life-line. It is a line to life. It allows you to travel eightysevenhundred miles in one second.

February 6th – Choose your adventure:
Write a story or post with an open ending, and let your readers invent the conclusion.
You mean every post I’ve ever made? Also, I implore my readers to actually participate. I mean, I’d die for some responses. Please, do this, for me.
->“My God, I could do with another. How about you?” She stood with her empty glass.
“Um, sure!” He finished the rest of his and handed her his glass. “H-here, let me,” he started, as he fumbled for his wallet.
“Ah, ah, ah,” she scolded, “on me, remember?” He opened his mouth, prepared with another protest. She cut him off, “nope! Now, do you want another dark?”
She didn’t wait long for his answer, so he had to yell a “yes” as she was halfway to the bar already.
After a few more, the pub was closing. He was so much more relaxed (and fluid in speaking) with a few pints in him. She’d have to remember that.
He surprised her by putting his arm around her shoulders as they made their way to the steps leading to the street. She snaked her arm around his waist. This seemed to jar him into consciousness because he quickly removed his arm. “I- oh God, I’m so-“ His jerky movements caused his brain to miscommunicate with his feet and he ended up on his ass.
She should have bent to help him, but she was too busy being doubled over with laughter. Soon, she was on the ground beside him, trying to regain composure. He joined in and then pushed himself onto shaky legs. Once steady, he reached out a hand to help her up.
She took his hand and stood with his help. They each took a moment to let their laughter dissipate and had to look everywhere but at each other to keep from falling into fits again. Once they’d resumed normal breathing patterns, she took a step toward him and put her arm back around his waist. He froze for a second, and then raised his arm to put it back around her shoulders.
They made it up the stairs without incident, and hailed a cab.
The cabbie asked, “where to?” as they’d climbed into the back.
They looked at each other, they hadn’t decided what they’d do from this point on.

21 Jan to 31 Jan

Now that I’ve got the exciting stuff out of the way, I can continue on these daily prompts. I have a feeling I won’t be caught up til summer, but I’m gonna give it a go.

January 21st – Sweet sixteen:
When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is it a good thing?
I honestly don’t remember what I thought my life would look like when I was sixteen. I could go back and read through my journals to see what I actually thought, but I don’t remember really thinking too far into the future at that age. I’m sure I didn’t picture myself traveling so much or being jobless. Not that I can really complain.

January 22nd – I got skills:
If you could choose to be a master of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?
Oh my God. This is like asking favorites. There’s a shitload of shit I’d love to be a master of. A lot of the skills I wish I had mastered would be used as party tricks – have an amazing singing voice for karaoke, be able to play anything on piano to show off whenever there’s a piano around, be super flexible for dance or gymnastics for no reason. Any skill in the world… I’m really not sure. I’ve kind of always wanted to be an actor. Just because I love to tell stories and watch peoples’ reactions. Maybe a good one would be being able to make decisions when prompted.

January 23rd – Shipwrecked:
Read the story of Richard Parker and Tom Dudley. Is what Dudley did defensible? What would you have done?
Well, for the sake of summary. The story is that these four guys were forced to abandon ship mid-ocean and take off in this rickety lifeboat. After however many days with no food, they kind of discussed the fact that they’d probably have to kill one of the four in the boat so that they could survive. Parker, the 17 year old, apparently got sick and was likely going to die, as pointed out by another Dudley. The next day, Dudley and Stephens nodded to each other without consulting with Brooks, the other guy, and while Stephens held Parker down, Dudley killed him. They ate the kid and were later rescued. 
Is what Dudley did defensible? It’s obviously impossible to say what any of us would do in that situation unless we’ve been in the situation. The human instinct and drive to survive will likely overpower moral in a situation like that. The kid was already sick and likely about to die – once he died, his blood would not be healthy to eat (or so they believed). He was heading toward his natural death, and they sped up the process. They didn’t know when they would be rescued, if at all. There’s always that one person in the situation who is ‘strong’ enough to take the lead and make horrible decisions for the benefit of the others. Dudley did that. While he couldn’t save everyone, he did save three out of four. Still, it’s hard to justify such a thing – it was murder after all. There had to be another option.
What would I have done? I have absolutely no idea. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have killed anyone to save the rest of us, but like I said, how do any of us know for sure? 

January 24th – Ready, set, go:
Set a timer for ten minutes. Open a new post. Start the timer, and start writing. When the timer goes off, publish.
Well, since I’m combining prompts, I’ll just move on to the next prompt when the timer goes off. Readyyyyyy, go.
-> What to talk about. I guess the next exciting thing coming up is that I’m going to Nashville to see my friend Steph. We met at the University of Evansville our freshman year of college. Neither of us knew anyone and we were actually slotted to room with other people. My roommate called me the day we moved in and said she wouldn’t be there, and Steph was roomed with this super blonde gal. And when I say super blonde, I mean like, white blonde, if I remember correctly. Then again, who knows. Anyway, I was very happy being alone in my room for the most part, but then the university contacted me and said that unless I find a roommate, I’d have to pay double for the room. Which is total bullshit. Steph didn’t like her roommate, though, and she was just down the hall a couple doors, so she moved in with me just before semester. We had a hell of a time. We both hated the school and most of the people there. We spent a lot of time at the gym, or when she got her car, we spent a lot of time just anywhere but campus. She came up a few years ago for a Husker game, but we haven’t seen each other since.
Nashville is hosting a color run at the end of the month, so she invited me down for that. Then the whole arrest happened, and the prelim hearing is now slated for, I think, the day before the color run. Dad told me to just go ahead and go, but I wouldn’t do that. I know he’s just trying not to disrupt my life. I’m still going to go to Nashville, but I’ll just go after the hearing. I should be able to leave the same day, depending on what time it is, but I think I’ll miss the color run. I’m disappointed about that because I’ve never done one. I’m not in any shape for one, thanks to being lazy and then being made even more lazy by the accident (my God, my life is super exciting). Oh well, I guess. Perhaps there’s a reason I’m meant to go down to Nashville a few days later.
Once I come back from Nashville, I’ll have to do some laundry and then repack for a week-two weeks in Australia. My friends Jen and Janine, who I met in London last summer, live there and have invited me. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. It just so happens, also, that there’s a Comicon there. So I’ll get to see Sydney, some heroes, some nerds, and some friends. At first, I was apprehensive about going. I’m still, regrettably and admittedly, iffy about international travel after the whole London thing. I wasted so much time and money and was so absolutely heartbroken and I don’t want to go through that again. I know the whys and hows of the denial into the UK, but now getting turned away at any border is a fear of mine. I’m sure I’d be fine going to Australia because it’d be the first time I was there, I’d have tickets to the con, I’d be staying with friends, and I’d obviously have my return ticket already and all of that. But this time, should I bring a copy of my bank statement? My lease? My car title? I mean, should I say I work for my dad so that it looks like I have a job to go back to? Should I say I’m in the process of buying a house? What should I do? Last time, I thought I was prepared and I told the truth and look where that got me. I hate that it changed me. I was so carefree before. 

January 25th – Dearly departed:
Write your own eulogy.
Funnily enough, I already have. Molded 100% off of Dean’s eulogy for Jonathan in Serendipity.
“Christina Friis, prominent media psychologist for the BBC, died last night from complications of losing her music. She was 26 years old. Soft-spoken, yet outspoken, Friis never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of her life, she revealed an unknown side of her psyche. This hidden persona surfaced during the five-alarm pursuit of her extensive music catalogue, music she’d only collected her entire life. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet, even in certain defeat, the optimistic Friis secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. But rather, is a film reel of events the culminate in an exquisite, awesome plan. Asked about the loss of their finest colleague and friend, the BBC stable of actors described Friis as a changed woman in the last days of her life. ‘Things were clearer for her,’ they noted. Ultimately, Christina concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in lyricism and rhythm.”

January 26th – Musical:
What role does music play in your life?
I swear I didn’t read on before I did the last one, but it’s fitting, isn’t it? Music clearly plays a most important role in my life, since it could kill me if I were to lose it. It’s simple, really: I was brought up on music. It enhances my happiness and eases my sadness, it puts into words what I cannot and takes away my words when they’re not needed. I feel it everywhere – there are bits of music that make my chest flutter and ripple outward to my arms and legs. In short, nothing makes me feel the way music does.

January 27th – Sliced bread:
Most of us have heard the saying, ‘that’s the best thing since sliced bread!’ What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?
I’d say social media. I know it’s not technically a ‘thing’, but it lets us talk to people we’d never normally get to talk to, it lets us express feelings we might never normally get to express, it lets us do all sorts of shit. Sure, there are drawbacks, but there are drawbacks to sliced bread, too. I mean, it probably expires more quickly than non-sliced bread.. or.. it can get squished easily.

January 28th – Ode to a playground:
A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write a memorial.
Oh, God, I could so easily do the house in which I grew up, but I really don’t feel like crying tonight. Um, I’ll just stick with playground since that’s the title. 
“The Ponca Elementary School playground. When I think back to elementary school, I think of recess. I think of running across the cement to the twisty, yellow slide. All of us. Climbing up the ladder to the top and designating one person to be the first one. Someone strong. That person would be the foundation for the rest of us. Once we were all piled up on the slide, the foundation would start to slip, and we’d all come crashing down to the gravel. Over and over again. Or a few of us girls would climb on top of the monkey bars to chat. Or we’d take turns running across the unstable, wooden bridge and jump off the other end. Or we’d go back to the cement that we ignored in the beginning and we’d kick soccer balls back and forth to each other. Whoever got a ball past the end of the cement would score a point. Whoever kicked a ball too forcefully and made it over the fence would have to run across the street and stop it from rolling away into oblivion. We never kept score. We never fought. We played. Always played. Now it’s gone. All of it is gone. It lies in ruin. It became unsafe. It became about worry, it became about fear. It wasn’t what it used to be. Our memories may have faded, much like the yellow of the slide, but they’ll always be in the recess of our minds.”

January 29th – Through the window:
Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.
I’m going to treat this like my film class and just take quick notes while I stare into the darkness: Immediately in front of me are the bars on my balcony. The support beam blocks a bit of my view, but then again, it’s pitch black out. I can see light reflecting in the ice of the little pond just down the hill. Beyond that, I can see the source of the light – streetlamps outside the adjacent apartment building. I can see the lights on in the stairwells, but everyone seems to be asleep or at least has their bedroom lights off. One of the streetlamps just went out. There are cars in the parking lot – two white ones stick out among the dark ones. There are some lights behind the apartment building – they look like streetlamps, also. Again, it’s pitch black, so there’s really not a whole lot to be seen. I’m going to call that a minute.

January 30th – Burning down the house:
Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?
Can we also assume that I’ve got my phone on me already? Because I leave the house with it at all times anyway. Okay, yeah, let’s do that. I’d grab my external harddrive since that has all of my music and photos on there from both computers. I’d – oh my God. This is difficult as fuck. Um… This is the problem with worldly possessions. I mean, obviously, I wouldn’t grab my DVDs or whatever. I’d grab my laptop, I guess. That’s two things, right? I think most of my important shit is in a tub in my garage, which is nowhere near my ‘house’, so that shit should be fine. Maybe I should take my file drawer since that will have my tax returns and other documents. That’s three. Luckily, it’s fairly warm outside, so I wouldn’t need a coat. Can we also assume car keys are a given? Really, purse is a given. Still need two things. I guess, in a way, it’s good that it’s difficult to decide because out of all the crap I actual have, 99% could be replaced. OH, here’s four: my box of journals. Def can’t replace those. Also, it goes without saying that in the event of a fire, the adrenaline would make me strong enough to carry these things in one go. Still need number five. My degrees? Maybe. Oh, darn, I have two of them. Actually, fuck both of them: I’ll make number five my grandpa’s diploma

January 31st – Burnt:
Remember yesterday, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?
Well, honestly, the obvious answer is just about everything. It would save me money (although I do have insurance) and it would save me time trying to replace all of it. I have such a hodgepodge of different artifacts and I’d never remember everything. Makes me anxious to think about it. 

 

Hey! I’m done with January! I think when I started, I was 52 days behind. Now I’m 39 days behind. Not bad. February 1st already looks annoying. 

15 Jan to 20 Jan

Now that I’ve got some bitching out of the way.

January 15th – Polite company:
‘It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.’ Agree or disagree?
Interesting. When dad got heavy into Jesus and spirituality over ten years ago, he would embarrass the shit out of me anywhere we went. Why? Well, he’s a dad, so he’s going to do that anyway; however, I was embarrassed because he’d talk to the person behind us in line at the grocery store about being spiritual, or giving up control of your life to Jesus, or my favorite: ‘what is your relationship with your father like?’ I’m looking around for an escape route just thinking back on it. The problem is, I don’t even know what percentage of listeners was positive response and what was negative response because I never waited to hear it. As soon as he’d turn to someone, I was just short of putting my fingers in my ears and saying la-la-la. He never got punched and if he got shut down, he never reacted, so maybe the response was more positive than I can remember.
I think people can be touchy about each topic – religion and politics. If someone asked me if I believe in God, I would say, yes. If someone asked me who I voted for, I’d say, I didn’t because I didn’t know enough about either candidate (which speaks more about my laziness or apathy than my political viewpoint). These are important topics and I think we should be discussing them because they’re mentally stimulating, if anything. I don’t think many topics are taboo if someone were to ask me, but a great deal would depend on the manner in which the question was asked. I mean, I don’t directly ask people how they feel about sexism or overt sexuality, but once I was in line behind a lady at American Eagle and I looked down at these men’s boxers – they had popsicles on them and said “Lick me” or something like that. I laughed and said, oh my God, how inappropriate. She gave me a “yeah, okay, whatever, I either don’t agree with you or I just don’t want to talk to you” reaction and I immediately thought, I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware these particular boxers were getting your son blowjobs, does he need another pair?
My point, yeah, I had one is that if I had tapped her on the shoulder and said, “how do you feel about sexually suggestive themes on men’s undergarments?” she might have reacted even less socially. I think it’s all about the approach, to be honest. If you want to talk about politics or religion with strangers, go for it – but find a way that won’t make people unnecessarily uncomfortable. The last thing (I would think) most of us want is to hear what we should or shouldn’t believe in or what we should or shouldn’t do, especially from someone we don’t know who is now bothering us while we’re trying to pay for our toilet paper and Vanity Fair. 

January 16 – Toot your horn:
Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.
Oh God, my favorite thing about myself? Well, um. Favorite thing.. favorite thing.. yes, you’re right, this is quite hard. I want to say “I think I’m pretty witty sometimes” but even that has an edge of self-deprecation. Okay, maybe my favorite thing about myself is that I am comfortable being alone. I recently made this argument in a tumblr post, but it’s like being able to laugh at yourself and you’ll never run out of things to laugh at: if you’re comfortable being alone, you’ll always be able to do things without others. Seems obvious and redundant, right? I just mean that you can see a movie by yourself instead of waiting for someone to become available, or you can try that new restaurant that no one else is interested, or you can go to London for three months and not know a soul but still do anything you want because you don’t need anyone else there. That’s what I love about myself. That I can do those things. I can be alone. I can perfect being alone. That being said, I still get lonely and I still whine about how I can’t wait to find the right man and get a move on with that part of my life, but the best part is that until that happens, I’ll be fine. Better than fine. I’ll be great. 

January 17 – In a crisis:
Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?
This just turned into a job interview. Crises and the way I respond to them. Alright. Well, the last crisis I had the opportunity to deal with would be the car accident. In the immediate moments following impact, I seemed to be very with-it. Even in the split seconds leading up to impact. I had extremely fast, coherent thoughts about what was likely about to happen and what I could hopefully do to avoid it. Then just after the impact, I made sure to grab my phone, which was luckily attached to the charger cord, and then try to open my door. When I couldn’t open my door, I checked to see if it was unlocked (which, I’ll admit, isn’t that entirely logical as my door handle would open it whether it was locked or not), then when I couldn’t get it open, I seemed to effortlessly (and without memory of it) slide across my stick shift to my passenger seat and get out of the car. Once I was out, I stood up very slowly, making sure I could – making sure I didn’t have any broken bones or serious injuries. I walked around the car and checked for the other vehicle, and then started taking photos of my car for record; when she got out of her car, I may have said something rude to her and then established that we were both okay before calling the police. I guess I handled it as well as I could have.
Another recent crisis.. being denied entry into the UK? I’m super proud of the way I handled that, honestly. I was polite and honest and very courteous and acquiescent, even though inside I was completely broken. 
I’d like to think I handle minor crises just as well. I deal with frustrating situations by being sarcastic and probably condescending, but otherwise, I probably take more than I should. I was built to take blows – mentally and physically – so I really do my best. In conclusion, yes, I’m happy with the way I react. I can only thank my instincts.

January 18th – Free association:
Write down the first word that comes to mind when we say
…home North Post Road 
soil Garden
…rain Bed

January 19th – Apply yourself:
Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.
There’s something that I’ve picked up time and time again thinking that it would come naturally, and when it doesn’t, I get super frustrated and give up: guitar. My dad’s amazing on guitar, granted, he’s been playing since he was, what, ten? My brother’s amazing on guitar and he’s been playing since he was four or five, I think. I can do the base note in the chords for ‘Blackbird,’ but that’s it. I’m much better at Rock Band. I don’t think I’m dextrous enough to play guitar. I mean, sure, if it was higher on my list of priorities, I’m sure I could get at least decently good at it. I’ll stick to sitting in the audience and drooling over those who can do it better.

January 20 – Breaking the law:
Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?
Bitch, please, my pillows are well-tagged. Let’s see… Since I speed every time I get behind the wheel of my car, I’ll talk about the last couple times I was pulled over. (Only four times in the past ten years, I’d say that’s not bad. And only two tickets). The very last time was when I was heading to get a manicure or something, so, totally important and speeding to get there was necessary. At the top of the hill, I passed a State Trooper sitting off to the side on the other side of traffic. I slowed down immediately and looked in my rear-view. It looked like he wasn’t pulling out into traffic, so I figured I was clear. Then all of a sudden, he was behind me with his lights on. I pulled over and was laughing to myself because I’d actually thought about speeding up and taking a turn into a neighborhood. I was in a super good mood that day and was very cheerful with him. He told me he didn’t think he’d catch me, and that if I had gone into a neighborhood, he wouldn’t have pursued me. I was like, well, I thought about it! He said, you’d have gotten away with it! He walked back to his cruiser and for some reason, I didn’t even care if I was about to get a ticket. He came back with my license and insurance, we joked a bit more, he gave me a warning, and I took off for my appointment. Couldn’t have turned out any better.
The time before that, however… Another State Trooper (by the way, I adore the Nebraska State Troopers – they’re always very kind. And I’m not being facetious). Got pulled over about ten blocks from home, I was probably going well-over the speed limit on Dodge, as per. I had also just moved, so the address on my driver’s license was outdated (it was that of my childhood home and I was understandably very sentimental about it – I’d even moved another time in between and never changed it), and then I didn’t have a print-out of my insurance, as it was just updated and on my phone. She came back from her cruiser and said, okay, I’m giving you a warning, also, please update your driver’s license and then print out your insurance – you’ll need to have a State Trooper check it and sign off on this sheet and then mail it in and you’re good to go. I was like, okay, thanks, whatever I need to do. 
About a month or so later, I am on my way to work on a Friday and check my mailbox. Inside is a letter from the State of Nebraska. Oh, it’s a warrant for my arrest because I failed to show up for a court date I had no idea I had. Fantastic! I went down to the courthouse (and when I say, down to the courthouse, I mean I had to go about 180 blocks down to the courthouse), and they told me, no, this is actually a ticket. What? To get everything taken care of, I had to sit in small-claims, plead guilty to speeding, get a speeding lecture from the State of Nebraska representative (thanks, mom), and then pay $75 for court fees. 
All in all, it wasn’t the best way to spend a Friday, but I do have my warrant framed and hanging next to my BA and MA diplomas.

14 Jan

Well. I’ve still not gotten my car. Which means I had to extend my rental. Again. I know what the guy at Ameriprise said, but this is ridiculous. Seriously, if I’d had my car in the shop for 15 days, I would have had a rental for 15 days, right? Well, it’s totaled; so I’m sorry, but I should have a rental for however frickin’ long it takes me to get a new car. No, wait: I should have a rental for however frickin’ long it takes me to get the settlement check which would be the downpayment on a new car. Logical, I would think.

Other than that, woke up to a call from Jo. Moving her flight would have cost an arm and a leg, so after accepting the fact that we probably won’t be able to do this trip, I realized she could probably fly into Kansas City way cheaper than Omaha. Lo and behold. So Tuesday morning, I’ll drive down to KC to pick her up and then head back to Omaha, then she’ll fly out of Omaha on the 9th. I’m excited. I haven’t been to the zoo in a hundred years, so we’ll most def be going there. (The Henry Doorly Zoo, you know, the best zoo in the country. You heard me, better than San Diego. Check this shit out: http://www.omahazoo.com). Also, I’ve got a little West Country Meets West Nebraska daytrip mapped out on this awesome website/app called Roadtrippers. It is the shit and I think it’ll be really fun. I’ve never been where we’re going and there are a ton of interesting things along the way. (For example, Hastings, Nebraska, where Kool-aid was invented. Ohh yeahh).

So, back on the prompt thing for a minute or two.

January 14th – Ripped from the headlines:
Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.
(wrings hands schemingly) Naturally, I went to BBC.com. I took a look at the Entertainment section first, but nothing really caught my eye. Back on the main page, however, under the Autos section blurb, I saw Top Gear. Talk about something that grabs me. Even better, it’s about the boys coming to the US: “Top Gear makes US landfall”
I have to do this without reading the article, or I have to read the article and further base a story off of that? Okay, well, the story is about the boys doing a 700mile road trip from the rural south to Manhattan. I can work with that. (You know this is going to be fanfiction, right? This could even be foreshadowing since this ep airs tomorrow. Dun dun dunnn)
→The boys had set off from Atlanta, Georgia, preparing themselves for more of an 867mile road trip than the 700mile road trip, as the producers had previously said. None of them slept well the night before the journey. It was either the memory of the last time they were in the Southern US, or it was the excitement of driving such stunningly beautiful cars north on the interstate. Although it was truly a bit of both, it was mostly the former.
No, they weren’t in the same town, and no, they weren’t driving vehicles with hillbilly-enraging phrases painted on the sides, but nevertheless.
They were also a bit nervous for another reason: They had a woman with them. Well, alright, a girl. Of 25. She had won some sort of Top Gear contest that they didn’t even know about and all of a sudden, they were meant to take this stranger with them on their trip up the east coast of the US.
Even more annoying was the fact that her flight was delayed, so they were having to pick her up from the airport and then start right off toward Manhattan. They argued at dinner about who would be stuck with her for the 800-plus mile roadtrip.
“Absolutely rubbish,” Jeremy said, after he downed the rest of his pint in the hotel bar. “She’s certainly not riding in my SLS. She won’t know how to operate the gull-wing doors and it’ll be an utter embarrassment.” He sighed dramatically and got up to get another pint.
“I could have her in the Ferrari, I reckon,” James said thoughtfully. He seemed to be slightly more alright with the aspect of a young bird in his car. That’s because-
“Oh, come off it, mate. You only want her in your car so you can bore her to death with your facts and maths and agonizingly slow driving and-” Richard drawled on until James interrupted him.
“Yeah, well, she can’t be any more bored than she’d be in your 911 – a.k.a the same 911 made for the past however many years.”
“Oh my God, we’re not talking about the Beetle again, are we?” Jeremy complained as he returned with his beer.
Richard attempted to get the attention off of his beloved Porsche. “We’ll just have to flip a coin, I guess.”
“Oh no, we won’t,” James and Jeremy said simultaneously. “You’ll have her, mate,” Jeremy said, raising his glass to cheers James. “I think that’s quite settled then, Hamster,” James concluded, clinking his glass against Jeremy’s.
Richard closed his eyes and sighed. “For God’s sake,” he said, getting up for the bar. A hangover would definitely make things worse on the ride, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. He found an open spot and hitched up onto the barstool. A few minutes away from the others would be a welcome break. “Gin on the rocks, please,” he said when the barman noticed him. He was running his hands over his face when he heard someone say, “excuse me?”
He turned toward the source of the voice and saw a young woman standing next to him with a carryon. She looked a bit travel-weary as she plopped it on the stool directly next to Richard. He did a quick rake over her and determined that she was pretty, and even in the dim light of the bar, he noticed her hazel eyes – her genuine smile making them crinkle at the corners.
“Richard, hi, I’m Nina, I, well, I’m- nice to meet you,” she stammered, extending her hand.
Richard took her hand and shook it. “Hi, yes, nice to meet you, too. Can I.. buy you a drink?”
“Oh, God, yes,” she said with a huff. She moved her carryon to the next stool over and sat down next to Richard. “I fucking hate when my flight’s delayed.”
“That really is awful,” Richard sympathized, as he got the barman’s attention. “Are you stuck here, then?”
She gave a hesitant laugh, then turned toward the barman. “Old-fashioned, please.” She looked back toward Richard with a smirk. “Actually, I’m uh, I’m here for you guys.”
Well, I sure hope you enjoyed that piffle.

11 Jan to 13 Jan

Last night, I swear I almost had an orgasm in front of the beer coolers at Brix. Sophie and I got our Pancheros and then headed over to Brix for wine. Inundated with choices, I found a pinot called Double Decker and Sophie found a rosé called Sofie. She suggested we take a look at the beer then. And beer there is. I couldn’t believe all of craft options and imports. I figured, well, I’m sure they’ll have Hobgoblin, so I could just get that.

And then I saw it. I swept my eyes upward and was met with the blood-red label of London Pride. I said, oh my God, and might have drawn some attention to myself while I hugged the chilly sixpack and moaned – actually moaned – in pleasure. I could literally feel the waves of elation wash through my body.

That, my friends, will be the moment in my memoirs when my alcoholism began. Well, alright, I know better than that. Perhaps the beginning of my beer belly.

The bottle of Double Decker and three (I think) London Prides later, for Sophie – the bottle of Sofie and three (I think) Sam Adams later, and we were passed out on my couch with Sherlock on the telly.

I woke up this morning with a Facebook notification – an old flame (on a candle in the wind) had accepted my friend request. Um. Thanks, Sophie. I sent him a message telling him that was done drunkenly, from which he could deduce all sorts of shit, if he wants. He’s married now, it’s whatever. The best part though is that, try as I might, I can’t be arsed to be embarrassed by it. Normally, I think I would be. I’m not a drunk-texter, really; I tend to make a fool of myself in person. I mean, yeah, Soph and I were talking about the young men in our past lives and of course my mentioning him resulted in Facebook creeping, as all good ‘I dated this guy’ stories do.

But I don’t know. Maybe it’s my age or that I’m increasingly comfortable in my own skin. I just can’t seem to worry about it, and that is simply a revelation.

Still nothing about my car. I did get to keep the rental until Monday. I sure as hell wouldn’t take it to Canada – it never feels connected to the road, and is too top-heavy for a ‘hot hatch.’ I want to get rid of it. Could have just driven up to Wisconsin myself, turned it in there, and drove the MINI home. Should have.

Right. More of the retroactive daily prompts, then.

January 11th – This is your life:
If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.
Well. If I wanted to read a book containing all that has happened, I need only read my journals (again). Some of those things are hard enough to revisit. Reading all that will ever happen in my life, though… I don’t think I could. I mean, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen whether I know about it or not, which means I can’t do much, if anything, to change it. So, what’s the point, really? It would make me a more nervous person. I’d be dreading things, I’d be impatient for other things. I get so much joy out of the surprises in life, that it would totally detract from my experience.

January 12th – Take two:
Run outside. Take a picture of the first thing you see. Run inside. Take a picture of the second thing you see. Write about the connection of these two random objects, people or scenes.
No. It’s cold and dark. However, I know for a fact that the first thing I’d see outside would be the stupid rental car. Every time I walk outside, I look straight to my car. I also know that as soon as I walked in my apartment, I would see my boots laying by the front door. I think the connection there would be that I’m ready to give the goddamn rental car the boot. I can imagine what it would be like if I had my MINI and saw my boots, then. I would think of adventures. I would think of the times I’d worn those boots in my MINI – going to the shops or going to my brother’s apartment. In any combination, I would say the connection is clearly travel – either by foot or by car – which is very important to me and the first idea upon entering or exiting my apartment.

January 13th – Clean slate:
Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?
Alright, Sherlock, I’ll do my best. First thought is, Jesus, whoever lives here really needs to clean up. She seems to love the UK, and London in particular, which is made obvious by the three Union Flag pillows on the couch, the ton of British trinkets all over the place. Oh God, she seems to love Sherlock just a bit – look at these set photos, the blu rays are out on her entertainment center. She must like to write because she’s got a journal on the ottoman and a typewriter on the table. An Apple products lover – iMac, Macbook, iPhone, AppleTV, etc. Some Harry Potter things like a quote on the wall or photos from Warner Bros in England. Bit of a drinker – there are beer bottle caps on the chaise part of her couch and a bottle opener next to them. Her Christmas tree is still up, so she’s lazy as fuck, and it’s nestled among a shitload of papers and office stuff around her desk, so she’s a bit disorganized. She’s got a bookcase just for psychology books and then a bookcase for leisure books. Lots of candles. I’d almost think she’s from the UK because she’s got so much of it everywhere – there’s a Doctor Who mug, a teacup and mug with a map of the UK on each, and a shelf on one bookcase dedicated to The Beatles. She seems fine with a bit of clutter, because there really is stuff everywhere. I get the feeling the space is too small for all of her stuff. She’s older than 21, but I would say younger than 30. The diplomas on the wall help with that. That also lets me know that she’s well-educated. I’ll go with mad genius, due to the textbooks, degrees, and mess. Don’t even get me started on the psychology aspect.

 

Got too distracted trying to do January 14th, so I’ll leave that for next time. Hopefully I get my damn car tomorrow.

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