Epilogue

And so, as all things do eventually, this project comes to an end.  It was an interesting experience and I’m glad to say that I managed to finish the book from beginning to end with a post every day for 642 days. There were ups and downs and challenges with time and creativity and life interfering.  It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun, but it was definitely something I would gladly do again.

Oh, look at that.  I am doing it again!  For those who are interested, feel free to join me at 712 More Writings because my wife hates me so much that she bought me the sequel to 642 Things to Write About.  I’m sure you can surmise the title of the book from the clever title of my new blog.

I can’t promise it’ll always make for a good read, but there will be something new and different every day there.  If you’ve come this far, what do you have to lose?

 

#385 – Write Down Everything…

…you can remember about your algebra teacher.

She reminded me of a poodle.  Poofy brown hair that hung down like ears and bugged out eyes behind big thick glasses that made her look like she was crazy.  She was a short slight woman with a pinched face, wrinkled from time, and big teeth that distracted while she talked.  She often wore garish makeup that did nothing to enhance her features, but rather made her look more like a scary clown.

Clearly, she’d been in the school system for years as she definitely had an air of someone who was burnt out from years of work.  She didn’t care anymore and was just reading from the book.  If someone didn’t get the work, then that was too bad for them and they had to try harder.  She never hounded people for homework or attendance, letting people pass or fail by their own merits.  If someone needed help figuring out how to solve a problem, she merely directed them to the book they needed.

Maybe she wasn’t disinterested in teaching but rather in letting people make their own mistakes?  Considering the bored look she usually had on her face, I’m kind of doubting that.  Turned out she retired shortly after I was done her class, so I figure she was merely killing the remaining time til she was free.

That’s all I got to say about that.

Behind the Random: I had the misfortune of being in her class for two years.  It was a terrible academic experience, which is saying something since I don’t have fond memories of most of scholastic career.  At least she was so memorable that I can write more about her than most of my other teachers, so there’s that at least.

And that marks the end of 642 Things to Write About. Every day, a prompt done without missing a single day.  Kind of wish it ended on something a little bit more exciting and fun to read, but that’s the hazard of relying on random drawings.

#590 – You Are a Teenager…

…Your friend asks you to meet him at a culvert everyone knows isn’t very safe.  How do you get out of the house?  What happens when you get there?

I creep through the dark house on the balls of my feet.  Each step is strategically placed to minimize any noise.  I know where every creak is and bypass them with the skill of a master ninja.  Finally, I reach the door with shoes in hand and I silently slip out into the night.  I ignore the pain of pebbles stabbing at the soles of my feet, not wanting to stop to put my shoes on until I safely tucked away in the shadows.

Once I feel I’m far enough away, I put on my shoes and start the 30 minute walk to the edge of town where the culvert is.  It’s dead quiet, being a Sunday, and I don’t see anyone on the roads except for a single cop car.  I duck into an alleyway until he passes before moving on, checking over my shoulder occasionally to make sure it doesn’t turn back for me.

As I reach the dirt road bordering the town, I slip down a ditch and follow it to the culvert.  I see my Brian’s silhouette just inside the large metal tube, his face illuminated by the blazing cherry of his cigarette.  He smiles as he sees me approach.  “Took you long enough.” He says as he tosses his pack to me.

“Dad was up late.  Took him forever to get to sleep.”  I reply as I pluck out a smoke and screw it to my lips.  “Light?”

Brian snorts through his nose, blowing out a puff of smoke, as he flicks his bic lighter at me.  I barely catch it, almost sending it tumbling on to the black ground before getting my fingers around it.  I flick it once, twice.  Third time, I manage to get the flame to ignite and light up the tip of the smoke.

I take a few moments, enjoying a puff or two of sweet nicotine, before I ask, “So what’s up?  You got something?”

Brian grins widely, fishing out a baggy from his pocket.  I can see something in the bag,   “I got something.”

“Any good?” I ask, my interest piqued.

“Rob said it’s the best he’s had so far.”

“Rob’s an idiot.” I retort.  I never cared for Rob.  One of those guys who always acts like he knows more about everything than everyone in the room even though it’s clear that they’re filled with crap.

Brian shrugs as he opens the bag, the sickly sharp smell of weed wafting up.  “He knows something about this.” He says with a hint of defensiveness in his voice.  Rob and him had always been close.  Even though Brian knew Rob was a dumbass, he still didn’t want to admit it.

“Whatever.  Let’s spark it up and find out.” I urge him on, handing him back the lighter.

“Alright!” Brian said, lightening up with a big smile.  He pulled out one of the joints from the bag and baptized it before sticking it between his lips.  Just as he lifted the flame to the tip however, we were both blinded by a sudden blast of light that shone down at us from top of the embankment.

“Freeze right there!” A deep voice hollered down with deliberate authority.

Brian and I looked at each other, unsure what to do.  We’d never dealt with the police before and didn’t know if we should run or do as we were told.  So we just stood there as the light came down towards us, blinding us more.  “What the hell do you think you’re doing down here?” The voice demanded of us.

I began to answer when I noticed that the joint and baggy had suddenly disappeared from Brian’s hands.  “Uh…nothing.  Just…smoking.” I lifted up my smoke to show off the cigarette between my fingers.

“That it?” The voice asks, shining the light right into Brian’s face.  “Just a little underaged smoking?”

Brian didn’t say anything, but managed to nod his head vigorously.  Despite the cool air, he was beginning to sweat a lot.  I could feel beads forming on my own head and could just pray that the officer didn’t notice.

The light lowered down at our feet, “What’s that?”

Both of us looked down to see Brian had dropped the joint.  Brian let out a groan of despair.  Desperately, I tried to think of some excuse.  “That?  That uh…that was there when we got here.  I don’t even know what that is.  Honest.”

The man bent down and picked it up, inspecting it.  “You don’t know what this is?” He asks, sticking the light and joint in my face.  “You sure about that.”

I nod as I swallow hard, convinced I could pull it off.  “Yeah, it’s just a smoke, right?  A rolly?”

The officer chuckles, “I can tell you what it is.” He pulls the light back and shines it up beneath his face, revealing himself at last.  Kyle’s smirking face appears out of the darkness as he hollers out, “Busted!  That’s what it is!”

Relief and dread play tug of war inside of me as I realize that it’s not a cop after all but my older brother instead.  Still, this wasn’t good news at all.  “Now, this would just break mom and dad’s heart if they knew about this, wouldn’t it?” He says in a conversational tone, “A shame if they found out somehow…”  His hand came out with unsaid expectation.

I looked at Brian who shook his head.  I grimaced at him, implying a threat against him if Kyle got me into trouble, and Brian finally relented, fishing out the baggy from his pocket and handing it over to Kyle.  “A pleasure doing business, ladies.” Kyle laughed as he shone the light in our eyes one more time before marching back up the hills.  “See you at grandma’s birthday tomorrow, buttmunch.”

We stand there in silence as we watch the light disappear over the top before I start cursing.  Brian just stood there as I called my brother every filthy name I could think of, even making up a few new ones.  Finally, I calm a bit down and look at Brian, who just has this strange look on his face.  “What?”

A smile spreads across his lips as he pulls out another baggy from his pocket.  “Oops.” He says.

I frown in confusion as I take the baggy from him, “What did you give him?”

His smile goes wicked, made even more so by the orange glow of his cigarette.  “Some catnip joints I made up to sell at the junior high tomorrow.”  The revelation sinks in and we both start laughing as I pass the bag back to him.  Oh, what a night it turned out to be.

Behind the Random: I had no idea what the hell a culvert was until today.  So, at the very least, I can say that I’ve learned a thing or two in the past 641 days doing these posts.  In case you, like me, have no idea, a culvert is a large metal pipe used in irrigation ditches by farms.  Fascinating, no?

#445 – Re-Create Your Earliest Childhood Memory

I was three years old, living in a trailer park with my parents.  It was dark in my room, late in the night, as I tossed and turned in my bed.  I couldn’t sleep though.  Something was bugging me and my young mind couldn’t figure out what that was.  It was like I was being watched.  I peeked out from under my covers and saw the shadows on the walls and ceiling moving about, as if they had minds of their own.

They seemed to flow together, directing my eye towards the only window in the room.  I could see a faint light, cast by our neighbors porch lamp.  There was something else there though, a deeper shadow amongst the others, just outside.  A head turned and looked through the window at me and I gasped loudly as I saw his face.

It was made of stone with a blank expressionless face.  Empty eyes stared at me, unblinking, yet I could feel his gaze on me.  Slowly, never taking his sight off of me, he reached up with a rocky hand and pushed the window open.  I sat there, hugging my blanket to me in terror as I watched him reach through the open portal and start to crawl into the room, one hand reaching out to take hold of me.  When his body was halfway through the window, I finally screamed and ran out of the room.

Down the hall my little barefeet took me and into my parents room where I crawled into their bed and hid under the covers.  My mom held me close, whispering that everything was going to be okay, while my dad begrudgingly got up to investigate what got me so upset.  Naturally, he found nothing and that’s when I learned what a nightmare was.

But the story doesn’t end there.  That would be too simple.  The next day, as we left the trailer to head to my pre-school, I spied a small pile of rocks I’d never noticed before outside my bedroom window.  And how I screamed…

Behind the Random: It’s odd that my earliest memory is a nightmare.  It wasn’t even that bad of one, compared to the terrors I’ve experienced since then.  I can barely remember most of the homes I’ve lived in, but I can still remember the layout of that trailer every time I close my eyes, a place I haven’t seen for almost 29 years.  Still though, it makes for an interesting story.

#474 – A Road Trip With Your Sister

My idea of a good time does not include the open road, a map, and driving 1200 miles.  Add my kid sister in there and it becomes a nightmare.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister but when there’s a 20 year gap between us.  That’s a whole generation gap that we have to hurdle.  Our tastes are complete opposite in almost everything.  Movies.  Shows.  Music.  Fashion.  Current events.  Everytime I talk to her, I have to speak to the phone that’s become a permanent fixture to her face as she texts, calls, or takes her hourly selfie.  When she does talk, it’s always the gossip about what this girl did to this girl with her guy on this day while she was seeing this other guy.  Or something like that.  I’ll be honest, I kind of tune her out after a while.  It’s just an instinct.

We never really got along, but our parents figured that it would make for a good bonding experience between us.  I tried arguing that we’re both adults who can make our own decisions on whether but you try and use logic on your parents when their set on doing something for your own good.

So that’s how I find myself next to the drama queen, listening to her gawd awful music while she constantly complains about it being too hot, too cold, and too long of a drive. I certainly don’t miss those days of my life now.

Next time, I’m definitely bring their dog Max.  Sure he drools and has bladder problems, but it still beats spending the next 2 days with a teenage girl..

Behind the Random: I didn’t have a sister until I was a teenager, but I didn’t grow up with her.  She lives in a different city and we’re not exactly close.  So I don’t really know what it would have been like to go on a road trip with her.  I dislike traveling in general anyways, so it wouldn’t have been pleasant for anyone involved, I think.

#12 – You Have Just Swallowed Your Pride…

…and done something you didn’t want to do.  Your friend wants to know why.  The two of you are driving around an almost-full parking garage looking for a space for the friend’s oversize pickup.  Write the scene.

“So…”

“So.”

“Helluva a day, huh?”

“Can say that.”

“You alright?”

“Better than fine.”

“That’s something at least…”

“Uh huh.  There.”

“I see it.  Ugh, damn smart cars.  I swear they take the biggest spots on purpose.”

“Maybe closer to the back?”

“Yeah.  So…”

“So.”

“I have to ask?”

“Rather you didn’t.”

“I’m going to.”

“Alright.”

“Why?”

“Why?”

“Yeah, why?”

“No other choice.”

“The guy treats you like crap though.”

“It’s not that bad.”

“Not that…whoa, hold on.”

“Watch it!”

“You sonuva…that was my spot, you jackass!”

“People these days.”

“Right?”

“Let’s just park on the street.”

“No.  I’m determined now.”

“The mall closes in six hours.”

“Har.  Har.  We’ll find a spot.”

“Alright.”

“So you’re sure about this?”

“The mall?  Yeah, it always closes at 6.”

“Funny.  No, about him.”

“Sure, why not?”

“You said you weren’t going back.”

“I say a lot of things.”

“No you don’t.”

“Alright, I don’t.  But he’s changed things.”

“Uh huh.”

“You just want to hate him.”

“Kinda, yeah.  I’m protective.  Sue me.”

“It’s different this time.”

“You think so?”

“One can hope.”

“Aren’t you just a ray of optimism these days.”

“Hey, right there.”

“I see it, I see it.”

“Grandma’s gonna beat you there.”

“Screw her and her seven cats.”

“No thanks.”

“Heh.”

“She looks pissed.”

“She should learn to drive better.”

“Yep.”

“So…”

“So.”

“This is really going to happen?”

“Yep.”

“Could always come work with me.”

“Yeah, no thanks.”

“What’s wrong with my job?”

“I don’t like people.”

“Well, there’s that.”

“Besides, I like my old job.”

“He’s still an asshat.”

“This is truth.”

“Don’t take any crap from him.”

“Didn’t last time.”

“Lies.”

“Maybe a little.”

“Uh huh.”

“It’ll be fine.  And…thanks, and stuff.”

“You’re welcome.”

“What did we come here for again?”

“Oh hell, I don’t remember.  Looking for a spot for the past 40 minutes kind of fried my brain.”

“You have one of those?”

“Yeah.  It’s in my ass.  That’s why I do my best thinking in the morning.”

“No wonder your mind is so filthy after lunch.”

“You know it.”

Behind the Random: Not much to say today.  Busy day with little time to do much else.  And only 4 more posts left to go!

#252 – Rewrite the Description…

…from #251 in the passive voice-whereby no one does anything.

My phone sat on the counter, waiting to be picked up again.  Tucked just behind a cookie display, out of sight of anyone else around.  After a few moments, the screen flickers off as it goes into power save mode.  Minutes pass, but still it sits on the counter.  A text message is received, but goes ignored.  Having been silenced mere minutes before, the phone merely blinks a small blue light in hopes of catching someone’s attention, but it is for naught.  The cookie display makes far too clever a hiding spot for anyone to spot the phone.  And so it continues to sit and wait for me to return to it.

Behind the Random: Writing this reminded me of my favorite commercial, though not nearly as poignant.  Uh, that’s all I really got to say about that.