Saturday, April 10, 2021

I is for Iris #atozchallenge #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter I 


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 548 words

I is for Iris

The toy is an odd shape, like an oval-ball body, a huge triangle sticking out for a nose, and two pentagon-shaped eyes. There's an orange and purple mohawk that looks like a child cut it to bits. Yohann squeezes his, causing it to squeak. Not the normal pitch of a squeaky toy, but a flatter sound, as if it were dying. 

"What is it?" I ask, taking a step back as Lance moves his closer to me.

"You never had a Hubert? They're great. See, you can fill this part with water and fling it at someone, like a water grenade. Or there's an attachment horn with a clock and you can use him as an alarm. Oh, and there are wings and glasses and stuff." Lance playfully attacks Yohann's Hubert with his own.

"I never had the accessories. They're impossible to find in the states. Choking hazard," Yohann says. 

"Yeah. My cousin had them when his dad was overseas with the Air Force," Lance nods in agreement.

"Did you have one of these?" I ask Madelyn. But as I look around, she isn't there. I huff and give Lance's hand a tug. He drops the toy and comes with me. Yohann follows behind.

We spot her near the fake flowers. She's holding a purple one.

"It's an iris," she says as the three of us approach. "The last one."

None of us says anything. 

"It's my favorite flower." She looks at me like this conversation is obvious, and I'm supposed to be doing or saying something.

"Neat." She scowls at my reply. I pull Lance along to the end of the aisle where there's an empty corner. My fingers walk slowly up his chest, stroke his neck, and then sneak along his chin. He lets out a sexy growl as he leans down to kiss me.

This is my date, too. And I'm going to enjoy it. Lance's hands wrap around my waist, pulling me closer. I get on my tiptoes, pressing tighter to him. There's too much clothing between us. We've been apart for an entire week. I miss the summer. I want to go back to staying at his friend's place, to waking up in each other's arms, to morning showers, and to sharing bowls of cereal. My tongue rubs against his as our kiss deepens. 

I hear someone clearing their throat in the distance. There's a tap on my shoulder. I roll myself tighter to Lance, thinking someone is just trying to get past us. I feel my ankle getting kicked, but assume it's a cart, and just alter my stance. 

"Are you seriously ignoring us? We're supposed to be doing a group thing!" 

Lance lets out a low roar as our kiss breaks. "I'm not making out with you just because this is a group. Go kiss Yohann."

"Well I would, but I don't think he's into me," Madelyn snarls at Lance.

"He'd be a hell of a lot more into you if you were kissing him. Or not making him feel like a jackass. Have you tried saying one kind word to him?"

Madelyn blinks. 

"Hon, be nice." I stroke his chest.

"Am I wrong? Tell me you're not thinking the same thing, Babe."

I wrinkle my nose. 






Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. (And possibly racist?) Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 

πŸ’°
Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28 πŸ’΅

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Friday, April 9, 2021

H is for Hubert #atozchallenge #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter H


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 364 words

H is for Hubert


The pet store is the first shop at the entrance we use. It's more heartbreaking than cute. The puppies in the window may as well hold up signs. "We're from puppy mills and will cost thousands of dollars in veterinary bills!" One, who looks mostly blind, is bashing his head against the window. 

Madelyn taps on the glass. "Stop doing that. You'll get hurt."

"Should we ask if we can play with him?" Yohann asks her.

Disgust covers Madelyn's face. "Eww, and risk getting infected? I don't want to see the dog get hurt, but I don't want to, like, touch him or whatever. Plus, have you been in there? It smells. Like, really bad."

Lance's lips brush my ear. "I bet her dad totally would have played with the pup."

I bust up laughing. Yohann raises his eyebrow. Madelyn's eyes narrow, even though she couldn't possibly have heard the joke. 

"Hey look, lemonade slushies. Who wants one?" I point to the stand in an attempt to change the subject.

"You're really thirsty today, babe."

"Just trying to find other ways to occupy my mouth." I squeeze Lance's hand and lead us down the hall, passing the slushies. Which I didn't really want before, but now I kind of do. Why does that always happen?

Madelyn shoves herself between me and the empty storefronts. "What was so funny back there?"

"What? Nothing."

"Why isn't Yohann holding my hand?" Madelyn hisses the question in my ear.

I stop walking and look at her. "You want me to ask?" My tone probably isn't the nicest. But honestly, she needs to stand on her own two feet. 

She stops glaring at me and drops her gaze to the floor. 

"Is that a Hubert?" Lance gently tugs my hand. I look to where he's motioning.

"What's a Hubert?" I ask.

"Come on," he leads us to the dollar store. I hear Madelyn scuffing up the floor as she schlepps behind us. Yohann beats us inside.

"Oh wow, I haven't seen one of these in ages," Yohann holds one up and offers another to Lance. I still have no idea what the excitement is about.






Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. (And possibly racist?) Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 

πŸ’°
Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28 πŸ’΅

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Thursday, April 8, 2021

G is for Going to the Grand Mall East #atozchallenge, #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter G


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 536 words

G is for Going to the Grand Mall East


We hurry out the door before she can change her mind. Perhaps a little too fast, as we nearly collide with Madelyn's dad.

"Car is all polished. Yup. I notice every detail. Take excellent care of what I love." Madelyn's dad pulls his yellow towel tight between his hands, making a snapping sound. 

Yohann gulps and nods at the veiled warning. "Yes, sir."

He gestures for us to be on our way. Yohann reaches the car first and opens the driver's side rear door, holding it for Madelyn. She gets in, but slides over behind the passenger seat. I shake my head as I settle into my place in the front. The Cranberries song, Linger, comes on as Yohann struggles to squeeze in behind Lance. I consider offering to trade spots, but we're already down the block.

"Madelyn, got your seatbelt on back there?" Lance asks with a laugh.

"Safety isn't funny," she huffs.

"Your mom is the reason I avoid parents." He reaches over and squeezes my thigh. Lance and I have been together, off and on, for two years now. He's officially had a longer conversation with Madelyn's mom than with anyone in my family. 

We pull into the parking lot and roll into a spot near the front. Even on a Friday night, this mall is mostly abandoned. A yellow leaf blows into my hair as I get out. It's not even October and already the leaves are changing.

Madelyn is still sitting. I guess she's waiting for Yohann to hold her door. Looking over, I see him struggling to get out without falling. I yank Madelyn's door open and lean in.

"Next time, let the tall person sit behind me."

"But I slid over so he could get in," she pouts.

"Out," I mutter before stepping away. I adore her, I do, but she has an inconsiderate streak. 

Lance wraps his arms around me from behind. "Everything okay?"

I lean into him. "It is now."

Our lips find each other and the world melts away. No autumn breeze reminding me that summer ended. No desolate parking lot in the least exciting spot around town. No friends awkwardly trying to date. Just us, the sweet taste of his mouth, the warmth of his arms. My happy place.

"So, umm, are we going inside or what?" Madelyn kicks my ankle just hard enough to steal my attention. 

I break the kiss and look for Yohann. He's leaning against the bumper, his hands buried in his jacket pockets. Normally he would have gone ahead, knowing Lance and I would catch up. But, of course, the four of us have an invisible tether tonight. 

"Yeah," I take Lance's hand and hear him whimper. Neither of us was done enjoying that moment. 

I lead the group into the Grand Mall East. Probably it was grand, once upon a time. But the major stores have left. Half of the other shops are empty. The most exciting event they hold here is Senior Sunday Stroll, where the elderly get together and walk around from noon to four. There are healthcare providers every 50 feet or something. My grandparents go occasionally.







Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. (And possibly racist?) Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 

πŸ’°
Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28 πŸ’΅

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

F is for Five Blocks #atozchallenge, #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter F


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 514 words

F is for Five Blocks

Lance squeezes my shoulder. I know he'd rather fight a bear than be here. He'd rather have his stereo break than listen to Madelyn's mom for one more minute. He'd crawl over broken glass and Lego bricks to get out of this house.

"It's best to be prepared for the unexpected. Even the best drivers in the world wear seat belts. Besides, it's the law."

My hand flies to my mouth as I fake a cough to cover a laugh. Lance just quoted his coach, his driver's ed teacher, and a billboard slogan. 

"Are you all right?" Madelyn's mom doesn't ask with concern, but with a cross tone and a raised eyebrow.

"Bit of ice went down the wrong way." I stack my cup with Lance's and Yohann's and hold them out.

"The tea was delicious," Yohann says as I stand there, holding cups that no one is taking.

"My husband brewed it."

I can't hold it in. I turn to Lance and bury my face against his chest as I laugh. He rubs my back and takes the cups. I can feel him clenching his abs, trying to hold in a laugh of his own, but it slips out. We're both picturing Yohann going on a date with Madelyn's dad, I just know it.

"Knock it off!" Madelyn hisses in my ear. I see her take the cups. She didn't drink her tea. But the edge of her cup looks like a dog's chew toy. 

Madelyn's mom clears her throat. "So you'll be five blocks away at the mall. There will be no other stops. Straight there along the agreed-upon route, and then directly home by eight."

I wipe tears of laughter from my face. "Yes. We should synchronize our watches to the grandfather clock."

I extend my wrist, making a big show of how seriously we're taking Madelyn's ridiculous curfew. I elbow Lance until he pulls up his sleeve and extends his wrist. Yohann pats his pockets. 

"I didn't bring my grandfather's pocket watch. It's only for special occasions. I mean, this is special, but I didn't, I mean, I should have brought it." 

"Yohann, relax. We've got ours. And you'll be with us. It's fine," I say.

But Madelyn's mom latches on to the flawed words.

"You are planning to stay with the group, aren't you?" She moves between us and Yohann. 

"Yes, Ma'am. Of course."

"My daughter is not to go off alone with you. She knows this. Let me be very clear about that fact."

I see tears form in Madelyn's eyes. She's probably imagining that her mom is about to call this off.

"We all know," Lance jumps in. "That's why I didn't loan you a watch. I knew you wouldn't need it because I've got mine and Riley has hers, so that's a backup. And see that, both are set exactly to the clock here. Everything is fine."

Madelyn's mom turns and takes the cups from her daughter. "I will see you in three hours and thirty-seven minutes, not a second later."






Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 


Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Limits Exist for a Reason #atozchallenge, #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter E


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 206 words

E is for Limits Exist for a Reason

Madelyn's mom turns her head so slowly toward Lance that I swear I hear her neck creak like a door in need of hinge lubricant. 

"We haven't actually met. I've seen you pawing my daughter's friend from a distance a few times. And I recognize your white Chevy Lumina in front of my house. But no, we haven't met. Lance, was it?"

The ice in my cup is about a hundred degrees warmer than Madelyn's mom.

"Yup." Lance doesn't bother to extend his hand toward her. Instead, he puts it on my shoulder. 

"When did you get your driver's license?" 

"Thirteen months ago." Technically it's been twelve and a half, but he's smart to round up.

"No accidents? No tickets?"

"My nose is clean."

Madelyn's mom steps closer to us. "And will you speed when my daughter is in the car?"

Yes, probably. But I know he won't say that.

"Limits exist for a reason. And the seatbelts in my car all work, in case that's your next question."

"Not that you'll need them, right? Because you won't be speeding or getting into any accidents."

There is absolutely no air in this room. Just frost and bad perfume.






Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 


Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Monday, April 5, 2021

D is for Decide #atozchallenge, #ShortStory

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter D


My theme for 2021 is a Young Adult short story. A double-date in the 1990s. An established teen couple sets up their best friends with each other, but it doesn't go well.


Today's word count is approximately: 308 words 

D is for Decide

Madelyn returns, still chewing the rim of her cup. Her mom's perfume enters the room five seconds before her. We didn't need to breathe, it's fine.

"Which of these boys is Yohann?"

Okay, pretend you haven't seen Lance with me before. And don't say hi or anything. No, it's fine. Whatever.

"I am, Ma'am. Pleased to meet you." Yohann extends his hand.

"Hi," I mutter, not that I expect her to acknowledge me. Just the alleged bad influence who is your daughter's only real friend. 

"A letterman jacket? Oh, that's right. You play basketball."

"Yes, Ma'am, from December to March. And baseball in the spring, from March to May." Yohann sticks his hands in his jacket pockets. Better than extended and ignored, I suppose.

She adjusts her gold pendant. "I see. Plan to play sports your whole life?"

"No, Ma'am. I hope to go to college to study business. My dad works for Dun and Bradstreet. I had a summer job there. I think it's a good fit. Just one option, of course. I understand you manage a store?"

"That's right. Part of it means hiring people. Getting to know someone in a few minutes during an interview. Decide if they're a hard worker or a thief."

I watch as sweat forms on Yohann's brow. I look over at Madelyn, hoping to signal that she needs to cut this short. She's staring at the floor. Her lips are moving. It's hard to spot behind the cup, which she's clasping with both hands, but she's praying. Her parents aren't super religious, but Madelyn prays like eighty times a day. More if there's a test. 

"That must be difficult," Yohann pulls his hands out of his pockets.

"Haven't hired a thief yet."

Lance touches the small of my back. "Well, it was nice to meet you."






Thank you for reading! 
If you're on mobile and can't see my sidebar:
My Twitter would be @PenMinion - but I'm suspended right now. I used a quote from a comedian to threaten my self-critical inner voices. I didn't know that voices in my head were protected by Twitter's TOS. But they are. And even though the comedian has a Twitter account, and the quoted joke is available as a gif on Twitter, it was still a violation of the TOS. Feel free to scroll this blog to learn more. I have several posts about it. In the meantime, never threaten inner voices of self-doubt, because you can be kicked off of social media for such an action. 


Get Stash, an app that makes investing easy. If you sign up with my link and add cash, we both get $20 of bonus stock. https://get.stash.com/jamieejv28

Jamie.Writer on Instagram


Please let me know who you are on the Master List if you're doing a to z-- I'd like to visit you too!
Have a puuuurfect day. 🐈

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Self Examination and Self Hate

Maybe there are things I don't know about myself. 

It's brought to my attention today that I might be a racist. 

Didn't know that. I thought I was opposed to racism. That I had been fighting it. But maybe not. 

I learned 5 years ago that a president can be racist. 

But what about people that don't seem racist? 

I've been laughing at Jeff Dunham since the 90s. Maybe Jose Jalapeno is racist? 🌢 I didn't think a vegetable could be. Maybe it is. Walter probably is an ageist. Peanut maybe mocks anything imaginary? Maybe all the puppets are racists. And the guy holding them? And maybe the audience is too? So maybe I've been a racist since the same age I started fighting racism? 

Maybe I've just been failing for the last 30 years. 

Maybe I'm wrong about myself. And actually know nothing about myself. And intentions don't matter. Fail, fail, fail. 


https://www.sanluisobispo.com/living/family/linda-lewis-griffith/article233084607.html

"the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others”

 “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races" 

Neither of those things describe me. Not the me that I want to be. Not the thoughts in my head. 

πŸ€” Am I laughing at Jeff Dunham's puppets for those reasons? I don't think so. But maybe I don't know.

Did you ever act overly friendly to a person of another race to make sure you didn’t seem biased?

I don't think so. Though nano has been asking me to find more diverse members. But I feel like it's weird to do *more* to find people of other races. But I don't think our current efforts are aimed specifically at any one group. 
Nope, the point of this is that I don't know myself.
Am I overly friendly when thinking about puppets? Not that I know of.

Do you have uncomfortable thoughts about a person’s race, even if you don’t verbalize them?

I don't think so. Granted, I don't have the opportunity to spend as much time with people of other races, creeds, colors, or religions anymore. Somewhat on social media. 
Is that related to the puppets? I don't think so. But I guess I don't know.

Did you ever ask someone for advice about dating a person from their race?

No. Never asked a puppet, either. And I have dated people of other races.

Did you ever make snap judgments about a person’s preferences based solely on their race or ethnicity?

Okay, guess you got me there. When it comes to certain foods, I do tend to think a person of the area the dish originated would know more about it than someone else. 

I can't blame the puppets for that.
I don't think that everyone knows how to cook dishes from the area they were raised. Not everyone cooks. 

Foodie racist. I cannot deny this.

Did you ever ask someone questions about their race, as if they were a spokesperson for all other members?


I don't think so. 
Though that does sort of go with my definition of what a sensitivity reader does. So maybe I don't know this either. 
I don't think Dunham's puppets are spokespeople for races. 
Am I meant to think that? 


Have you noticed someone’s race and behaved differently in some way because of it?

I don't think so. 
My actual cat use to do this. It bugged me. He thought my Chinese friend, Gina, was there to do his nails. And then other Eastern Asian friends came over, had the same experience. It bothered me that my cat did this. And no, he never saw me get my nails done. But sure enough, he would bring his trimmers over. 
This is not about me. And is not helping me learn, grow, or improve.

I don't think this applies to the puppets because the jokes don't change on the International tours. If they did, that would make me more suspicious. So this isn't helping.

HOW CAN I OVERCOME MY RACISM?

Pay attention to thoughts and reactions. 


Well, that is why I'm trying to improve by making this post. 

The reaction to using a Dunham joke to threaten my self-critical voices was being suspended by Twitter and having two people suggest that I'm behaving like a racist. 

I don't know what race (or creed, color, religion, or whatever) it is that I'm racist against. I firmly believe the terrorists are extremists who do not represent the whole of their religion or the people of the Middle East, who I believe are extremely diverse. 

I do enjoy mocking those who spread hate.
But now that is me.
What if terrorists don't know they're racists? 
πŸ€”
I don't know that I have any interest in concerning  myself with the thoughts or intentions of terrorists. Leaving that to judges. 

Guess I am a racist. 

I don't know.

Educate myself


So I guess I have to learn more about the puppets? I don't know that I care that much. I've watched all his specials. If another comes on Netflix I'll probably watch. And laugh.

So maybe I  am a bad person.

Engage in dialogue with people of different backgrounds

I have no intention of going around to random people "hi, can we discuss Jeff Dunham?" 

Yeah. I might be racist for preferring to discuss something more interesting. 


Know that I’m not an expert on racism. If something I’ve done or said is construed as racist, I can ask for clarification. An honest “Help me understand why that is insensitive"


Thus the blog post. Comments. People can tell me Im a shitty person for laughing at a comedian. 

Wow. This means there are more racists than I thought. 

Jeff Dunham is set to tour with Gabriel  Fluffy Iglesias. I thought Fluffy was fighting racism too. πŸ˜”

Well, shit. 

Okay, I hate myself more now. 

The world is a dark and horrible place. 

One thing I know is that if someone says you are racist, you are. Hands down. 

So I am something I hate and long to destroy. πŸ˜’ Perfect.

The inner voices are right.