The Happiest Sound I’d Ever Heard: A Short Story

crop_old_man_in_window_by_cube2_at_When I was little, there was an old man who lived down the street from me. He was the last old man living on Odds Parkway, and he clutched onto his house as flocks of spring chickens flew in from north, south, east, and west. He never left his house, just sat behind his window like a character in an art film, watching with scrutiny. On the sidewalk in front of his house, conversations were hushed and laughter stopped. Even joggers slowed down in reverence.

Around Christmas, when I was seven or eight, a new family moved in up the street. Their youngest kid was a nine-year-old boy named Seth and their oldest was a teenage guy named Charlie. Seth and I became fast friends and we used to play explorers throughout the neighborhood, turning the trees into spies and driveways into rivers of lava that would kill anyone who stepped on them. We played this game everywhere except for the old man’s sidewalk, where plants were plants and pavement was pavement. The old man would look out with eyes full of scrutiny as we tiptoed by, judging us like God might.

“Where’s your mitten?” my mother would ask as I came back home. “You had two of them when you left. Oh, here it is. Why do you always put it in your pocket? Doesn’t your hand get cold?”

The reason I put my mitten away every time I went out to play with Seth is because of something Charlie once told us. “People always take one of their gloves off when they’re at funerals,” he’d said, “but since you don’t have gloves, your mittens will do.”

“But Charlie,” Seth had whined, “we’re not at any stupid funeral.”

“The old man is always at a funeral,” Charlie had replied. “and you have to respect his funeral.”

Seth and I took in the words like they were from the Bible. We went out of our ways to respect the funeral; on top of removing one mitten each, we bowed our heads, walked in a polite line, and I think once we even brought napkins to use as handkerchiefs and dabbed them at our eyes. None of our attempts were sarcastic, although I’m pretty sure even Charlie said the napkins were over-the-top. Every day, for those five-to-ten seconds when we walked in front of the old man’s house, we would stop our pew-pew-ing and shouting and jumping and walk like a couple of kids who come from a military school.

Sometimes Charlie would walk with us, sometimes he would ride his bike in the street alongside the sidewalk, but he would always join us in our moment of respectful solemnity. At least, usually. There was one day when he brought someone with him who I’d never seen before. When I asked Seth about it, he said, “That’s Jeffery Braker. He comes over sometimes and makes Charlie do bad things.”

“Like what?” I asked, curious.

“Like say bad words,” Seth whispered like a teenager saying bad words was the secret of the century. I gasped.

“Dude, check this out,” Charlie guffawed to his friend, diving his hand into the foot of snow that had fallen the night before.

Seth’s jaw dropped. “You’re not even wearing gloves!”

“You’re not even wearing gloves,” Charlie’s friend mocked back, “Oh my freaking god Charlie, what are we gonna freaking do?” The two teenagers cracked up in a way that stabbed emotional knives deep into Seth. I could tell by the way his shoulders tensed up that he wasn’t going to let this one go.

“I know what I’m talking about!” Seth yelled. “I’m ten! His hands are gonna get cold and then he’ll be sorry!” I thought this was weird because Seth’s birthday hadn’t passed yet. But I didn’t say anything.

“I’m ten,” Charlie’s friend repeated like a half-witted parrot.

Charlie took a wad of snow and smoothed it our for at least twenty seconds until it formed an almost perfect sphere. Then he bent back his arm and threw the ball.Snowman-Snowball-Hit

Before either Seth or myself could turn around to see where the snowball had hit, we knew by the look of horror on Charlie’s face.

“Dude, you’re a freaking idiot.” And with those words, Charlie’s friend ran away from the sidewalk in front of the old man’s house.

Somewhere a dog barked. The one street lamp that was illuminating the purple dusk started flickering. Seth stated whimpering under his breath and I grabbed his hand.

The old man was not in his window.

The place where he would usually be glowering out at the world was blotted out by a perfect spot of snow.

“What have I done?” Charlie muttered.

The doorbell on the old man’s door started to twist around.

“Stay in place,” Charlie demanded. He didn’t have to; we were too scared to move.

The old man’s face peeked through a crack in the door. As the crack grew wider, more of him was exposed, down to a walker we’d never seen him use. His winter coat was bright red and his pants were khaki. As the door opened even more, he pulled a blue hat with a sports logo down over his ears.

“I thought people wore black to a funeral,” I murmured to Seth. He nodded. Neither of us took our eyes off of the old man.

“Look, I am so sorry,” Charlie pleaded across the lawn. “We were just screwing around, I never meant to–”

The old man said nothing in reply as he hobbled down the stairs. Tennis balls left round marks in the snow on his stairs that had previously gone untouched. The old man got to the bottom of the stairs and stopped walking, then, leaning heavily on one arm of his walker, bent over.

“I am so sorry,” Charlie tried again.

The old man, wearing chocolate brown mittens, reached down into the snow and carved a perfect ball out of what he pulled up. He pulled his arm back in a pitcher’s stance and, regaining his balance, whipped the snowball right into Charlie’s face.

And then the old man laughed.


So What Am I Like?

images-5That’s a good question. A very good question. And thanks for being among the first to ask it.

What I’m like is actually a pretty complicated subject. There’s not really a direct answer because it varies quite a bit, depending how open I’m willing to be, which I suppose is the beginning of the answer right there.

Some people might say I’m one of those “anime” types. I like drawing in the anime style, and I have read one manga series, and I do sort of dress the part (simply, decent but not too girly). But beyond that it doesn’t really apply to me.

Some people might say I’m an “awkward loner.” Socially awkward? Well, yes. That’s easy enough. I do spend quite a bit of time alone writing and such. And OH GOD DON’T PUT ME WITH NEW PEOPLE, OH GOD NO. But a loner? I wouldn’t say that. I have enough friends to suit me, which isn’t a million, but it’s definitely enough.

Some people might say I’m a “stupid” person. Got me there.

But here are a lot of things that summarize me.

I like to spend time on the internet. Although I’m not a fan of cat pictures (sorry cats, I hate you a little bit), the words “funny pictures” have been entered in my Google search bar more than once, usually following phrases like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” or “Lord of the Rings.”

•I consider myself a nerd. I’m not one of those people who throws on nerd glasses and claims to be a nerd. I’m a legit nerd, thank you very much. I like nerdy things. I would watch Doctor Who if I got it on TV. I’ve seen a lot of the classic 60’s Star Trek episodes. And I HATE fakers (you know who you are).

•I start a lot of books, get about five pages in and drop them.

•I have a lot of great ideas, think about them for a week and drop them.•I get halfway through some drawings, realize they suck and drop them.

•I like to paint my nails, and I have this glitter which goes really well with pink.

•I can’t stand sexist guys.

•When it comes to politics, I can get really heated although I write better than I speak (which really doesn’t say much for how I speak).keep-calm-and-hate-1d-16

•Sometimes I stutter.

•I’m not good at dealing with stress.

•I’m not good at telling people “no.”

•I’m not good at telling people “I love you” or even telling people that I consider them my “friend.”

•I don’t fit in at all with the type of people who like One Direction, and that’s probably because I hate One Direction. (I probably shouldn’t hate them as much as I do.)

•I like to make avatars. (I love tektek!)tek50cbdea4305025486394

•I love to sing.

•No I mean, I really love to sing.

•Like A LOT.

•I am currently wearing straight jeans and my favorite jacket, a turqoisey-green Forth Face (which is a fake North Face, because why spend all that money to get a brand name?), and no shoes/socks.

•My left ring finger nail is white with a glitter-y Stormtrooper on it (I used my favorite glitter!)

I can be funny if I try.

•I tend to apologize for weird things I do, like how my voice sounds or leaving tags on shirts or phrasing sentences poorly.

•I looked up “question mark image” for this post and was freaked out by all the little people sitting on/standing near question marks.

•I think people on the internet care about what I’m like.

Ciao for now,


Can Someone Explain Why People Want to Read This One Post?!

I’ve noticed that I get a lot of views on this one post.

It’s a not-particularly-well-written section of a not-particularly-well-written story that I started and only got through to ten (technically eleven, one of them was nine and a half) parts. I really don’t understand the appeal here, but clearly there is some.

For those of you who don’t really want to read the actual post, basically what happens is a girl (who has found herself on a computer chip) speaks with an obnoxious computer who seems more like a dorky kid at the back of the classroom (you know the type) than an emotionless computer just interrogating her out of duty.

A lot of these views, I’ve noticed, must come from the search term from the search engines: computer chip. What I’m wondering, though, is a. why are people looking up computer chips so much? and b. when they do, what leads them to my story instead of some helpful article on computer chips? and maybe also c. why is it part two?

Maybe for NaNoWriMo I could edit every section one by one (and continue the story, at long last…) But even then I won’t understand why this post has had over four times as many views as the runner up, a more recent and much-better-written post.

Please leave any explanation you possibly can give in the comments!

Ciao for now,


Five Things I Don’t Understand

There are a lot of things that are “cool” that I’m not sure I understand.

Hipster Mr. Potato Head had a moustache before it was cool!

1. Moustaches. I mean, sure, they’re amusing…fun to say, and they’re kind of silly…but I wouldn’t want to have plastic ones on my face, or moustache jewelry, or anything else. There’s a time when moustaches stop being fun, and just become overused. (Not at all unlike those feathers which, after everyone had put them into their hair, simply weren’t new or interesting anymore.) I feel badly for that person who decided to use moustaches as a form of self-expression, before someone else caught on and they became a fad.

2. Cat-eye glasses. Personally, I feel like these should leave their vintage stake in the 1950s. They’re not even particularly attractive; they belong in costume stores in the year 2012. I mean, it’s very nice that someone wanted to go back in time for their own self-expression, but that person should have been let be. It’s similar to the moustache deal, but it seems even more of a single-person expression than even the moustaches. Would people please stop copying strong individuals? There are only so many, and you’re making it hard to tell the difference.

3. YOLO. When people say YOLO, what they mean is “I only have one chance so I have to try everything!” Sometimes, all I hear is, “I’ve only got one life to screw up, and no other way of justification!” There are some things that you’ll regret ever trying, like smoking or anything else they always told you to avoid, and some things you will always be looked down on for doing. YOLO would make a lot more sense to me in a situation more like this:

“Tell me, why did you save starving children in impoverished third-world nations, and then give all of your profits from your touching novel to cancer research?”

“Because YOLO, that’s why.”

Apparently you’re supposed to do something utterly stupid for no reason instead of making a change in the world. (To see more on this topic click here.)

4. Modern music (or, rather, most of it). The lyrics are bad and many songs seem to contradict themselves within those lyrics, if there’s even any common theme or idea to be contradicted. There are exceptions to the rule, as there are with almost any rule, but after listening to the radio I found that there aren’t many. They’re incredibly catchy and easy to sing along to, but more often than not you wouldn’t want your children to sing along to those songs. I don’t when music went south, but someone needs to throw it out and get some fresh music before the mold spreads.

5. Body piercings. Ear piercings are okay, and to some extreme so are lip or


other facial piercings. But other piercings look painful, and aren’t always attractive. They are harder to take care of and keep clean. And sometimes, it just looks like something scary. But, I suppose, if that’s how people feel comfortable and that’s what they want to do with their body, then that’s self-expression, right? I have no place to deny the right to self-expression.

If I offended you please let me know and I will make a personal apology! I’m not used to letting myself known in such a non-subtle way!

If you liked this post you will probably also like this one.

Ciao for now,


People Are So Stupid!


I can’t believe what companies have to put on their packaging and commercials.

“Serving suggestion”–because cereal doesn’t come with a spoon and bowl.

“Do not attempt”–because I can’t do everything people do on commercials. Like fly halfway across the earth to sniff someone’s deodorant, for example.

“Enlarged to show texture”–because I thought that Cheerios were actually the size of my fist.

“Professional driver on a closed course”–because as soon as I get my luxury sports car I’m going to go drive it in the sand.

“Contents may be hot”–because I expected my hot chocolate to be cold. Never in a million years would I expect hot chocolate to be hot!

I’m not saying that the companies who put these things on their packaging are the bad guys, because they’re almost required to. I’m saying the folks who sued the companies for these stupid little things have no common sense, and maybe they should learn some. There is a gaping hole where there should instincts and things everyone knows in their brain, and it makes me wonder how many of these common-sense-less people there are in the world.