Susie our Elf toilet papered our Christmas Tree. Silly Elf!!!
An unexpected knock on the door snaps me from my daydream. In the doorway stood Tony; he looked sad and pathetic; His bandaged body barely able to maintain the balance to stand. I jump off my couch and offer a hand. “Tony, please come in.”
“I was wondering if you had seen the Runt today.” He inquired. Tony’s stance was unsteady. I was afraid he was going to fall so I motioned toward my couch.
“No, I haven’t seen the boy.” I said in reply. In the back of my mind, I was thinking how pleasant it would be if the boy never returned. “The boy’s a gutter rat.” I added, “He’s probably out causing mischief with his thieving friends.”
Tony unexpectedly took offense to me calling the boy a ‘gutter-rat’ and a thief. I probably should have said ‘he was out playing with friends’. I suck at niceties.
Tony’s demeanor changed to the defensive. He adjusted his stance and pulled away from me. “He doesn’t have friends outside of the school!” he shouted at me. “Were you going to abandon the boy if I had died?”
I stepped back. I tried not to raise my voice in return but failed in the attempt. “No one is under lock and key here. The boy is free to come and go as he pleases. Just like you and everyone else, that lives in this school. Why do you care so damn much about that gutter rat?”
Tony clamped his jaw shut. “He’s a boy. Not an animal you get to kick out into the street.
“I am not the boy’s mother or his keeper!” Before I could finish my tirade, I hear the familiar sound of oversized combat boots clomping up the 2A stairs. The Runt had returned home. I sigh as thoughts of his annoying antics fill my head.
Tony and I step into the hall to greet the infamous gutter rat.“Where have you been?” Tony and I asked at the same time.
The boy looked at us curiously as if the question was ridiculous. “With Sam” He said pointing to his little sidekick standing at the bottom of the stairs.
“Who is Sam?” Tony and I inquired in unison. We looked at each other as if to say stop asking the same questions. I stepped back to let Tony continue with the interrogation without interruption from me. After all, the boy was Tony’s problem not mine.
“My new friend.” The Runt answered.Tony looked down the stairs. “Why is he/she standing down there?” Tony asked. “Why don’t you ask your friend to come up and say hello.”
The Runt shook his head. “No, Sam doesn’t like big people.”
I looked down at Sam, The gutter-rat looked nervous as if searching for a possible escape route. I shivered as my mind filled with images of gutter-rats over-running the school.
“And where have you and Sam been?” Tony asked.
The Runt shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know…lots of places.”
“You had us worried…Where’d you get the fat lip?” the boy didn’t answer. He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say I don’t know.
Tony reached into his pocket and handed the boy a key. “There’s food in my footlocker. You know where it is. Take your friend with you. I’ll meet you down there in a little while. “
Tony and I watched as the Runt clomped down the 2A stairs in his over-sized combat boots back to his impatiently waiting little friend. The boy jumped over the last three steps and landed with a loud thud, together again the two gutter rats ran off toward Tony’s workshop.
There was a moment of awkward silence. I looked at Tony not sure what to say. He looked at me as if he wanted to say something but didn’t know how to start. Suddenly, Tony’s face turned a ghostly shade of white. He looked as if the effort to stand was quickly becoming difficult.
“Why don’t we sit…?” I urgently motioned toward the green couch that doubled as my bed. It was the most comfortable place to sit in my room. I quickly pushed my blankets and pillow aside. Tony slowly hobbled toward the couch, each step an obvious challenge. His brow covered in sweat; he looked as if he was going to pass out at any moment. I felt bad for Tony. The Central Sharks had beaten his body horribly.
“Let me help.” I took firm hold of Tony’s arm as he struggled to sit. The effort wasn’t without discomfort. His face contorted as he fell back onto the green cushions. He grabbed his bandaged side with his free hand and let out a cry of swearwords that would make a sailor blush.
I stepped over to my desk and glanced into the blue water pitcher. There was still water in the bottom. Unfortunately, I had’t replace the water for more than a day. There didn’t appear to be any floaters in the liquid so I poured a glass. “Drink this, you’ll feel better,”
Tony reached out to grab the glass with both hands. “Thank you.” He said as he sipped the water.
“You are trying to do too much too soon!” I scolded.
Tony closed his eyes and sipped more of the water. “I have responsibilities, things that need to be taken care of!”
“Surely, those things…” I put strong emphasis on the word “things” even though I didn’t know what things he was referring. “.. Can wait a few days” I replied.
Tony opened his eyes and looked over at me. Before he could reply I said, “Maybe, you should ask for help.”
Tony handed me back the glass and leaned forward in an attempt to stand. He couldn’t lift himself off the couch. “I don’t need any help.” He insisted.
“Sometimes we all need help.” I sat down next to Tony and gently patted his leg. There wasn’t anywhere else free of injury and truthfully; I was hesitant to pat there. ”The people in this school always help each other.” I added with sincerity.
Tony pushed my hand aside. “Oh, right, like the way you helped care for the Runt while I was unconscious.”
I was dumbfounded and a bit perturbed. “The boy is eight!” I replied. “Eight year-olds take care of themselves all the time. He walks, he talks and he can take a piss all by himself. I’m sure he knows where his bed is and where you keep the food storage. He’s a gutter rat for goodness sake!”
Determined to stand on his own without my assistance Tony inched his way to the edge of the couch, “He’s a boy…not vermin!” he snapped back in reply. “Why do you insist on calling him a gutter rat?”
I took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. It’s a bad habit. I know he’s a boy…what I meant to say was, The Runt can come and go as he pleases. He doesn’t need someone to hold him by the hand. No one is kicking the boy out of school.”
Tony managed to lift himself off the couch. “I gotta go…” he said as he hobbled his way back to the door.
“Let me help you get to the workshop.” I pleaded.
Tony looked over his shoulder. “Just stay here. I don’t want your help.”
From the top of the stairs, I watched as Tony precariously maneuvered his way down the stairs. He stopped to rest at the bottom and then continued on his way.
Today was fresh produce day at the farmer’s market warehouse. It should have been an easy day of shopping but it wasn’t.
After a little persuasion at breakfast, the Davis brothers agreed to be my armed escorts for the day. The boys and I traveled from one side of the market warehouse to the other in search of affordable fruits and vegetables. I shopped, purchased and haggled as Matt and Jonas kept vigilant guard over our red wagon protecting our food from the slippery fingers of the gutter rats.
The day was going good until I stopped to examine a basket full of pears and haggle with a farmer. That’s when chaos broke out. Xavier and his goons enter the market with the grace of a bull and started knocking over tables and stealing food from vendors. It only took a moment for the orderly crowd to turn dangerous.
Like a bulldozer, Xavier shoves his way through the crowd. He picks up a slow moving gutter rat and tosses her to the side. Not expecting a flying child, people fall to the ground like pins in a bowling alley. Xavier grabs a basket of tomatoes and tosses it to one of his goons. The proprietor isn’t pleased and yells “THIEF!” Xavier flips the man’s table and punches him in the face.
“Keep an eye on our wagon!” I shout to Matt and Jonas. The Davis brothers attempt to maneuver us through the crowd and out of the warehouse but fighting delays our progress. A sneaky gutter-rat takes advantage of the bottleneck at the doors and reaches into our wagon. He steals one of our cucumbers. Jonas grabs the little thief by the scruff of his collar and retrieves the vegetable. From the expression on Jonas’ face, the gutter rat must have smelled like road kill. For a moment, I thought Jonas was going to puke.
Pulling the red wagon, Matt reaches safety first. Jonas not far behind grabs me by the arm.
“This way!” he shouts as he pulls me out of the warehouse.
The Central Sharks managed to start a gang war on the grounds of the produce market. It makes no sense. Why can’t they haggle like everyone else? In an attempt to end the fighting, Sheriff Pete and his Posse of deputies release several canisters of tear gas into the crowd.
“Why do the Sharks have to be such butt heads?” I snapped at the Davis brothers.
I was frustrated. I have always hated the unexpected; it throws me off balance. I grabbed the red wagon from Matt and started walking across the grass median toward home; a subtle clue to the Davis brothers that I needed them to do what they do best.
“Let’s go home….Protect our wagon at all cost!” I ordered. I probably should have said “please” but it didn’t occur to me to add a pleasantry.
“Don’t we always?” Matt replied sarcastically. The look in his eyes said he was getting irritated with me and feeling very under appreciated.
Jonas rolled his eyes and readied his weapon. Attempting to sound like Mr. T, he says, “I pity the fool that tries to steal from us.” The attempt at humor made me laugh. Matt wasn’t amused.
Brandishing their weapons, Matt and Jonas flanked the red wagon. The walk home should have only taken a few minutes. Unfortunately, the gang war the Central Sharks started inside the market spread to the surrounding neighborhood. We watched Sheriff Pete and his outnumbered posse of deputies attempt to intervene and stop the fighting but their efforts were mostly unsuccessful.
The road home was dotted with several unexpected road obstacles and route changes. Several of the local gangs were firing guns at each other. The three of us spent a great deal of travel time huddled behind trash dumpsters and broken down abandoned vehicles. Matt was faithfully guarding the wagon but I could tell he was thirsting for a fight. I could see it in his eyes. Jonas would have blindly followed his brother. I couldn’t let that happen. I punched Matt in the shoulder. “Stay focused, Matthew. I would like to make it home alive!”
Matt gave me an evil glare. If I had been a man, he would have punched me or shot me in the head.
By the time, the Davis brothers and I stepped onto the front lawn of the school, JT, Evan, Tristan and Mia had returned from Wolf Valley. They were unloading the newly acquired winter fuel. The expressions on their faces and bounce in their steps indicated their journey had gone well. It was a relief. I had been worried they would run into the red hyenas or some other gang looking for a fight.
“Evan!” I yelled from across the lawn. “How’d it go?
”Good…” he replied as he continued to unload. “No troubles at all…I think we got enough fuel to last us through the winter.”
My decision to send people to Wolf Valley instead of fighting the Central Sharks was a good one.
“Nice job!” I replied joyfully. “I knew you guys could do it.”
I looked at Matt and snidely remarked, “See, fighting isn’t always the answer.”
Matt stowed his weapon and pointed a finger at me. I had hit a nerve. He was pissed. “You know what…,” he said. The look in his eyes suggested he really wanted to rip me to shreds with his bare hands. “…the next time, you need armed escort don’t come looking for us.”
Matt slapped his brother on the back. “Let’s go Jonas. Madie can unload the red wagon all by her high and mighty self.”
I need to work on my people skills. I wanted to say “I’m sorry…I’ve been a horrible person today.” but I couldn’t get the words to come. I just stood there holding the handle of the red wagon feeling like an ass.
We moved Tony from the workshop to the admin hall a couple days ago. I thought my friend was going to die. People have been sitting at his bedside in four-hour shifts. Last night was my turn. Thankfully, he slept soundly and chose not to die on my watch. As of this morning, he is no longer a shade of death gray.
My shift as nursemaid was ending when Tony opened his eyes. For a moment, he looked confused and lost. I don’t think he remembers moving from the workshop to the admin hall. “What day…time is it?” he inquired as he struggled to sit up.
I yawned and gave a big stretch. “It’s almost 6 am and…it’s Friday. You really should try not to move too much.”
Tony took a deep breath and grabbed his left side before groaning in agreement. “Been here long?” he asked.
“My shift started at 2am”. I reached for the water pitcher sitting on the crate next to his cot. “Marty, Gretchen and Cecelia will be here soon. Want a drink?”
Tony winced in pain as reached for the glass of water; “Thank you,”
“Where’s the Runt?” he inquired as he motioned I could take the glass. He tried to reach his arm out but couldn’t. It was so sad watching him struggle to move.
I thought back and tried to remember. The last couple of days had been hectic. The Runt’s absence was a bit puzzling. Keeping up with the boy had not been high on my list of priorities. When had I seen him last? When I cooked the eggs?
“Not certain, but I’m sure he’s around somewhere. The boy rarely gives me a moment’s peace.”
Tony smiled and said, “The boy likes you”.
For the record, I said, “The boy does not like me. He’s a demon child. He never sleeps. He aggravates me day in and day out.” I was getting ready to list several more examples of the Runt’s evilness when Marty, Gretchen and Cecelia stepped into the room.
I looked at the trio. “I think he’s better.”
Marty nodded his head in agreement “So it seems.”
I kissed Tony on the top of his head. “I’m going to get a couple hours of sleep before the Runt decides to pound on my door. I leave you in safe hands. If I see the boy, I’ll tell him you’re awake.”
Thoughts of slumber quickly filled my head as I walked down the 2A hall toward my bed. I walked most of the way toward my room with my eyes closed but stumble into a water fountain. As I stopped to rub my knee, I caught a glance at the community bulletin board. Someone added a new flier. In big red letters were the words “Armistice Festival”.
If I hadn’t been so tired, I would have been more enthusiastic about the message. The event is always held in and around Liberty Park. The invite includes everyone in the local area. I love the Armistice Festival; it’s a reprieve from the madness. As a sign of goodwill, the local gangs lay down their weapons. For three days, all fighting stops, disputes between rivals put aside for another day or forgotten all together.
I was unaware John Thomas walked up behind me; I was staring at the flier as happy thoughts of last year’s event filled my head.
“Are you going?” JT said as he reached out to touch my shoulder.
Not fully hearing the question but the touch of a possible intruder, I spun around and threw a punch. John Thomas ducked, “Hey, it’s me!” he cried out as he deflected a second blow.
“JT, why the crap are you sneaking up on me?”
“I didn’t sneak! I’m on guard duty.” He said as he waved his flashlight around as proof of his duties.
“I noticed you were staring at the poster and stopped to see if you were going?”
“I’m sorry,” I said apologetically. “I hope I haven’t given you a bruise.”
JT snapped his flashlight onto his belt. “It’s OK, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Falling onto my bed for a few hours of slumber sounded more and more appealing with every step I took toward my room. I reached for my doorknob and realized I hadn’t asked JT if he had seen the Runt. I quickly turned around and looked down the hall; JT was already out of site. For a split second, I thought of running after him but the pull to my bed was stronger than the pull to find out if the ex gutter-rat was still breathing and causing mischief. It was almost time for sunrise, a cue for all devil children it was time to start wreaking havoc. If the gutter rat were around, he would undoubtedly make his presence known soon enough.
I step into my room, kick the door closed behind me, and fall onto my awaiting bed.
Matt, Jonas, Lisa and I took refuge in this abandoned school a few years back to escape the fighting and bloodshed on the streets. In less than a year, our little gang of misfits grew from four members to twelve.Today, we have 28 active members, plus a few other drifters that hang around from time to time. As a member of the original four, I was unanimously elected leader. There was no fighting or posturing for the role of leader; No one else wanted the responsibilities.
I try to make good sound decisions for the good of us all. The only person who ever opposes these decisions is Matt. Sometimes, I think he creates dissension for the fun of it. Today was no exception.
“Thanks for coming! I said as I welcomed everyone to the meeting. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I only have one thing on the agenda today. The Central Sharks have taken our winter fuel. We need to replace what we’ve lost. I’m looking for volunteers. I need three or four people to travel to Wolf Valley. “
In a display of “I am king of the warriors”, Matt interrupted the meeting by jumping on top of a center table. “Why travel all the way to Wolf Valley? We know where our fuel is. Xavier has it.” He raised a fist into the air. “Let’s take back what’s ours!”
To my dismay, the calm silent room broke into cheers of “Fight!. .Fight!.. FIGHT!” with a majority of the people agreeing with Matt. “Wait!..Stop!.. QUIET!” I yelled.
I attempt to bring everyone back to reality. “Who hasn’t seen what the Central Sharks did to Tony? He’s one of our best fighters. The sharks almost turned him into hamburger. Most of us in this room couldn’t fight our way out of a paper bag! You’re all idiots with a death wish! Every one of Xavier’s goons is twice the size of our biggest man.”
I took a deep breath. my face felt like it was on fire. I was probably a bright shade of red. “I know everyone wants to pummel Xavier and take back what’s ours. I want that too! However, we are not strong enough. Sheriff Pete stopped by for a visit. He promised me he would take care of Xavier and his goons.”
Jonas stepped forward in support of his brother. “What’s the Sheriff going to do? Slap Xavier on the hand and say play nice with others?” Everyone in the room laughed. I wanted to laugh too but I was trying to be serious.
I looked around the room and stared into the faces of my friends. “I don’t know what Sheriff’s Pete’s plans are. He didn’t say but risking the lives of everyone in this school is stupid. We don’t need to fight the Central Sharks. We can travel to Wolf valley and replace the fuel.”
Marty spoke up “Wolf Valley is nearly 8 miles from here; Longer, if we travel around the Red Hyena territory instead of going through it.“
“Look, I know it’s a pain and inconvenient.” I jumped up on the table next to Matt. “If it was any other gang I would say, “Let’s fight and take back what’s ours.”
“Why don’t we fight?” Matt said in reply.
“Because…if we fight one or more of us will die. I don’t want to die. Do you want to die, Matthew?” I asked as I stepped up face to face to my good friend.
“Why don’t we vote on it?” Cecelia said from across the room.
“Yes, why don’t we vote on it, Madeline?” Matt said in reply.
I stepped away from Matt and throw up my hands. “Fine, we’ll vote.” “Everyone who wants to fight the Central Sharks in a fight to the death raise your hands.”
Matt, Jonas and a few reluctant others raised their hands into the air. JT counted aloud and wrote the number 6 on the black board.
I smiled and cleared my throat. “All those in favor of making a trip to Wolf Valley please raise your hands” I looked at the sea of hands and smiled at Matt.
“It looks like I am going to need those volunteers.”
Matt, Jonas and a couple of their supporters stormed out of the room.
I dreamt a wonderful dream. For a moment, all my troubles were gone. I was home safe in my parent’s house: no drama, no struggle to survive. I lie on my bed snuggling between clean fresh sheets, enjoying the laziness of the day. My mom sang to the radio as she cooked her famous buttermilk biscuits, eggs, sausage and gravy. My dad drank coffee and pretended to read the morning newspaper as he watched my mom cook. My mouth watered as I waited for mom to say, “Boo Bear, come down to eat.”
The Runt interrupted my dream before the invitation to eat. At the first opportunity, the boy dies. Wearing his over-sized combat boots, the little pest stomped up and down the 2A hall singing my name. “Madie…Madie…Madie.”
I pulled my mom’s quilt over my head and try to ignore the noise.
“MADIE…I’M HUNGRY!” the boy yelled as he pounded his fists on my door.
“Go eat a POTATO!” I yelled from the comfort of my bed “I’m not your MOTHER!”
“But I don’t like potatoes!” he responded. “I want eggs!” His whiny voice sounded pathetic and needy. Tony caters to the boys every need and treats the gutter-rat as if he were a helpless toddler. The boy’s neediness drives me crazy.
I climbed out of bed, flung open my door and leaned into the boy’s face. “I DON”T CARE! Gutter-rats don’t get to be choosy; especially ones that enjoy disturbing my sleep. Now go away and leave me alone!” I gave the boy a stern look before adding, “Disturb me again and YOU DIE!”
Before I could close the door, I hear a familiar voice say “Mornin’, Sunshine.” It was Sheriff Pete.
Pete and his Posse of deputies do their best to keep lawlessness on this side of town to a minimum, a difficult task considering the circumstances.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. It was later than I thought “Afternoon Pete, How you been?”
“I’m well. Sounds like you’re off to a cheerful start.”
I rolled my eyes and motioned for Pete to come in. “Better arrest me know ’cause I’m gonna kill that boy someday. What brings you to our humble school?”
Pete stepped into the room and sat on the edge of my desk. “JT stopped by my jail, said you guys had some unwanted visitors.”
“It was the Sharks.They beat up Tony and took most of our winter fuel.”
“I heard. Stay away from Xavier and his goons. Don’t confront. Don’t retaliate. They are too big and too dangerous.”
I rubbed my eyes and ran my hands through my tangled hair. I wanted to disagree with Pete but I knew he was telling the truth. We would fail miserably in a one on one fight against the Central Sharks. Except for Matt, his brother Jonas, Tony who lies dying and a couple of others, our fighting skills are lacking.
“I’ll hold a meeting and ask everyone to keep their distance.”
Pete walked toward the door. “Tell your gang, my Posse and I will take care of Xavier.”
I waved goodbye to Pete as I imagine myself plunging a knife deep into Xavier’s chest as the rest of my gang of misfits vanquish his goons.
Still hungry, the Runt returns to my room holding four eggs he stole from the farmers market. “If you cook these, I’ll share.”
I couldn’t turn down the boy’s offer. I hadn’t seen or eaten an egg in weeks.
The Central High Sharks broke into our school in the early morning hours.
The Runt came running up the 2A stairs, stomping in his over-sized combat boots yelling, “Get up, Get up… Madie…Madie!”
The boy is a constant nuisance. I never know when he is telling the truth. I slid deeper beneath my bed covers and tried to ignore the commotion.
“MADIE…PLEASE!” the boy yelled as he banged on my door.
The boy likes to cry wolf. Expecting another false alarm, I threw open my door and grab the little pest by his arm. I squeezed hard in an attempt to cause the boy pain. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
JT and Evan occupy the room next to mine. Irritated with the frequent nightly disruptions, they stepped up behind the boy holding a rope and masking tape. One word from me and they would have hog-tied the boy and tossed him into a rat infested dumpster.
“Can we not lock him in a closet somewhere?” Lisa begs from her doorway.
A dozen others agreed with whistles and grunts of irritability. Three nights this week, the boy has woken everyone up before dawn.
“Tony’s hurt!” The 8 year old sobbed.
A fix-it man by trade, a drifter from New Jersey, Tony lives in the school’s workshop, he spends his day fixing whatever we break.
I looked deep into the boy’s eyes for any indications the dramatics on display were a fake. “What happened to Tony?”
The Runt wiped his tears and runny nose on his shirtsleeve several times, “The Sharks beat him up!”
The Sharks live in the Central High School. Xavier is their leader. A former celebrity and wrestling champion; I remember the excitement when he moved into the neighborhood. The admiration didn’t last long. Xavier is cruel; killing one of his favorite past times. For sport, he has his goons use people as punching bags.
“Where is Tony?” I demanded. The Runt was crying so hard I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. The more he sniffled and wiped his nose on his shirt the more irritated and impatient I became.
I grabbed the boy by his shoulders “Stop crying! Where- is -Tony?”
From previous experience, I knew if Tony was hurt, he was hurt bad. The Sharks didn’t leave people a little injured. They left people dead or on the brink of death.
The Runt took a deep breath and pointed, “… in the workshop.”
I shoved the boy into my room. “Stay put!”
I took a moment to gather my thoughts. I looked around at my friends. “Spread out and look for the intruders. Capture the sharks by any means necessary… and feel free to break some bones!”
The Davis brothers could read me like a book. Before I could say, “grab your weapons” Matt and Jonas were at my side, ready to kick shark butt.
The Sharks were gone by the time the three of us arrived in the workshop. Tony’s neat and tidy work-space resembled the aftermath of a tornado. The sharks broke what they could, threw tools around the room and knocked over benches. The winter fuel we stored in the utility shed, stolen.
We found Tony slumped against the far wall, beaten but in good humor. It’s the Calvary!” Tony joked as he spit out a mouth full of blood.
Matt and Jonas went in search of a first aid supplies as I squatted down next to my broken friend to assess his injuries. “Did you have to fight them? Sometimes running away is a better option.”
Tony rolled his eyes “thanks for the advice but they didn’t give me an option… Where’s the runt?”
Tony found the Runt curled up on the steps of the school one morning. The boy was starving and near death. Out of the goodness of his heart, he took the boy in and nursed him back to health. To my dismay the Runt decided to make our school his home instead of running away the moment he was healthy and rejoining the rest of the gutter-rats.
“He’s in my room” I sighed. “He’s safe.”
Happy Birthday. Robert Picardo as the Doctor, the Starship Voyager’s emergency medical hologram
A sentient android, Data has chosen to explore the human condition as a member of StarFleet in “Tin Man”
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek
Walter Koenig as Ensign Chekov in Star Trek
I was so excited about finding the diary at the mall; I ran all the way home to the school. The small things in life bring me joy these days. Sadly, everyone I wanted to see was out; which is unusual. I started to wonder if I had forgotten to be somewhere.
I ran up the steps to the second floor and into the admin offices to find a guard on duty. I found no guard but the resident hamster spinning in his cage.
“Mr. Hamster, I don’t suppose you know where everyone has gone?” The hamster gave no reply but continued to spin.
“Fine, don’t answer me!”
I stepped into the hall and yelled “Is anybody home?” The silence was deafening. In my head, crickets were chirping.
My next stop was the media center, the Stewarts were always home. No stranger couple of three has ever existed. Marty and Gretchen have competing IQs. Their genius stirs conversation way above my level of understanding. Cecelia has a knack for fashion and organizing things. She is not very brainy but in true motherly fashion holds the little family together.
The Stewarts prefer to keep to themselves but I knocked anyway, waited a moment and knocked again. I started to knock a third time when Marty answered the door with an irritated look on his face.
“Can I help you?” He inquired. His face had the look of “Why the hell are you bothering us?”
Cecelia and Gretchen peeked around Marty’s shoulders and in unison sad, What do you want?” There are days when I get no respect at all but I wasn’t going to be persuaded to leave without sharing.
I held up my diary. ” I found this at the mall and it only cost 2 batteries and a bouncy ball!” I was so excited to share my find I started dancing in the hall.
Marty looked down his freckled nose at me and shook his head. “You were robbed.”
I was going to defend my bartering skills when the media center door slammed shut.
Today has been a good day. I found a new diary. This one!!! I’ve been writing my thoughts on random pieces of paper I plucked from the trash. It’s a horrible way to write. Keeping track of the assortment of papers is nearly impossible.
The mall grounds were crowded today. I think every gang and solitary drifter from who knows how far away gathered to trade. Fighting was minimal considering the number of people that were haggling over junk. As usual, makeshift kiosks and an assortment of tables lined the rows of the parking lot. The moment I stepped into the crowd the putrid stench of gutter-rats attack my nose. The smelly thieves were everywhere. Cunning and sneaky, the little pests hunt in well-organized packs.
Shortly after I started browsing the tables a commotion caught my attention. At the end of my row was an overturned table and a girl on the ground holding a crying baby. I put my hands in my pockets and backed away. I knew it was a trick by the gutter-rats, I have seen this particular act of drama before. Without a doubt dirty hands entered the pockets of several unsuspecting bargain hunters today. I’ve been a victim of their pilfering in the past but not anymore I’m wise to their mischievous ways.
Several rows of tables later I spy a diary with a key lock. I joyfully grabbed the book from the table.
The proprietor of the table was a skinny boy of 16 or 17. “Watcha gotta trade?” he inquired as he straightened his baseball cap. Without a doubt, the boy thought he would take me for everything I own.
I reach into my pocket and pull out the two batteries I won in a poker game a few nights back. “I’ve got these!” I tried to sound enthusiastic with my offer. Please note, I don’t excel in acting. I don’t have much of a poker face either.
The boy looked at the batteries and rolled his eyes. “You’re offerin two batteries?” He snatched the book from my hands. “No deal!”
I took a deep breath and retrieve a small bouncy ball from my pant’s pocket. “How about this?” I bounced the ball on the ground a couple of times. “You could bounce this all day and never get bored.”
The thought of not getting the diary send a pain into my stomach. “what’s a boy going to do with a diary, anyway?”
In the end, I successfully bartered. You are perfect. A bit scratched and worn but none of your pages has a mark.
My daughter is working on her idea of Nala from the Lion King as a Disney Princess.
It’s been four years since my world fell apart. I remember the chaos as if it were yesterday. The craziness started with the evening news mentioning several patients at the local hospital were sick with a respiratory virus. A day or two later, my father came home from work and said the hospital was under quarantine.
My friends and I didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation. We jumped for joy when school administrators closed our school because of illness. I loved my teacher Mrs. Schmidt but thrilled to be free of homework for at least a week. I never did return to school.
My name is Ghent. I remember nothing prior to the time of my awakening; during my first conscious moments, my mind attempted to search for answers. I was not afraid but lost in blankness; there were no images to retrieve, no clue to my predicament. Limited to a space no larger than a casket, movement was minimal; I used my hands to search for a button or a lever that would allow escape from my captivity. While blindly searching the walls, a light above my head began to flash and change in color from red, to yellow, to green. The hatch released allowing external air to rush in; the sudden change in air pressure caused my lungs to take a series of unexpected deep breaths. The inhalation of fresh air was invigorating. I reached out and pushed the hatch aside. My first images of freedom were a metal grey ceiling lined with pipes and recessed lighting. Curious about my surroundings coupled with the desire to flee my confinement I sat up. To my surprise, I was not alone.
A room of strangers, both male and female from various places of origin, we looked at each other uncertain what to say. When words were finally spoken the language unfamiliar but recognizable to all. My first attempts to speak in retrospect were comical. I started and stopped sentences several times in an attempt to fix the malfunction in my brain. The words in my head English but what springs forth from my mouth is not.
I look around nothing is familiar. A placard on the wall suggests we are in a place called Dannick. None of us remembers entering the pods; our minds blank in regards to past events. Attempts to brain storm for answers ineffective; our imaginations run wild with possibilities. We can only speculate as to how, when or why our destinies collided in this place.
Our matching jumpsuits suggest we are members of a group possibly inmates or an elite band of warriors. I prefer to think we are the later or something comparable in respectability. I do not wish to be a criminal.
Collectively we decided to explore our surroundings. I suggest we are on a military vessel or in the deep dark depths of a research facility or possibly a fallout shelter; although a logical reason for being in either of those places is not apparent. I step toward the only door leading out of the room; it slides open. Two armed guards prevent my exit. The guards looked as if they were ready to shoot anyone that stepped out of line. I step away from the door.
Captain Addison enters the room; with all the joy of a proud father and exclaims “Welcome to the Dannick!” He called us recruits and congratulated us on finding our way here. My mind is confused. I try to remember what I have forgotten, to make sense of my circumstance. Captain Addison makes it sound as if we are here by choice. He seems nice enough but I feel as if all is not what it seems. I am a recruit for this vessel but something deep within says I do not belong here.
so I….theres this hot men with babies tumblr..and we were on a star trek kick before our Sherlock phase….and my ovaries exploded…
I’ve never drawn so many humanoids…or added so many filters….soo..many…filters. The Grayson family is very illogical.
P.S. I am not uploading tomorrow.
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Star Trek Voyager “the Thaw”
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