Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fanciful and Unfounded XI

Journal Assignment #11: Thanksgiving Vignettes

Complete a story made up of interlocking vignettes. Think Paris je t'aime-Professor Brink


Alexa might go home for Thanksgiving.  Then again she might not.  She ponders this while alternatively placing and removing items into and from her suitcase.  The gray case is open on her pink comforter.  A pile of possible clothes lie in a tangle next to it.
            “I know my mom misses me,” She thinks, placing a pair of rolled up jeans in the suitcase and pressing it against one side. Then, “I’m not sure if I am truly ready to engage in a conversation on my love life with my mom’s work friend -- again.”  Out comes a pair of wool socks.  “Maybe I could just spend it with my dad and his dog Jasper,” that would be low-key she convinces herself.  She folds a red sweater and places it next to the already-packed jeans.  But then, it’s never just him.  Last year, he did a pig roast for Thanksgiving and the party of one hundred overwhelmed his house.  Out come the jeans.
            “Maybe I’ll just visit each of them for a little bit,” Alexa thinks, overturning her suitcase and watching the sweater drop to the carpet.


Sylvie knows family is family and even if you don’t understand them, or don’t agree with their political beliefs, you always have to be home with them on Thanksgiving.  The idea of staying at school was inconceivable.  On the train, headed home, Sylvie’s breath was quick and shallow as she thought about making small talk with her tea-party uncle.  She felt her stomach ache as she thought about the hours of reluctant bonding with her sister who is mesmerized by cosmetics and frat parties.  In an attempt to regain a more homeostatic state, Sylvie began to play Solitaire on the tray table.  Moments in, body slumped against the window, eyes closed, breath deep: she slept.
The warm foyer is invaded by Sylvie and Alexa.   The call button is pressed by Sylvie’s leather-gloved hand.  
            “Hello,” a deep voice answers.
            “Hi, Jamie!  It’s us,”  Alexa calls.
            “I don’t know who you are. Sorry,”  The voice continues in mock-seriousness.
            “That’s okay,” Alexa says, “ I think I may still have his key.”  As she is searching, the door is buzzed open and Sylvie rushes to pull the bronze handle.  Up two flights of stairs, the door has been left slightly ajar.  
            “I figured I’d let you in if you were just going to break in anyway,” Jamie is saying, coming over to the door.  
            “I’m sure Rutgers would have let us in.”  Alexa says, haughtily pulling off her boots and padding over the fish’s golden enclosure.  Jameson and Sylvie’s critical glance follows her, and then returns to each other.  
“Let me get that,” Jameson says, he is scrambling to take Sylvie’s coat.  
            “Oh!  Thank you!” She says.  She typically does not like men to do things like that for her.  But this feels nice.
            “Come over here!  I want to show you my turkey,”  Jameson takes large quick steps over to the stove’s range, where a turkey is cooling.  Sylvie sees the crisp, dark, caramel skin and sucks in her breath.  She reaches for Jameson’s hand.
            “That looks great,” she says earnestly, looking into his eyes.  Jameson leans toward her and says,
“New Haven, next stop New Haven, any passengers for New Haven collect your belongings and proceed to the doors.”  Sylvie started upright, swept the cards from her tray table, clasped the handle of her suitcase and proceeded to the nearest door.


"Honestly all I know about cooking meat comes from my dad’s pig roasts,”  Alexa offered from the brown leather chair where she was reading Jameson’s copy of Dwell magazine.  Jameson crouched by the oven, hand in a dog shaped cooking mit, and settled back onto his haunches.  Then he lept up.  
“Interesting,” Alexa intoned as Jameson tore across the apartment in the apron that was part of his inheritance.  He searched systematically.  He picked up and examined only red-covered books.  Finally, something caught his eye, and he moved toward the makeshift, mahogany table like a cat stalking a bell-filled ball.  Then he pounced, easing a book out from one of the towers that supported the tabletop.  
            He sauntered back to the oven, flicking languidly through the book’s pages.  The cat had his prey, and was now only toying with it.  He sat down cross-legged in front of the oven and opened the book with precision.
            Alexa caught a flash of the book’s cover from her perch.  Memories rushed back to her.  A woman with dark, curly hair wearing a white, pin-tucked apron.  She was singing along to Etta James and swearing indiscriminately in both English and French, “Shit!  Putain!” she uttered as she eased a roasted turkey out of the oven.  Setting the bird on the stove’s range, she unclipped a pen from the neck of her apron, and brought it to her teeth to uncap.  Holding the cap between her teeth, she swiveled to face the cookbook.  “Menteur!” She spat, scribbling  “You said four hours at 325!  Hah!  I say 20 minutes at 500 then 450 for 1 hour and 40 minutes.” She continued to amend the recipe as she saw fit.  “There!” she said sighing happily.  
“À table!” She sang, summoning us to the leaf strewn dinner table for Thanksgiving.  Jameson and Alexa, ages 9 and 7, ran clumsily to the table from our hiding place in the kitchen.  Jameson’s father  sauntered to the table holding a copy of Publisher’s Weekly, which he deposited on the coffee table.  He kissed Emily on the cheek.  
            As Alexa watched Jameson read, she felt a sudden calm.  If anyone knew the definitive-- and least swear-inducing-- way to roast a turkey, it was Emily Grey.

I’m pretty happy with this.  I don’t know if they form a cohesive whole, though.  I really wanted to make it clear that the character of “Jameson” has lost his parents, without being too abrupt about it.

Bon appetit!

I don’t remember any such dreams.  This relationship that you’ve invented between Jameson and me is starting to make me feel uncomfortable.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fanciful and Unfounded X

Journal Assignment #10: The Date That Wasn’t

Instead of a free-write for this assignment, choose a previous assignment and expand!  Tell it from a different viewpoint, give it a different setting, change a major plot-point.  What is different?  What stays the same?  Explore.  - Professor Brink
I asked a girl out.  I asked a girl out then I couldn’t find my other shoe.  I stumbled around my bedroom searching for it.  How can a shoe hide when there is nothing to hide behind?  At last I saw the leather sole peaking out from under the valence.  I shook my yellow curtain, the brown shoe came tumbling to the ground.  After waiting a full month to end up on a date with Sylvie, I had been fully prepared to go shoeless.  I surveyed myself as I left my room.
Sweater?  Check.
        Pants?  Check.
        Shoes? Barely.  I pulled at the laces.
        Wallet?  Check.
        Phone?  Not in that pocket.
        Phone?  Not there, either.
I didn’t really need it.  The most important thing was getting there.  I knew Sylvie would meet me at the theater.  And Sylvie was always early.  Early! What if she was waiting for me?  I glanced at my watch. The shoe search may have taken more time than I anticipated.  2:12.  The silver hands were resolute, and they ticked on. The movie—a screening of The Wizard of Oz courtesy of the “Throwback Thursday” promotion of the local theater— was at 2:30.  It was a matinee, as Sylvie had requested.  Why are matinees so early?  I sprinted out of my apartment and down two flights of stairs and down the street.  
Somehow I arrived at the theater before her.  I surreptitiously wiped the sweat from my forehead and slowed my breathing before she arrived.  Through the window I saw her blond head first.  Bobbing along.  I really liked the way Sylvie walked.  She had a quick, efficient tread that could easily match my longer stride despite our height difference.  But she was walking a little slower this time, and I wondered if she was caught behind someone.  When the crowd in front of her turned down another street, she kept the same, slowed pace.  She was slowed by a companion, not a crowd: Alexa.
What was Alexa doing here?  I shot her a questioning glance.  She saw me and frowned.
“There he is!” Sylvie provided.  She waved at me.  “Hey, Jameson!  Sorry we’re late, there was some trouble with fifteen chickens in the dorm.”   Her cheeks were flushed, as always, and her eyes sparkled.  As she rushed toward me I felt something in me jump.  While I wondered about the chickens and about Alexa’s presence, mostly I was just excited to see Sylvie.  
“Hi, Sylvie!”  I said, looking in to her blue eyes.  Then, “Hey Alexa?” I said, attempting to ascertain the reason for her presence by my tone alone.
“Hey, Jamie,” Alexa hesitated.  She looked from Sylvie to me and back and forth again.  I recognized the gesture as my own.  Alexa did not know!  She was as caught of guard as I was.  
“Well, what are we waiting for?  Let’s get our tickets and a good seat!”  Sylvie grabbed Alexa’s sleeve and drew her into the theater, encouraging me to follow.  
Sylvie seemed to have trouble realizing that, at showing of an old movie on a Thursday afternoon, there was no one to claim our seats against.  She also seemed to have trouble understanding the concept of a date and how they generally only involve two people.  Sylvie who was such a know-it-all in Art History was suddenly out of her depth.  How could I hold this against her, I thought, spying a new fantasy novel peaking out of her brown leather bag as she led Alexa into the theater.
I followed the girls to the ticket counter where, to my chagrin, Sylvie and I paid separately.  Alexa got popcorn.  I followed Sylvie into the empty theater, then to three seats precisely in the center of that theater.  I felt a smile tug at my lips as I observed that Sylvie’s natural pull to the center of rooms was not restricted to lecture halls.  While I typically size up a room to find the best seat,  Sylvie appeared to navigate by instinct alone though the dimming theater.   
Besides the price of matinees, something I enjoy about them is that, especially on Thursdays, the theater is typically empty.  This fact was alluring when I was under the impression that it would only be Sylvie and me.  Now it wasn’t.  As we filed into the row, I glanced at Alexa.  She was deeply involved with her popcorn, but her wide eyes revealed her acute awareness of the situation.
Sylvie, oblivious, sat between Alexa and me.  She was enthralled by the sensational and colorful adventures of Dorothy on the yellow-brick road.  I watched her more than the movie, as she sang along with the songs and turned to each Alexa and me to smile and make a joke.  There were so many moments when I wanted to grab her hand.  Unfortunately, when she wasn’t gesticulating, her resolute courtesy kept her hands in her lap.
Next time, I thought.  I settled into my seat to watch the flying monkeys and decided that next time I would make my intentions more clear.  For now, this was perfect.

I'm trying to change the style a bit with the change of "voice." I hope that this was successful, but I might have to learn to step back a bit. A bientôt! Alexa

Poor Jamie. Does he know the words that you put into his mouth?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fanciful & Unfounded IX

Journal Assignment #9: In Which Sylvie is Blind

Write a story in which the main character desperately needs to clean his/her room.
- Professor Brink
I needed to clean my room.  It was a fact that had been communicated to me by my RA.  Noting the dirty plates lining the floor and the cookie crumbs on my desk, my RA informed me that I was now in violation of the health code.  Normally I am not threatened by such empty citations, but last night I heard scurrying sounds, which might not have been from the pipes overhead.  So I had decided that today was the day that the mouse buffet ended, and I regained my coveted status as sole mammal residing in room 513.
I had just turned on my boy band Pandora station and armed myself with rubber gloves and a dustbuster, when I heard a knock on my mostly closed door.  I vacuumed my way over, and opened it.
“Hey!  Jameson asked me to see a movie a few days ago, and I totally forgot to tell you.  The Foxy is showing a bunch of old movies today.  Most of them look pretty good.  Do you want to go?”  Sylvie asked from my doorway.
I quickly abandoned my armaments and settled on the hall floor with her as we scrolled through the list of movies on her laptop.
“I say we go with Bringing Up Baby.”
“Why?” asked Sylvie.
“It has Cary Grant and a leopard.”
“Anyway,” Sylvie said slowly, contemplating, “Are you sure you don’t want to see The Wizard of Oz?  Glorious Technicolor splendor,” she promised.
“Nien.  Leopards.  I stand firm.”
“It seems like your choices are seeing a movie with me and Jameson, or cleaning your room.  So honestly, beggars,” she paused for effect, “cannot be choosers.”
“You’re right.  I will see whatever you want.  As long as it doesn’t involve vacuum cleaners.  They disturb me.”
“Well since The Brave Little Toaster isn’t an option, I think you’re safe.”
The conversation continued in this vein until it was time for us to leave.
When we finally arrived at the movie theater, I spotted Jamie though the window.  I waved, but he was looking past me towards Sylvie.
“Hi Jameson!” Sylvie called out, rushing up to him.   He was holding a bunch of sunflowers and wearing grey pants and a navy crewneck sweater.   He looked better than usual.  Cleaner.  I was skeptical of this.  I was about to voice my concern/confusion when –
“Hey Sylvie,” he said moving towards us.  He shot me a confused glance.  Was there something wrong?  As I was pondering this, Sylvie pulled me toward the ticket counter.
I flashed my student ID and claimed my ticket.  As I walked toward the popcorn, I could hear Jameson’s deep voice intoning that he would like two student tickets.  “Two!”  I thought.  Then, “No,” Then “How?” And finally “Why?”  It dawned on me.  I was a date interloper.  Albeit an unintentional one.   While this relationship was strange and unexpected, the last thing I wanted was to get between them.
I contemplated my options.  The obvious first step was to buy the biggest bucket of popcorn available.  I pondered my next step while watching the mesmerizing yellow kernels fall like a buttery waterfall.  I could make my excuses and trudge back up the hill carrying my popcorn and not see The Wizard of Oz, which I now had a strange, bursting, desire to watch.
Maybe I could just not sit with them.  Yes, that seemed right.  That seemed like a non-awkward thing to do.  Maybe.  Maybe if I sat next to Sylvie it would be like I wasn’t there.   It would be like I was at the movie with Sylvie, and Sylvie was there with Jamie.  It would be like a friend date next to a date date, but with one person being shared.  Kind of like a weird three-legged race.  It seemed awkward, but I liked it.
I wandered into the dim theater with my toilet-bowl sized container of popcorn (I was promised a free refill if I consumed all of the popcorn before leaving.  It would essentially pay for itself.)
“Alexa!” Sylvie called, jumping up from her seat.  Jameson did not move.  It’s cool I thought.  It’s not ideal, but it’s cool.  Kind of like when you want macaroni and cheese and all they have is fettuccini alfredo.  Okay, not like that.  More like when you want macaroni and cheese and all they have is crashing a date with your best friend and your childhood friend when you didn’t even know they were dating.  
“Hey.” I said and sat down.  Maybe if I look away.  Yes, maybe if I stare only at the screen (and occasionally at my popcorn) for the duration of the movie, this situation will be okay.  I shared an awkward glance with Jameson as Sylvie turned off her cell phone.  I tried to mouth “Sorry,” but I’m not sure if he saw.
“I love this movie.” Sylvie was saying.  I decided to start my plan of attack.  Screen. Popcorn.  Trivia about Matt Damon.  Buttery kernels of joy.  Trivia about Jennifer Aniston.  Tasty –
“Alexa.  Alexa!” I looked over at her.  “I was asking you if you thought it would be better if she wore the silver shoes.”
“Oh,” I said, surprised to see that she was not entangled in Jameson’s embrace, but was instead turned, with her back to him, asking me a question.
“I don’t know Sylvie.  Why don’t you ask Jameson?” I said uncomfortably.  Jameson, who had apparently given up hope on his date, was now sketching bridges on the back of his movie ticket.
“No, he doesn’t know anything.”  Sylvie said glancing back at Jameson.  And even though it was dim.  I know I saw a tear glistening in the corner of his eye.  I’m sorry Jameson.  I will never unintentionally date crash you again.

I may have strayed from the prompt per se slightly.  To my credit, there IS a messy room which someone was supposed to clean. Next time, I will be better.
Cordially yours,

There are many things unfactual about this.  Not the least of which would be the title.  I have 16/20 vision.  More figuratively, I’m not the one seeing bouquets of flowers that weren’t there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fanciful & Unfounded VIII

Journal Assignment #7: Oh, Canada

Write a brief history of your Parents’ Weekend. Try to make it something Grandma would be proud of.

- Professor Brink

Parents’ weekend is great. It is a great time for playing mother-daughter volleyball, or father-son foosball or taking a tour of your scenic campus, or attending lectures with your adorably dorky parents, or say, borrowing your friends car, driving it out of the country and losing said car’s bumper and side view mirrors. You know.

“It’s not that noticeable,” Alexa said, surveying the outside of the black Volvo. Sylvie threw her a look.

“Yeah. Right. Who needs a bumper?”

Alexa nodded seriously, “Right. I mean they don’t do anything. I think bumpers are just for show.” Sylvie fixed Alexa with a maternal look. “Fine, I’ll get it fixed if it’s that important to you.”

“Good.” Sylvie responded.
“Good,” Alexa rejoined, “Can we go home now?”

“Okay – only don’t you think I should drive?” Sylvie inquired implying that she would in fact be driving the black Volvo back the United States regardless of whether her traveling partner responded to this question in the affirmative. The question, she implied with a subtle shifting of her eyes, was rather a technicality. A thing that must be done. Alexa could agree and save face or she could disagree and lose the game of power.

Alexa half-heartedly tossed Jameson’s silver key ring to Sylvie.

“Alright back to college!” said Sylvie with alacrity as she slipped the key into the ignition and Alexa settled into the passenger seat like a freshly caught criminal slumped into the rear seat of a police car.

“You have to admit it was fun though,” Alexa said wistfully as they cleared customs. Sylvie’s glance disagreed. “Will you stop looking at me like that?” Alexa asked nervously.

“You’re just lucky I signed that agreement in your heart,” Sylvie spoke like an officer who was hardened by years in the field, years in which young ingrates had tried to squirm their way out of justice. “Trapeze artists? What were you thinking?”

“Fun Canadian experiences?” Alexa said hopelessly.

“No. Just no. Look at what happened to Jamie’s car!”

“This is nothing,” Alexa said languidly from the passenger’s seat. “ I saw it on an informational – they have this magnet thing – and a little paint…”

“And the bumper?”
“I thought we decided we didn’t need a bumper.”

“We don’t. But Jamie does.”

“Right. I keep forgetting this is his car. Kipper and I have been thorough so much together it’s like a common law marriage – “

“Wait – what?” Sylvie asked, confused by Alexa’s ramblings.

“Well you know how if a couple has lived together for seven years they’re considered married well Kips and I –“

“Now you’re naming Jamie’s car?”

“Of course, you were asleep. I was lonely.”

“So I take it that was before the hitchhiking trapeze artists?”


Sylvie expertly navigated the black Volvo with the bumper strapped to the roof back onto their college campus as she formulated a plan:

“So. You’ll go get the car fixed,” she said turning to Alexa who had since stopped likening the situation to an arrest, and had now decided that she was a mobster who had evaded the law.

“Yeah, I know a guy,” Alexa said with a gleam in her eye, and then straightened up, “and you’ll go to Jamie’s and try and distract him from this whole car thing.”

“I still can’t believe you did this,” Sylvie said she pulled up to Jamie’s block.

“I know,” Alexa said looking as pitiful as a punished pug. “I’ll get it fixed, you just go sidetrack Jamie.”

I’m not going to tell you what went on at the garage. It’s not one of my finer moments, besides Sylvie’s story is much more interesting. Sylvie’s recollection: The Events of Sunday, October Third as told to Alexa:

It all started when Alexa wrecked Jamie’s car. [I didn’t wreck it. I just added to it.] Jamie was expecting us to return the car on Sunday morning and he invited us to a Car-Restitution Brunch. Alexa and I decided to split up. She went to a garage to get the car fixed and I went to Jamie’s, which was very new and exciting. I was met at the door by the smells of burning toast and frying bacon, then a beef of a man bounded up to me. His name is Esbjorn and he is an exchange student from Norway. His blond hair is shiny like the coat of a golden retriever. This attribute coupled with his doggish behavior has led Jameson to nickname him “Golden.”

“You do well morning?” Golden asked me. I responded that I did very well the morning thank you. Jameson was standing in front of the stove wearing jeans and a white button-down shirt with the cuffs rolled up to his elbows. He was also wearing red socks and a white apron that was ever-so-slightly frilly – or maybe just wrinkly.

“Hey, Sylv!” he called out in his low baritone.

“Hi!” I said, pulling off my brown coat.

“Let me get that!” Jamie said, running towards me in the doorway. I handed him my outerwear and he placed it on the coat rack directly to my left upon which three other coats were already hanging. Two pairs of running shoes were neatly assembled directly beneath the rack.

“Come on in!” Jamie urged tugging off his apron, which I was starting to think could have belonged to his mother. Golden ran circles around the apartment assembling chairs and silverware, fruit salad and waffles, coffee and tea, and finally the black toast and beige bacon that I had scented earlier.
Once we were all seated at the makeshift table (a plank of rich mahogany which rested on four towers of books that served as legs) Jamie and Golden passed around the various food objects. Just as I was scooping hulled strawberries sliced bananas and diced mangoes from a silver bowl with a matching engraved ladle, Jamie’s eyes drifted to the empty chair beside me.

“Alex said she’d come right?” He asked, turning to me with those inquisitive brown eyes that could break a spy with just one blink.

“She’s coming,” I said a trifle too abruptly. I began again: “ She’s just running a little late,” I said this line more slowly and our conversation returned to its former hum of polite pleasantries and jokes between friends.
Golden’s English left much to be desired, but his phrases were generally intelligible. Jamie turned red and flustered when Golden met my eyes across the table and announced

“I love you,” Jameson then guffawed with relief when the next words Golden uttered were, “the vaffles!”

Jamie then met my eyes, took my hand, and whispered with a serious tone “I love you, the fruit salad,” I nodded my actress best and proclaimed that I loved him, the bacon. So the morning passed in quiet nonsense, and easy nothing and yet kind of hint of a something.

A hint of what now? I think you've taken a bit of liberty with my dictation.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fanciful & Unfounded VII

Journal Assignment #7: Fire Drill

This is a free write. According to Alan Dean Foster in his work To the Vanishing Point, “Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting. I would like to see some chaos on the page, just make sure that your spelling is impeccable.

- Professor Brink

Plenty of people equate the perfect outfit with the perfect event. It’s superficial. It’s irrational. It’s part of my life. I recently received a potentially perfect bathing suit in the mail and I was feeling an inordinate amount of anticipatory glee. When I lifted the stretchy lilac folds from the brown box, I knew it was love. I imagined all the happy times we would have together. I would watch as the golden sun desended amist the clouds while burrowing my feet deep into the sandy glory of St. Tropez. In Greece I would lie on a clean white towel; attended by a server who wore only a Speedo. For the south of France, I would casually wade into the azure sea and say coquettish things like “Bonjour” to no one in particular.

“Bonjour” I whispered to myself in the mirror. My bikini clad self responded with a raised eyebrow and fierce animalistic noise. Apparently, I had inadvertently taken off my jeans and tee-shirt, and actually donned the bathing suit.

Sadly it did not live up to my dreams. It was really small in the top and really baggy in the bottom. I realized it was on backwards, which would totally explain why I couldn’t see any of the glittery details. After a quick, if slightly painful, adjustment, I returned my gaze to the mirror. Was the fact that it said “Princess” on the butt too much? No. It wasn’t. It was perfect. I was perfect. Lights began to flash, blue and red, like my own personal fashion show. I struck a pose. But instead of applause I was greeted by the fire alarm. I ran from the bathroom.

On my way to the stairs I collided with Sylvie, who was muttering incomprehensibly and wringing her hands. We ran down the stairs, she in her apron and me, regrettably, still in my bathing suit. As we pushed through the front door, the crisp air hit me like a rubber mallet. Sylvie read the concern in my eyes and handed me her apron.

“Thank you!” I said layering it over my bikini.

“I was baking, but I didn’t start the fire – I swear,” Sylvie responded.

“We didn’t start the fire,” I answered, “It was always burning”

“Okay, Alexa”

“What? I’m cold and thinking about Billy Joel makes me warm.”

Sylvie patted my shoulder.

“Nice outfit Stein,” Jameson yelled from across the courtyard.

“Nice sweater Gray. Too bad it can’t do anything about your face!” I returned.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Sylvie sputtered.

“What?” Jameson asked, striding across the lawn.

“The fire,” Sylvie explained.

“It was always burning,” I added.

“Shut up, Alexa,” she chastised and returned her attention to Jamie. “I was baking, but it wasn’t me, I didn’t even have the oven on yet.”

“Okay,” Jameson responded thoughtfully, “What are you making?”

“I was baking cookies and then Alexa and I were going to watch a movie,” Jamie looked interested, “You can come if you want.,” Sylvie added as an after thought.

“Sure,” said Jameson agreeably. Then he turned to me, “Are you wearing that all night?” he surveyed my apron-over bathing suit look.

“Naw,” I said, “but you know what would totally complete this fashion statement?”

He did not respond.

“Your ugly sweater. I’m freezing.” I said tensly.

“Fine,” he responded shrugging off his red v-neck, to reveal a Gray tee-shirt. “You owe me though. Maybe some more fish-sitting?”

“Sure thing!” I said as I applied the sweater over my apron.

Sylvie sniffed me and declared, “Man musk.”

Shortly thereafter, the dorm was cleared for re-entry and we all filed inside. Sylvie led our party of three to the attic.

“I’m going to change, ” I announced as Sylvie and Jameson disappeared into the kitchen. I swapped my bathing suit for my non-vacation, non-fabulous clothes. Clothes that were better suited to a fall day in New England. I sighed.

Ten minutes later, we were seated on my bed eating warm chocolate chip cookies.

“It took us forever to get all of the ingredients,” Sylvie confided to Jamie, who was seated to her left wearing his red sweater once more.

“The chocolate chips were easy, because there’s a whole bowl of them next to the ice cream, but we had to mash up twenty bowls of Wheaties to get the flour.”

“Wait,” Jamie said, “You got all this stuff,” he motioned to his cookie “from the dining hall?!”

“That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you!” Sylvie and I cried.

“Wow, that’s really impressive. And these are delicious.”

“What are we watching?” Sylvie asked, turning to me.

“That’s a surprise,” I grinned, and pushed play on my laptop.

“What the – Buffy?” Jamie exclaimed. Sylvie and I immediately shushed him. There is no speaking during movie time. Unless it’s me. Because I always have insightful things to say. I’ve never taken a film class; I’m just very perceptive.

The vampire-slaying plot was infinitely captivating. Soon, we were all engrossed and silently shoving cookies into our respective mouths.

*On the screen a vampified guy tried to feed on his still-human friend.

Vampire floating outside human’s window: Dude let me in!

Human: Dude, no.

Vamp: Let me in – I’m hungry!

Human: You’re floating!*

The bed buzzed. I jumped into Sylvie’s arms. I may or may not have screamed. In the process I may or may not have coughed up a half-masticated cookie. There may or may not be a stain on my pink comforter.

Jamie picked up the buzzing culprit. He glanced at the screen and put it to his ear.

“Hey,” he said as he got up and made his way out of the room. He threw us an apologetic look from the doorway as he pulled the door shut behind him. I paused the movie. Half an hour later Jamie returned.

“Sorry about that, “ he said, “Did you finish the movie?”

“No,” Sylvie said, sleepy and disgruntled, “We paused it for you.”

“Yeah,” I said lifting my head from the bed. “Paused.”

“You guys didn’t have to do that.” Sylvie and I shrugged.

“We don’t have to finish it tonight,” he said, sitting gingerly on the side of the bed. I may have been in a sleepy daze, but I think he looked at us almost tenderly, and I may have hallucinated, but I think he swept a chunk of cookie out of Sylvie’s golden hair.

“You seem tired and I actually have to get going.”

“Sure you do,” I said rolling over so that I could hazily look him in the eye, “Charlotte you do.” But he was already in the hall, and Sylvie was drifting towards sleep. I heard his heavy step on the stairs and studied Sylvie’s quiet breathing and decided to eat more cookies.

* This dialogue has been adapted from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” A glorious film produced in 1992 by the marvelous director Fran Rubel Kuzui written by Joss Whedon who has also produced such miracles as “Firefly.” Naturally I have no rights related to this fine oeuvre. I only wish I did. I hear they’re making a new version. I hope Miley is in it. Or at lest Justin Bieber. But OMG if they were both in it. OMG OMG OMG

I’m not sure if I would describe this as “chaos.” Some of my incomplete sentences were pretty chaotic. I’m sure I spelled about a million things wrong though. Sorry Brink. I really am truly sorry. I think I got the lighting right though. P.S. If you haven’t seen Buffy you totally should.

Je vous prie d'agréer l'assurance de ma considération distinguée,


I’ll keep drawing pictures, but this misrepresentation has to stop.



P.S. Please tell Jamie to not touch my head while I’m sleeping.

P.P.S. I wonder how that cookie got there, Alexa!