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Reflections- Weekly Photo Challenge March 27, 2014

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is “reflections.” You can see the Challenge and the other entries here.

I have two photos.

Watkins Glen, NY

Watkins Glen, NY



Little M. reflecting


Have a nice night!


WOAW Fiction- “Ten Little Chapters” Challenge March 26, 2014

The Challenge:  1000 words in 10 chapters, courtesy of Awesome Author/Blogger Chuck Wendig. Check it out HERE.

Chapter 1

I stand barefoot on the beach at the edge of the water, about a mile away from where she is, where I’m not supposed to be. Anxious, I pace in circles under the hot sun, watching my footprints in the sand wash away with the tide as I do my laps. Walk into the water, walk out of the water, “swoosh” go the footprints. In the water, out of the water, “swoosh” go the footprints.

I have to make up my mind soon if I want to give myself a chance. What should I do? What should I do? “Swoosh” go the footprints.

Chapter 2

I think about the moment I met her. She was on line in front of me at the supermarket, and must have felt me watching because she looked back and smiled.

“Sorry,” she said. I’m not sure why. At the time, I just shrugged. Once her groceries passed over the scanner and she was told the total, she rummaged through her purse and came up short ten dollars.

“Crap,” she said. She ran her hands through her long red hair and looked up at the ceiling. Something about her desperation spoke to me, so I took out my wallet and handed the cashier a ten dollar bill.

“No, I couldn’t,” she said to me.

“I insist,” I said. “It’s not a problem.” She looked skeptical. “My ice cream’s melting.”

I smiled and she smiled back. That’s how it started.

Chapter 3

I stop making circles in the sand and face the Atlantic, then take a giant step to my left, towards where I know her to be. She’s pulling me to her.

Chapter 4

I remember the first time I told her I loved her. We were on the couch together watching a movie. She said it back.

She said it back. I take another giant step to my left, my toes digging into the sand.

She said it back. A hundred times, at least. In bed. On the phone. In the car. In the park. She said it everywhere. I didn’t dream it.

I walk towards her, along the water line. The waves push me as they crash over my ankles.

Chapter 5

Did she forget? Did she forget how it felt to kiss goodnight and wake up together in the morning? Did she forget what I said to her while we danced at her brother’s wedding?

She wore a green bridesmaid dress that showed off her hair and made her white skin glow like shiny porcelain. “I love you, Meredith. Forever,” I said. “Someday, I want us to get married. Will you marry me?”

“Are you proposing to me?” she asked. “For real?”

“I’m proposing that I’m going to propose to you,” I said.

Meredith giggled. “Well then I propose that I will answer when you propose,” she teased. Then she kissed me, and I squeezed her tightly.

Chapter 6

Did she forget how happy we were? How did I let her get away? I jog towards her, the water splashing with each stride. Can I get to her in time? I know I have to try.

Chapter 7

I didn’t believe her when she said she had met someone else. How could she when we spent almost every waking moment together? How could she be interested in anyone else when we were so perfect together?

“I’m sorry,” she’d said.

“Don’t you love me anymore?” I’d asked.

“It’s not about love,” she’d said.

She’s wrong, I know, as I jog down the beach. It is about love. It is about love. Each stride takes a different word. It. Is. About. Love. I break into a run.

Chapter 8

The ocean breeze blows the hair off my face and my lungs start to hurt. Faster and faster the words match my pace as images of her flood my mind. It. Is. About. Love. It. Is. About. Love. ITISABOUTLOVE. ITISABOUTLOVE.

I think I’m too late, but when I finally reach the private beach, the white chairs still empty, the flower-covered trellis unattended, I realize that I made it. I hurdle the fence and quickly walk around the perimeter to building attached to the long, white aisle. My heart is pumping—not from the exertion of running, but from anticipation. Avoiding eye contact, I open the door.

Chapter 9

Meredith looks beautiful on her wedding day as she stands before me, dressed in white, holding her bouquet. For the second that passes before she looks up, she looks peaceful. The flower in her hair is a nice touch. She makes a lovely bride, like I knew she would.

When she notices me, her face changes. “What are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t stay away,” I say.

“You can’t be here. Please leave,” she says sternly. She looks around the room but she’s alone, like I want her to be.

“You look amazing. Perfect.”

“Go away,” she says. “I’ll scream.”

“No baby, don’t scream,” I say, holding up my hands. “I just want to talk.”

For some reason this angers her. Her face turns beet red and she charges me, pushing my chest with her hands. Her citrusy scent overwhelms me. Intoxicates me. “Go away. I don’t want you. Can’t you get that through your thick skull?” Meredith screams.

I sigh. She’s so spirited.

Chapter 10

Meredith turns her back to me and starts to walk away. I can’t let her leave again. I need to tell her how much I love her and want her. I can’t let her marry that other guy on the beach today. “Meredith,” I call after her.

She keeps moving, so I pull the gun from my waistband. It is about love.

Meredith doesn’t turn around until she hears me cock the trigger.

I don’t have a choice, really. “I’m sorry to have to resort to this,” I say. “But it is about love.”

Then everything goes dark.






“Happy My Teeth” March 20, 2014

My eight-year-old son, M., has autism. For an autistic kid, M. is very in tune with other people’s feelings. He shows a great amount of empathy. He gets very upset when others are upset.

For example, when our house gets loud or we’re arguing with M.’s older brother JC, M. gets very unsettled. He starts to growl. “GRRR,” he says. If we ignore him and get even louder, he growls even louder. When we notice M. is growling at us, we stop and realize how ridiculous we sound yelling at each other, and usually we start to laugh.

Whenever M. thinks we are upset with him, or hears the slightest change of tone in our voice, he says, “Happy my teeth” and looks at our faces. We figured out early on that he wants us to smile at him to prove we are happy. He watches our faces and doesn’t let us off the hook until we actually show him teeth in the form of a smile. It’s really sweet. If we don’t smile right away, he says it again. “Happy my teeth.” The way he says it is super cute– like, “Happy my teef.”

On occasion though, M. wants us to be happy before we are ready to be happy. Like when he dumps the Legos on the floor. A floor covered in those pointy little overpriced Blocks from Hell does not make me happy (As an irrelevantly relevant fact, wouldn’t that be a good way for the CIA to torture detainees? Screw sleep deprivation- here, walk over this floor of Legos with bare feet!).

Still, once M. hears our tone change, he’ll start with his “happy my teef” routine. Here’s a typical “conversation”:

JC (yelling upstairs from basement): MAAAAA, M. dumped all my Legos onto the floor!

Me (screaming into basement): PICK UP THE LEGOS!

JC: He’s not doingggggg it!

(Mom (me) walks down the stairs into the basement and gasps in horror! The Legos are spread like a layer of hot coals, the dog is chewing a couple of limited edition mini-figures, and M. is sitting in the middle of the pile making snow angels, Legos flying in all directions.)

JC: Oh my God! M.! Clean up the Legos!

M: Happy my teef!

Me (with furrowed brow and Mom Voice): No. No happy my teeth! My teeth are not happy.

M: Happy my teef! HAPPY MY TEEF!

Me: You CAN’T dump the Legos all the time.  Clean them up, NOW.



(Now M. has approached me, his face inches from mine, holding my cheeks until I show him I’m happy.)

Me: FINE. Happy my teeth (I fake smile).

It’s usually around this point where I stop being upset. The kid is just so friggin’ cute. He has these big, brown puppy dog eyes and awkward-kid-stage oversized teeth, kissable cheeks, and goofy hair that points in different directions. He faces all these challenges in his life and all he ever asks for is for everyone to be happy. And he’s there in front of me staring at me, looking into my eyes. Do I want him to see my angry face or my happy teeth?

So I smile. “Happy my teeth,” I say. M., finally satisfied with my response, moves onto the next thing and I go get the broom and sweep up the Legos.

I’m thinking that we should try M.’s technique with the cranky people in our lives. Next time someone starts to yell at you, try saying “GRRRRR” in response. When someone starts to spew negativity, stick your face in theirs and repeat “Happy my teeth!” over and over until they show you a smile. Maybe it will work!

Have a nice night!


Pour Some Sugar March 18, 2014

On the way to work today, Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” played on the radio. That song always jets me back to high school at warp speed.

I sang along in the van. “Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on. Living like a lover with a red owwf on.”

Wait. What exactly is a “red owwf”? I never knew that line. Not in 1989 and still not in 2014.

In fact, I distinctly remember a late-eighties conversation with a girl named Leanne. Leanne was a classmate and fellow Def Leppard fan (we’d been to numerous DL concerts), who (hide your eyes, Mom) cut school with me one day to go to the beach. We sat on the beach, tanning, talking, and discussing that line for a nice chunk of time.

“Maybe it’s ‘red outfit on’?”
“But there aren’t enough syllables. Maybe it’s not red at all?”
“Like ‘real loaf on’”
(Break into fit of giggles)

Every time I hear the song, I think of Leanne. Eventually, we accepted that a “red owwf” was either something British or we just didn’t have the ears to hear it right.

Today as I sipped my morning coffee at my desk, I googled the line. According to azlyrics, the lyric is “Living like a lover with a radar phone.”

Of course, this begs the question: What on God’s green earth is a “radar phone” AND WHERE CAN I GET ONE?

Back in the old days, I’d get so mad when albums didn’t include lyrics. I’d camp on the floor with my ear to the speaker and hit rewind, stop, play, rewind, stop, play over and over on my cassette tape deck to figure out one measly word from a song. Sounds silly, but sometimes one word can make or break a song, especially to an emotional teenager. (Ready for your irrelevantly relevant factoid of the day? Case in point: Modern English’s “I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You” (1983-ish). My friend and I insisted that somewhere in the song the chorus changed to “I’ll Stop the World and Melt For You,” which totally changes the entire song. Melting “with” someone is different than melting “for” someone, right? A quick azlyrics search doesn’t reveal any secret switchover from the nice-I-want-to-date-you-and-love-you “with” to the wow-he-wants-to-like-MELT-for her “for.”)

When I got my hands on Journey’s Escape album, circa 1981, I was thrilled to find the lyrics inside. I copied the lyrics to every song, by hand, onto looseleaf for a friend. He was so happy when I gave it to him, even though Journey’s songs were relatively clear and easy to decipher. After all, I’d saved him hours of strenuous listening to figure out the words. Now he could read along without lyrics stress.

Remember when Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was a topic of conversation? “But the chair is not my size.” “NO! It’s but the kid is not my son!”

Or The Police? “We are Cheerios, in a cereal bowl.” “Duh! It’s SPIRITS. We are SPIRITS in the MATERIAL WORLD.” “But what does that mean?” “Who cares? It has a good beat and you can dance to it!”

During that “Billie Jean” era, a girl named Kathy lived a few houses down the street from me. Kathy knew everything. EVERYTHING about Adam Ant (Perhaps you remember “Goody Two Shoes”? “Don’t drink don’t smoke. What do you do?”). She loved him more than life itself, which even back in the 80′s was ridiculously weird. Whenever we had a question about anything Ant-related, someone would say, “Let’s go ask Kathy.” We’d trek to her house on our bikes and bang on her door, ask our question, maybe debate a little. Kathy was our Adam Ant Wiki. The best part would be when debating turned into either, “You’re a reject!” with stomping and yelling and riding away, or “Let’s play Payday,” and we’d move on to something else.

But rounding the corner to my point (it’s here somewhere), the mystery of the lyric is now over. I wonder if I’ll still automatically sing “red owwf on” when I hear the Def Leppard song or if I’ll convert to “radar phone.” (I really NEED one of those, people!)

I miss wondering about lyrics, and miss wondering in general. Something positive must have developed from all that wondering we did with our friends on the street. Today, all debatable questions are answered in light speed with a Google search. What do kids even talk about these days?

All these memories from a Def Leppard song on the way to work! Who knew it would turn into a writing prompt!?

Have a nice night. Thanks for reading. I’m going to go Google “radar phone” now.


Academy Awards Movie Madness- Captain Phillips February 14, 2014

“Argh! Ahoy there me hearties!” – Captain Feathersword, The Wiggles. Not to be confused with Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, an Academy Awards Best Picture nominee.

Captain Phillips takes us back to 2009 and the Somali pirate hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, a United States cargo ship off the coast of Africa. My three word review: Exciting. Thoughtful. Well-played. (Does a hyphenated word count as one word?)

In my view, Captain Phillips had a few things going for it before the movie even began. First, it’s available to rent On Demand, which meant I could enjoy the film from the comfort of my couch. Second, I already knew the story because I’d watched a documentary on the Navy SEALs’ involvement in the Somali hijacking with my son, a SEALs enthusiast. Third, TOM HANKS.

Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks)

Tom Hanks is one of my favorites. A glance through his IMDb credits shows a whirlwind of awesome roles and movies. Forrest Gump sits securely on my personal Top Ten Movies of All Time list, and he’s WOODY from the Toy Story franchise. (Which, since I need to include my irrelevantly relevant factoid, started in 1995. Yes, Toy Story is almost twenty years old!). Woody’s been a big draw in my house for the past ten years. “Reach for the Stars!”

I have to go off on another slight tangent– can we talk Bosom Buddies for a second? Hanks played Kip/Buffy Wilson, a man who dressed as a woman in order to secure housing in a female-only residence hall. I have to, HAVE TO include a pic here. Feast your eyes:

Kip dressed as Buffy (Tom Hanks), and Henry dressed as Hilde (Peter Scolari)

Genius. You know what? I’m going to stop right there because Bosom Buddies was amazing and deserves its own post.

Back to Captain Phillips. This is a bit of a spoiler for those of you unfamiliar with the incident. It doesn’t matter if you know what happens though, because the movie is so good you’ll feel the intensity regardless.

Somali actor Barkhad Abdi plays Muse, the leader of the four pirates who captured the Maersk. His character uttered that now famous line, “I’m the Captain now,” to Captain Phillips, letting the viewer know that the shit just officially hit the fan. He’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and yeah, he could get it. He was that good. Check out this pic:

Muse (Barkhad Abdi)

Captain Phillips tries to keep his cool the best he can, and is able to hide his crew and give them little tips via intercom and radio to keep them safe. He manages to get himself off the ship with the four pirates, into a small lifeboat, which the pirates attempt to navigate towards the coastline. Obstacles ensue, including the American military. Eventually, the military tricks Muse off the lifeboat (he’s now in federal prison), and Navy SEAL snipers take out the other three pirates, in a perfectly timed, perfectly executed operation.

I vaguely remember this event from the news back in 2009, but seeing the movie made me aware of so much more.  What struck me most is the desperation of the Somalis who take on these hijackings. The film showed a Somali village and the villagers fighting to be chosen to carry out the crimes. It made me think that these aren’t all bad guys, but desperate guys who do really bad things. I felt sort of relieved that Muse is in prison, not dead by a sniper’s bullet. I wonder if he feels the same.

Also, I couldn’t believe that four Somalis in a small boat could take over a giant American cargo ship. Seeing the physical size of the Maersk compared to the little boats that sped towards it was mind-blowing. Captain Phillips knew that once the pirates hooked their ladder onto the side, they’d get control of the ship. Is it really that easy? Hopefully new measures are in place to ward off these attacks.

Finally, I admired Captain Phillips for keeping his crew safe and sacrificing himself to get the pirates off the ship. Hanks does an awesome job portraying Captain Phillips not as a consummate hero making all the right calls with confidence, conceit, and a puffed out chest, but rather as a real person: a dude with a wife and kids who’s working a job he seems to enjoy, a by-the-book kind of guy with a healthy fear of death, thrown into this horrible situation. Hanks portrays this regular-guy, imperfect hero most amazingly in the last scenes of the movie, when Captain Phillips is saved and totally freaked out during a medical examination.

Captain Phillips is a great movie if you are in the mood for action, intensity, and Tom Hanks. It’s well-worth the $4.95 rental On Demand.

Only a few weeks to go until the Oscars! I need to step up my game. Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend!

[Photo:  http://img2-3.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/10/09/Captain-Phillips.jpg (Captain Phillips); http://img2-3.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/071218/hanks/buddies_l.jpg (Bosom Buddies); http://www.tasteofcinema.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/barkhad-abdi-captain-phillips.jpg (Abdi)]


Academy Awards Movie Madness- Nebraska February 13, 2014

As always, we open with an irrelevantly relevant comment . . .  Yesterday was Lincoln’s birthday and a day off for me. Yay! Lincoln’s birthday is one of the better holidays since everyone else in the country is at school or work. I used my “free day” to go to the movies to see Nebraska, an Academy Awards Best Picture Nominee.

As I watched the movie on Lincoln’s birthday, guess what I realized? In Nebraska, the father and son team of Woody (Bruce Dern) and David (Will Forte) were traveling from Billings, Montana to LINCOLN, Nebraska, people! Lincoln! On Lincoln’s birthday!

Not only that, but I have a friend who is “mentally married” to Will Forte (with all definitions of “mental” applying– no worries though– I’ve been mentally married to Derek Jeter since 1995 and I’m perfectly normal) . My friend flew to the West Coast yesterday and was probably right over the State of Nebraska as I watched her “husband” on the big screen in Nebraska. It was weird. When I told her, she mentioned that Will also played a part in The Lego Movie.  Guess which character? ABE LINCOLN.

I know. It’s almost as crazy as my Dallas Buyers Club/”Rock me Amadeus” moment.

So with all these Lincoln and Nebraska references, I can now tell you about the movie. My three-word review: Depressing. Real. Meh.

Woody (Bruce Dern) and David (Will Forte) in Nebraska

Nebraska is about David driving Woody, his alcoholic father, to Lincoln, Nebraska because Woody thinks he won a million dollars in a sweepstakes. They stop at Woody’s hometown on the way, and David learns stuff about Woody.

The AMC, my preferred theater of choice, offered an early showing of Philomena, which I have less-than-zero desire to see, so I opted to go to the Crap Theater to catch an early showing of Nebraska, which I had just about zero desire to see. I sucked it up since I did want to watch my friend’s mental husband’s performance, as well as fulfill my short-term goal of seeing all the Best Picture nominees prior to the Academy Awards.

So at Crap Theater, I planned on being totally bored as I sipped my ginormous Diet Coke (in a Divergent movie Collector’s Cup) and sat with the four senior citizens who also showed up (two of them sat three seats from me despite the entire theater being empty, and I’d witnessed one of the others arguing with Crap Theater staff about the lack of a senior discount). But what the heck– I was at the movies to see one of the Best Picture nominees, and hey, at least it wasn’t Philomena. Carpe Diem, folks.

Did you know Nebraska is filmed in black and white? Well, I didn’t. Since I was at Crap Theater, I thought the lack of color was perhaps a technical problem and wondered when the seniors would order me to the lobby to ask why the color wasn’t working correctly (they had sent me once prior to the movie starting to hunt down the sole employee and ask why the screen was blank– Crap Theater doesn’t light up the screen until exactly the time on the ticket). As to the black and white, none of the seniors seemed concerned (maybe they were more attuned to black and white, heh heh). I thought that maybe the movie would turn to color at some point, for example, when they got to Nebraska. Nope. Whole thing. Black and white.

Which was fine. I don’t think it did anything for me except to distract me. Maybe the black and white symbolized the bleakness of the characters’ lives in the heartland? Maybe the lack of color was an attempt to make it feel more artsy? Or to make it stand out from other films? I dunno. Personally, I think that color is one of the best features of middle America, you know, amber waves of grain and all that. The landscape of the film lost some of its magic in black and white. Blue skies were grey, etc. Maybe that was the point. Okay. Onward.

Through most of the movie I felt depressed and blah. The characters all seemed real (except the mom, Kate, played by June Squibb, who seemed a little over the top to be real), and watching Davey and his boring existence and Woody and his lost existence, and the relatives and other folks in Woody’s hometown was sort of a downer–especially in black and white. There were a few funny lines in there (my favorite from Davey’s cousins who harp on how long it took Davey to drive from Montana), but mostly I just waited for something to happen.

Except for the last five minutes, the movie didn’t touch me the way I like to be touched by a film– especially a Best Picture nominee. I didn’t feel like the characters changed much throughout the story. Maybe I would have felt better if Davey wasn’t so nice in the beginning of the movie, and then the experience of being with his father made him human (like a Rainman-type transformation). But Davey was nice-ish in the beginning of the film, the middle of the film, and the end of the film. Maybe I would have better appreciated the road trip if Davey’s less amenable brother Ross (played by Bob Odenkirk, better known as Saul from Breaking Bad) took the trip with Woody instead of Davey?

Bruce Dern gave a stellar performance. He’s up for Best Actor and is deserving of the Oscar, which is the same thing I said about Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. That’s a tough category this year. In total, Nebraska is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Director (Alexander Payne) and Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb).

I get it, I guess, with this movie. Maybe I don’t. Either way, I have zero desire to see it again.

As always, thanks for reading. Have a nice day and happy movie-going!

(Photo:  http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/story/will-forte-shifts-gears-with-nebraska-20131122/1000×600/nebraska-600-1385135077.jpg)


Valentine’s Day Haters’ Club – Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge February 12, 2014

I adjusted my black scarf over my black coat and rubbed my cold hands over my thighs, covered by my black jeans. Maybe an outdoor protest on the coldest day of the year wasn’t the smartest idea, I thought, as I called the group over.

“Alright,” I said, as we huddled together. “Let’s circle again. The ‘love stinks’ chant. The bell’s about to ring so we’ll get an audience.”

“It’s too cold,” complained Robbie Madison. Scarred like me, Robbie declared himself my deputy organizer. “Let’s go inside.”

“We can’t. We only get a half hour.” The principal wasn’t thrilled with a Valentine’s Day protest. I convinced him that it would fit into his new anti-bullying agenda, mumbled something about the First Amendment, and made it a point to bother him daily during his busiest times. Eventually I wore him down. “Now’s the time. Remember why you’re here. Ready group?”

The Valentine’s Day Haters’ Club members reached into the center of the huddle and yelled, “Black Friday! Red Sucks!” as we lifted our hands and signs to the sky.

As I marched in the circle I noticed Maxwell Anderson, my chemistry lab partner, leaning against the tree just over the border of our protest line. He watched us as he lit a cigarette. The first time he waved me over I ignored him. On my second rotation, when he waved me over again, I handed my sign to Robbie and stepped out of the circle.

“If you want to join the protest, you have to take off that red scarf,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest. “No red allowed.”

“What are you protesting?” he asked.

“Valentine’s Day.”


I huffed. “Valentine’s Day is stupid and isolating and we are sick and tired of people flaunting it all over with their hearts and balloons and stuffed animals. It’s inconsiderate.”

“That’s a waste. You’re never gonna change people’s minds on love. There are tons of things you can protest that may actually make a difference. Illegal dumping, tax cuts for the rich . . . ” He took a drag of his cigarette.

“Tobacco companies?”

Max ignored me and nodded towards the Hater’s Club, scowling and pacing the cold pavement behind the school. “What’s the real reason for the circle of hate, Mandy? Is this because your dumb boyfriend dumped you?”

Yes, I thought. “No,” I said.

“Well can you stop this?” Max asked. He looked down at me with big, brown eyes I never before noticed.

“What? No. We just started.” It took me weeks to convince the principal to let us do the protest on school property. The mass email to the student body cost me a day of in-school suspension since I used so-called profanity. I convinced fifteen or so broken-hearted followers that this was a great idea. “Why should we stop now?”

“Because ever since that idiot dumped you, I’ve been waiting to ask you out. I thought it would be nice and appropriate to do it today but your stupid protest is messing up my plan.”

“Huh?” I said. Max, the chemistry wizard wanted to hang out with me? “Is this a set up? Did someone put you up to this?” I looked past him to see if a group of boys lingered in the bushes recording me or laughing.

“No.” Max looked to the circle and smiled. “Ut-oh. Looks like you’re losing your cheerleader.”

I turned and watched our last minute addition and only flash of color, a cheerleader dressed in uniform, abandon the circle.  “Wait!” I yelled to her.

The cheerleader grabbed some boy’s hand and stepped over the protest line into Love Land. “Sorry Mandy!” she yelled. “He apologized. We’re all good. I had fun though!”

I rolled my eyes. Leave it to a cheerleader to ruin the party. I knew she was a possible defector from the start, but figured it couldn’t hurt to have a cheerleader in the Club, even if for a few minutes.

I turned back to Max. He smiled and waved to the happy couple. “Have fun you two kids! Love rules!”

I decided I hated him and spun around to rejoin my circle.

“Mandy! Wait. Come back. Let’s hang out later.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and jerked around. “Why would I go out with you?”

“Why not? I’m good enough to cheat off of in chemistry but not good enough to eat a meal with?”

“You’re annoying. You should eat though. You’re way too thin.” Max was skinny, but super tall. With his curly, fluffy brown hair he resembled an upside-down exclamation point. “I don’t date smokers anyway,” I said snottily.

Max put out his cigarette against the tree and flung it onto the nearby sidewalk. “I’ll quit for you. Let’s go. You look like you could use a meal yourself.”

Immediately offended but not sure why, I glared. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’re too skinny.”

“That’s not nice,” I whined, shivering.

“You just said it to me.  Okay then. You better not eat a burger because your butt is giant. Is that better?”

“You are so irritating. And no. I’m not going anywhere with you. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m running a protest here. I am done with love and anyone with a Y chromosome. Go away.”

“You’re cute. Okay, I’ll go. Here.” He took off his red scarf and pulled off my black one.  He placed the red scarf over my head, around my neck. It smelled like men’s cologne and I couldn’t help myself– I inhaled deeply. “Your group needs some color now that your cheerleader bailed.” Max wound my black scarf around his neck and slung his backpack over his shoulder. “Call me when you’re done being bitter. See you around,” he said.

I stared after him until one of my followers called me. “Mandy! Are you coming back? We’re gonna start the chant again.”

I watched Max walk away as I buried my nose in the glorious scent of his scarf. Huh. Maxwell Anderson. Dorky irritating smoker. His curls bounced with his big strides as he opened the doors to the school and disappeared inside.

He wasn’t really that skinny, I thought, as I walked back to the Haters’ Club. My members looked to me for guidance. “Okay,” I said. “The Respect Singles chant! Go!”

The Club chanted and started its orbit again. I tightened Max’s scarf around my neck but suddenly felt warm inside.

Thanks for reading! This post is part of The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge. The Challenge and other entries can be found here.



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