2nd Breakfasts

Living the life of a Hobbit isn’t so bad, at least for a few moments, especially those that don’t involve fire-breathing dragons. I know, breakfast selfie, right?

Totally!

“Go back to Instagram, Hipster!”

Well you know what? It’s French Toast! I don’t care. It’s my second breakfast, I’m learning about the Fundamentals of Accounting, and you know what? They go effing GREAT together!

“Mr. Spicoli, what are you doing?”
“Having some food and learning about the Sarbanes Oxley Act, dude! Huuahahaahaaaa!”

Anyway, this isn’t what I really wanted to blog about. I’m doing another Illustrator project and something’s been bothering me about them and I’d
like very much to vent my frustration out here. Something about the assumption that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to being creative.

But, first things first. First, finish this one section in the Introduction to Accounting, “Yaay…..spreadsheets…”. Then it’s off to do my domestic responsibilities and then jump back into it.

Follow up soon.

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You Can Tell A Lot About Someone By the Way They…

Foggy windows in Florida. Not a good sign.

Sitting around today knowing I should write about something. The weather right now in Florida comparatively no better that the rest of the country and I have this throbbing pain in my back where this growth is….nevermind…too gross. I need to keep my hands and my head occupied and I don’t really feel like crossing that Entrepreneur river again. Not this week. While I’m thinking about it, I should take the time someday and narrow down my focus of what my blog is about. Do I want to keep it in the realm of entrepreneurship, freelance and all things practical? Or, do I want to adhere to this blog’s namesake and doodle and scratch writings for the sake of polishing a craft? Not sure. Still kicking the tires on whether or not I should make the plunge to WordPress. Maybe if I did, I’d have no choice but to create more content. Maybe better content? Another platform wouldn’t hurt, would it?

Anyway, sitting around, avoiding responsibility and worming my way out of elevating skills of any kind, when I read this post from novelist Jon Simmonds. He recalls upon what a teacher once told him in regards to character development. “…To really understand a character you’re writing,” his teacher told him, “you should make a list of the items they carry in their pockets.” Being a dutiful student, he posited his own theory and determined that you can understand a lot more about your character by what they have in their living room.

You see the hook where a hand should be and maybe there’s an eye patch involved, so more than likely, you’d be more than correct in assuming that this person is a pirate. But what does he have in his bunk? Does he have a bunk? Is there a picture of someone under his pillow? Does he sleep with a teddy bear? All of these things once answered will lend greater insight to any character and make for a much richer story.

To this end, I have also developed an exercise on character building. I started it many years ago and I wasn’t sure if it would ever catch on. Maybe other people use it? I don’t know, but I find it extremely useful. I call it, “You Can Tell A Lot About Someone By the Way They…” It came to me one night while I was working as a waiter. At the end of the shift, the waitstaff would sit huddled close together either at a table or at the bar with our various after-work beverages and blazing cigarettes (people still smoked back then) and we’d all add up our tickets and share a couple of calculators figuring out our tips. After a while, I would notice the various differences on how each individual would go about counting their money. There was one who would just grab the stack and count the bills as they came without giving any regard to denomination. There was the other who would separate by denomination and then count; highest to lowest. Then there was that other one who would do the same as the previous waitron, but make sure all the Presidents were facing the same way.

That was one way to find out about someone. The other, and more telling, was how they counted it. Although I never inquired any further into one person’s personality, and I never wanted to presume anything, but I felt as though I had a pretty good idea by the way they counted their money. The exercise is akin to learn to spot a tell at the poker table. You Can Tell A Lot About Someone By the Way They…

     Count Their Money: If they count from the top of the stack utilizing a moistened thumb and moistened fingers, then they’re used to being around it, accumulating cash is easy for them and they secretly hold a desire to flaunt their earnings in front of other people. The act of quickly swiping bills from one hand to the other is a cathartic ritual for them. They are motivated by cash. If they count from the bottom of the stack, it’s a pretty strong indication that they don’t know what they’re doing. They aren’t used to counting their earnings, they are used to getting paid with a check, going to the bank to cash it and having somebody else do the counting. They are generally uptight and will work hard to not participate in this activity any longer than they have to. These people are motivated by something else.

      Cut a Deck of Cards: Do they unconsciously deal from the bottom of the deck? Do they always catch themselves to make sure they deal to the left? Do they know what they’re doing?

     Fold Their Clothes: Is it a “one, two and done” thing for them, or do they approach it like a GAP employee?

Boom…done…

How do they sneeze? Do they freak out if their food touches? Do they have a ritual for getting out of bed in the morning? Everything we do means different things to different people. We humans are fascinating creatures. We are all open to interpretation. We all do the same thing. How we do them, speaks volumes on
who we are.

 Photo Credits:

Counting Cash
Dealing Cards
Folding Shirts Like a Boss 

WWHAD: What Went Right

Take a look at this logo. Go ahead, marvel at it….I SAID MARVEL AT IT!!!! I’m not the best at logging how many hours I spend on a particular Illustrator project. I’m still a novice and it feels like I spend more time pouring over tutorials and searching for fonts and vectors than actually producing anything. I suspect that I spent a good eight hours on this, five of which was research. Don’t judge, I’m just starting.
Alphonse Mucha

This was the logo I wanted for my new business. Well, close to it anyway. I still wanted to texturize the name a little further; give it more of an old-time feel. I wanted to decorate the badge a little further in the center too. Everything is just slightly askew, it needed to get tightened up. I also attempted to put this through Photoshop to give it a look like peeling paint so it would look cool on a t-shirt. What I’m trying to say is that I wanted this to stand out. For the past few years, the style of old-fashioned signage has been coming back into vogue; a retro style that runs that gamut from late 1800s Neo-impressionism to 1950’s Pop Art. In the midst of doing research, I sort of fell in love with the Art Nouveau Period. The way the function followed form

intrigued me; the emphasis on the ornate especially in advertising. In imagining my logo, I pictured an old wooden sign hanging above a bakery entrance. Hardly original, I know, but there’s something comforting about this style. When I see a sign like this swinging gently in the breeze, it makes me want to come in, buy a pastry and a coffee and spend some time inside watching the world go by outside. 

Anyway, eight hours or so later, I put the finishing touches on it and met my deadline to have them printed before the weekend. All the cakes were baked and trimmed, boxes were folded, a makeshift menu was constructed and it was all systems go. Our inaugural run was met with great indifference, feel free to read all about it in the first half here.

~*What Went Right*~
The day was behind us and lessons were learned. Later on that evening, my girlfriend posted a copy of this little poster to her Facebook page. Not a few minutes after it went live than one of her more Redneckish friends chimed in:
“Cake? Oh. For a second there, I thought he was selling alcohol. My bad…”

Hours of work, of constructing a concept, of making something that I thought that would be appealing to the eye, and just like that, someone equates my logo to a bottle of Tennessee Sour Mash. Here I am thinking that I constructed a logo that’s friendly and warm and inviting, now I look at and I need a whiskey on the rocks and for someone to rack ’em up on the next snooker table. I wasn’t insulted because I know the person that said it. I was more self conscious. For about 10 minutes, “What if everyone thought that? What if everyone thought about Jim Beam or Jack Daniels rather than cake? What if I thought about Jim Beam or Jack Daniels when I was designing it? What if I’m a raging alcoholic and didn’t know it?…” And so on as I spun out of control. Okay, yes. “Angel’s Share” is a term that is used in the distillation of alcohol and has absolutely nothing to do with baking. I was completely oblivious to the proper meaning of the phrase. It sounded like a wholesome, home spun term. When I was mass producing cheesecakes for Christmas, there was a bunch of sponge cake crust ends that I couldn’t use in anything except serving it with ice cream. The act of up-cycling something that was going to be nothing I felt was some psychic good deed. Good equals angels….angle’s share?….is this thing on?…maybe I’m just a raging alcoholic….

But then I thought, “Hey wait a minute, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” (about the business logo, not my drinking habits) The design caught somebody’s eye. Granted that person’s mind went straight to whiskey, but it did catch someone’s eye. It made them stop and pay attention, if only briefly. This point was validated earlier that day when a customer walked over, tried a sample and asked where we were located. As if we were and honest to goodness full fledged bakery with cases filled with treats. We had to tell her that we were just starting and everything was being run out of our kitchen, but for a brief moment, we were bigger than we actually were. And that counts as something. For a brief moment, we may have caught a glimpse of our future. For a brief moment, we were a real business, and in that one glance, there was hope.

And hope is always a good thing.

WWHAD: What Went Wrong

Can’t find who this pic belongs to.

Back in the late Eighties, there was a band called The Smithereens. The band had a few detractors, namely Rolling Stone who snarked that their sound was too influenced by The Beatles and The Byrds. Sure, they peaked at #43 on the 1990 Billboard Album charts, but for some of us, and by most of us, I mean me, they were essentially “the gateway drug”. Were it not for them, I’d still be stuck listening to mindless Cock Rock, or Genesis, or whatever happened to be popular on MTV at the time. Were it not for them, I wouldn’t have taken that leap and gave an ear to bands like REM, Camper Van Beethoven, Sonic Youth or Husker Du. Were it not for them, I wouldn’t have developed an appreciation for the New, for the Alternative, for the notion that television does not dictate my life. Were it not for them, I probably would have been happy being another member of the Wal Mart walking dead.

The Smithereens were a loud, guitar and amplifier driven band out of New Jersey. Perhaps it was their particular style that they didn’t get enough air play given that Madonna and Wham! was still dominating the air waves because those music executives in their glass towers knew what the kids wanted! Yes, they might be considered too loud for Top 40 radio, but beyond that, the music was rich, melodic, honest, straight-forward rock and roll; the perfect antidote to the mindless landscape that was Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. There was a purity to it that influenced many bands that came after them, as the case with most notable bands like The Velvet Underground, for example. Ironically, one of the one’s who were greatly influenced, was Kurt Cobain.

Blogs that sub-reference alternative bands to make a point STILL suck!

Then 1991 happened. From 1992 to this day, the epitaph that tattooed on every rock musician’s forearm read:

We were almost there. Then Nirvana came and they ruined everything!

This passed weekend, I took that leap again to try the New. Having been recently laid off and assessing my own worth in today’s job market, I decided to devote some of my time to making an effort and go into business for myself. I decided to sell cakes at a winter carnival at my daughter’s preschool. I decided to sell cakes, because it’s what I like to do; I’d like to think that I’m more than a little talented at making them, why not sell it and make more people happy and make a profit at the same time? Right? That’s the name of the game, right? Do what you love and the money will follow? Well, the day finally came and things were progressing as expected; lots of people milling about, nobody really buying anything from anybody. Everything was going well…

…Then the petting zoo came…and they ruined everything….

Suddenly….people….
~*What Went Wrong*~
Well, for starters, I had no comprehension of what I was getting into. When I think bake sale, I think of crowds of people crammed into a church basement, their eyes scanning the tables of baked goods and home made crafts while they make a not too subtle bolt for the door. Sure, there’s a kiss-your-grandmother-on-the-lips awkwardness about it and there’s a faint odor of ointment that doesn’t seem to go away, but there’s a guaranteed traffic flow, and with that more eyeballs checking my stuff out, which means that probability of moving product goes up exponentially. Instead, what I got was a table in the middle of a field. Away from everybody else. With no chairs and no tent. We were this unexplored island in the middle of the Pacific and people passing by were 737’s on their way to vacation destinations.
Scene from The Lonely Cake Table.
“Look Martha, a little table in the middle of nowhere!”
“OOOhhh, how WONDERful, let me get my camera! *click* What do you think they do down there, Gerald?”
“It looks…..it looks like they’re selling cakes.”
“…….Oh…..well….isn’t that nice. Are you done with the Skymall?”
Psychologically speaking (if I knew how to psychologically speak), my odds of selling something would have been greater had there been some sort of continuity.  Instead of putting me where you think the most traffic is, put me where the traffic will be. Think of it in terms of opening a Starbucks on a busy intersection where there’s guaranteed traffic, as opposed to putting one on some deserted stretch of highway.
Secondly, it would have probably been in my best interest to diversify the product. I only offered chocolate cakes. Maybe if Angel Food were offered, or pound cake…or cheesecake it would have been better. Given the situation I faced, the venue that it was and the capital that we could use, I chose to stick with one thing but offer it a few different ways. It was a risk, but it was all I could work with.
Not actual “cake” cake, but more like fancy muffins. Really GOOD fancy muffins.
Thirdly, I needed to take a bigger risk and start giving product away. I had plenty in stock and I wasn’t convincing anyone to buy with pathetic pieces of cake at the end of a toothpick. What I needed to do was to take the hit and give them a whole cake. That way, it’ll be a situation where the customer would be established having been convinced that the quality of the product is up to snuff; a test drive, try before you buy, first taste is free, pal. Pick any scenario you want, but when your back is against the wall, it might be wise to step up the game a little. It might have also been our best interest to not make so much. Two dozen would have been plenty. Eight dozen was a tragedy.
Lastly, and there’s no way around it and it’s nobody’s fault, trying to build up a brand from nothing is hard. People are skeptical to buy from you if they’ve never heard of you. Business cards would have been nice, but it wasn’t in the budget. Flyers were nice, but they got lost. We had to make due with what we had. I could have opened a Facebook/Twitter/G+ account, gotten our name in everyone’s faces, but there was no time and on further speculation, no point. I had no idea how this venture would turn out. If all else failed, it would be a success to get people to notice me.
Which they did, and that leads me to what went right…..

Watch this space…

The Capricorn Initiative: What Would Horatio Alger Do (chapter 1, part 1)

Author’s Note: I should stop titling anymore of my future blog posts with ‘The Capricorn Initiative’. I was at a loss to find a title for a blog a few posts back and these two letters just appeared while I was writing. ‘The Capricorn Initiative’ sound more like a Tom Clancy novel than a random blog of some dude trying to make it on his own. Seriously, I think I’ll tuck this away and use it for another one of Chuck Wendig’s writing challenges someday. So for the time being, I’ll just stick with the Horatio Alger aspect of it.

~***~
[Section removed after Blogger thought it would be a swell idea to freak out after I input some simple HTML code. Now it’s late at night, and I’m tired. It’s something that I always do, but tonight, you didn’t feel like doing it…again. I’m telling you, Blogger, I’m severely disappointed in you. This is the second time where you killed my content for no reason. WordPress is indeed looking better. Shove your precious Ad Sense…]
 

I’m trying not to give the wrong impression where I’m blogging just for the page views. On one hand, I track my views to judge which way the wind is blowing; to see if my content is worth reading. On the other hand, I’m seeing if any of this amounts to anything financial; visa-vie Ad Sense. I don’t know why I bother looking. I generated a whopping five cents all last month and I don’t see that improving any time soon (WordPress is looking better and better). All of these things sound like I’m writing for the wrong reasons, but honestly, regardless of all these metrics that I make for myself, the real reason that I keep going on this is watching my viewership grow, and watching my followers grow from a paltry 2 to a now-we’re-getting-somewhere 21. I keep going because I love seeing notices in my email letting me know that more people are following. I keep going because it is worth it and because it feels like I’m getting somewhere; I’m on the right track. I keep going because I appreciate everyone who drops by and sits a spell. Thank you, my readers.

Imagine my chagrin when I check my stats last night and find out that not that many people checked me out today. I’m not sure, but I think it had something to do with not posting anything? Simple physics: don’t expect a reaction when an action hasn’t started.

I was absent for most of the day yesterday because it’s getting close to crunch time for me. I have been preparing for the better part of two weeks for tomorrow. Tomorrow is my first venture at going into business for myself. How am I going to make my first million? You guessed it. I’m going to sell cakes at my daughter’s fundraiser for her school!

FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE, HERE I COME!!!!

[For those of you keeping track at home, this is the part of the movie where Chris Farley has a brilliant idea while David Spade mugs the camera facepalming for five minutes straight.]

Now I know what you’re thinking, any MBA worth his salt would tell you that the first step towards financial prosperity is always going to be a bake sale. I mean, duh, right? Everybody knows that.

Anyway, it is now 1:30 in the morning and I’m going to end this abruptly. It’s been several hours since I started this entry because I had to pull the last of the cakes out of the oven, make dinner and so on…I have eight dozen cakes, a stack of flyers and no idea what tomorrow will bring. If anything, it’ll look good on a resume, right, MBA dudes? I have a lot to catch up with and a lot more to come.

Watch this space…

Photo Credit:
Typewriter

I’ll Be Your Friend. Always.

 
The first day when we brought her home from the hospital, he was curious. He was never jealous of territorial like other cats might be. I raised him better than that. There was always a fear, justified or not, that the old-wives-tales might be true and that, ridiculous as it may sound, a cat will jump into a baby’s crib and steal their breath. I haven’t heard of any documented cases of murderous, breath stealing cats…but still…there’s always a possibility.
We introduced our 18 hour old daughter to our apartment. She had her eyes closed and missed the tour. It’s okay, she’ll catch the next one eventually. I held my swaddled daughter in my arms while I sat on the couch. My eldest feline stared at me from across the room. Not in rage, but in genuine curiosity. He wanted to know at this cooing bundle I was holding. He has never seen a baby before. The scent was different, the sound was different. All of these thoughts were showing on his face as he took careful steps toward this new creature. He climbed up on my lap, brought his face close to hers, touched his nose to her forehead and was completely…unimpressed. Were it in his vernacular, he would shrug his shoulders, let out a barely audible, “Meh” and walk away, which is what he basically did.
In the days that followed, he was always present. He somehow figured out that this being was a really big kitten and took on the role of a protector; a surrogate father. In the weeks and months and years that followed, he would always be near her.
She is five this year. She is five, and every year she has been on this Earth, she has developed an uncanny ability to attract, and to some extent, communicate with animals. I might write about this in the future, but just to stick to the point, she is five years old now and he is the ripe old age of 13. These days, they talk to each other. Literally, talk to each other. He chirps these sounds that only she can understand, it almost as if he’s speaks in complete sentences and she responds in kind. When she was a baby, he’d stand vigilant. Now she’s older, and his number one snuggle buddy. In this picture, her smile is cheesed, his is genuine.

…And That’s When I Woke Up

Author’s Note: Look, I’m really, really sorry! I know it’s certain death to start off anything with, “Hey, let me tell you about this dream I had.” It’s like yelling fire in a crowded movie house. It’s not my style to dive into this territory, because it’s not my thing. Then again, maybe it is.

I don’t keep a dream journal. There is no point. I sleep restlessly; I go to bed late and get up early leaving no time for my brain to do it’s thing. I drink too much coffee, I’m prone to fits of cleaning things obsessively. I don’t dream.

I don’t dream…that often.

I think it was around my fifth time trying to quit smoking and I was relying on the patch to settle my nerves was the first time since I was a child where my dreams were as clear, as wonderful, as scary as they were since then. Going to bed with a patch on your arm is not unlike dropping acid to enhance your experience of

I don’t condone this behavoir…

going to Cirque du Soliel with your grandmother. Well, not entirely, anyway. Close though.

Nicotine in a more concentrated dose is supposed to reduce your cravings for lighting up, which it does. Tremendously. That is, until they don’t work, but that’s another story. The manufacturers of these patches tell you to wear these for at least 24 hours in a row, but at the same time advise against wearing them to bed. (???) That never made sense to me and since I considered myself on the more chronic end of the scale, I always chose to go to bed with one firmly attached to my flesh. The nicotine in the patch does not stop dispersing its poison into your system until its done, meaning that while you rest, you are essentially still lighting up. Your brain doesn’t know how to handle this; the body is at rest while the mind is still having a barn-burner of a party. To put it simply: dreams without the patch are like watching foreign art films in fast forward while you look for the naughty parts. Dreams with the patch are like watching a Stanley Kubric film at normal speed, in IMAX, while tripping on acid with your grandmother…never mind…. Your dreams are in HD, and you’re living it. Something like that.

It’s called a lucid dream: a dream that’s crystal clear and the dreamer experiences the illusion of total control of all action. Think ‘Inception’ if it were happening in a mind that isn’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s. There are ex smokers out there who would know what I’m talking about. Your dreams aren’t scary, per se. They are only scary to the extent that you aren’t used to things being so clear in your dreams. Your brain freaks out a little.

Anyway, my last lucid dream I had was so intense that I just had to write it down. It was a couple of years ago. I wasn’t on the patch, but it was around the time where I was habitually dozing off at work. I was dozing off so much that it was kind of getting to me. So much so, that the echos of it were affecting my actual sleep.

~***~
I fell asleep at work. Hard this time. For a moment, it was welcome. Lovely, undisturbed slumber. But your subconscious has a tendency to tap you on the shoulder if you tend to doze in a place that you’re not supposed to doze in, so I snap myself awake.
*Snork* “I’m awake!” I yell to no one in particular. No one heard me because I was no longer at work. I was in my old college lecture hall, books at my feet, my desk slick with drool. No one heard me, because I was the only one in there. There were no instructors, no students, no light apparently either. The normally droning fluorescent bulbs were silent. The only real light came from the outside hallway and the exit signs that emphasized that point. I was alone. I was forgotten about.
I had the instinct to realize that it felt like early evening and I needed to scramble out of there to catch the last bus to my old apartment. I packed up and started to run. Loose leaf paper floating cartoon like in my wake. I leave the hall and out into the common area. Nothing. Nobody. There were the ghosts of voices of people who were there a few hours earlier. But right now, they are closing everything up. I had to hustle to catch that bus. I walk quickly past collegiate collages that I take for granted for having something to do with my school. But on a second glance, I see that the collages were for a Maritime College. My college wasn’t a Maritime College.
I wait for the bus, I look at the campus clock tower and notice that I made it with a few minutes to spare. Sudden fear raced through my veins when I feel my backpack is lighter now than before I dozed off. I forgot something. A book? Whatever it was, it was important enough for me to start running back to the lecture hall. The doors were locked as they normally were at the end of the day. Whatever I needed was still in there and in the distance, I hear my bus slowly roll away.
I couldn’t call anybody because for some reason, I’m still conscious of the fact that I am me now and not me back then. I couldn’t call a friend to pick me up because they’ve all grown up, moved away and started families of there own. I was stuck. Stuck on my old college campus with no way home. I ran out of options so I walked over to my old dormitory to see if there would be anyone who could sneak me in so I could spend the night in the lobby or something. The building’s lights were on. There was activity all about; voices, laughter, typical miasma of any college dorm. Everything was normal, only there was no one paying attention to the old dude trying to get inside to spend the night.
I couldn’t get in the regular way, I had to improvise. I loved my old dorm room. It was the one I lived in before trekking out to find an apartment in the city. The room was old, full of history. The building itself, as I recall in my dream, was haunted; a suicide in the attic and the ghost still roams the halls. I am conscious of  this I try and locate the window to my old room on the third floor. I thought if I could sneak in there, I would be safe for the night or at least find passage back to the lecture hall*. “Okay, 1…2…3 up and 1…2…3…4 across.” I found it. No light came from inside the window. “Good,” I thought. “At least I won’t be barging in on anyone.” I climbed up the side of the building, which I could do easily in this dream, opened the window and crept inside.

Dorm rooms that are occupied by roommates are divided in half. The half of any particular room sheds a little light as to whom is occupying it at the present time. For example: you can tell automatically that they put a jock and a goth in the same room. On one side of the room, nothing but bobble heads, on the other, nothing but THE DARKNESS OF MY SOUL!!! Such as the case when I came in through the window of this room. On one side, the side that I came in on, it was practically bare; nothing hanging on the walls, no pictures on the desk, no clothes on the floor, bed made in perfect fashion as if no one had slept in it in a while. This was on the side that I could see. On the other side of the room, the side I couldn’t see, there were hints and shadows of life. I could make out frames on the wall, general clutter about the space and perhaps, more poignantly, the gentle snore of a young woman fast asleep. I knew I shouldn’t be in there. I knew I should just keep on sneaking out and find my way to the lobby or something. But that bed near the window looked so comfortable, and I was so tired. I lay my head down on crisp, linen pillow cover.

I woke up. How long was I out? An hour? Two? It was still dark and a restless subconscious kept me alert if not awake to remind me that I was still in a girl’s dorm room and I had to get out before she woke up. I straightened out the blankets and fluffed the pillows the best I could and proceeded to sneak out undetected. I made it to the door. I opened it carefully hoping there wasn’t any cliched creaking that a door would normally do in this situation. It remained silent. I took a deep breath and took the first step out through the door when a tired voice suddenly chimed in from behind me.

“She’s gone, you know.”
“I’m sorry?” I say.
“She’s gone. She’s gone for the weekend just in case you were looking for her.”

Street lights shone broken on my face through partially opened blinds as if I were in some Noir film. The other half of the room was indeed occupied. There was someone sleeping there even though I couldn’t see anybody and she thought I was a boyfriend or something looking for her roommate.

“Oh. No, I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking for her…” I proceed to tell her my story up to this point to which she replied, “Oh…” As if it were a regular occurrence or something. I turn to leave. “You had better leave before the shut down everything and find you. They’ll be looking for you.”

I shut the door. Panic moved my feet.

I found myself inside the school’s book store** where I could already feel that something ominous was closing in; the faceless and nameless ‘they‘. I had to get out of this store because I knew on the other side of the door was my freedom. I no longer had my book bag which might have been a good thing. In order to not look suspicious to the students who worked there and the campus police that was guarding the door I picked up some random texts to blend in. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that these were books that I actually needed so I decided to steal them. I shoved them under my shirt. I wasn’t going to pay the bookstore’s outrageous mark up, besides, I had no money. This didn’t go unnoticed by a member of the staff and so he started to approach me. From out of nowhere comes Anthony Bourdain. I had no idea how or

I don’t condone this either…wait, what?

why he showed up here, but it was enough to distract the employee. Tony regaled the book seller with a tale he brought back from Greece while he subtly motioned to me Mr. Miagi-style that safety would be found in this direction. I crept closer to the exit. The only thing between me and my freedom was the campus cop. I hid in plain sight. Waiting for the cop to get distracted. It was at that point where this…how should I put this….hand drawn woman caught my eye. I say hand drawn because she looked made up to the point of being grotesque. She look as though she came to life after she spent years hanging in a tattoo artist’s portfolio; disproportionate facial features, breasts way too big for the rest of her body. I might have regarded her has completely cartoonish and completely out of place had she not been dressed in loose-fitting jeans and a zip up hoodie with the school’s logo on it.

…Yeah, something like that. DragoArt.com

Her arms were full of books. She studied the rest of the row looking for that one last book on her list when she noticed me hiding in the end cap. She looked at me inquisitively. I shot a quick glance at the cop. She looked at the cop, then at my worried face, then it hit her. She tousled her hand-drawn hair, sauntered over to the cop and said, “Excuse me,” in her best Betty-Boop.”Could you help me find this one book? I just can’t seem to…find it.” Sex oozed from her lips as she unzipped the hoodie ever so slightly to reveal her phenomenal cleavage to the cop. Needless to say, the cop at the door was perfectly distracted, she motioned the same way Bourdain did before that the door was that way.

 I ran out. I didn’t know where to go exactly because I felt I couldn’t trust the buses anymore, let alone be seen by anyone else. I remember there was a spot in the woods that was almost off campus grounds. It was a secret place to get drunk and do whatever drunk co-eds do. I moved in that direction. It was daylight, so I knew that there would be no one there.

Fought my way through the brush. Through the trees. Through the silence of a forest. Somewhere a voice told me to get down because “they” could see me, so I started crawling away like a crab. After crawling for a few yards, I decided that there was no one watching me. If there were, they’d be laughing at the way I contorted my body to move like a crab. I kept walking through unfamiliar woods.

I followed a path. Dirt changed to gravel. Gravel gave way to grass. Soon there was nothing to follow but the sound of cars whooshing by. I found myself near a road that wasn’t supposed to be there. It was a road that remember taking many times as a boy, but that road was in my hometown, my college wasn’t. I was miles away from where I should have been. “Hunh, that’s odd.” I said as I started walking in the direction of my parent’s house.

And that’s when I woke up and wrote this down.

~***~
I know, I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t have much to write about today and I thought that if I fleshed out this a little further it might reveal something to me. If anything, it’s worth a blog post for posterity sake. It’ll work for practice. I promise I’ll do better next time.
*-Impossible, because the lecture hall and the dorms are nowhere near each other in real life.
**- Again, not true because they are both in separate buildings. Oh well. Dreams, right?

Photo Credits:
 Dream
The Good Doctor
Anthony Bourdain
Pin-Up