Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from).

This was the moment when all that thinking should be paying off.  The guy knocked on the door.  I was home alone, and true to form, didn’t answer or give any indication I was inside.  In fact I froze, like a wild hare does when the hawk circles overhead.  I heard voices outside through the relatively thin decorative glass.  Loud voices.  Ethnic voices.  I swallowed to calm the escalated heartbeat in my ears.

Reaching for my phone, I noted the time and calculated these men had been standing on my porch for far longer than necessary.  They were still talking loudly, though I couldn’t hear what was being said.  The emergency number was entered, my thumb hovered over the the green “Send Call” button when I heard the sound of breaking glass.  Well shit!  I thought.

Determined to be as quiet as possible, I peeked over the edge of the stairs as an arm snaked through the glass to unlock the front door and two good-sized men shouldered their way into my parents’ house.  Glancing at the phone, I knew I had to get to safety and call the authorities.  In that order.

I remember being remarkably calm as I assessed their progress into the house. They were confident no-one was home and were clearly in search of valuables.  The only thing of value I possessed was a laptop, so I darted into my room to shove it under my mattress. Foolish, perhaps, but my pride wouldn’t permit me to just let them take my most beloved possession–my writings.  I shut the door behind me to drown out the sound of their animal noises as they rifled through our electronics downstairs.  It was only a matter of time before they came up here to my second floor.

I locked my door, then stepped into the adjacent bathroom to lock that door as well.  That should hold them for a bit. My next stop was the window.  It opened easily and I slithered out onto the roof, my phone still in hand.  Taking a few steps to the right, I was able to get out of the line of sight of my window (lest they come barging into my room) and perched comfortably in a shady nook.  I can remember how the roof shingles gnawed at my feet and how loud my clothing was as I took a seat.

I felt now was an acceptable time to phone for emergency assistance.  “Send Call.”  The emergency operator answered calmly.  I, for my part, kept my head as I explained my situation.  She asked me if I was in a safe location and I said that I was.  “Are you at a neighbor’s house?”

“Oh, I’m on the roof,” I answered, almost cheerily.  After assuring her I was safe, she asked if I could see the suspects’ car.  I could, and gave her as good a description as I knew how.   What seemed only moments later, several squad cars appeared and the officers sprang into action.  The men were promptly arrested.  The whole affair, from start to finish had taken mere minutes.  As the would-be burglars were led out the front of the house, I couldn’t resist wishing them ‘good luck’ with the famous Hawaiian hand gesture.

One of the officers spoke into his CB radio at his shoulder, then raised his eyes to where I sat.  He waved and I called down, “Thank you for your quick response!”

He invited me down and we discussed all I had seen and heard.   It wasn’t until about 45 minutes later, after all statements had been made, I had been checked for any injuries, the area had been scoured for evidence, glass cleaned up, makeshift patching put over the hole in the door, and the officers seen on their way that the adrenaline of that afternoon came in a sudden all-in rush.  I cried for an hour, curled into the couch.

I had escaped the immediate threat, but the intruders had still taken something from me: my peace of mind.  I didn’t know how I was to escape that, or how even to begin to try.

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Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

One of my favorite toys as a wee one was a white stuffed bear with shiny black eyes and a pink sewn nose.  My uncle gave him to me the day I was born, tucking him into the baby basket with me and saying “Here’s someone to be your bunky.”  Of course, the name stuck.  Now, 20+ years later Bunky is still around.  His fur has been loved off, his nose has become threadbare from a few too many Eskimo kisses, but his eyes hold onto their shine.  We had a million adventures together when I was small, including one with scissors and his tail.  I had him on my bed as decor all through high school and college (in my dorm, yes).   He was always the boss when I had to leave my room for the day, making sure the other toys didn’t step out of line or make too big a mess.  He is still a watchful eye over my young son, albeit from a distance, as K would probably tear him apart.

If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

My favorite book has what could be seen as lavender/purple sheets of a crisply made bed pulled to with a used teacup, spoon, and saucer sitting in the lower right.  The entire picture is a close-up of these items, hence my being unsure as to whether the lavender/purple part is in fact sheets.  There are tea grounds in the bottom of the cup, which hints that the book may be about or may concern itself with a place where they steep the stuff in loose-leaf format.

The paperback itself is moderately thick–a good read, it would seem, for a lengthy plane or car ride.  Even with the title intact, I’m not certain what possessed me to pick it up in the bookstore that day.  It was summer of 2005, and we were in a shop on some touristy street in Oxford, England.  I flipped through it, decided it looked “extremely British” and took it right over to the young man behind the counter. 

That book changed things for me.  My writing style became markedly more relaxed, more genial, and more Lewis-esque.  I am by no means close to being as talented, thoughtful, or insightful as this creator of Narnia, but his tone is one of telling a story to someone he is very fond of and it is something I strive to emulate, all because of a similar tone in my book with the teacup on the front.

The title ended up being “Notes from a Small Island” and it is a wonderful travel journal by Bill Bryson, who has published a number of other texts, all fantastic reads and all of which make you feel as though you accompanied him and you are now sitting together recounting the journeys you both took over a cup of cider next to a good fire. 

FF# 24 – 15 min. – Adventures in Second Person

You are seated at the long, brown, sticky bar, tumbler in hand, already two or three drinks into what promises to be an evening you will regret tomorrow morning.   You don’t care.  You don’t give a rat’s ass about that ginger bastard because he’s a ginger bastard and—damn, cigarette’s close to the filter in your hand, you can feel the heat from the cherry—if he wants to run after that blonde no-talent whore, that’s on his head.  So what if you (think that you) “get him,” and so what if he appeals to your intellectuality.  You don’t appeal to his and that’s that.  Get over it.  Have a drink and get the fuck over it.

Another cigarette? Yes, please.  Chain smoking like a boss.

Your friend, the busty brunette, sits next to you actually enjoying getting her drink on and lightly flirting with the barkeep.  He is quite a looker, but you have a purpose tonight, and that’s to be miserable and drink until the No Pain Zone is reached.  The irony of the No Pain Zone compared to the hangover you are setting yourself up for hits you and you chuckle quietly, bitterly, to yourself.

“What’s wrong?” she says.  Like she doesn’t know.

“Same ole,” you respond, your accent heavy with sloppy speech and intoxicated tongue. A few more shots and you’ll drop into your best Scottish accent. The smoke from your Djarum burns the inside of your nose and you sneeze a funny half-sneeze to try to clear it out.  Take a drink, feel the vodka on the back of your throat.   Damn, they make the drinks strong here.  Maybe that’s why you like this place so much.

“You’re moving through those quick,” she says comfortingly.  “If you’re going to blow your week’s drink budget tonight, we should go to The Usual.”

“Bitch,” you cut your eyes to her, your tone playful, “we’re at The Usual.”

“You know where you are, that’s a good start.”  She turns her eyes to the karaoke stage where your other friends, the crazy raven-haired beauty and the short-ass, well-endowed redhead, are actually doing well with Lady Marmalade.

“Shut up,” you laugh and shake your head, your long brown braid flopping to and fro at your back. You can feel the greasy stage makeup on your forehead and make a note to scrub it off next time you hit the loo.

“I love you.  Do you want me to tell you when you’ve had enough?”

“Not tonight.  Let me drink.”  You pause.  “No, you probably better tell me if I get sleepy. I’ve got at least six or seven more drinks before I die.”

“Pushing the poisoning border, eh?”

“I’m just angry.”

“Which is a terrible reason to drink.  You should be enjoying yourself. It’s our night out.”

“You’re right,” you sigh.  “You always are.  But it feels okay tonight.”

“Porthos says we can stay the night with her.”

“Excellent.  Her toilets are the best.”

“Why don’t you join me in a Jello shot and then have just beer after this drink, okay?”

“Yes.  Jello shots.  Aramis, you are a genius.”

“And then only beer,” she presses.  “We do have a show tomorrow.”

“Right.”  You allow yourself the luxury of a snarl into your drink.  Another show, another kiss that means nothing.  Fuckin’ hell.

FF#23 – Alter Ego

Elizabeth opened her eyes, the cold air assaulting her vision.  She squinted and waited for her body to shake off sleep before rising.  Stretching luxuriously in the coolness of her bed sheets, she pulled herself into a sitting position.  The floor beneath her bare feet was freezing and she quickly danced into the carpeted bathroom for a hot shower.

Sometime later, towel-bound and cheerful, she stepped into her tiny galley kitchen to brew a little tea and reheat yesterday’s muffin.   The sunlight peeping through the long lace curtains at her window promised a beautiful day.  She opened the curtains and seated herself in the large, cushioned armchair at the window.  The muffin was soon consumed, the mug of tea drained, the sun had shifted in its course and the only sound reigning in the entire flat was silence, save for the quiet persistent ticking of the old-world clock on the mantle over the fireplace.

Stillness.  Solitude.  Not showing, just telling.

There was something to be said for living in exile, Elizabeth decided, closing her tired eyes as the sun invaded her view.  Something vile.

Daily Prompt: If you could choose to master any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

 

I would choose to master complete linguistic skill, thereby being able to learn any language almost immediately and speak/read it as well as any native speaker.   This skill would be awesome for a few reasons, the first being that I’d never have any trouble travelling. 

Lost in the Australian outback? Let’s pull over and ask for directions. 

No, the nice German man was not threatening to kill you; he was complimenting your shoes.   

Time Lord lands in ancient Rome?  Ave, Imperator! Morituri te salutant! Wait…

I would become a tremendously valuable asset the world over as a translator and since my understanding of both languages would be perfect, there would be no “lost in translation” moments. I think treaties, negotiations, and summits would benefit, certainly.

The downside would be that I might be constantly in danger because sometimes people just can’t abide a solution.  Or I’d be seen as a threat because government X was counting on insulting government Y and starting a war for nefarious reasons.

Still, being able to travel at will and speak like a native speaker would definitely be an asset, especially since if I am looked upon as a threat, I can just blend into all the communities.

Write a recipe for disaster

Start with 3 friends.  Add copious amounts of booze (almost always a necessity) and sprinkle in the sighting of an enemy.  For added body (no pun intended), include the sighting of a crush (or an ex) along with the enemy.  Depending on your event, you may wish to include a darkened karaoke bar and a cute barkeep, but these ingredients are not mandatory.  Finish off your Disaster with a full package of Djarum cigars, a late night, and various costumes for all involved.
 
Bake at Texas temperatures until 2.30a or until the police arrive due to the nature of certain guests’ costumes and behavior.  Whichever happens first.

 

Side note: This is a more or less true tale of my Hallowe’en 2010, which has indeed gone down in history as the worst Hallowe’en on personal record.