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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:28 pm 
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God, feelies stop killing me here. I have feelings and Nick just your writing brings me to tears. Your feelings.
God, it's how I feel not wanting to talk about my feelings for this other girl.
God, Nick you can't write your feelings like this and just not make a person cry.
It brings me to my knees.
I can see your feelings come up and I feel what you feel now.
Also, maybe this is how you were looking at her like I was to that other girl. :lovey:

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:33 am 
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Back before I knew how things were, I thought Tuesday was one of the best days yet. We had a sub and that means you get an assignment to work on, usually in pairs or a group. I thought about asking Sara to work with me so I could figure out how she knew I liked her and all. How ironic that is in hindsight, man. A lot of times I'd think I had these brilliant things to say to her but they didn't end up coming across. I worked with my safeguard Payton as usual, but Sara was behind us and next to Tiff. The last time I had seen her yielded mixed results: I was really happy seeing her at her locker and confirming my interest, then I was invisible in study hall two periods later. It's no wonder she pretty much ignored what I said. I know now that seeing her at her locker and acting the way I did was the wrong way to go about it. That being said, when we've been in these group-work environments it usually brings out the best in me. I credit Sara for being outgoing and allowing me to open up. As much as I like her and therefore tend to tense up or fumble wording , it felt natural in those situations. So I was really glad to see that we were on a good page and could joke around, even after an "awkward" (it was brief and I was honestly very nice) locker meeting. That's where there was an inane amount of miscommunication. If Sara had told me right then that she didn't like me going to her locker and being "intimate", I would have been keyed in. But she didn't, and I assumed since we were joking around that all was well between us going forward. I thought that meeting went great and I could expand our conversations in class now that she knows for sure I like her. Little did I know, I was in for a rude awakening. Anyway, the point of this rambling is that Sara did not show me signs that day that she was unhappy with my feelings expressed towards her. It all seemed normal, just like she did working on the lab in physics today. It's pretty much the same Sara as before except we don't talk at all and I feel myself keeping a distance. I remember coming in that day and regretting not finding the proper moment to ask her to work with me, and thank god I didn't. I was in wait-and-see mode and when she asked to copy our answers I was relieved. Relieved because that's a Sara trademark; and my way of knowing she trusts me and is thankful for help. Before any of this happened I'm sure that's how we first talked formally since freshman year - her asking me for answers to warm-ups or homework. I think at first I was a helper and an admirer but Sara caught on at some point, one of the things I did caused her to talk to me more. For whatever reason I think she knew and wanted me to open up more from just a few words as a helper. And she would have been correct, because for that time until we became more of "friends" I was always desperately wanting to talk to her but not knowing how to start. I was finding any (indirect) way I could to know her more and learn of her interests, reading her to see if she noticed, taking any coincidence where we crossed paths as motivation. And that was all behind-the-scenes, so I suppose us talking casually like we really are good friends in that group work was reassuring. It was nice to finally be getting somewhere after not having a clue how to approach her months ago. So she asks if I'm done or whatever and I tell her to be grateful for my help. She plays along and says she is, and I'm her "best friend". But I didn't like the way she said it, because girls throw that around quite a bit even if jokingly. Although the playful tone we had was enjoyable I kinda blanked out the little parts. I remember they asked me about learning Japanese and we checked out my book. I made sure to rip out some small references in the book relating to Sara before I handed it over, and that's admittedly secretive but I didn't think it was a big deal. I already told her I liked her on Friday so I dunno what else she would have expected to be in there. We joked about how it was sooo secretive but I thought all in good fun, Sara really wanted to know and I was toying with that. We'd talk about something else and she'd come back to that, asking if she could see now, and I'd say that by no means should she know. She'd tell me to turn around since they didn't want to talk to me anymore, and I played along in holding my hands together and not turning back around. She said she was joking and I played along in saying that I take what she says very seriously. I was really pushing that it was about her, in retrospect. At a point she called me "Nicholas Puleo" in her increasing curiosity and I'm sure that's the first time a girl has ever done that. I said "Anis", "Sara Anis Shahid", no.. and it was like we were an old married couple. I imagine if we did go out those are the types of lighthearted back-and-forths to be expected. I loved every minute of that. At that time, all was right with the world. We were joking and I was pushing Sara's buttons since she knows how I feel, and it felt right, felt appropriate, apropros for the situation. I didn't know that it would only exacerbate things. But how was I supposed to know? I wasn't explained to the contrary by anyone. And hearing that she went to tell a vice principal that it made her uncomfortable was a shock, to say the least. Hearing from my friend Cameron, acting as the messenger, later in the day.. I couldn't have predicted it. Yet here we are, for something so abrupt and such a sudden change in our "friendship", and there's no communication of why to me. I'm waiting to know why.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:47 pm 
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^^^ wow, all of that is soooo embarrassing. what was I thinking writing that, I must sound so strange. :/

but I had to express that to somebody, somewhere, and it was good writing practice. I feel a lot better and more comfortable now then I did then, but have a long way to go towards trusting and being myself. with that said, here's my next tour de force about girls:

In my mind, you could cut the tension with a sword. It's so early, but I'm dying to talk.. why do I force myself like this? So finally, in that same listless disposition, she peeks back. It wasn't a longing stare, maybe just acknowledging my presence. Kinda hard not to, what with all the questions I'm answering. The point is - I didn't want to look away. Normally, I'd hide my face in fear, put my head down in retreat. Nay, this time I wanted her eyes locked on me, wanted to send signals... please, just one of us speak, please me think of something. But it wasn't that kind of time, not the situation. Doth fate keep me today? Or am I my own worst enemy, an internal wall keeping my heart so rapidly beating on the inside?

See, I've learned that these things have to happen naturally, they develop from commonalities and being open, having the same grief or liking the same settings. And when they're good, they feel right. You don't have to do anything extra, no pushing or pulling.. just walk-and-talk, have a seat, what's your schedule like. My theory is girls, or people in general appreciate just having another person listening. They like talking about their relationships, social stories, school, and someone who is genuinely interested enough to have dialogue and confirm their assurances. We all like being right, some of us to a fault. And we like someone else sharing in our troubles, understanding the whys or background, laughing at misfortunes, knowing what makes us tick. I've gotten a lot better at making friends that are girls, having learned this key point. I think my tentativeness, fear, being hesitant keeps me from coming on strong or being overly obvious about my intentions. I tend to really consider things before I act, and when it comes to girls I analyze the whole situation before saying the wrong thing, perhaps to my detriment. But it means I don't go too far or overwhelm them either. I keep my interests and desire to myself, preferring to speak when spoken to or waiting for casual conversation to flow by itself. I'm waiting to be opened up, essentially.

Ultimately, when the right one comes along, you won't have to question it. They'll know, or they'll be interested in talking to you, and they'll remember and reciprocate. Those are the ones you'll care about, who you'll remember when the rest of your "it girl" flavors of the month(s) get erased in a sea of memory. They'll listen to your side, smile when you come back, engage, and generally seem pleased to be around with you. I think we call these "keepers". You won't have to demand their attention, or be macho, cool, confident for them to like you (doesn't hurt tho). What I'm saying is, you can sometimes easily separate girls who you'll be friends or close with. The appearance only plays a small factor - cute or hot as they may be, some are simply more approachable than others. And that's why it's super critical not to judge a book by its cover. You could end up thinking totally differently than you imagined when you first saw her - "damn, she's meaner than I thought" or "damn, she's really nice and approachable"!

What I'm saying is, when you've found a good friend (or more) and you both know that's all it is, interactions usually go smoothly. This felt and feels more like friction. My mind is constantly nudging up against me, even though I know that I can't do anything in my state of affairs. I'm hopeless with some semblance of hope, if that makes any sense. Although as I learn more and gain experience, I'm thinking I can break through and find some light. You can't force a good thing, unless you have the skills to definitely make it happen. When you lack those features, all you have is some smarts, a helpful mentality, and listening expertise. I'm lying, that only accounts for me.

I've felt this sensation before... wanting so badly to do something, utter something clever, or ask and find an opening in her rigid defenses. Yeah, I have, haven't I? Huh, fancy that. I'd be the worst real-life capture the flag general. But I guess that hasn't stopped me from being attracted to many a girl that just ends up unfounded. As these come along, I hide away and put on a front, pretending I'm at ease. Certain people just open me up, and I'm very lucky to be able to talk to them. I've felt better having made friends and being chummy with some girls, even though I know I can't take any extra steps. Sounds sad, but I've resigned myself to being like this for now.

Back to this girl. She's sexy and probably knows it, yet seemingly doesn't give a shit. Left her blonde hair to whatever it may be on day one, pale and comfortable in yoga pants or whatever, eyes that scream "I don't care about this, I'd rather be on my phone or anywhere else", likely pampered by her boyfriend but not the affectionate type. Wearing glasses on day three (oh yeah, what's it with girls only wearing glasses occasionally? jk). My friend from high school is similar and I had the same suspicions, but we gelled well for the whole year. So it's not safe to assume anything after your first read, no matter what your conception. I already feel like she's the total opposite of me, but I can't get enough of that demeanor. I can't guarantee anything, but here's hoping.

At least.. that's what I've gathered. Maybe my opinions are totally out there and baseless.
And don't ask why this changed from a story to a guide and to a monologue.
I guess that's what happens when I try to channel these thoughts into something legible.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:07 am 
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it's important to get your words out into the world, regardless of whether or not they're actually good

I mean hey, I published a book, and in hindsight, it was a really shitty book. but having gone through that process and reflected on said book has made me a far better writer than I was before. plus I made like, 5 bucks off of it, so that's good

and that goes for anything. writing, music, art, heck even sports, the only way you can get better is by practicing + putting your work out there for people to judge and critique. you can't become a better poet or producer or painter or pitcher without some level of outside feedback. just going "hey i think i'm good at this" and trying to make that a career isn't enough, you have to ask real, qualified experts what they think. a coach telling you "actually you're only throwing 65 miles per hour, you're tipping your pitches, and your changeup barely moves" is going to do a lot more to help you than you going "well it looks like i'm throwing hard, and my curveball moves a bunch, so i guess i'm a good pitcher".

also this was a very interesting read. very insightful, with a nice balance of serious commentary/humor/introspection. I especially relate to the paragraph ending with "I'm waiting to be opened up, essentially."; I feel like this kinda describes my interactions with most people. I'm typically not very open with others unless I've already gotten to know them -- which is definitely hampering my "game" so to speak, as I'm typically not very forthcoming about when I have a crush on someone or find them attractive. like, I've made a good amount of friends, but a lot of that was natural and the few that weren't took a shit ton of effort for me to work the courage up to approach someone (whether that's physically or through a screen). heck I still haven't told the girl I used to have a crush on about any of this, and I was pretty deeply in love with her at the time, for like 2-3 years... I just can't seem to work up the courage that it takes to do something like this. it's easier to do over the internet, but even that is hard for me, and I hate it.

also the word "tungsten" just got stuck in my head, so there it is.

anyway there's the entire contents of my brain

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:29 pm 
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well thank you, Agent, but I don't plan on being a writer so I don't know why I did this lol

I guess it's for mind-clearing more than anything. But in the real-world what you said definitely holds true haha.

And I totally agree, I don't initiate most of the time so of course getting across your feelings can be excruciating. With friends it'll happen naturally, but a crush is totally different because you feel like there's a timer or a deadline. Everything gets forced into a timeline and you forget what you're there for. But what I will say is that it can't hurt any more telling her (unless you guys were friends and that's important to you) than it does not doing it. I did it - as you guys can see above - and I regret the whole thing, but I didn't know any better so I had to learn from my mistakes. I'm at least glad she knows/knew how I felt, and for future reference, 'cuz you never know what might happen right? Maybe she'll remember later on, at least that's what I think sometimes.

not that I'm any good with this but I think I can analyze it fairly well. Better to have loved and lost right?/

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:02 pm 
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philliesfan134 wrote:
well thank you, Agent, but I don't plan on being a writer so I don't know why I did this lol

I guess it's for mind-clearing more than anything. But in the real-world what you said definitely holds true haha.

And I totally agree, I don't initiate most of the time so of course getting across your feelings can be excruciating. With friends it'll happen naturally, but a crush is totally different because you feel like there's a timer or a deadline. Everything gets forced into a timeline and you forget what you're there for. But what I will say is that it can't hurt any more telling her (unless you guys were friends and that's important to you) than it does not doing it. I did it - as you guys can see above - and I regret the whole thing, but I didn't know any better so I had to learn from my mistakes. I'm at least glad she knows/knew how I felt, and for future reference, 'cuz you never know what might happen right? Maybe she'll remember later on, at least that's what I think sometimes.

not that I'm any good with this but I think I can analyze it fairly well. Better to have loved and lost right?/


I suppose what I meant was that it's important to get your words out there regardless. Lots of people who aren't writers have said things that have had profound impacts on people. We wouldn't necessarily consider a politician or a musician a "writer" so to speak, but their words can certainly still have a major impact.

yeah I want to get together with her and try to communicate everything -- the crush, coming out, etc. -- but she's in another state for college so that'll have to wait until spring/summer break, and she has a boyfriend rn so I don't want to make things awkward? I mean we did "go out" a couple times (homecoming my sophomore and junior years, plus a couple dinner "dates" sandwiched around that, but we were never actually in a relationship. I think this is something I need to take slow so I'm not jeopardizing our friendship or her relationship with this boy, but yes I definitely want to get it out there in the not-too-distant future.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:40 pm 
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As one of my favorite playwrights once said, "We're all writers, some of us just don't know what our story is yet."

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:47 am 
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detroittigers15 wrote:
As one of my favorite playwrights once said, "We're all writers, some of us just don't know what our story is yet."


is that

uh

*tries to sound smart by naming all the playwrights I can remember from high school English*

shakespeare?
arthur miller?
uh,,,,, samuel beckett?

but yes seriously that's a neat quote. I think even some people who do consider themselves writers haven't necessarily found the right story to tell yet, or the right words to tell it... I'd like to say that I know for sure what I'd like to share with the world, but in all honesty I don't think I've completely found myself yet. do I want to be serious + make a statement by using my "platform" to discuss issues dear to me [LGBT+, autism-spectrum, etc.], even if it means losing some of my friends/family/fans? do I want to go for pure entertainment + try to make gut-busting jokes and head-banging songs, even if it means compromising my integrity? do I want to go for the middle-ground, and try to do both (or neither, i.e. just making standard-level stuff and hoping something takes off) but probably fall short in some area?

it's a question a lot of us have to face, and not an easy one to answer. it gets even tougher when you really think about it -- it's not always just "would you rather change one person's mind for good, or a thousand people's minds for bad" but is quite a bit more complicated than that, because not everyone is going to have the same skill level/ability to reach people. a superstar rapper can reach millions, while an ordinary high-school kid might only have a couple dozen people that they can truly make a lasting impression on at that stage in their life.

anyway this has been yet another 3-in-the-morning, possibly-insomniac, but-probably-just-not-tired-because-I-didn't-wake-up-until-mid-afternoon AgentP Rant™! kbye

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:04 pm 
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AgentP wrote:
detroittigers15 wrote:
As one of my favorite playwrights once said, "We're all writers, some of us just don't know what our story is yet."


is that

uh

*tries to sound smart by naming all the playwrights I can remember from high school English*

shakespeare?
arthur miller?
uh,,,,, samuel beckett?


It was actually Eriksen.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:30 am 
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detroittigers15 wrote:
AgentP wrote:
detroittigers15 wrote:
As one of my favorite playwrights once said, "We're all writers, some of us just don't know what our story is yet."


is that

uh

*tries to sound smart by naming all the playwrights I can remember from high school English*

shakespeare?
arthur miller?
uh,,,,, samuel beckett?


It was actually Eriksen.


shhhhh let me have this

that's cool tho

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Guys, class can be hard. Your focus can be flipped over.. depending. Think of that as I bring you this:

Stiff eyes
Pink talks
Gaze back
Don't stop
Don't stop
Shoes checkered
Wild hair
I don't know exactly
What you wear
Fret not
Fret not
Don't stop
We've got
Bored state
That space
You're free
You're free
Are you free?
Don't stop
Are you next?
Hold on
Hold on
Don't stop
Takes time
Takes time
Damn why
can't I
Takes time
Takes time
It'll be fine
Stop my heart
Please
Stop my heart
Stop my heart
You did, you have
Takes time
Next time
Where we go
Takes time
When you're gone
Don't stop
When you're gone
Heart stops
Takes time
Takes time
Why'd we leave
Why is she
Don't stop
Takes time
Mind of mine
Time stops
Heart stops
Don't stop
Please
Heart of mine

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:17 pm 
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here's something i wrote last year. haven't read it in a while so i'm not sure how good it is.

“Showtime, Gunner.” they’d say whenever I had to carry out one of my special responsibilities. I only had Special Responsibilities at Fantasyland because my Dad was the park manager. He said he gave special duties outside everyone’s regular job so as to build character, but it was really only me he picked on. “Showtime” could have meant three possible special responsibilities and none of them were what you’d call good.
Sometimes one of the local strong men from a biker gang had realized that all of our games were rigged and held Flint from the Ring Toss hostage. This happened way too often and I always had to go try to diffuse the situation while we waited for the police. It seemed pretty pointless to me and I let my Pops know I thought that fairly often. His reply was always the same, “Flint’s one of our key players here son. If he goes, the whole park goes. Keep him safe.” Okay, well if Flint is such a key player then why is he held hostage by a biker every other week? What kind of key player needs a 16 year old Carousel attendant to distract a strong man with a road flare any time he taunts a biker losing at the ring toss? Flint was an idiot and my dad was a fool for thinking otherwise.
Another one of these special jobs my dad had for me was acting like a teenager from 1972 whenever his father-in-law came to the park. My grandpa had Alzheimer's and it got so bad in 1987 that he just started thinking it was 1972. So whenever my grandparents came by the park, dad sent me around spewing phrases like “I sure as hell am not a fan of Nixon’s illegal bombing campaign in Cambodia.” and “My favorite album this year is Exile on Main St. by The Rolling Stones.” I get what dad was trying to do here and it was a nice thought, but grandpa would always end up shouting at anyone wearing a Montreal Expos shirt anyway, demanding to know where that Commie Baseball shirt came from.
If I had to choose, though, I would tell you that far and away the worst of my special responsibilities at the park was having to dress up in an old, dirty rat costume and scare off the horrible, rowdy teenagers whenever they were causing trouble at the park. Not only did this rat costume never work, but the horrible rowdy teens, as my dad called them, were my peers. And on top of all that, I had to walk past the prettiest girl I worked with, Jessica Lynn, in the stupid rat suit every time.
“Roger’s gang at it again, Gunner?” she’d ask.
“Yes,” I’d reply.
“Good luck with that,” She’d say.
I could never manage to speak a fully coherent sentence around Jessica so most of the times I would reply with a garbled grunt or something of that ilk. After the obligatory encounter with Jessica, I’d traipse off to wherever Roger’s gang was causing trouble. They could always easily tell that it was me under the Rat costume. Roger and his gang could get pretty cruel sometimes. I suppose I’m just lucky this all went down in a land before facebook so none of it was immortalized on the internet. However, a VHS recording of Roger dangling me from a tree by my tail would eventually end up on the first season of America’s Funniest Home Videos in 1989.
This was after I’d decided to become a man, though. It was late-August of 1988 when I finally stood up to my old man. I had just fished Flint out of a fountain by the roller coaster for the third time that week and I was absolutely livid. I don’t know if it was because Flint could never learn his lessons with the bikers or the fact that I always had to bail him out or that Jessica saw me with my pants all wet or a combination of the three. Whatever the reason, I was fuming. And on my long walk back to Fantasyland’s headquarters, I realized just how much I loathed that place. I trudged past the glimmering luminescence cast by the carousel and realized that I never wanted to see that thing again. I began to feel suffocated by all the fat forty year olds dressed up as knights in shining armor, and the walls in the so-called funhouse were closing in. I was trapped in this god-forsaken theme park and I needed a way out.
Without thinking, I stormed into my dad’s office in park HQ and just tore into him. I said things like, you need to start treating me like a man. And, just because I’m your son doesn’t mean you get to treat me differently from other workers.
I went at dad like that for a solid five minutes and he just stared blankly at me which just made me more angry. So I threatened to quit. I only knew why he wasn't reacting when an unmistakable, stern voice emanated from the corner.
“You’re raisin’ ‘im soft, Jerry!”
That voice belonged to my other grandpa, my dad’s dad.
“Dad if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’d like to have a private talk with my son.”
My grandpa got up and walked out, but not before he voiced his disapproval in something along the lines of a “harrumph.” Now it was my dad’s turn to tear into me. He was calmer than I was, but it was rather biting even still.
“Gunner, I'm sorry you feel this way,” he began. “But every McCoy for the generations since this park opened in 1922 has had special responsibilities at this park. Back in 1963 I had to get a bear out of the nuclear fallout shelter, it's how I got this scar.”
My dad always refused to tell me how he got the scar above his eye and I spent the next few minutes debating if it was because the bear story was too painful for him to bring up again or so he could make up a story about it when he needed to during a lecture. I came to an impasse in my debate around minute three of my father’s pointless pontificating so I decided to tune back in.
“and now what's this I hear about you wanting to quit? My father worked as Carousel attendant before he got to run this place and my father’s father before him. Gunner, how can you expect to be the President of Fantasyland if you don't work your way up?”
I pondered on this for a moment, then decided it was time to drop the bomb.
“I don't wanna run this place, dad. I'd like to go to college and learn to do something useful.”
My father was speechless. We didn't talk for the rest of the day. And once I went off to college in California, we stopped speaking for almost 25 years. For the past 10 years, he lost the ability to speak due to respiratory issues. He always was a heavy smoker, but that’s neither here nor there. We wouldn’t have talked even if he was able to.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:46 pm 
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I dig the idea and there's definitely a clear voice coming from the narrator (which is really good). it's kinda, not super well organized? it seems like it's just all lumped together even though the story involves a great passing of time

but other than that, I like it

for my creative writing class, we're doing a fiction unit, so I may share my short stories from that here later

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:07 am 
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I just wrote a quick story on the subreddit /r/WritingPrompts, where people submit story ideas and users turn them into something hopefully worth reading. Here's the link: https://wp.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/ ... s/dr4f6n9/

I've also transcribed it here for those of you who'd rather do that. The prompt is: "Every time you experience Deja Vu, it signifies that you are in the vicinity of a time traveler. While standing in line at the movies one Friday night, you experience debilitating Deja Vu. You look over at your date and..."

"Is something wrong, Jason?"

It's a bizarre feeling, deja vu. The feeling that you've been somewhere, done something, seen someone before despite all evidence to the contrary. By the time you get a chance to process the feeling, it's already slipping away. Then just as suddenly as it appears, it's gone. But as I looked into Jennifer's eyes, it all came back, instantaneously. That feeling of deja vu, rather than dissipating, solidified into a sudden influx of experiences that somehow felt simultaneously foreign and familiar. With sudden clarity, I knew. This wasn't the first time we had stood in that line. It wasn't even the second. I had no idea how many times I had stood in this exact spot, but I intended to find out. I looked Jennifer straight in the eye and spoke firmly.

"I remember."

The look on her face passed quickly and was almost imperceptible, a mixture of panic and confusion. But she was good. She had done this before. The corners of her mouth quickly turned upward, wiping away any signs of concern, and she spoke with a genuine curiosity in her voice.

"Remember what?"

Those words, too, brimmed with familiarity. She had asked that before. This wasn't the first time I had remembered, either. With every passing moment, I was remembering more. Layers upon layers of memories that all seemed to coincide.

"Everything. Don't play dumb with me. That won't work again."

Jennifer's face fell. She turned away from me and held her watch to her mouth, speaking in a low tone.

"We have a breach."

As I looked around, I recognized everyone I saw, to varying degrees. The man in the black sweatshirt in the other line made eye contact with me again, his face downcast. The woman in front of us dropped her phone, right on cue. The sudden incursion of information left me feeling sick to my stomach and dizzy. All I could do was listen.

A male voice emanated from the device, angry. "God damn it Jennifer, I told you you were pushing your luck. I'm pulling you out."

"No, you can't! We haven't stopped him yet." Jennifer's voice was desperate.

"Some things can't be fixed. I've already put my ass on the line allowing you this many attempts," the man replied firmly. "You're coming back."

"Well not-" Jennifer hesitated, then conceded. "Not right now. I'm in the middle of a crowd. I'll ring you when I'm in a secure location."

"Fine. But make it quick."

Jennifer looked around, then at me. "Jason, I'm sorry. But you'll have forgotten all of this soon."

My head was pounding. The memories were piling up, invading my head in waves, and all I could muster was, "What?"

"I'm sorry," she said. It was sincere; the sadness in her voice was real.

"Wait." I croaked, my throat weak. I reached for her wrist, but she quickly slipped out of my grasp, disappearing into the crowd, leaving me alone in a haze. Suddenly, a scream pierced the air, and all around me people fell to the ground. An ear-shattering gunshot soon followed. The man in the black sweatshirt stood atop the concessions counter, a pistol held high in the air.

"Everyone shut the *(censored)* up!" The room fell silent. "Do what I say, and nobody gets hurt." He scanned the room and picked out a young lady, about 25. "You," he commanded, pointing to her with his off hand. "Call the police." She didn't move. "CALL THEM!" he screamed, the barrel of the gun now looking her in the eye. The woman sobbed. "Call 911, tell them your name, and tell them exactly what's happening. Now." The woman pulled out a cell phone and complied.

"Everybody else: Don't. *(censored)*. Move."

My heart was pounding in my chest. The familiar feeling was fading; and again experiences were feeling new. I took note of where I was: backed up against a wall, relatively far from the shooter. I looked at my hands, and realized suddenly that they were not empty; in my right hand was Jennifer's watch. Hands shaking, I tapped the screen, and it prompted me to enter a passcode. Unconsciously, I obeyed.

5126

The watch unlocked, and went to a screen which displayed a date and a time, and a button that read "Execute." I took notice of the date. December 11th, 2017. Today's date. I saw the time. 7:00 PM. The exact time I had agreed to meet Jennifer at the theater. I looked up. The gunman was surveying the room, pointing his gun at random people. I looked back down at the watch, trembling. The green button on the screen flashed rhythmically. I inhaled deeply, as if I was about to dive underwater, and pressed it.

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 Post subject: Re: Short Stories
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:33 pm 
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Here's part two:

What came next was an indescribable sensation of falling inward. My vision went dark, but I remained sickeningly aware while my physical body felt as though it was being turned inside out. I immediately felt disgustingly ill, but that itself only began to truly manifest as I felt myself returning to my normal shape in a manner that can only be described as horrific. My sight returned, and I found myself on the sidewalk in front of the theater, doubled over and trying not to vomit on my own shoes.

"Jason? Goodness, are you all right?"

I looked up and saw Jennifer reaching her arm around me as I began to stand up straight. I quickly glanced at her arm and saw it: her watch was secured haphazardly to her left wrist. I clutched my hand tightly around the object I was holding to confirm my suspicions. Almost impossibly, it seemed there were now two watches. I stowed it in my back pocket and rose to meet Jennifer's gaze.

"How did you know it was me?" I asked.

Jennifer seemed taken aback by the question. I could see her mind racing to formulate a response. "From pictures, of course. I wouldn't agree to a blind date without seeing a picture first."

I rubbed the cold sweat from my forehead, still woozy but thinking clearly. "What's her name?"

Jennifer was clearly confused. "Huh?"

"The name of the friend who set us up. What's her name?" I repeated.

"Oh, I, uh-" She was scrambling. "Wasn't it, uhm, Kelly?"

I shook my head. "I don't know anyone named Kelly," I lied. She had gotten the right answer, it had been Kelly Sullivan who had *begged* me to go on this date. Or at least, that was how I remembered it. At this point I wasn't really sure. Regardless, I hoped that my bluff would be enough to cause Jennifer to expose herself.

"Isn't the movie starting soon?" Jennifer asked, looking at her watch. She flicked her index finger across the screen, as if she was scrolling.

"That's a cool watch," I remarked. "Can I see it?" I reached for Jennifer's wrist.

"Hey!" she shouted, pulling away. "It's just one of those smart watches, you know, nothing special. We should get inside. It's cold."

I clearly wasn't going to get any information this way. It was time to use my trump card. "I have one just like it, actually," I said. Reaching into my back pocket, I procured Jennifer's watch and held it in front of her. Jennifer's eyes widened and quickly snapped to her wrist.

"Where did you get that? You're not from the agency. Are you a bootlegger? An assassin?"

I put the watch back in my pocket for safe keeping. "I'm just someone who's trying to figure out what's going on. Tell me more about this agency."

Jennifer stood still, deep in thought. Slowly, she brought the watch to her face and pressed one of the buttons on the side.

"Brian, it's Jen. We have a breach."

"What? How is that possible?" asked a familiar voice. "You haven't been there for five minutes."

"A civilian has obtained a TW-06. I have no idea how long he's had it."

Jennifer's statement was met with a moment of silence. The man spoke.

"You know what you have to do."

Jennifer lowered her hand and reached her other for the side of her waistband, revealing a gun. Her face distraught, she came in close and pressed it against my stomach, concealing it beneath her jacket. The passing crowds saw nothing more than a handsy couple in front of a movie theater.

"I need you to slowly reach into your pocket and give me what you have."

I obeyed, pulling the watch out with my right hand and holding it in the air.

"Good. Now hand it to me," she demanded.

"No," I said as straightly as possible, doing my best to hide my nerves.

"Then I'll kill you and take it from you. Don't make this any harder than it needs to be."

Quickly, I tapped the screen and entered Jennifer's passcode. 5126. The phone unlocked, revealing the screen displaying today's date and 7:00 PM.

"How do you know that?" she huffed, her tone becoming aggressive as she pressed the gun firmly into my abdomen.

I held my thumb over the green button. "Because this isn't the first time we've done this," I bluffed. "And we can keep doing it all night. Or you can explain to me what the *(censored)* is going on."

Jennifer sighed, carefully calculating her next move. Reluctantly, she returned her weapon to its holster and spoke into her wrist.

"Brian. It's a code three. We have no choice."

There was a brief pause before the reply. "Fine. But you're doing the paperwork."

Jennifer extended her arm to me. "Take my hand," she commanded. I complied, and she led me to a dark alley about a block from the theater. After checking to make sure no one was in sight, she spoke again into the watch.

"Okay, Brian. Pull us out."

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