Friday Fictioneers – I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

(Author’s note: The song doesn’t match, but I couldn’t find one for “You died of dysentery”. Otherwise, Enjoy!)

danny-boweman-1

© Danny Bowman

I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

by Miles H. Rost

“This is not fun.”

“Oh, come on, Dave. This is the adventure of a lifetime! To really live and breathe as your ancestors did all those years ago.”

“All my ancestors died of dysentery, Rachel. Only one line was able to make it.”

“But, your family did make it to Oregon didn’t it?”

“Yeah, but most of them died of dysentery!”

“I get that…I really do. But that doesn’t matter because you’re here now. And you’re living as they did.”

“When I said I wanted to play Oregon Trail, it was the computer game.”

“Oh…Uh… Check supplies again?”

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Friday Fictioneers – With Dad

(Author’s note: Things have been getting pretty hectic around here, and things have been off kilter. I will try to add new writing on the blog, outside of Friday Fictioneers, but it will take a bit of time to get things moving again. Your patients will be well rewarded. Today’s Friday Fictioneers is here, to whet your appetite.)

 

Photo Prompt © Jennifer Prendergast

With Dad

by Miles H. Rost

“Ready to go, son?”
“Is it going to be safe?”
“We put it together, it will be.”
They each grabbed a side of the canoe and pushed it out to the lake.
“Alright, son. The canoe is there. Are you ready to get in?”
“I would if I knew where it was.”
“What? It’s right in front–”
Dad turned around, and saw the canoe was no longer there.
“Where did it go?”
“It sank.”
“Now, do you know why it sank?”
“Because we didn’t use the right sealant.”
“That’s right. That’s what we will tell Mom. Now, let’s go back to the cabin and watch the Ducks.”

Friday Fictioneers – Homeward Bound

Apologies for no posts in the last two weeks. Vacation and depression do affect a person. Here’s the latest Fictioneers offering, albeit a couple days late due to birthday stuffs.

copyright Jean L. Hays

Homeward  Bound

by Miles H. Rost

“So this is where it all started?” Marina asked her grandpa.

“Yep. This is where the famous Route 66 got it’s start,” Grandpa responded, with pride.

“Not that, silly! This is where you started your journey, wasn’t it?” the child said, smiling like she was sharing a secret.

“Ah, child. This was the start of my journey. I lived in that brown building back there, and one day I decided to move west. I packed up a ’55 Bel-Air, picked up your grandma in Des Moines, and we made our way to Oregon.”

“Then I came along and brought you back here!”

“Actually, that was your mom…”

Hazy Shade of Winter

(Author’s Note: I’m BAAAAAAACK! I’ve been gone for the last month or so in the attempt to complete a TESOL Certification. Therefore, I had to drop the blog while I focused on getting all the tests out of the way. BUT, I am now back. And…here we go. ^_^)

Hazy Shade of Winter

by Miles Rost

On the campus of the University of Oregon, the air was becoming bitterly cold. December was not normally known for cold and snow, but for this year, it blitzed across the western United States with a fury rarely seen in any storm. While the city of Eugene was not known for being full of snow, the entire city was blanketed with nearly a foot and a half of snow.

Walking down one of the main streets of the campus, Mike Carlton was admiring the buildings with their roofs full of snow. It was unusual to see a thick coating on top of Willamette Hall’s strange shaped entrance, or a pile of snow that shut the front of the Volcanology building. Mike smiled as he watched a shovel crew scrape the snow and resulting ice-melt off the amphitheatre.

He crossed the heart of campus and angled to go across the plaza, the long strip of green park that stretched from just below the heart of campus across to the west side of campus. He stepped onto the path that cut across the plaza, looking to pass by the statue of the Pioneer Mother and head towards the library. As he took the first step, he heard the carillon bells from the student union behind him, and smiled.

1 o’clock on the nose, he thought, as he smiled at the quietness.

A quietness that was shattered with a loud *THWOCK* and the sting of cold and pain on the right side of his face.

“BOMBARDAMEN!” he heard from one side of the plaza, lined up with a slew of guys behind hastily erected snow-barriers.

Mike looked in horror at the guys, and looked the other way to see if there was the possibility of escape.

He was faced with 16 sorority girls with snowballs in their hands.

He started running from both sides, hurtling over one erected snow barrier and ran straight towards the Physical Education building. The girls and a few of the boys from the plaza started to chase after him, trying to pelt him with more snow than they could even imagine.

To Mike’s shock and surprise, he heard a loud series of *THWOCK*s from behind him. He took a glance behind him and saw that half of the girls and guys that were following him were felled by a series of pink snowballs, lobbed from the direction of the psychology building. For a second, he sighed in relief.

That is until a pink snowball splat in the road right next to him.

He looked up at Straub Hall, the psychology building, and saw a motley crew of girls and guys on the roof, lobbing at people that seemed relatively unscathed.

“Aw HELL naw!” he said, as he continued running past the Physical Education building. He knew where he needed to go, because there was no way that he’d survive if he kept being outside.

He ran past Hayward Field, the running track used for the Olympic Timetrials, now covered in what looked to be virgin snow. He payed no thought to it, as he ran across Agate Street. Like a comically tragic anime character, he ran up the stairs and smacked straight into the doors of the Knight Law library.

Surely, I can take refuge in here! Lawyers don’t have fun or a sense of humor.

Yet again, he was proven wrong as a series of dark blue snowballs rained down upon him. Deftly dodging them, he realized that there was no hope. He did not want to fight, but he was given no choice.

He ran back to the former football field and launched himself into the untouched snow. He looked around like a madman, looking for containers of any type. Within a few minutes of work, he created a sizeable number of snowballs. As he succumbed to his snowy bloodlust and launched the first of his snowballs at an unsuspecting faculty member, one thought entered his mind.

If you can’t beat ’em, beat up on ’em.

Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)

by Miles Rost

The day of reckoning had come.

In a gigantic building just off the main drag in downtown Portland, Oregon, nearly 700 people milled around the ground floor. On the 4th floor of the building, it was announced that there would be a major banquet occurring. The announcement of the 15 new dancers of the Portland Ballet would happen at the same time as the banquet.

For half of the dancers, this was a happy occasion for them. For the other half, it meant certain doom as they couldn’t even gain a pound. And for one man, it was an opportunity to not only get a chance at a possible paying gig, but a chance to eat. It would sure beat eating ramen and cream of mushroom soup every night.

Larry Burnell’s admission to the audition was a complete accident. A street person, he was not someone people would think as having any sort of talent. In fact, most people thought of him as a complete bum.

The day before the audition, he was walking from his claimed piece of a sidewalk down 1st Street close to the Morrison Bridge, walking towards the Union Gospel Mission to get a blanket. He saw a red envelope on the ground and looked at it carefully. The name on the envelope was close to his: Lawrence Burnett, and it was addressed to someone at Portland State University. He looked inside and saw his ticket.

He went back to his small camp and rummaged through his stuff, picking up a small harmonica case. He pulled the harmonica out and picked out two $100 bills. It was all he had left, and he was going to use it to try and take advantage of this situation. He went to the local YMCA and took a shower, cleaning himself really well. He even was able to use some floral shampoo that someone left in the showers. After changing into some semi-nice clothes that he used for interviews, he went to a barber to get a shave and a haircut.

He went into the shop looking like a bedraggled 45 year old, and came out looking like a university student. The most important part was complete. He took a dollar and made a call to his mother, who lived in North Portland. While they were estranged, he still  had some stuff there at her place. He asked her if he could come up and pick up a couple items from his boxes. She agreed, and that evening, he had his dancing clothes in his hands and ready to go. He went back down to his pad, and had one of his neighbors watch his stuff for the night. He would return the next night.

He slept at a cheap motel that night, so he could have a great night’s rest. He knew that would be important.

He went to the information desk at the gigantic building that day, refreshed and looking nothing like his bedraggled self the night before.

“Can I help you?” the lady at the counter asked.

“Yes, I am here for the audition.”

“Name?”

“The envelope says Lawrence Burnett. I’m afraid that they got my name wrong.”

“What’s your actual name?”

“Lawrence Burnell.”

After a little shifting, she gave him his numbers, and told him to go to the third floor to wait. He did as they said, and waited. He waited for nearly 3 hours, and his number was finally called.

“Number 699!”

“Right here!”

“Come with me, please.”

He was led to a large ballroom and a long set of tables with 7 judges behind it.

“You are,” the head judge started to say, flipping his chart up, “Lawrence Burnell?”

“That is my name, yes.”

“What do you do for a living.”

“I am a man of the road, most times. I’m a student at this time, though.”

A man of the road?”

A hobo, by name.”

“You….are a….hobo?”

“I hope that I don’t have to repeat myself…”

The head judge just sighed, and put on his best air.

“Are you here for the food, by perchance?”

“Actually, I have been trained in the arts in prior years and I believe that I can do a great job with the Portland Ballet.”

Well, before you can eat, you gotta dance like Fred Astaire.”

“Wouldn’t Mikhail Baryshnikov be more like what I’m going for?”

The other judges bust out laughing at the head judge for such a mixup.

“Can you dance?”

Of course I can dance. You bet I can dance.

The judges gave him the piece of music. It was one that Larry recognized very well, as he danced it in the 1980s with the Sydney Ballet in Australia. Dancing to the song “No Promises” by Icehouse, he did his moves. All of the members of the judging team were shocked that a man of the road would be so good at this.

He ended the performance, and the judges looked stunned. The head judge then cleared his throat.

“Alright, we’ll tally up the score and at the banquet, you’ll find out the results. Please go to the door on your left and proceed to the banquet hall.”

He did, and when he got to the banquet hall, he looked around at the food that was set up. Being one of the last dancers, he got there just as they opened things up. A young lady approached him and smiled.

“Admiring the food aren’t ya?”

Is there water coming from my eyes?”

She laughed, and put out her hand.

“Jenny Carazzo.”

“Larry Burnell.”

He was so astonished by what he saw in the food, he didn’t pay much attention to Jenny.

“Oh my, they got ham. They have turkey. And…is that caviar?!?!”

Jenny seemed to be willing to finish his sentence for him.

They also have long tall glasses of wine up to…YAR!”

She made a big motion with her hands.

He smiled, and asked her if he could join her for the evening’s proceedings. She agreed, and they both filled up on food and drink. They had a great time, while some others were worried about their figures. After a couple hours, the head judge from Larry’s tryout came up to the podium and cleared his throat again.

“We are going to announce the lucky people who will have a position with the Portland Ballet this year. When your name is called, please assemble in a line at the front of the podium.”

5 names were announced, and the winners went up to the front and waved.

“The 6th member of this year’s troupe is Jenny Carazzo.”

Jenny jumped up and gave a hoot. She gave Larry a hug and bolted up to the front. To say that she was happy would have been a great understatement.

8 more members were called, and Larry just kept eating and drinking.

‘The last name on our list is a surprise, as it was someone that we didn’t know had prior experience. We have a former member of the Sydney Ballet in our midst, and I’d like to welcome the last person who will dance for the Portland Ballet this year. Mr. Larry Burnell.”

Larry’s eyes popped out of his head at this, and after swallowing the food that he was eating, he wiped off his mouth and went to the front. He stood next to Jenny as he heard the applause.

Jenny looked at him in shock.

“You actually had to audition, when you were a member of a troupe before?”

“Jenny, that was almost 25 years ago. Another place, another time. I’ve been homeless since ’99. I’m just happy to be able to do this now, and rebuild my life.”

“Me too, Larry. Me too.”

 

Somebody’s Eyes

by Miles Rost

College was always a bit of a bear for some students, especially those who are in relationships. Even more so for those who are waiting for a relationship. It happened at every campus in the known world, and the University of Oregon was no different.

Sherry Makinami was a vivacious student in her sophomore year at UO. She was lucky to be in her Music History program, and also lucky to have a great friend in Scott Schmidt, someone who she met on orientation day in freshman year. She looked towards him as someone who was not only there when the chips were down, but someone who she could easily give a lot of attention to. She wished that she could have more with him than just friendship, but he was already taken by an insanely controlling and jealous girl, Delia Mendez.

It was a cold October day when her chance finally came. She was walking towards the Knight Library, where she worked part-time as an information desk researcher, getting ready for an intense evening and night of studying. She walked towards the doors, when she was wheeled around, a hand firmly grasping her arm. She looked up and into the eyes of Scott, who looked as though his face was red and bleary.

“Sherry, I need to talk to you,” he said, firmly but with a waver in his voice.

Sherry just nodded and went with him to their favorite campus hangout, the popular Rennie’s Landing. Over a couple of Rennie’s burgers, Scott laid it out for her how Delia kicked him to the curb for the leader of the Multicultural Center. He told her how much of a mistake it was, and how he felt like she spoiled him for others.

“Scott, I have something you need to know,” Sherry said, looking into his hazel eyes, “I have waited for a long time to tell you, and I know this may not be the proper time, but I want you to give me a chance.”

Scott looked at her, a little puzzled by her request.

“Delia treated you like a toy. I would never do that. We’ve been friends for nearly a year and a half, and I want more.”

“More?”

“I want you. I love that we’re friends, but I want us to do more. I have been falling for you for a long time, Scott.”

Scott finally was able to put two and two together, and he was quite shocked with her admission.

“I need a little time, but ask me in a week. I need to heal a bit from Delia.”

“Take the time you need. I will be patient and wait for you.”

After a week had passed, Scott answered Sherry with a yes, and they both started dating each other. For the next 4 months, it was an incredible time of fun, getting to know each other further, and even the occasional snogging in the basement music rooms underneath Spiller Hall.

A bright spring monday found the couple walking from the dormitories on the east side of campus toward their first class of the day, all the way on the other side of campus. They talked about what was going to happen in class, and just enjoyed each other’s time wrapped around each other. As they passed the campus amphitheatre, Sherry’s maroon colored hair started to feel like it was standing on end. She felt very unnerved by what she felt. She looked across the amphitheatre as they continued to walk, and she found what was causing the problem.

She saw Delia Mendez staring and glaring directly at her. Never blinking, it was as if she was trying to bore holes through Sherry’s head.

She looked at Scott, and moved her head closer to his neck, resting it on his shoulder. Scott looked down at her and wondered why she was a little more close now. He liked it.

Everyday for the next week, the same exact thing played out multiple times all over campus. Even when Sherry wasn’t around Scott, she still felt those eyes boring through her.

She finally couldn’t bear with it, and she finally broke down and told Scott during one of their downtimes.

“I think Delia is stalking us.”

“Why would Delia be stalking us?” Scott wondered aloud, “She dumped me for Tarik Narala, the head of the MCC. I’m not interested in her, I’m only interested in you.”

“I don’t know, I just think that she may not be with Tarik anymore. And she may be trying to force her way between us.”

“If she’s doing all that you’ve said, then it looks like we’ll have to be a bit more guarded.”

Sherry blinked, hesitating to ask what that meant. She usually knew what that was code for: to hide and go to classes separately.

“What that means, Sherry, is that I will have to start looking out along with you.”

Sherry breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m sorry for seeming worried, I just have this feeling that she knows. I have a feeling she won’t let go of you, and that she’s waiting for a right time to take you back, away from me.”

Scott moved in and gave her a firm, loving hug.

“That is not going to happen. She tried to make me her toy. I remember it. She won’t be grabbing me from you.”

She moved in closer to him and rested, relaxed in knowing that he would be with her.

The next morning, they walked together towards their first class, as usual. This time, though, at the same area as the previous weeks, the couple now came face to face with Delia and a few others who made a line across the main path. Sherry and Scott stopped just before the line of people, and looked at Delia.

Delia pointed her dark skinned hands at Scott.

“Give him to me.”

Sherry looked at her, and gently moved in front of him.

“No.”

“Sherry Makinami, I am going to take back my property. There is nothing you can do about it.”

Sherry looked at her, and she steeled her resolve.

“I’m sorry. You set him free, and he came to me. He came straight to me. He’s mine, and he’s not a plaything.”

Delia chuckled, and returned to a sour looking face.

“You will hand him over, or my guys will take him by force.”

“Is that a threat, Delia?” Scott said, “Because if it is, that means that I feel like my life is in danger.”

“Oh, you know me, Scott. I wouldn’t do that. I just happen to believe that you are still mine, and I am going to take you.”

Sherry looked at her, finally disgusted with everything. She was getting mad, and this was not going to be good if Delia did what Sherry thought she was going to do.

“Over my dead and mangled body, Delia.”

Delia just smirked.

“Granted.”

She put her hand out and gave a swift forward motion. The men in the line next to her proceeded to walk over to Scott and grab him.

Sherry realized that he was now officially in danger, and she had to act. She took off her glasses, and stared directly into Delia’s eyes. She stared for a good long time, moving her hands from her side to her head. Her face started to form into a snarl of concentration, her eyes never leaving contact.

Delia didn’t notice it at first, but she noticed quickly that she was starting to get a small headache. As the seconds went by, the headache got worse and worse. The pain increased tenfold, and her eyes opened wide in a panic. She started to scream out loud from the pressure that was building in her head. It was unbearable, feeling like her head was being torn apart. The last thing she saw was Sherry’s hand moving swiftly down into the ground, and the sidewalk coming up quick to meet her.

As soon as Delia’s face planted into the sidewalk, the men that were getting real close to hurting Scott suddenly let go.

“What the hell are we doing here? We’re missing practice!” They said to each other, mumbling about things and grabbing their stuff to get out of there.

Scott looked at Sherry, who was now kneeling on the ground and in tears. Her face was covered in tears, the water pouring down her face like Multnomah Falls. He walked up behind her, knelt down, and hugged her tight, yet gently.

“I…” she started saying, through sobs, “…I didn’t want to do that. But….they were going to hurt you…”

He held her and quietly shushed her, whispering in her ear to let all of it go.

“I guess I need to tell you about this, Scott…” she said, sniffling, as it was going to be a long story that would easily take a couple of days for her to tell.

He just kept hugging her, and looking at her. He slowly moved around to the front, and looked straight into her eyes.

“I love you no matter what, Sherry. Let us talk about this over at Rennie’s. It’ll be easier for both of us,” he told her.

Somehow, in her heart, Sherry knew that things were not going to be the same between herself and the student populace of the University of Oregon. However, she knew that she had a keeper in Scott, and she would reveal everything to him that day.

Any Way The Wind Blows

by Miles Rost

The sun beat down on the green earth of west central Oregon. The smell of grass in the air, the sounds of tractors and traffic in the background punctuated the desperate feeling of the folks in transit.

“So, where are we going?”

“Haven’t decided that yet. It’s summer, the weather is warm, and we have a couple months before we have to be back at college. Where do you want to go?”

Sherry Michaels and Harlan Bossier were perched on the railings of a white house just a short jump away from the interstate. Two unlikely people talking about where to go.

“I think we should just ride until we feel like we have gone where we need to go.”

“I agree, but I do feel we need to have some sort of a destination.”

Doesn’t matter if we lead or follow, honey. There’s no telling where we’ll be tomorrow.”

Sherry swung her legs up and landed them behind her, while straightening the blue t-shirt she wore.

“Are you sure you just want to go? I mean, do you think we have enough money to get things fixed if we break down somewhere?”

“There’s a reason I have a separate savings account from my parents. They don’t know about it, and it was made for stuff like this in mind.”

Harlan stood up and walked down the stairs.

“Then I guess we should go. Let’s do this!”

The seemingly mismatched couple walked down the path from the house to the garage. They entered the garage, and after a moment, a couple of loud rumblings were heard. Both of them slowly pulled out of the garage, and into the sunlight as they rode their Harley Davidsons up to the main road. They headed towards the interstate, and paused at the stoplight. The choice was now theirs.

“So, which way to we go?”

We just go any way the wind blows, sweetie.”

Harlan put his hand in the air and felt around for a half a minute. After feeling what the wind had said, he revved the bike and turned. Sherry followed him, her leather jacket reflecting a bit of the sun.

As they peeled down the interstate, they passed a sign on the road.

Click the link for the music, please!