A Teenage Fantasy

I began writing this in 2017 and into 2018 then finished it. I cut off the end and won’t share it publicly because of the sinful situations it contains. However, I feel the rest of the story teaches a very good lesson so that I why I want to share it with the world. It takes place in 2001 and the narrator is loosely based on me, though this never happened to me. That is why it is called “A Teenage Fantasy!”

So, here it is, without further ado:

…Late Spring 2001…

*HOW WE MET*

It’s springtime and school is going to be letting out in just a few weeks.

It’s a bright Saturday afternoon in May and I’m forced to be having a picnic with my family.

What teenager in his right mind wants to do such a thing?

So I hurriedly eat my piece of fried chicken, then go explore the park.

I look around curiously, happy to have to time by myself; something I hardly get.

I walk up and down the sidewalks and ponder life to myself.

Suddenly, I see her. She is sitting on a bench and sobbing.

Despite tears flowing almost profusely from her eyes, I think she is very beautiful.

I have the urge to comfort her, but I don’t know what to say.

However, I know I’ll regret it if I just pass her by.

She’s pleasantly plump and my kind of pretty. I very attracted to her and, naturally, want to make her feel better.

Maybe I could be a friend to her, hopefully though, something more.

My, God, I’m starting to have feelings for her.

Speaking of God, ‘God please give me the courage to talk to her and the wisdom to say the right thing.’

I walk up to her bench and then say, “Hi.”

She looks up and then waves at me.

Awkwardly I stand there.

Finally, I ask her, “May I sit with you?”

She wipes her eyes and then says, “I guess if you want.”

“I think you’re very pretty,” I tell her.

She looks at me and humbly smiles, then says, “Thanks, but you obviously don’t see how fat I am.”

There’s a brief silence but then I continue, “I mean what I said; I think you’re very pretty.”

She smiles even more and says, “You’re so sweet to tell me that.”

“What do you think about me?”

“I think you’re cute, but you seem kind of young.”

“I’m about to be fifteen.”

“I knew you were young, I’m about to be seventeen.”

“I would still like to get to know you if you indeed give me a chance.” I pause then continue, “What are you upset about anyway?”

“My boyfriend dumped me because I started gaining weight.”

“Well, it’s his loss, not yours. I might have just met you, but I know for sure what he did was cruel and not to mention so foolish. You don’t know how I’d be overjoyed to be with someone like you.”

“It’s his fault I started gaining weight too. Since I’m about to turn seventeen, which would make it legal for him to sleep with me in this state, my mom put me on birth control. It was all so he wouldn’t get me pregnant, then I started gaining weight because of the shots and he dumped me.”

“If you give just me a chance, I wouldn’t ever dump you. I’d also be willing to wait however long for you.”

“You’re so sweet. In just a little while, all the girls are going to be after you.”

“But what if I want you instead?”

“Why me?”

“Because I think you’re pretty and, I know it’s quick, but I already have feelings for you. Please don’t hurt me and turn me down.” I pause, then continue, “Give me a chance and I will do my best to treat you like a princess.”

“Okay, I’ll give you a chance, now you give me a hug!”

“Gladly!”

We embrace and she pulls my body close to hers.

I hold her and gently rub her back and sides.

She smiles at me, but her eyes are still wet.

“There’s something I would like to do, but I need your permission first.”

“What is it?”

“I’d like to kiss those tears off your face.”

“You may!”

I begin to gently kiss her eyes and cheeks.

She runs her fingers through my curly hair.

“I’m glad you’re giving me a chance,” I tell her.

“Is there a way we can keep in touch?” She asks me.

“I can give you my parents’ house number, my AIM screen name, and my ICQ number.”

“Cool beans, I’ll give you mine as well, plus my cell number, but only call it after nine at night,” She says, then takes a Palm Pilot out of her purse and enters my information. Afterward, she writes her information on my arm.”

I then lay on the bench with my head in her lap, staring up at her beautiful face.

We stay there for a while completely lost in time and space.

Finally, I hear my dad shouting my name.

In distress, I tell her, “I have to go now, but I’ll call you or instant message you as soon as I can.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

“Could I kiss you goodbye?” I humbly ask her.

“Of course. In fact, you better kiss me!”

Our lips meet, then passionately lock.

We kiss again and again until I hear my dad shout my name once more, then I know I have to leave.

“I’ll contact you as soon as I can.”

“I’ll be waiting,” she says with a smile and dry eyes.
…A FEW WEEKS PASS, THEN…
*A DREARY SUMMER AFTERNOON*

On a dreary summer afternoon, I find myself home alone. My parents and siblings went run errands and won’t be home for a few hours. So, with that, I get on the phone and call my girlfriend. Yes, she is seventeen and I am only fifteen, but I love her to the moon and back. I think she loves me too or at least that is what I hope. No one in my family knows about this relationship and I plan to keep it that way for as long as possible.

The phone rings only once and then I hear her beautiful voice.

“Hey, you!” She answers with excitement.

“I’m home alone if you want to come over, baby.”

“I would love to come and see you! Let me just get my things and I’ll be right over.”

“I can’t wait for you to hold me again!”

“And I can’t wait to see your cute face again!” She thinks I am cute. I feel like I am on cloud nine when she tells me that.

“It looks like it might rain, so please be careful driving here.”

“You know I will. Now let me hang up so I can come over.”

“All right, baby, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

We hang up and I anxiously await her arrival while standing on my parents’ driveway. I pace up and down like a madman until I finally see her hand me down Jetta Wagon approaching my parents’ house.

I begin to smile from ear to ear as she pulls up.

She parks her car then steps out dressed in a white blouse and a pink skirt. Seeing her dressed like this makes me attracted to her with a hot passion.

We lovingly embrace then kiss with ecstasy. She runs her fingers through my curly hair and I gently caress her porcelain face.

After greeting each other with much affection, she asks, “What would you like to do?”

“We could go walk in the back fields and find a place to lay down look up at the sky and talk.”

“That’s a good idea, it reminds me of a song I heard a while back.”

I give her my hand and say, “Let’s go then.”

We walk through the back fields, looking for a spot to be alone together. Finally, we find the perfect spot situated in the long green grass. She sits down, then cradles my head in her lap. I couldn’t be more content as I looked up into her beautiful brown eyes.

She wraps her legs around me, then says, “You’re mine all mine! I want you forever!”

So, I reply, “You don’t know how happy I am to hear that, but what do you see in me?”

“You’re cute as can be. You’re so sweet. And I love how you are such a noble person.” She pauses, then asks, “Do you want me forever as well?”

“Yes I most surely do, no one wanted me before I met you, but you did. I’ll always remember that and do everything I can to keep you!” I pause then continue, “It’s not only that though, but you are also so beautiful, more than I ever dreamed. You also give my life meaning. I know there are plenty of guys your age and older who would want to be yours, but you choose me. I feel so honored.”

“None of them would make me feel as special as you do.” She says as she kisses my face.

Suddenly there is a flash of lightning.

We both jump in fear, then rush to her car to wait out the storm…
…ANOTHER DAY OR TWO PASSES, THEN…

*DESIRING PRIVACY*

My parents found out about my girlfriend a few days ago and their reaction was better than I expected. They accepted her and they even like her. The fact that I am fifteen and she is seventeen didn’t phase my family at all. However, we rarely have any privacy now. It seems that my whole family watches our every move. We lay together on my bed and snuggle each other. The denim overalls and tight baby blue shirt she is wearing hug her body and show all of her curves and features. Seeing her dressed like this drives me wild.

We share a kiss when my brother walks in on us.

“Get out!” I tell him.

“My room too,” He replies.

“Just pretend he isn’t here,” My girlfriend whispers.

We continue to kiss and caress each other.

My brother turns on some vulgar rap music, full blast. My girlfriend and I are appalled at the atrocious lyrics.

We eventually leave the room and go outside.

It’s hot and sunny outside.

We both sit on the glider and talk.

“Your brother is so annoying,” She tells me.

“He definitely is, but I think he’s jealous of me. After all, I have you and you are so beautiful.”

“I don’t see how you think I am beautiful, I think I’m a bit too chubby. Those filthy rap lyrics about big butts really got to me.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. To me, you are the most beautiful girl I ever laid eyes on.”

“Oh, I love you so much!”

“And I love you just as much!”

We sweetly rub noses, then she pulls my face into her perky breasts. I feel great comfort in this position.

At that point, my sister walks onto the patio and says, “I’m going to tell mom and dad that y’all are acting lewd.”

“Get a life!” I tell her.

“I have a life but I don’t want to share my room with any baby you might make.”

My girlfriend is now irritated and asks with frustration, “Will we ever have any privacy?”

“We could if my parents would let you drive me to your house.”

“I wish they would.”

“You and I both. There’s so much I want to do with you!”

“And I want to do those things too!”

She then puts her arm around me and rubs my chest.

I look around for just a moment, then I see the empty house on my neighbor’s property, behind to their main one.

“I know where we can be alone.”

“Where?”

“See that little house back there? It’s empty and usually unlocked, we can go in there.”

“Let’s go there, then, but just know, I’d go anywhere if it meant we could be together.”

Hand in hand we cross the property line and enter the empty house.

It’s dark and dusty inside, but at least we now have privacy.

We go into the empty master bedroom and snuggle on the carpet.

She lays down on her back and I lay on top of her. We kiss wildly.

She pulls my face into her breasts once again and giggles saying, “No one can see us here!”

“You don’t know how happy I feel when my face is in your beautiful breasts!”

“You should feel happy because that is where it belongs!”

I then kiss her soft stomach.

“I feel so fat.” She says with a slight depression.

I kiss her stomach again and say, “That’s my fat and I think it is sexy!”

She wraps her arms and legs around me tightly and holds me close to her saying, “You make me feel so loved!”

We both get a very strong urge to become intimately known to each other but are equally afraid of the potential consequences…
…A FEW MOMENTS LATER…

*GETTING CAUGHT*

We are soon overpowered by our biological urges and quickly forget about the many potential consequences of underage intimacy. She pulls off my shirt and begins to unbutton my cargo pants. I unhook her overalls and pull them down, then I then take off her shirt.

We are now in our undergarments and staring at each other with gentle smiles. We embrace then begin to remove each others’undergarments as well.

Suddenly, we hear the front door unlocking.

My name is bellowed by my busybody neighbor from the other side of my parents’ house. He’s pretty tight with the owners of this house and apparently was watching our every move.

Both of us are extremely nervous now.

“Let’s hide in the closet, he used to beat me when I was younger,” I whisper to my girlfriend.

She nods nervously, then asks, “Do you think he will beat you again?”

“He might even beat you, I’m so sorry I put you in this position,” I reply, soberly.

“It would be worth it if it means we could still lose our virginity to each other,” She answers me softly.

We then grab our clothes and hide behind boxes in the closet.

Quickly we get dressed, by the light of my Garrity Mini Rugged Lite that I keep in my pocket.

We have our clothes on again as we hear my busybody neighbor walking through the house.

My girlfriend and I hold each other tightly, wondering whether we will get caught or not.

We share several kisses as we are somewhat turned on by the fear of getting caught.

We hear his footsteps approaching the bedroom.

Now the bedroom door is opening.

We both tremble, wondering if these containers will keep us concealed.

“I know you’re in here with that girl! And I am going to beat both of your a**es when I find y’all!” My neighbor bellows.

We hear the closet door open.

“Well, *blank* damn, where are they? I saw them come inside this house,” My busybody neighbor says angrily.

My girlfriend begins to tremble so much with fright that the boxes begin to fall and our hiding spot is revealed.

We see my neighbor is holding a thick leather belt in his hands as he says, “Now both of you are going to get it!”

We hold each other tightly with fear as he lashes us with that belt.

I flinch and nash my teeth. My girlfriend shrieks and cries in pain.

He then yanks us out of the closet and shoves us out of the house. He then escorts us to the property line where my parents are about to confront us…

…A WEEK OR TWO PASSES, THEN…
*ONLINE CONVERSATION*

My parents have now forbidden me from seeing her since we got caught in my neighbor’s vacant house.

Because of that cruel decision, my heart feels ripped to shreds and it feels there are a thousand knives in my back.

It’s late at night and I cannot sleep.

I walk to my family computer and log on.

After a few minutes of looking at Expage and ICQ, I hear that all too familiar “uh-oh” sound.

This means I have a private message.

It’s from the girl whom I am so deeply in love with but strictly forbidden to see.

It reads, “Hey. I miss you so much. You’re the sweetest boy I’ve ever met and my one true wish is that I was holding you in my arms right now. My mom is away on a business trip right now and I have the house to myself. I’m going crazy being in here all alone and being forbidden to see you makes it that much worse.”

“How did your mom react when she found out about us almost doing it?”

“She was okay with it, I mean that is why I am on birth control, to begin with.”

“You know, you are so worth the wait and as soon as I turn eighteen, I’ll run away and stay with you even if it means staying under a bridge.”

“You’re worth the wait too. You have such a sweet heart and you’re so cute.”

“I’m blushing, but it feels wonderful.”

“What are you doing up so late anyway?”

“To tell the truth; I’m thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about you either. In fact, you’re all I think about these days. I wish my parents and extended family could see how happy you make me and that you’re actually good for me, despite what they think.”

“We’re separated by cruel people who just refuse to understand.”

“If only I could get away from them.”

“Maybe you can.”

“Well, maybe we could meet somewhere and I could take you to my mom’s house.”

“I don’t want to say where online, in case the government is watching.”

“Do you have any money on you?”

“Yes. Three ten-dollar bills. I’ve been saving them from doing odd jobs.”

“If you can sneak out, all you have to do it go to a truck stop, buy a phone card and call me from a pay-phone. Don’t say which one online, but I can come to pick you up when you tell me over the phone.”

“Sounds like a plan and a half.”

“That’s such a cute saying, of course, you’re cute already.”

“Okay let me pack my things and try to sneak out.”

“I’ll be waiting on my cell phone.”
…A FEW MOMENTS LATER…
*FORBIDDEN MEETING*

I then uninstall ICQ from the family computer to cover my tracks.

Then I grab my duffel bag and pack a few tee shirts underwear and pants, a box cutter and my 4 D cell Maglite for protection. Then I grab my wallet with the three ten-dollar bills and sneak out of the window.

I leave my parents’ yard and begin walking to the nearest truck stop.

I contemplate my life during this long walk, but finally, I’m there.

I go inside and purchase a phone card for a little less than $10.

Then I go to the payphone and place the call to my forbidden girlfriend.

It rings once and then she picks up.

“Hello,” She says in an unsure voice.

“It’s me,” I tell her.

“Hey, you!” She replies with affection.

I state the location of the truck stop over the phone.

“I’m coming right now.”

“I’ll hide so I cannot be seen, but I’ll signal you with my flashlight when I see your car. I blink the light at intervals of two blinks because we’re two years apart.”

“That’s so romantic in its own way. You’re so sweet and thoughtful.”

I hide in the bushes looking out for her Jetta Wagon.

Time crawls by at a snail’s pace.

I’m filled with both anxiety and anticipation.

Finally, I see that Jetta Wagon pulling up.

I remove myself from the bushes, then blink my flashlight while pointing at her windshield.

She slows down.

I blink my flashlight twice again.

She parks next to the bushes and I come to her car.

She rolls down the passenger window and says, “Hop in!”

I stand there and adore her for just a moment as she is dressed in a tight black shirt that hugs all of her beautiful curves and a knee-length black and white skirt that is sexy enough yet modest enough.

“Come on before someone sees us!” She says.

Most gladly I open the door, enter, place my bag and flashlight between my legs, buckle my seatbelt and she drives off into the night as we lovingly hold hands…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

Millennial Affection

I wrote this in the Summer of 2016, but it takes place in the late Spring or early Summer of 2002.

The main character is loosely based on me or whom I would like to be.

His girlfriend is based on someone I knew a long time ago but lost all contact with.

Without further ado, here is the story:

 

…June 2002…

Emmet Matthews was browsing the Internet on his self built computer after getting home from his summer job. He was a hard-working fifteen-year-old, who fixed computers in his spare time and pushed shopping carts for his local Target store as his main summer job. The Express Page or Expage was a popular social networking site at the time and Emmet was browsing other teens’ pages. He had come across a girl’s page and found out that her name was Kira Andersen. Emmet had always been partial to the name Kira because he was very close to a girl with that said first name as a young child. Unfortunately, he had lost all contact with her. In the back of his mind, he wondered if she was the same Kira he had known many years ago. Feverishly he studied her page, but there was no picture of her, past or present. The only information he had acquired from the page was that she wanted to be a writer and wanted to post some of her stories, but her computer had crashed. There was a listing of her ICQ number. Upon reading those two details, Emmet worked up the courage to message her. He started his ICQ application. Anxiously Emmet waited for it to load as the foghorn sound blared. When it finally loaded, Emmet added her number to his contact list. Upon looking at her ICQ information, he learned that she wasn’t far from him, only fifteen miles to the northwest.

He then sent her a message, “Hi. I saw your Expage site and I learned that you’re a writer. I also saw that your computer with all the stories you wrote is broken. I might be able to fix it and, for you, I’ll do it for free.”

Patiently, Emmet waited for a reply.

Finally he heard the “uh-oh” voice through his speaker and a reply message flashed on his screen “First tell me about yourself. I would like to know you better before I am able to trust you with my computer, let alone any of my stories.”

“That’s fine. I’m fifteen and I push shopping carts at Target but also work on computers in my free time. I might be young, but I have lots of experience. I built the computer that I’m talking to you on right now.”

“Is there a Home Depot next to the Target where you work?”

“Yes.”

“Then I work next door to you. I’m a cashier there.”

“Awesome!” “Maybe we could meet up on our breaks?”

“We’ll see. I want to make sure that you are who you say you are.”

“I can get on my WebCam and show you what I look like.”

“Sure.”

Emmet turned on his camera and invited Kira to watch him. She accepted.

“You’re cute!” She said.

“Thanks.” He began to blush and smile from ear to ear after sending that message.

“I would like to see a picture of you as well. You know just to make sure you are who you say you are.”

“I understand.” “I’ll send you a picture.” Kira took her school picture from her yearbook and scanned it then sent it to him.”

“Good Lord, Kira, you are beautiful!” Emmet said.

“Thanks. You’re sweet to tell me that.”

“Well it’s the God’s honest truth. How old are you though?”

“I made sixteen this past April.”

“Nice! Do you drive? I can’t get my license yet.”

“Yes, I drive. I work and give the money to my mom and she pays the note on my car. That’s also how I pay for Internet service.”

“What school do you go to?”

“Landing Station High.”

“Oh. Well I go to Seven Hills Catholic High. I guess that’s why we’ve never seen each other before.”

“I bet that’s a strict school. But at least, I would imagine harassment is not allowed. A bunch of stupid boys are always trying to touch me where I go to school.”

“Do you want me to protect you?”

“That’s sweet and noble of you, but some of those boys would kill you if you tried. They carry sharp weapons made of plastic so the metal detectors won’t pick them up.”

“Well I must say that doesn’t go on at Seven Hills, but there is still much harassment. And if the student doing the harassing is rich or an athlete, he gets away with it. I’m not rich and I hate sports as well, not to mention I’m a computer nerd, so I get harassed quite a bit.”

“Well don’t worry about them, you’ll be a huge success one day, if you are as skilled with computers as you claim.”

“I’ll try. Speaking of that, do you still want me to fix your computer?”

“I sure do. We can meet tomorrow if you work.”

“I go in at ten o’clock in the morning.”

“Awesome, I go in at eight but I get off at three. When do you get off?”

“Four P.M.”

“Great! When can you take a lunch break?”

“One P.M. I guess.”

“Good, I’ll take mine then as well.”

“You mean we can spend our break together?”

“Yes. Then you can come to my house and work on the computer. That is if your parents allow you.”

“I can convince my dad, no problem. My mom might grill me a lot though, but for you it’s worth it.”

“You’re sweet! Now we should get some rest, so we can work tomorrow.”

“Hey, where do you want to meet tomorrow?”

I’ll drive to the Target and you wait for me in the food court.”

“Good idea.”

“All right. I guess I’ll tell you good night.”

“Good night to you too.”

Emmet turned off his computer filled with anticipation and a slight anxiety. He was beginning to have feelings for Kira and thoughts about if she was indeed the same Kira from years ago were bombarding his mind. He knew he had to sleep, so he quietly went to his parents’ medicine cabinet and took a single Tylenol P.M. then dozed off. He dreamt many dreams about this Kira and the one from his past. These dreams seemed to hint that they were the same person.

The next morning Emmet woke up to the beeping of his Casio watch. He dressed for work and also retrieved his computer tools, along with an Anti Virus CD ROM. He ate two energy bars, then brushed his teeth and washed out his mouth with Listerine.

Then his dad asked “Are you ready son?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked to the car, when his dad asked “What’s with the tools?”

“I’m fixing a computer for a girl. She’s going to drive me to her house after work.”

“Is that all?”

“Well I do have feelings for her, I won’t lie.”

“Do you have any money on you?”

“Yes, why?”

“I want you to go to the pharmacy section in Target and get a condom, in case you get lucky.”

“Right, dad.”

“How are you going to get home?”

“She’ll drive me.”

“Okay remember, there is a curfew so don’t stay out too late, or you both can be arrested.” He then handed Emmet his cell phone and said “Take this in case plans change.”

“Will do. I’m off tomorrow, just so you know.”

“Just remember what I said about using protection.”

The rest of the ride was awkwardly silent.

Finally, Emmet was dropped off at Target. He immediately clocked in, placed his tool kit and CD ROM in his locker and began work. Naturally, Emmet kept an almost constant gaze at the screen on his watch.

Customers came and went and Emmet continuously moved the shopping carts from the parking lot to the store.

An old couple tipped him five dollars for loading the new television they purchased set into their van.

A pregnant lady also tipped him ten dollars for pushing her crib on a flat cart and loading it into her SUV. Seeing a pregnant woman made Emmet think about the condom he was told to buy but instead, decided to use the money to take Kira to lunch.

Emmet continued to push carts with his heart racing, thinking about Kira. Finally, his watch indicated twelve fifty-eight. He walked to the time clock, punched out and went sit down in the food court.

He sat down with anxious anticipation. Finally, he saw Kira walk into the store and towards the food court. He stood up and couldn’t help but admire her.

She smiled, waved and then said “Emmet?”

“Yes, it’s me.”

They walked up to each other and embraced.

Emmet then asked, “Could I buy you lunch?”

“Sure, that’s very sweet of you.”

“What would you like?”

“The fruit and yogurt cup.”

“It’s yours.”

“Thank you!” Kira said with another hug, then asked, “What are you going to eat?”

“The all-beef hot dog and a pretzel, what do you want to drink? I get free fountain drinks, but since you’re so nice to me, I’ll buy you a better drink.”

“An iced coffee I guess.”

“It’s yours.”

Emmet retrieved the yogurt and coffee from the refrigerator, paid for them, then ordered the hot dog and pretzel. Afterward, he asked the cashier for a fountain cup which he filled with Pepsi from the soda tap.

They then ate in happy silence, smiling at each other.

What broke the silence was when Emmet asked Kira, “What are you going to do while waiting for me to get off?”

“I guess I could park my car and wait in the parking lot to watch you work, that is if me doing so won’t make you mad.”

“It wouldn’t make me mad, but if anyone else did, then I don’t know.”

“You’re so sweet and you have such cute curly hair! Can I play with it?”

“Sure. That would feel so good!”

“Awesome!”

Kira moved from the chair across from Emmet and sat in the chair next to him. She then rested his head in her lap and played with his hair. He smiled up at her with bliss and she giggled.

They exchanged phone numbers and addresses and continued until the manager said “Emmet, it’s time to get back to work. The shopping carts need to be brought back in.”

“Yes, sir,” Emmet replied.

“I guess I’ll see you at four o’clock.” Kira said, winking.

“For sure, Kira.” Emmet replied.

They hugged affectionately then got back to work.

The rest of the day dragged on. Emmet pushed shopping carts in the hot sun. What kept him going was thinking about the evening he would spend with Kira.

When three P.M. came, Kira drove her car to the Target parking lot and watched Emmet push the carts. Every time their eyes met, there was also a wink and a wave.

Finally it was four P.M. Emmet clocked out, retrieved his tools and antivirus CD-ROM from his locker, then walked to Kira’s car. She then drove him to her mom’s house.

When they arrived, Emmet said, nervously “I guess I’ll get to work.”

“Great, come to my room.”

Emmet said “I need to open up your old and your new computer, but first let me install antivirus on your new one.”

“Sure, do whatever you need to do.”

Emmet installed the antivirus software, then shut the computer down. He then opened both of them up and took the hard drive out of the old one and connected it to the mother board and IDE power supply of the new one. He turned it on and checked the boot sequence, making sure that the new computer’s original hard drive would boot. He had Kira log in and then clicked on the My Computer icon and double-clicked the icon for the old hard drive.

Emmet then asked Kira “What folder were you stories in?”

“My Document\Stories I believe.”

Emmet accessed the My Documents folder and right clicked on Stories and selected Copy. Afterward he accessed the new computer’s original hard drive then Windows, then My Documents and right-clicked in the folder then selected Paste. Quickly the files were transferred.

“May I read one of your stories to make sure it copied?”

“Sure.”

Emmet opened the text file and said “It works!”

“Let me read it to you.” Kira said.

She read about a teenage couple whom were massacred by gang members.

“That was tragic, but very beautiful. At least they died together.”

“Thank you, Emmet! I was so full of emotions before and after I wrote that.”

“You truly have a gift.”

“You know, I wrote this before I met you but, somehow, you remind me of the boy in this story. The girl is based on me.”

Emmet simply hugged Kira and she petted his hair, but then there was a slight awkwardness.

Kira then said “Would you like to watch As the World Turns with me? I record it every day.”

“Sure. But I would do anything if it meant we could spend time together.”

They sat on Kira’s bed with Emmet resting his head in her lap. The theme music to ATWT began playing.

“I see all these couples together: Jack and Carly, Holden and Lilly, Tom and Margo. Yet, I can’t seem to find anyone.” Kira said.

“I cannot believe you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Kira paused the show and said, “It’s because I have high standards, but that’s my own fault because I expect a guy to be like the good guys in my stories.”

“You can’t think too highly of me, then right. I mean I can’t even legally drive yet.”

“Actually I think the world and the moon of you. You’re a hard worker. You are so good with computers. You are adorable. And, as I’ve said before you do remind me of the good male characters in my stories.”

“Kira, I have feelings for you as well. I’m just afraid you would dump me because of my nerdiness.”

“Rest assured, that would never happen.”

“Then, yes I want you too. I was just afraid I would do something to turn you off.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because I eventually turn everyone else off.”

“Have you ever had a girlfriend before me?”

“Well sort of. In fact her name was Kira as well, but I was four years old and she was a little older than me. Sadly, I lost all contact with her.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“At a church nursery in Landing Station, this was back in 1991. My grandmother convinced my dad to take me out of there. I wish I could see her again.”

“You’re looking up at her right now! It was me! Now I can see why so many of the characters in my stories remind me of you! Let me say that I’ve wanted you before, but now I want you more than ever!”

“My God, Kira, you have no idea how I’ve been longing to see you again!”

“Yes. I remember how we were always the first kids there and we grew close. I was so sad when you left.”

“Well now we have each other and I refuse to let anything come between us again.”

Their lips met and they began to passionately kiss. They began to hug. They began to pet each others’ hair.

“My gosh that felt wonderful,” Kira said.

“It was as if fate set us up. What’s really something is that we first met in 1991, and here it is 2002 and we meet again. 1991 and 2002 are the only years whose digits are the same frontwards and backward that we will see in our lifetime.” Emmet replied.

Suddenly they heard the front door opening.

Kira’s mom called out “Kira are you home?”

“Yes, mom.”

Emmet got nervous once again.

“Don’t worry, Emmet,” Kira whispered

“Are you in your room, Kira?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. I’m coming to see you.”

Kira’s mom walked into the room.

“Who’s this Kira?”

“This is Emmet Matthews. Remember the boy from church eleven years ago? This is him! I’ve finally found him!”

“Hi. I’m Harriet Andersen. I remember you and Kira playing together before all the other children arrived but I also remember how heartbroken Kira was when you were taken out of the church nursery.”

With great seriousness, Emmet answered her “That was completely beyond my control, but in every way I can, I’ll to make it up to her for the rest of my life. I love her and I’ve always loved her.”

Kira gently held Emmet’s hands and kissed his forehead.

“You better never break her heart again.”

“I swear by whatever or whomever you wish me to that I never will.”

“Well you shouldn’t swear, but I’ll give you another chance. You’re welcome to stay for dinner.”

“Sure.”

“I’ll let you two alone for now.”

Harriet left the room and began to prepare dinner.

Kira said “Imagine if my mom wouldn’t have come in. Would you have made love to me?”

“Only if you would have wanted me to.”

“My God, Emmet, you’re so sweet!”

“I’m off tomorrow, what about you?”

“Yes, I’m off too!”

“Will your parents be home?”

“I can convince my dad to take my mom out for a few hours. He’s been wanting me to have a girlfriend for a long time now.” Emmet paused, then continued “In fact, let me call him now!”

“Put it on speakerphone.” Kira said

Emmet dialed his dad’s house number.

“Hello.”

“Hey. I’m still at the girl’s house. Her name is Kira Andersen and we are now a couple. Is there a way you can take mom out to the city tomorrow, so we can be alone at your house?

“I guess Emmet. Did you go to the pharmacy section at Target.”

“Not yet.”

“You better. By the way, when are you coming home?”

“Right before curfew begins.”

“Where’s her house?”

“In Landing Station.”

“Then make it an hour before that. You might get delayed because of a slow-moving train.”

“All right. Will do. But you take mom out tomorrow.”

“I’ll try.”

“Okay, I’ll let you go for now.”

“Okay bye.”

“Bye son.”

Emmet looked at Kira and said, “My dad definitely wants me to use protection.”

“You don’t have to worry about STDs because I’m a virgin.”

“So am I, but you probably realized that already.”

“Yes. I figured that, but that makes our relationship even more special. By the way, when you told my mom that you loved me, I wanted to say love you too Emmet! Let’s never be taken apart again.”

“I will do everything I can to keep us together.” He paused, then continued “I think my dad is more concerned about me getting you pregnant.”

“I’m on birth control, just to regulate my cycles, nothing else. But it should prevent me from getting pregnant when we do make love.”

“I hope it will be wonderful when we do.”

“I am almost sure it will be.”

Kira kissed Emmet once again and they resumed watching As the World Turns.

“Is this boring you?” Kira asked Emmet.

“Not really, my parents and grandparents used to watch it when I was younger, so I’m used to it.”

“Why don’t they still watch it?”

“Well, I don’t know why my parents stopped. But, my grandparents stopped because myself and the other grandchildren were at their house and there was a lovemaking scene. My grandparents tend to get very uptight about sex.”

“Oh, I see. You know I do want you in every way possible and I hope your grandparents don’t come down too hard on you or me when and if they find out.”

“It wouldn’t matter who gets mad at me. It would be worth any drama if it means I can love you in all the ways you want.”

Kira put her arms around Emmet as he still lay in her lap and said, “Fate is definitely on our side. The fact that we’ve been pining for each other so long and never been with anyone else, makes me believe that we are truly meant for each other!”

“I wholeheartedly agree.”

Kira kissed Emmet’s head and they resumed watching, until Kira’s mom called them for dinner.

Over the course of dinner, Emmet’s dad’s cell phone rang. The number shown on the caller ID was his grandparents’ house number.

“It’s my grandparents calling, I have to answer.”

“Go ahead.” Kira’s mom said.

Kira nodded at Emmet as well.

“Hello.” Emmet answered.

“Emmet, I see you have a girlfriend.”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“Several people saw you and her in the food court at your job. They said you two were acting lewd.”

“All she did was play with my hair.”

“How long have you known her?”

“About eleven years.”

“Eleven years? How come I’ve never heard about her before?”

“Because we met as children at the church nursery.”

“Oh, so she’s a Protestant and you’re supposed to be a Catholic.”

“I don’t believe in all that religious stuff and more importantly I love her.”

“You don’t know what love is.”

“I think I do; I’ve waited eleven years for her.”

“Well you were raised a Catholic and if you leave the Catholic church you will have plenty to answer God for.”

“Can’t you just be happy for me?”

“No. I don’t want you with her. She’s a hellbound Protestant and she’ll take you to hell with her.”

“Look I have to go. I’m eating dinner with her right now and you’re not going to change my mind. I love her, period.”

“Emmet Joseph Matthews! You’re breaking bread with Protestants?!”

“Yes, because I love her!”

“Go ahead do what you want. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Emmet’s grandmother hung up the phone.

He was visibly upset as he returned to the table.

“What’s the matter?” Kira asked.

“My grandmother is giving me a hard time because you’re not Catholic.”

“Well I hope you still want me.”

“Of course I do. Nothing can change that.”

Kira walked up to him and hugged him.

Emmet continued “Even though she gives me a hard time, I still choose you. We lost each other once before and I refuse to let it happen again.”

“Why is she hung up on all this Catholic stuff? If anything the Catholic church is a false, money-hungry and corrupt church.” Kira paused then continued “Remember how you said if a rich or athletic student harasses someone at Seven Hills, they get away with it?”

Emmet nodded.

Kira’s mom walked out of the room as she said “I’ll leave you two alone. Kira, you should tell him the truth.”

Kira continued “As I was saying before the Catholic church is full of corruption. The unfair rules at your school are just an example of many hypocrisies in the Catholic church. The Bible says ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil’ it also says to ‘Make not a graven image’. Aren’t there all kinds of statues in those so-called churches and schools?”

“You’re right! My God, I’ve never realized this. If all this Catholic stuff is wrong, then how do I get to Heaven then?”

“You may get to Heaven only by trusting Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross to forgive you of your sins. God knows we cannot pay for the sins we commit, so He paid for them Himself through Jesus Christ His Son. There is no way you can earn your way into Heaven like the Catholics teach. The reality is Jesus paid it all. The most famous quote from the Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ All you must do is earnestly and sincerely believe this truth in your ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins then invite Him to be Lord of your life and Savior of your soul. Just pray to Him from your heart.

Emmet understood and believed, then bowed his head and silently prayed, with the utmost reverence and honesty. He could feel as if a huge burden was taken off of him and he felt peace like never before and then spoke “I’ve never experienced this before, but it is wonderful! I am in complete peace with God even though I had been running from up until this point. Something keeps telling me that if we love each other and we can’t control our urges that we must marry, but I am too young. However I know that I love you Kira with all my heart and I want to express it to you physically. I do know that it is a sin, but I cannot control myself.”

“I know Emmet. I too want to love you physically. If we ever do, I know God can forgive us of it, but if we are tempted we can pray and God will give us an escape route.”

“I was planning for us to be alone at my parents’ house tomorrow, but now I don’t want to sin. But I definitely want to spend all my time with you. Can we go somewhere tomorrow?”

“Sure thing, Emmet!”

Kira’s mom walked back into the room and asked Emmet “Did Kira tell you the truth about God and salvation?”

“She sure did.”

“And do you believe it”?

“I sure do.”

“Praise God! Now let’s eat.”

Happily the three ate dinner.

After eating Emmet and Kira were walking back to her bedroom when the cell phone rang again. It was Emmet’s dad calling.

He answered “Hello.”

“Hey I don’t mean to interrupt your date but curfew starts in an hour.”

“Okay, I’ll have her bring me home then.”

“Tell her to be careful.”

“Are you and mom going out tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

“You know I want you to use protection.”

Emmet lied, knowing he would try his best not to fornicate, and said, “Will do.”

They hung up and Kira asked “Do I have to take you home?”

Emmet blushed and said, “Yes, but I’ll deeply miss you and I want to see you again tomorrow and every other possible time!”

“I’ll definitely try for us to spend every possible hour together.” Kira said, kissing him.

“Mom I have to take Emmet home.”

“Okay be careful, Kira. It was nice meeting you again, Emmet.”

They walked to Kira’s car and rode off into the darkness.

“I love you so deeply Emmet!”

“And I love you so massively Kira!”

They held hands for the entire trip, which seemed to go very quickly. Emmet secretly hoped for a train to pass, so they could spend just a few more minutes together.

In what seemed like an instant, they arrived at Emmet’s house.

They kissed lovingly, then Emmet said, “Be careful on your way home and call either my dad’s cell phone or our house phone when you get back home to let me know you’re safe.”

“You’re so sweet, Emmet. I love you!”

“I love you too, Kira.”

They kissed once more and Kira drove off.

Emmet walked in, handed the cell phone to his dad and said, “When it rings, that’s Kira telling me she’s home safe so let me know when it does.”

“Okay. You know I just got an earful from my mother how you and Kira were acting lewd in the food court and she’s angry that Kira’s a Protestant.”

“How do you feel?”

“I’m happy for you and proud as well. But remember to stay respectful to your grandmother and try to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum while at work or you both could be fired.”

“You’re right. Will do.”

“Now why don’t you get some sleep so you can be awake for tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

Emmet was preparing for bed when his dad came with the phone and said “I think Kira is calling. Answer it.”

Emmet answered “Hey.”

“Hey I wanted to let you know I’m safe at home.”

“Thank God! I love you, Kira!”

“I love you too, Emmet! Good night.”

“Good night.”

They hung up and went to bed. Emmet dreamt many dreams about Kira.

The next day he woke up and his parents had already left.

Quickly he called Kira “Hey. My parents left, so you can come over.”

“Awesome! I’m coming right now.”

“I love you and be careful!”

“I love you too!”

They hung up and Emmet got ready.

He then paced around the house in anticipation of Kira’s arrival. Finally, he looked through the dining room window and saw Kira pulling up in her car. Emmet walked outside and greeted her with open arms. They kissed with strong affection and then walked inside.

“Should I give you a tour of the house?” Emmet asked

“If you want to,” Kira replied.

So he began to show her around, then they came to the bedroom.

Kira hugged him and said, “I know it’s a sin, but I could very much make love to you.”

“I would do it for you, Kira.”

They began to remove each other’s clothes, until Kira took a deep breath and said, “We need to pray for an escape route.”

“You’re right.”

Suddenly there was knocking at the door, followed by a shrill voice. It was Emmet’s grandmother. She shouted “Emmet I know you’re alone in here with that horrible Protestant girl. Either both of you come out or I will call Bruce Mitchell to deal with you.”

“Who’s Bruce Mitchell?” Kira asked.

“My busy body neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

“Do you think he would try it again?”

“Possibly. He might even try to hurt you. Just pretend we’re not home.”

Kira nodded.

“I have a key, Emmet and I’m coming in.”

“What will we do now?” Kira asked in distress.

“I’ll get our clothes and you get your keys and make a break for it. I doubt she can catch us.”

“How will we get past her if she blocks us in?”

“You’re right. Damnit I don’t know.”

“I’m scared Emmet.”

They could hear the door unlocking and held each other tightly.

“Emmet, I know your in here and I know your with that damn girl.”

She walked to Emmet’s room and saw them half-dressed and said “Tell me you shoplifted. Tell me you’re on drugs. Even tell me you’re gay. But don’t tell me you laid down with this Protestant girl.”

“No, we didn’t,” Kira said

“But you were going to.” She paused, looked at Kira and said “You need to leave, right now!”

“Then I’m going with her!” Emmet said.

“Don’t you dare.” His grandmother interjected

“But I will,” Emmet replied with confidence.

“Then I’m calling Bruce over.”

Kira said “If whoever this Bruce person is strikes me or Emmet, I’m calling the police!”

“Just try it. I’ll tell them that you two were having sex.”

“But we weren’t.” Kira answered.

“But you were going to. Now leave.”

Emmet whispered in Kira’s ear “She’s blocking us in the doorway right now, but pretend to leave. As soon as she gets out your way I’ll run fast and follow you.”

Kira nodded and kissed him, then began to walk away. Immediately, Emmet ran and followed her then they both ran out of the house.

Emmet’s grandmother shouted “Wait, now I’m calling Bruce and he’s going to deal with both of you.”

Emmet and Kira hurriedly got into the car and she drove off.

“Watch the speed limit Kira; it’s only fifteen. We can’t afford to get pulled over.”

“You’re right. That’s the last thing we need.”

So Kira slowed down.

Emmet looked in the right side mirror and saw an old white truck catching up with them. “Damnit, that’s Bruce Mitchell following us.”

“I’ll tap my brakes and if he hits us, we can sue,” Kira said.

“Good idea,” Emmet replied.

So Kira stared at him in her rearview mirror then hit her brake pedal.

Bruce came within a foot of hitting her. She then accelerated again, but Bruce was soon on her tail. She tapped her brakes again, but Bruce flashed a revolver.

“Oh, God! He’s got a gun!” Kira said in a panic.

“Screw the speed limit, let’s get the hell out of here. If the cops pull us over we can tell them about what Bruce Mitchell was doing to us and his address as well.” Emmet said.

“Good idea.”

Kira accelerated. Bruce also accelerated. After catching up with them, he fired a shot, striking Kira’s left rear tire. They went into a spin and struck a utility pole. Then the car burst into flames…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

The Evolution of EDC (Mid 2000s to Late 2010s)

On one side of the featured image is a Victorinox Recruit ii Swiss Army Knife and an incandescent Mini Maglite, circa, 2005/2006.

On the other side of the featured image is a Gerber US1 pocket knife and an LED Mini Maglite, circa, 2018.

In this piece, I will try to write what I observe in the evolution of EDC or everyday carry.

I had first seen the Swiss Army Knife and Mini Maglite combination sold at Target in 2006 while I was a senior in high school. This prompted me to start carrying a Swiss Army Knife and a Mini Maglite everywhere I could, though I carried different models than what was sold at Target. I carried them everywhere I legally could and I also tried to get other guys to do so as well, with very limited success. That was the top of the line EDC for the mid 2000s. LED technology had not advanced enough yet, but the Mini Maglite was well established as a tried and true favorite. The Swiss Army Knife was even more established. Since I was still in high school, I couldn’t legally carry any type of knife on me, but I definitely carried the flashlight. I didn’t actually own the featured combination until April of 2016 when I purchased it as new old stock on eBay. I guess I was feeling reminiscent of my high school days. By the way, this Mini Maglite was bundled with a Swiss Army Knife.

Since 2005/2006 EDC gear has advanced considerably, both in knives becoming more tactical and therefore rugged. LED technology in flashlights has also vastly improved allowing them to give off more and more light for longer and longer runtimes. Flashlights have become more tactical and therefore rugged as well. Maglite was one of the earlier tactical flashlight models to choose from, but now they are not the most tactical. They are also not the brightest. However, they are built very well in the USA. The brand as I’ve said before is also better well established than any of these Chinese tactical brands that may be brighter.

In 2018 or so I had first seen the Mini Maglite LED and Gerber US1 sold at Wal Mart. Target has been dwindling their selection of flashlights. Well Wal Mart has too, but Target did far worse. At a church Christmas party I received a gift card to Wal Mart. I knew I would be purchasing that aforementioned combination. To this day, a little over a year later, I still carry them in my EDC backpack. This is not the top of the line for EDC in the lates 2010s and early 2020s, but both of these items are American made. The Mini Maglite appears the same on the outside as it did in 2005/2006, but it has a robust LED light engine instead of a vacuum bi pin bulb. Instead of giving off 9 Lumens it gives off 100 Lumens. Plus the light engine is quite rugged and never needs to be replaced. The knife appears to be more tactical than a Swiss Army Knife, though it doesn’t have all the features. There has been a trend that started some time ago to make all knives look more tactical. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. This knife really is not a tactical knife, just a simple everyday model. However, it goes well with the Mini Maglite LED.

In 2005/2006 being more fashionable and almost European, for lack of a better word, was the trendy thing. This was especially the case in stores like Target. However in the late 2010s and looks like the early 2020s being tactical is the trendy thing. I don’t know how long the tactical trend will last, but it has caught on to every store almost.

These trends have bled over into the world of EDC at least to some degree.

I wish we could marry both ideas!

I cannot wait to see what new EDC gadgets will be put on the market throughout the 2020s, but it would be something if they were both tactical and fashionable at the same time.

I wish Victorinox (Swiss) would make some tactical models, but that is mostly an American and maybe a Chinese thing. The rest of the world doesn’t emphasize the value of a tactical gadget. I appreciate tactical grade because it will stand up to more abuse.

I’d like to elaborate more on this, but my back is starting to hurt me.

This therefore concludes my piece of the evolution of EDC items.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

A Millennial Childhood

Late June 1994:

Tuesday June 21 1994 On a sunny summer morning, seven year old Marshall Elks was playing outside in his front yard. He was surrounded by two houses. One was vacant and the other had a troublesome neighbor. He lived in the town of Checker which is a suburb of Melody. Marshall was slightly short for his age, skinny and had straight, blond, almost white hair. He lived with his mom; Leah and dad; Barry. They were your typical suburban family people. Leah would spend her days watching soap operas, cleaning the house, and socializing with her girlfriends. Barry worked at a warehouse in the city of Melody, but would spend his free time either in the arms of Leah or playing with Marshall. They were not people to cause trouble and they did a fine job raising their son. The only problem they ever had to deal with was their neighbor, Boyd Bachmann. Constantly, he was causing problems with them. He had frequently thrown cigarette butts and empty beer cans in their yard, harassed Leah, and even beat Marshall on several occasions.

As Marshall was playing in the backyard, his mother was inside talking on her cordless phone to Barry who was on his lunch break at work. They were discussing their plans for the evening. The pay phone had run out of call credits, so affectionately they said their goodbyes and hung up.

A few minutes after, Marshall came in and said, “We have new neighbors coming in.”

Leah went out to greet them. It was a single mother and her daughter. Marshall and Leah walked over to them and introduced themselves.

Leah spoke, “Hello my name is Leah Elks, and this is my son Marshall.”

The woman replied, “Hi, nice to meet you. I am Nadine Rayne and this is my daughter, Elizabeth.”

Marshall looked curiously at Elizabeth as she smiled at him. She was eight years old, had auburn hair and very pale skin.

Leah looked at Nadine and asked, “Is there anything that you would need right now. If you need anything, I would be happy to help you in any way.”

Nadine replied, “Well, if you really want to, could you help me unload all of my fragile glass items?”

Leah agreed, and started to walk over.

Elizabeth added in, “Could I go play with Marshall?-PLEASE”

Leah and Nadine looked at each other then smiled and agreed.

“Stay in the backyard, Elizabeth,” Nadine said with concern.

Leah added in “That goes for you too, Marshall. Now you two watch over each other.”

Elizabeth then took Marshall by the hand and they went play. While unpacking; Leah and Nadine began to talk as if they were old friends.

Nadine said, “I am so glad you helped me, Leah, I haven’t had a friend in a long time.”

Leah replied, “Well, I would like it if we could be friends.” She paused, then continued “You seem like a very decent person and a much better neighbor than the jerk who lives on the other side.”

Nadine simply smiled as she said, “My daughter and I have really been through a lot over the past few months and we are here to hide from my ex boyfriend.” She paused and then continued, “After my husband died I grew lonely. Our daughter Elizabeth should have been enough to fill in the hole he left, but I guess I foolishy didn’t realize that. I guess for years of not having a man I grew very desperate.” She paused, then continued, again, “I found a boyfriend, who at first, seemed wonderful. Unfortunately, not long after, he beat the daylights out of me and Elizabeth. I wasn’t hurt that badly, but Elizabeth has slight brain damage from the trauma. That is why she is a little slow and somewhat overweight.”

Leah began to have tears in her eyes as she said, “My God Nadine, that is horrible.” She hugged her then continued “Why haven’t you gone to the cops?”

Nadine replied “Unfortunately, his family has connections with the sheriff; they won’t doing anything to stop him.” Nadine paused, then continued, “I am so sorry if I am disturbing you or unloading all my problems on you.”

Leah answered, “No, no, don’t worry about that. I am your friend, or at least I would like to be.”

Nadine smiled and then said “Yes, I do consider you a friend. I am glad to have one like you.”

They hugged each other and continued unpacking.

In the course of the conversation, Nadine said, “The cable installer won’t hook up my service today. I wish I could see my stories.”

Leah replied, “I like to watch the stories too, I would be happy for you to come watch them at my house.”

Nadine smile,d and then said, “Thank you. They are one of the few escapes I have from reality .”

After unpacking, Leah and Nadine went in the den and watched TV.

Marshall and Elizabeth were playing in the back yard unaware that Boyd was watching them. He was sitting on his driveway; drinking beer and watching their every move.

Elizabeth was soon full of freshly mowed grass and itching. She asked Marshall to scratch her back.

He did so instantly.

She then said “Thank you Marshall. Can I pay you back with a kiss?”

Marshall said, “Sure, I would like that.”

Elizabeth giggled and kissed him on the lips. Boyd started to approach the property line with an unjustified anger.

Elizabeth asked, “Who is that?”

Marshall answered “That’s Boyd, he is my mean old neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

Suddenly Boyd began to confront them.

Marshall began to shake.

Elizabeth gave him a hug, then kissed him and said, “Oh, Marshall don’t worry about that mean man. Just walk to my house where he will leave us alone.”

She took him by the hand and began walking him to her mother’s new house.

Suddenly, Boyd bellowed at them, “What the hell do you little bastards think you are doing? You know damn good and well that boys and girls are not supposed to play together!”

Elizabeth replied dismissively “What we are doing is none of your business.”

Boyd roared at them in reply, “Come to me now, little girl. I’ll teach you to talk to me like that. I am going beat your ass.”

Marshall began to tremble as Elizabeth shouted, “No I will not come to you.”

Boyd began charging at them.

Marshall then said, “Let’s get out of here!”

Elizabeth nodded and they ran into the Rayne’s house locking the door behind them. Both caught their breath and let out a sigh of relief.

“That was close, huh!” Elizabeth said.

Marshall replied, “Too close. I am glad that he couldn’t get me this time.”

Suddenly there was a loud banging on the door, along with Boyd yelling “Little girl, you better open this damn door right now!”

Hurriedly Elizabeth and Marshall ran into the her mother’s study room and hid under the desk. They held each other tight as Boyd continued to beat on the back door. Finally the banging stopped as Boyd grew tired and left. From the stress of getting away from Boyd, they were also very tired. Marshall and Elizabeth fell asleep under the desk.

Back at the Elks’ house, the stories on television were ending for the day. Nadine headed back to her house. As she went turned the door knob; she discovered it was locked. She reached in her purse for the house key and unlocked the door. Suddenly she realized that her daughter and Marshall were not in the backyard. Nadine walked all over the house, frantically looking for her daughter. Finally, she came upon the study room and saw Marshall and Elizabeth holding each other under the desk. She placed her hand on her heart and also breathed a sigh of relief.

She watched for a moment, then quickly went back to the Elks house and got Leah, telling her, “Get a camera, if you have one. It’s so cute, Elizabeth and Marshall are snuggling together, under my desk.”

Leah got her Polaroid camera and took several pictures of them.

Both mothers looked at them snuggling, then quietly continued to unpack.

They continued unpacking the belongings until finally the hour of five in the afternoon. Barry was coming in from work and Leah greeted him with a hug and a kiss. She then showed him the picture of Marshall laying down next to Elizabeth.

“That’s my boy!” Barry said happily as he kissed Leah once again. He then walked over and gently tapped Marshall on the shoulder.

Marshall woke up and screamed, “Don’t hurt us Boyd. Leave me and Elizabeth alone.”

Barry calmly held his alarmed son and asked, “What’s the matter Marshall?”

Immediately he calmed down and said “Nothing, I guess I had a bad dream.” Barry took his son home and they ate dinner. Meanwhile Nadine gently woke Elizabeth up and they ate dinner, each a Banqet Spaghetti and Meatballs entree.

After dinner was over, Elizabeth told her mother, “There is a mean man who lives on the other side of Marshall. He came after us today, because I gave Marshall a kiss on the lips.”

Nervously, Nadine asked her daughter, “Did he touch you in any way?”

Elizabeth answered “No, he was about to beat us up, but me and Marshall ran inside the house and locked the door behind us.” Elizabeth continued “He started banging on the door, so we went hide under the desk.”

Nadine said, “That must be why Marshall screamed about Boyd when his dad came pick him up.”

Elizabeth nodded then said, “Marshall said that the mean man beat him up several times when he was younger.”

Nadine then said, “I think we need to go and talk with Marshall’s parents, we can’t have that crazy man bullying you or Marshall or anyone else.”

Elizabeth replied, “I think so too.”

With that they both walked over to the Elks’ house.

Nadine knocked on the door.

Leah answered and asked, “Hey, it’s good to see you again. What’s going on?”

Nadine answered, “It seems there is a problem with your neighbor. I think his name is Boyd.”

Leah replied, “Well, I am not surprised at all. What did he do now?”

Nadine said “Boyd got his draws in a wad because he saw Elizabeth kiss Marshall. He then threatened to beat them.”

Elizabeth continued, “Yeah, and I told him what me and Marshall do is none of his business. He came running after us, until we ran inside my mommy’s house and locked the door.”

Leah called for her husband, “Barry, come see.”
Immediately Barry came out of his workshop and into the kitchen then asked, “What is going on?”

Leah replied, “Boyd is making trouble with the Marshall again and now Elizabeth. He threatened to beat them, simply because they were kissing in the backyard.”

“Durn it! I am sick of that jerk trying to boss the whole neighborhood around. Who does he think he is? If he touched my son again, he will have hell to pay.”

Leah said “Calm down Barry, he didn’t strike Marshall this time, but he sure tried.”

Barry said “Well, that tears it! Boyd has gotten away with way too much. I think the three of us need to go there and confront him.”

Leah nodded in agreement.

Nadine asked, “Can Elizabeth stay here with Marshall while we go? I think they would be safer if they were together.”

Both Barry and Leah nodded in agreement.

Leah said, “I think Marshall would like that. He has grown so fond of Elizabeth already. They are so cute together.”

Nadine smiled and said, “Yes they certainly are.”

Marshall was playing in his room when his parents called him down.

As he arrived Barry said, “Son, Ms. Nadine, your mother and I have to go tend to some business. I want you and Elizabeth to watch over each other, and play nice while we are gone.”

Marshall smiled from ear to ear, so did Elizabeth.

Leah added in, “Don’t open the door to anyone except for us.”

Marshall and Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Nadine, Leah and Barry then walked over to Boyd’s property. Barry rang his doorbell and he answered them in a mean and drunken state. He angrilly asked them, “What do you dumbasses want?”

Nadine angrily answered, “I want you to never lay a hand on my daughter. I know you tried to earlier today.”

Barry continued “And I am sick and tired of you trying to beat my son. I thought I made it crystal clear to you in the past; you have no right to do anything to my child. If you don’t want to listen to me, I will call the cops and have them re-iterate it to you.”

Boyd angrily replied, “Let me tell all of you that I don’t want to see your children acting like little perverted animals. I don’t want trash like you people bringing my property value down because of the way your kids act. I am good friends with the sheriff. Keep it up with me, and I will call him. OCS will take your children way because you let them carry on like dogs in heat.” Barry answered him “Look you imbecile, what my child or anyone else’s child does is none of your business. AND if you want to talk about bringing down the value of property, you do a fine job of that being the filthy drunken pig you are. How many times have you thrown cigarette butts and empty bear bottles on my property. My child could cut himself on the glass. It’s all you who brings down the value of this neighborhood, but no one else wants to stand up to you!”

Boyd grew extremely angry and socked Barry in the jaw knocking him to the cement floor. Boyd then said “Now, if any of you confront me again, it will be a hundred times worse. Now get your asses off of my property before I get my shotgun.”

He then kicked Barry and latched the door. Leah and Nadine helped Barry up and they walked home in defeat.

Meanwhile; Marshall and Elizabeth were inside home alone.

Elizabeth asked Marshall “Could I give you another kiss?”

Marshall replied with giddiness, “Yes, I would like that.”

She kissed him, on the lips, then he kissed her forehead. Both were greatly attracted to each other, if one could call it attraction.

Marshall asked her, “What would you like to do?”

Elizabeth answered “Let’s go up to your room and play with your toys.”

Marshall nodded in agreement then walked her up to his room, as he said, “We can listen to the radio,” as he pointed to his Blueberry Realistic Brand Flavoradio.

“Then we can dance with each other,” Elizabeth added in, then asked “Would you even want dance with me?”

“Of course.” Marshall said turning on the radio. He extended the antenna out and tuned the dial around until he found a station playing music.

“Yay!” Elizabeth said with excitement.

As if they were two adults, they held each other and danced on the bedroom floor and they kept on until the grownups rang the doorbell. Both Marshall and Elizabeth came down to answer it.

Marshall asked, “Who’s here?”

His mother replied, “It’s us Marshall, you can let us in.”

Marshall undocked the deadbolt and opened the door. Nadine, Leah and Barry all walked in.

Marshall saw the bruise on his dad’s face and asked, “Dad, what happened?”

He replied, “That good for nothing Boyd punched me in the face.”

Marshall replied in anger, “One day, when I am a big man, I am going to beat the living daylights out of Boyd.”

Barry smiled at his son.

Leah giggled for a fractional second. Her laughter was quickly replaced with hot anger towards Boyd as she looked at her husband’s bruise.

She then spoke, “Baby, let me put some ice on your face.” She prepared a dish towel with some ice cubes and handed it to her husband, then they all sat down at the kitchen table. The two children and the three adults all began discussing the situation about Boyd.

Leah said to Marshall and Elizabeth, “Now, kids, if you two want to play together, go in each others room or somewhere safe inside.”

Nadine nodded then said, “Boyd won’t be able to see you and he certainly won’t be able to touch you.”

Barry interjected with frustration, “It is a shame that our kids have to play inside, it is as if we lived in some ghetto.”

Leah looked at Barry and then said, “I know, I know, but you know how corrupt the sheriff is. If he is friends with Boyd and Boyd is our enemy, there is a potential for much trouble on our end.”

Nadine said “The sheriff will only protect those he knows. He also persecutes anyone who disagrees with his cronies.” She paused in distress, then continued “I have to tell all of you something, but promise me you won’t repeat it. After my husband died, I met a man. He became my boyfriend, but he was very abusive. One night he took us into the woods and started yelling at me. He then beat me. Elizabeth being the wonderful daughter she is screamed ‘Don’t do that to my mommy.’ He then drew a gun and told us to lie on the ground. He forced me to the ground and cuffed me, then beat me with a large branch and raped me, in front of Elizabeth. I blacked out, but what he did next was so horrible. He took Elizabeth and pistol whipped her in the head. After he was done he slammed her to the ground. He then un-cuffed me and drove off as he said if an evil laugh, ‘We are done, but if you ever tell anyone about this, I will kill you.'” Nadine paused then continued “He said ‘Don’t try going to the cops either. I know the sheriff personally I will find out and you will wish you had never been born.'”

Barry and Leah were shocked and horrified at what was just told to them.

Barry asked, “Did he do anything sexual to Elizabeth? Because other the state police might come to our aid if he did, despite what the sheriff thinks.”

Elizabeth added in, very frankly, “No he never did anything like that to me, just my mommy. He would beat me though if she didn’t sleep with him.”

Nadine then said, with a tear in her eye, “That is why Elizabeth is like she is, but she has a heart of gold.”

Leah went over and hugged Nadine while she said, “I am so sorry, Nadine. If ever you need to vent about this, come over and talk to me. I will try my best to listen and help you.”

Nadine replied, “Thank you, Leah, you are a true friend.”

Barry said, “Sounds to me if your ex boyfriend knows the sheriff and Boyd knows the sheriff, we are all on the brink of a living nightmare.”

Both Leah and Nadine nodded in a dsitressful agreement.”

Elizabeth then said, “Let’s try not to think about that but instead enjoy our company.”

“You’re right, baby girl,” Nadine replied.

Nadine looked at Marshall, then said sternly, “You know Marshall, when you and Elizabeth start school, the other kids might harass her. I hope you will stand by her then too.”

Boldly, Marshall said, “Of course I will. I’m not a popular kid either, but I think Elizabeth is really pretty and sweet. If any kids pick on her, they’ll have to answer to me!” Marhsall then took off his shirt and made a fighting stance.

Barry smiled with pride and said, “That’s my boy!”

Leah added in, “Don’t hit any girls that pick on her, though.”

Marshall replied, “I know. Instead, I’ll just kiss Elizabeth in front of them and say how Elizabeth is better and they could never have me.”

Leah beamed and said, “That’s my sweet boy!”

Elizabeth kissed Marshall in front of everyone, then spoke, “You make me the happiest girl there is, Marshall!” She kissed him again.

The grownups all smiled as they sat at the kicthen table.

Marshall and Elizabeth sat together on the kitchen floor.

They talked on into the night, as if they were all old friends. Finally, Leah looked at the clock on the microwave oven told Marshall, “Time to go to bed.”

Elizabeth interrupted and asked “Can I kiss Marshall goodnight?”

All of the grownups laughed then, Leah said “Sure, hurry up.”

Whole-heartedly, Elizabeth hugged Marshall tight, then kissed him on the lips.

The grownups giggled once more.

Nadine said, “They are so cute together.”

Barry added in, beaming with pride, “That’s my boy.”

Nadine then continued, “I just hope that Elizabeth can live a normal life after what my ex boyfriend did to her. I know she has brain damage, but we have her teachers and doctors helping her.”

Leah added in, “Let’s just say Marshall and Elizabeth end up together. If he is as sweet to her as he is now, I think they can lead a normal life.”

Nadine answered, “That would be wonderful.” She paused, then said “Well we better get going.”

Leah answered, “Well, come back soon.”

Nadine answered, “I sure will, thank you for being a friend Leah.”

“Sure thing, anytime,” Leah replied.

And with that Nadine picked Elizabeth up and walked home. After putting her daughter to bed she sat down in her living room with a glass of red wine and watched the television.

Not long after, Leah and Barry went to bed.

Leah told Barry as she turned out the light, “I am proud of you for standing up for what is right, I just wish we could get back at Boyd for hitting you like that.”

Barry replied, “I didn’t see it coming I guess, otherwise it would have been him on the floor and not me.”

Leah replied, “No Barry, then you would have gone right to jail, or worse, gotten shot, remember he is friends with the sheriff.”

“That corrupt sheriff is the one who belongs in jail. That goes for Nadine’s ex boyfriend as well. They ought to take him hang him up by his nuts and then pour honey and red ants all over him. I can about imagine what Nadine is going through. If anyone did something like that to Marshall, I would slit his throat with a good heart.”

Leah stifled him as she said, “Watch your temper, Barry!”

To which Barry replied, “You know I am passionate about protecting my family.”

Leah giggled and asked, “What else are you passionate about?”

He replied “You.”

They at once became intimate.

Later on in the night, Barry and Leah awoke to hear Marshall screaming, “Get out of my room Boyd.”

Barry came in with a 3D Maglite flashlight, actually thinking Boyd was in his son’s room.

He shined his flashlight at his son and said “What is going on?”

Marshall was now awake and said, “I had a night mare that my wall facing Boyd’s house was gone. Then he had walked into my room and was fixing to beat me and Elizabeth. He wanted to beat us because we were dancing in my room.”

Barry said, “Well thank God it was only a dream. Are you okay now son?”

Marshall replied “Yes I am okay now. It seemed so real.”

Marshall closed his eyes and then said, “Goodnight dad.”

Barry smiled and said “Goodnight son.”

At the same time, Nadine woke up to hear Elizabeth screaming, “Leave me and Marshall alone Boyd. We are just dancing and it is none of your business.”

Nadine walked to her daughter’s room and said, “What is the matter Elizabeth?”

She was shaking and said, “Boyd was trying to beat me and Marshall because we were dancing together.”

Nadine replied, “I think you just had a night mare.”

“It seemed so real,” Elizabeth said.

Nadine commented, “I wouldn’t put it past Boyd.”

Elizabeth was falling back to sleep when Nadine kissed her and said, “Goodnight Elizabeth.”

“Goodnight Mommy,” She replied.

Wednesday June 22: The next morning, after Barry went off to work, Leah invited Nadine over for coffee. They were sitting down at the kitchen table discussing different matters when Boyd came up in the conversation.

Nadine said, “You know my daughter had a night mare that Boyd was trying to beat her and Marshall, because they were dancing.”

Leah set down her coffee cup in disbelief as she spoke “Really? Marshall had a similar dream too. He was screaming blue murder for Boyd to get out of his room.” Barry retrieved his Maglite flashlight, because he actually believed that Boyd was in the bedroom. When Barry walked in, Marshall had completely woke up and said something about Boyd was trying to beat him and Elizabeth. What strikes me as odd, is that he too said something about him and Elizabeth dancing.”

Nadine said “Oh, I have read that certain people who have strong emotional ties to each another can experience similar thoughts and dreams-at the same time. I know they are getting close to each other and they are so cute together.”

Leah added in “Wouldn’t it be something if they ended up marrying each other when they grow up?”

Nadine replied “Yes it would be something. I would be happy for them because they would have experienced no heartache, since they found each other at such a young age.”

Just as Nadine finished talking, Marshall was waking up and walking into the kitchen.

Leah asked him, “Hey Marshall, is Elizabeth your girlfriend?” Marshall simply nodded his head, blushed awkwardly and smiled from ear to ear.

Nadine added in, “Are you going to marry Elizabeth one day?”

“I sure hope so,” Marshall answered, blushing even more.

They both laughed and then Marshall said, “Speaking of Elizabeth, where is she?”

Nadine replied, “Oh, she is sleeping, but it is time for her to get up. Do you want to go to my house and get her up?”

Once again Marshall smiled from ear to ear and nodded his head.

“Come on, I’ll walk you there,” Nadine said, then took her house key out of her pajama pocket, as they walked over to the house. Nadine and Marshall walked into Elizabeth’s bedroom.

Gently, Marshall kissed her on the forehead and said “Good morning, beautiful. Time to wake up.”

Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and then realized who was waking her up. She then smiled from ear to ear and pecked Marshall on the cheek.

Nadine giggled at them and they all walked out of the room. The three of them headed back to the Elks’ house.

On their way walking Elizabeth said, “Can me and Marshall play together again today?”

Nadine replied, “Yes you sure can, but I want you and Marshall to play inside, on account of Boyd. The good have to suffer for the bad unfortunately.”

Elizabeth replied, “That’s all right as long as Me and Marshall can play together, I would feel safer if Boyd couldn’t get to us, anyway.”

They arrived back at the Elks house, Marshall and Elizabeth went up to the bedroom.

Leah and Nadine sat in the kitchen and continued talking.

“I’m glad Elizabeth has found someone who makes her happy. She has been through a lot, but it seems that Marshall brings that bright smile back to her face,” Nadine said.

Leah replied, “It is good that they have each other because Marshall needs someone to interact with.”

Nadine nodded, and they continued to talk on through the morning.

Up in the bedroom Marshall and Elizabeth were sitting in the window seat enjoying the view, well except for the fact that Marshall’s window faced Boyd’s house. They saw Boyd sitting in his driveway on a lawn chair drinking beer. Quickly they backed from the window seat and decided to play with one of Marshall’s toys. They opened his back pack and found his Blueberry Falovradio.

Marshall said, “We can listen to music while we play.”

Elizabeth nodded and continued looking through his back pack until she found Marshall’s green and pink Power Ranger figures.

Elizabeth smiled and said, “Look it’s Tommy and Kimberly. We can play like I am Kimberly and you are Tommy.”

Marshall nodded and then asked, “Who is the monster we will be fighting?”

Elizabeth giggled as she answered “That’s easy, we can pretend that Boyd is the monster.”

Marshall nodded and laughed.

They turned the radio on and began to play with the action figures when Leah walked in the room to check on them.

She asked, “What are you two playing?”

Very matter of factly, Marshall answered “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Tommy and Elizabeth is Kimberly.”

Elizabeth added in “Yep and Boyd is the monster we are trying to defeat.”

Leah laughed and then went downstairs to get Nadine. They came back up and Leah told Elizabeth, “Tell your mom what you and Marshall were playing.”

Elizabeth repeated, “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Kimberly, Marshall is Tommy and Boyd is the evil monster.”

Nadine covered her mouth out of shock but began to laugh out loud, then asked, “How are you going to defeat Boyd the monster?”

Elizabeth replied, “The Pink Ranger is going to run away from him and Boyd is going to chase her.”

Marshall continued, “Then Boyd is going to start running really fast and the Green Ranger is going to trip him. Then he will fall down and explode.”

Both of the adults giggled hysterically. They played until the hour of Nine AM, when Leah and Nadine came up to feed both of them breakfast.

Nadine and Elizabeth left the house but not before Elizabeth gave Marshall a kiss.

After Elizabeth and Marshall were done eating breakfast, this time Marshall came over to the Rayne house to play. He brought his transistor radio with him, so they could have music to dance too. Marshall entered Elizabeth’s room and they sat down on her mattress together and talked for a while.

Elizabeth asked Marshall, “Are you my boyfriend?

Marshall smiled brightly and said “Yes.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Even though I am slow and chubby?”

“Of course, I want you forever! And I think you’re beautiful!”

“Are we going to get married when we grow up?” Elizabeth asked.

Marshall kissed her and then said “I would love for us to get married.”

Elizabeth smiled sweetly and hugged him.

Marshall then asked, “What do you want to do now?”

Elizabeth replied, “Snuggle and kiss you.”

The air conditioning unit was running at full blast in that room, so it was quite cold in there. Both of them were shivering. They covered under Elizabeth’s blanket, then kissed several times.

Marshall then told her “You have pretty hair. Could I play with it?”

Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Marshall began to run his fingers through her hair, gently.

She said “Oh, I like it when you play with my hair, Marshall.”

He kissed her on top her head.

There was a moment of silence, until Marshall asked “Why don’t we listen to my Flavoradio?”

Elizabeth smiled and said “Okay. That would be nice.”

Once again, Marshall pulled out the antenna and tuned the dial around.

He picked up The Pretenders singing “I’ll Stand By You”

Elizabeth said “This could be our song.”

Marshall kissed her and said “This is our song.”

They listened to the lyrics as best as they could. Elizabeth said “You know I was beaten, and now I am messed up in the head and I’ve also gotten fat, which makes me hurt so much on the inside. I try not to show it though. When I am around you Marshall, I feel better. I want you to be my boyfriend forever. I want you to stand by me.”

Marshall kissed her again and said, “I will. I want to stand by you forever.”

Elizabeth threw her arms around Marshall and said, “Hold me tight.” They held each other for a while as Elizabeth cried slightly. She was thinking of what her mom’s ex boyfriend had ruined her life, but also how wonderful Marshall was to her.

Nadine walked in on them and saw Elizabeth with tears in her eyes.

She asked “Elizabeth, what’s the matter sweetie?” She replied “I am hurting because of what your ex-boyfriend did to me. But I also have tears of happiness because Marshall is kind to me.” She paused then said “When me and him grow up, I want to marry him.”

Nadine covered her mouth and was holding back tears herself. She then collected herself and asked Marshall “Do you want to be her boyfriend and no one else’s?”

Marshall nodded and blushed. Nadine continued “Well I am very happy about that. Just make sure you two are good to each other.”

Marshall and Elizabeth sat up in her room until it was lunch time.

Marshall went back home and Elizabeth was fed by Nadine.

After Nadine and Elizabeth finished eating lunch, they went shopping at the Service Merchandise in Melody.

Nadine needed some small appliances and housewares. Marshall stood in the driveway watching them leave and anxiously waiting their return.

Leah came out and said “You miss Elizabeth don’t you?”

Marshall nodded and then said, “She is my girlfriend and she belongs with me.”

Leah said “Well, you come in. I don’t want Boyd making trouble with you.”

Marshall agreed and walked in.

He went up to his room and sat in the window seat. Marshall listened to his Flavoradio, hoping for the song ”ll Stand By You” to come on. He listened to hours, but it never came on. He saw Boyd walking to his driveway and sitting down to drink beer. Immediately he walked away from his window seat, as he didn’t want to be seen. Marshall laid down on his bed and shined his Mini Maglite flashlight up at the ceiling for a while. It came bundled with the bigger Maglite his Dad owned and had bought two summers ago after a tornadic thunderstorm had knocked the current off. He was sad being away from Elizabeth. He began to look in his backpack where he kept all of his toys. He found his set of Realistic FM walkie talkies.

Marshall said to himself, “I could give one of these to Elizabeth, and we can talk to each other from our rooms.” He checked both of the radios for a 9 Volt battery. Thankfully, each radio had a battery installed. Marshall smiled and tested both of them out, to which they worked perfectly. To keep himself busy until she came back, Marshall pulled out his tape recorder. He knew it would be a good idea to tape himself, then give it to Elizabeth as a message.

He pressed the record button, held the microphone to his mouth and began to speak, “Elizabeth, I am so happy that you are my girlfriend. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of those bad things. I want to make you feel better. I feel sad when we are not together. I want to be yours forever. Every time we hug and kiss; I feel wonderful. I wish we could play outside in the grass like the day we did when we met. I wish I could protect you from Boyd. I love you Elizabeth.”

After recording the tape he placed it in its jacket then in his bag. Marshall then went to the other side of the house where he could see Nadine and Elizabeth coming in from shopping. For about 45 minutes he waited. Finally he saw Nadine’s Dodge Caravan coming down the driveway. Marshall walked down with the tape and the two walkie talkies. He greeted Elizabeth and they kissed. He then gave her the tape and one of the walkies. He told her before you go to bed tonight, listen to this tape. Then you can call me over the walkie talkie. We can talk until we fall asleep.

Elizabeth smiled brightly and then asked, “What’s on the tape?”

Marshall replied, “I have message from me to you.”

Elizabeth kissed him again and said, “Thank you for the gifts.”

Nadine called Elizabeth and said, “Come help me unload everything.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Can Marshall come too?”

“He sure can,” Nadine replied.

Nadine opened the back door to her mini van and said, “Now you two bring the goods to my kitchen table and be VERY careful.”

“OK, Mommy,” Elizabeth replied, then continued “Come on Marshall, let’s get to work. After that we can go to my room.”

For the rest of the afternoon, they sat up in Elizabeth’s room playing and talking; kissing and hugging. Nadine checked up on them every so often and sometimes had to fight back tears. The way Marshall brought back the smile to Elizabeth’s face and the way Elizabeth gave Marshall someone to interact with, brought plenty of happiness to Nadine. If it was not for the problem with Boyd, Nadine was willing to admit that her life was wonderful again. It was now time for dinner, so Marshall went home.

As he left, he told Elizabeth “When the clock on the cable box says 8:00 PM turn you radio on and call me. We can talk until we go to bed.”

Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled and she kissed him.

Marshall went home and then ate dinner. Both sat in their dens waiting for the cable boxes to display the time of 8:00 PM. Hours crawled by. Finally, Marshall went up into the loft and turned his radio on.

A minute passed then Elizabeth’s voice came crackling in.

He smiled as they began to talk.

Elizabeth spoke, “What you told me on that tape was really sweet. I am going to keep it close to my heart forever.”

Marshall replied “I meant every word of it. I am your boyfriend and I am going to be the best boyfriend ever.”

Elizabeth replied “I wish I could kiss you right now.”

Marshall replied “Tomorrow we will kiss.”

“Yes we will,” Elizabeth said happily.

There was an awkward silence, followed by a sudden sequence of dial tones. Both were startled.

Soon they heard Sotty’s voice. In fright, they continued to listen. They could only hear his voice and not the voice of the other party.

He spoke, “Hey, I know it is late, but I have a favor to ask you.” Boyd continued “My neighbors have young children and they allow them to act innappropriately. They hug and kiss each other and I find they play inside together a lot too. It is disgusting and it is bringing down the value of the neighborhood.” There was another pause and Boyd spoke again “I would like you to send some of your boys out to just watch them, see if you can arrest them for anything.” “Okay, thank you. That should show those sick bastards.”

They then heard a disconnect tone and Boyd was gone.

Elizabeth came in over the radio “Do you think he is gone?”

Marshall replied “I don’t know but I think you need to tell your mom and I need to tell my parents what we heard.”

Elizabeth replied “Yes, let’s go tell them now.”

They both signed off of the radios.

Marshall walked out of the loft and saw his dad watching television in the den. In distress, he walked up to him and said “I was talking to Elizabeth on the walkie talkies and we heard Boyd talking on the phone. He was telling someone to have his boys watch over the neighborhood because of the way me and Elizabeth play together.”

Immediately Barry took the remote and turned off the TV and spoke with anger, “That control freak has gone too far this time.” He paused then said “Leah, please come see, quick.” Leah came in and Barry continued ” Boyd is plotting against us. Marshall tell your mother what you just heard.” Marshall repeated the events.

Meanwhile Elizabeth went to her mom and explained the situation.

Nadine told Elizabeth, “This breaks my heart and it will break your’s and Marshall’s as well, but until all of this blows over, you two will have to stay apart.” Both burst into tears and hugged each other. Nadine then said “I am going to call Leah and Barry.” At the Elks’s home, the phone rang.

Leah looked at the ID screen and answered “Hey.”

Nadine asked, “Did Marshall tell you and Barry what he heard on the walkie talkies?”

Leah replied, “Yes, Barry and I were just discussing it. I am in complete anger and disbelief that Boyd is plotting against us. I wish we could get a lawyer or something.”

Nadine replied “I am afraid for my life. What if my ex boyfriend finds out where I live?”

Leah spoke in total distress, “I don’t know, I wish there was a way we could protect ourselves.”

Both broke down in tears and hung up.

Nadine, still crying, said “Elizabeth, maybe you and Marshall could send each other a tape recording of each other, every day but you two cannot play together or talk on those walkies. It will get better once school starts though, then you will see each other everyday.”

Elizabeth ran to her room crying.

Back at the Elks’ house, Barry was talking with Leah and Marshall, “I think I know how I can handle the situation. There is a young man I work with, his name is James Ryan. He listens to a device called a police scanner, . It allows anyone to hear what the police are talking about on their radios. As soon as I see him tomorrow, I will talk to him about what I need. I would call him tonight, but it is late.”

THURSDAY June 23 1994: Marshall woke up at 10:00. He sat in his room bored and miserable. He wished he could be spending his time with Elizabeth, but due to Boyd’s hateful actions, he couldn’t. Likewise, Elizabeth was sitting in her room, crying.

Nadine walked in the room and asked “What’s the matter, baby girl?”

She replied “I miss Marshall. He is really nice to me and I want him to be my boyfriend forever.”

“I know, I know.” Nadine said as she hugged her.

Elizabeth continued, “It seemed everything was going woderful and I find Marshall, but that mean old Boyd stops us from being together.”

“I know what I am going to do,” Nadine said.

Elizabeth asked, “What?”

Nadine continued, “I am going to call Leah and see if we can get together and take you and Marshall to the park.”

“You really will?” Elizabeth asked with excitement.

Nadine smiled and said, walking to the phone, “Of course I will. You and Marhsall should be able to be together one way or another.”

Nadine dialed the phone.

Leah recognized the caller I.D. and picked up, “Hello?”

Nadine said, “Are you talking on your cordless phone?”

Leah said, “Yes, hold on, I will switch to the corded one.”

Leah swapped the phones.

Nadine continued, “How is Marshall?”

Leah replied, “Very sad, all he does is lay down in his bed.”

Nadine said “Elizabeth is crying her eyes out here and wishing that she and Marshall could play together.” She paused and then continued “What if we all went to the park? Boyd won’t be able to see us .”

Leah replied “Sure that sounds wonderful. I am going to tell Marshal the good news and have him get ready.”

Meanwhile Barry was at work on his coffee break.

James was walking by drinking a bottle of orange juice.

Barry said, “Hey James, come see.”

“What you got, Barry?” He asked.

Barry continued, “I have heard you have a device which can pick up the police. I want one and would like your advice on how to work it. The cops are making trouble with my neighbor and I am trying to help her.” He paused and then said “She is a widowed mother and has already been through plenty.”

 

 

 

James asked in disgust, “What could they possibly want with her?”

Barry replied, “We live in Checker and that should tell you enough about the sherriff there. He can be quite corrupt.” Barry paused and then said “My neighbor on the other side of me doesn’t like the lady I was telling you about. Unfortunately he is friends with the sherriff. I am trying to be prepared for my family and her and her daughter’s sake.”

James said “Well, I would be happy to help you my friend.”

Barry asked “Could you tell me where I would be able to get one and how much it would cost?”

James said “They are sold as Radio Shack and a good one costs between three and four hundred, unfortunately that is what you need these days.”

“Durn it.” Barry said.

James continued, “I have a charge account at Radio Shack I can buy it for you on time. Just pay me back and it doesn’t have to be all at once. I have money-I guess it’s because I am young and single.”

“That is true.” Barry said, then continued “But my wife and my son are my world and you don’t know what you are missing.”

“Maybe you’re right. I just want to find the right girl though before I make any committments.” James said. He paused, then asked “Do you want to go to Radio Shack on our lunch break?”

Barry said “Sure, that sounds like a plan.” He paused then asked “How ’bout I buy you lunch?”

James said “Nah man, don’t worry about that.”

Barry replied, “No I insist. We can go to Subway and I will get you a foot long sandwich of any kind. It’s even in the same mall as Radio Shack.”

“Well all right, that sounds good to me.” James answered. He finished his bottle of juice, looked at his watch and said “Well, I have to get back to work.”

“Yes, I do too. Thanks again.” Barry said and shook his hand and punched back in.
Where I plan to go with this:

Later that day:
Barry buys a scanner, a Radio Shack Realistic Pro 2022 on James Ryan’s charge account.

They then eat at Subway. Barry buys James a Footlong Turkey Breast while he eats a Footlong Honey and Ham Dijon.

When he gets home, he installs it in his kitchen. He talks to James on the phone on how to program it properly.

Later on in summer:
Barry is listening to his scanner and hears the cops talking about their plan to plant drugs on Nadine and her house. He tells Leah and Marshall. Quickly they warn Nadine to leave as soon as possible. She grabs Elizabeth and a few of their belongings then gets in her car and leaves. This is a very emotional good bye for Elizabeth and Marshall. They don’t see each other again until the summer of 2003.

Barry confronts one of the cops and warns him how he knows what the sheriff is up to. He threatens to alert the feds and reminds the young deputy about the potential loss of his job. Barry also describes Nadine’s situation with her abusive boyfriend she is trying to hide from. Deputy comes to his senses and goes with Barry and Leah.

By this time though, Nadine and Elizabeth are out of contact with the Elks…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

All of the Industrial Grade Flashlights I’ve Owned-Written from 2013 a Conversation on CPF

Back in February of 2013, I was consulted on Candle Power Forums because I had frequently talked about industrial grade flashlights on there. So I sent a private message detailing all of the industrial grade flashlights I had owned up to that point. I had recently added to the list since it was dated. At some point in 2015 or 2016, I had switched to more tactical models, but I still have extensive experience with the industrial models and they will always have a place in my heart.

Without further ado, here is the piece:

“…Well, I like the explosion proof models most. I don’t know why except for the fact that they are common in my area (South Louisiana.) We have plenty of sugar refining, oil production, grain storage, chemical processing and people working on boats. Incandescent explosion proof flashlights are significantly dimmer than a flaslight with a Krypton bulb. This is because the surface temparature of a bulb filled with a noble gas is much hotter than a vacuum bulb. This keeps the flashlight’s temparature below the ignition point of the hazardous dust or vapor that it is approved to be used in. I try to buy only American Made lights, but I have experience with both. IMHO I find smooth reflectors out preform faceted ones. I don’t know who brilliant idea (sarcastic) was it to start making those durn things. I will attempt to list, describe and review every industrial flashlight I have ever owned or used.

Rayovac Industrial 2D (1990’s version.) I have had mine since February or March of 2000. It is actually the flashlight that I have had the second longest. It has always preformed wonderfully and has a uniform beam. It came with a powerful, high quality PR Krypton bulb. It is American Made. Bought it from Wal-Mart when I was 13. Faceted reflector.

Eveready Industrial IN-251 (1990’s version.) Made in Macau. Incandescent. I had one for over a year from 1994-1995. From what I remember, it was VERY bright for its time. I remember one night I was playing in the backyard at dusk and my neighbor [and uncle by marriage] was coming in from working in the shipyards and I shined it at him from about 200+ feet away. He acknowledged it by shining his bigger and brighter flashlight at me. He also likes flashlights, in fact it was him who gave me my first flashlight. (Playskool 2c lantern.) This was probably the flashlight that made me interested in industrial flashlights. The bulb blew finally and instead of buying a new bulb, my mom bought me an Eveready Value flashlight (the good 1980s-90’s version.) Came with a high quality PR bulb. Smooth reflector.

Eveready Industrial 1151 (very similar to previous model, 2000’s version) Made in China and no where near as good as the 1990s version. Bought several around 2007-2008. Unless I got used to brighter lights, this one seemed dimmer. Faceted reflector.

Rayovac Industrial MSHA (1990’s/2000’s version.) I bought one at an aviation supplier and hangar in 2006. It preformed just like my original Rayovac 2D, just not as bright. This is because it uses a standard PR bulb and not a Krypton bulb. I lent it to my aunt during Hurricane Gustav and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 1251 (2000’s version.) I’ve had several of these and I plan to buy another. It is American Made. Almost as good as the Rayovac Industrial 2D from the 1990s. It also uses a high quality Krypton PR bulb, but is slightly dimmer. This is because of the contact point at the bottom of the bulb socket. It easily gets oxide on it and that comprimises the connection. Produces a uniform beam. Bought it from my local NAPA auto parts store. I gave the damn thing away. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: I also have a few of the 1990’s versions of the Eveready 1251 and I must say that they are brighter somehow and just look cooler in general.

Eveready 1259 2D and 1359 3D (1990s versions.) I currently have each. They are not as bright as their Krypton counterparts, but they have a much better connection system at the base of the bulb socket. Instead of a Copper or Bronze contact at the base of the bulb socket, it has a stainless steel wire coil. This makes a very solid connection and with fresh bulbs and batteries, it produces a decent amount of light for its class. They are both American Made. It does not produce an even beam and that is about the only drawback for a light in its class. Got the 1359 off ebay and the 1259 from Motion Industries. Smooth reflector.

Bright Star 2618 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2618 LED (2010s version.) American Made (shame.) At first they seem like very good flashlights, especially for their price. BUT stear clear of them! Their switch mechanism, though replaceable, lasts only a few weeks with regular use. I bought the LED version a few weeks ago. Very bright and efficient (40 lumens for 200 hours,) however it also has a failing switch system and gave out within about a week. The good news is that Koehler-Bright Star stands by their products. They sent me a 2217 LED as a replacement. This one has a much better switch and also the LED engine that gives off 40 lumens for 200 hours. The Incandescent came with a high quality PR bulb. The LED produced a perfect beam. Got the 2618 LED from Bright Guy and the 2618 Incandescent fro Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 2217 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2224 3D (2000’s version.) They have a much better switch system than the 2618. It is more rugged and doesn’t move as much. I have had the 2D for almost 3 years and the 3D for almost 2 years. They are starting to flicker, but ONLY because I tampered with them and shouldn’t have. If I would have left them alone, they would still be working wonderfully. American made and came with high quality PR bulbs. Got them from Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 1618 2D (1950’s version.) This is the ancestor of the 2618 and works almost infinitely better. It has a similar, but much better switch system than the modern 2618. It also has better contacts at the base of the bulb and metal rings pressed into both ends. I gave mine away because there was something on my shelf that ate the lens. These are getting harder and harder to find and many times they cost much more than what they were worth when they first came out. I personally call it the “Kel Lite of Industrial Flashlights.” It was American made and produced a very uniform beam. Also came with a high quality PR bulbs. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 330 2D (1970’s version.) This is American made and produced a decent beam. It worked fine in lieu of its age and came with a high quality PR bulb. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Railtek 992-321-AG Trainman’s Lantern 6 Volt 908 (2000s or 2010s version. Both LED and incandescent. Has a screw base Krypton bulb which has a specific model number. I am trying to look it up but the site seems to be down or slow. I have no idea what is the country of origin. It was given to me by a railroad dispatcher whom I initially heard on my scanner than looked up online. I have it as a shelf queen, so I don’t know how it would preform under harsh conditions. Supposedly they are very rugged since they are used by conductors and brakemen which are exposed to some of the roughest conditions a job can present. Faceted reflector.

Duracell Industrial-I was given this by some BNSF Railway maintenance of way workers. I seriously don’t know what the issue with this light is. It comes with a decent quality Krypton PR Bulb. The connection is very stable, but there has to be some kind of loss of current in circuitry. But it only gives off 6 lumens on a fresh set of batteries. It is made in Thailand. Beam is dim and ringy. Faceted reflector.

Garrity R300G 2AA Mini Rugged Lite (1990’s version.) It looks like an industrial flashlight and it could be used as an industrial flashlight. It is, however, also marketed to consumers and even children. This was my favorite flashlight growing up. It was made in 1994 and I got my first one in the summer of 1998 (age 11.) I’ve had several of them over the years. They were made in Macau. Garrity is now back in business and I will strongly petition them to bring back this flashlight again. It came with a VERY high quality Krypton PR bulb. Had a ringy, but very focused and uniform beam. The rings were produced by the Fresnel lens. These are now EXTREMELY rare and a fellow CPFer mailed me one. May God immensely bless him. Smooth reflector.

Energizer Hardcase 6 Volt 908 lantern (2006.) Made in China and built like a tank. It floats too. IIRC, it came with a Xenon PR bulb. Could have also made a good self defense weapon. Got one in the summer of 2006, but lent it to my now ex in laws and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Energizer 4 AA Hardcase swivel flashlight (2000’s.) Made in China. Decent brightness. smooth reflector. Built like a tank.

Rayovac Workhorse 2 AA (1990s version.) Made in Malaysia. Focused, neatly ringed beam. Bright, Krypton PR bulb. I bought one when I was 12 and had it for years until I lost the spring. I even EDCed it on and off as a child and teenager. Smooth reflector.

Garrity G600G G-Tech Floating Lantern. Made in Thailand. This is not as rugged as an industrial flashlight, but it still rugged enough for the outdoors. It has plenty of features to brag about. High quality Krypton PR bulb. Strong, decent beam. I personally called my “fisherman’s lanterns.” I had two of them, [my now ex-]wife bought them for me at West Marine, two of the last three on the shelf. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: My divorce was semi-nasty and I gave back just about everything she gave me, including these lanterns. I told her to give them to her nephews.

Bright Star 575 2D made in USA, shame. (been around for a long time.) Do NOT buy one of these, unless only for shelf display. One of the flimsiest flashlights I have ever laid my hands upon. smooth reflector. I honestly don’t know how these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight, but it is very common among railroad electricians.

Lumilite Industrial 5451 with push button switch 2 AA. Made in China. Bought one in the late winter of 2004. It lasted until about 2007, then began to flicker. Don’t remember too many details. Faceted reflector. How do these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight?”

UPDATES (not in orginal text):
Eveready Commander Lantern (1970s version.) Made in Hong Kong. This was probably the flashlight that sparked my interest in flashlights. My Paternal Grandpa (God rest his soul) carried one on his job and also used it into retirement and there is a picture of him showing it to me as an infant. It produces a sharp beam, especially when the PR-13 is upgraded to a KPR-113. It is reasonably rugged, constructed of HDPE. It has a white riveted sliding switch.

Rayovac Industrial 2 D flashlight (1970s version.) Made in USA. I am not sure of the model number, but have one in near mint condition that was supposed to be company issue for the Kansas City Southern Railway. I could see it being rugged enough for an engineer, but not for a journeyman or conductor. However, it does cast a sharp beam and it is bright enough with fresh batteries. It has a smooth refelector and a Fresnel lens. Constructed of rugged enough PP.

Star 292 Conductor’s Lantern (current version): Made in USA. It seems to be built rugged enough, but the internal circuitry is very delicate, so don’t tamper with it. It runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery and has a light for both signalling and car inspection (both KPR113 bulbs.) I’ve had mine since May or June of 2017.

Star 2012 Conductor’s LED Lantern (2012 to present version): Made in USA. It also seems to be rugged enough and the internal circuitry is all electronic, which adds to the ruggedness. It too runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery, but is all LED. There are dedicated LEDs for both signalling and inspection or they could all be turned on. This is probably the most expensive industrial flashlight I own and I keep it as a shelf queen.

Energizer HardCase LED 2AA and 2AAA (mid 2010s to present version): Made in China, but built very well. Bought in December of 2015 and July of 2017, respectively. I use these for working on computers and other electronics. I must admit the they are rugged (constructed of ABS.) They are also very bright and give off a pure white light. These are one of my favorite Energizer products.

Garrity Tuff Lite 2D and 2AA (1980s and 1990s versions): Made in Thailand. These are built very well and come with high quality Krypton bulbs. I’ve had my 2D model since Christmas of 1998 and it is the flashlight that I’ve had longest! Many men in my neighborhood also had these. The newer Garrity Tuff Lites (starting in 2004, or so) don’t hold a candle to these.

Garrity Power Lite 2AA (1990s version): I’m not sure the country of origin, but I bought a four pack of them in late 2017. They seem to be built fairly decent and cast a sharp pin point beam. They are fitted with Krypton bulbs and have a slide switch system in addition to a monentary on off button. I’m not sure though how much abuse they can withstand, and I imagaine they are on the fence between industrial and consumer grade. They do come with a Fresnel lens and a smooth refelector.
I hope I have been helpful. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

About Television

This piece is about television: Analog…Digital…Cable…Broadcast…

I watch broadcast television.

When I say that, I mean “free” television that is received over the air with an antenna.

I don’t subscribe to any cable, satellite or Internet Protocol television at all.

Many other Millenials like me also do not subscribe to any pay television.

BUT, initially, I did it for different reasons than my fellow Millenials.

However, many of my fellow Millenials do subscribe to one or more streaming services, I don’t.

I am a total cord cutter and my only data traffic comes in and out on my cell phone.

Growing up, my parents always subscribed to cable.

They are indeed Baby Boomers and that generation almost as a whole fervently believes in subscribing to cable.

I think this is because, when they were growing up, the only people who had “clear” television reception were the city dwellers and everyone else had frequent reception issues. Not only that, there were maybe three main channels in a given market when they were growing up, whereas cable offers dozens to hundreds of channels. Cable was also much cheaper in the early days. I remember both my parents and grandparents saying how cable television was $8/month when they began subscribing.

However, myself and maybe other Millenials have noticed that since about the late 2000s cable television has skyrocketed in cost but plummeted in quality programming-change my (our) mind(s)!

I would dare say that it is not even worth eight 2019 dollars a month unless one lives totally out of any broadcast reception range (like maybe Texas, between San Antonio and El Paso or other extremely rural areas.)

When the Baby Boomers were much younger adults in the 1980s and 1990s, cable was wonderful, I’ll admit it and I’ll admit it until the cows come home. I was a child back then, but I remember how cable used to be very good. Nickelodeon had awesome cartoons and sketch comedies. VH1 and MTV actually played music videos! Arts and Entertainment, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel didn’t show constant reruns, but actually had very original and equally educational shows! TBS and TNT and USA Network had much more diverse and sometimes original programming unlike now where they mostly air reruns of shows that are already on broadcast television for free! And get this: CNN actually reported credible news without so much biased commentary!

I first “cut the cable” in the Summer of 2003, when I was sixteen and a half.

I finally had my own television, a 1992 Zenith Sentry 2 and I wanted to experiment with it.

This means that my initial reason for cutting cable was strictly experimental.

So I purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop and connected them to that aforementioned television.

I would spend hours scanning the channels and constantly repositioning the antennas to see which stations I could receive.

At the time, I lived about sixty miles from Baton Rouge, fifty miles from New Orleans, and maybe eight miles from Houma, the three closest cities with television stations.

The rest of my family thought I was crazy.

My classmates that found out also thought I was crazy.

Let’s just say I was a cord cutter well before doing so was cool.

I guess that makes me at least partially a hipster.

I may sometimes wear my newsboy hat, but I refuse to grow a beard, so there.

This went on from 2003 to about 2006 and was basically before the June 12, 2009, FCC Digital Upgrade Mandate.

I will say that when comparing analog and digital broadcast television, both have some advantages as well as disadvantages.

Since the television I had was only an analog model and I didn’t yet have a converter box, I was only able to watch analog television.

However, analog television signals were able to travel further and could be received with lower quality antennas than their modern digital counterparts. Also, an analog television signal could still be intelligibly received whilst the receiver was in motion and even mobile (like in a car!)

All I had were rabbit ears and a loop, but I could catch both of the then VHF High New Orleans stations WYES-12 (didn’t watch much on it, but it had the clearest picture of all) and WVUE-8 (watched The Simpsons every Sunday night on there) almost perfectly. Most of the UHF New Orleans stations WNOL-38 (watched The Simpsons every weeknight on it), WHNO-20 (watched some preachers on there), WPXL-49 easily. The other UHF New Orleans-area stations WUPL-54, WGNO-26, WLAE-32 were hit and miss. The two VHF Low Band stations in New Orleans WWL-4 (despite being one of the most powerful television stations in the country) and WDSU-6 were difficult to catch, and had lots of static on my then configuration but would come in every now and then (and WDSU-6 had beautiful color when it did come in properly, it was always fun to watch Golf or Racing on there.) I could also catch the VHF High Band station out of Baton Rouge WAFB-9 all the time, (in fact when I wasn’t in school or working, I would watch As the World Turns on there.) The VHF Low Band station in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-2 would come in every now and then but always had lots of static. As for the UHF Baton Rouge stations, I could catch WVLA-33 most of the time and every now and then could catch WGMB-44 (would also watch The Simpsons on there when I could), which wasn’t even on my parents’ cable service. Sometimes the picture was almost clear, most of the time the picture was overall intelligible, but with some snow and white noise. These results were pretty much acceptable considering the antenna was an indoor model maybe six feet up and up to sixty miles away from the stations. Sometimes various forms of radio skip would occur and I would catch television stations from other states! That was always interesting and of course, caught my undivided attention. KFOL-30 (HTV-10) out of Houma was almost always guaranteed to come in but sometimes had a least a little white noise and snow in the signal.

I will say that it is virtually impossible in that location with that antenna setup to receive most of those stations since they switched to digital mode.

In December 2007, my then girlfriend, now ex-wife and I purchased our first Digital Ready television. It was a 24 inch Dynex CRT we purchased from Best Buy and was a Christmas gift to each other. Later on that day, I hooked up my rabbit ears and a loop to it excited to see what I could catch. We were living in her parents’ trailer in Raceland, Louisiana, which adversely affect television reception with that setup. However, I was only able to get WWL-36 (virtual channel 4.1) though sometimes it would come in clearly and beautifully but other times it would freeze up and fade out. One of the first things I remember catching on there was the “Happy Holidays” commercial for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. We also watched the CBS Evening News where Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson was being interviewed. Later that night I went to Wal Mart and purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop with a built-in amplifier. This only made a marginal difference. For almost a year, we watched broadcast television with hit and miss results, then in the Summer of 2008, my now ex-wife but then girlfriend began subscribing to cable, which also meant home internet and phone. Also in the Summer of 2008, I applied for the coupons for a digital converter box. When they came in, I went to Wal Mart, purchased one and installed it on my old Zenith at my parents’ house.

On June 12, 2009, all full-power American television stations shut off their analog signals and began broadcasting strictly in digital.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2016. My then wife, now ex-wife and I were living in a second story apartment in Raceland, Louisiana. I had a man cave with that Dynex television and bought a cheap flat panel antenna for it. My then now ex-wife either watched Uverse in the bedroom or living room. I could catch a good bit of the New Orleans stations and the one Houma station since I was on the second floor and had a height advantage. I was never able to catch any of the Baton Rouge stations though and that irritated me, especially since they weren’t on our Uverse subscription either. At the time, however, I was more interested in listening to railroad communications on my scanners. In late 2017, my now ex-wife was badgering me how she wanted a ground floor apartment and since our neighbors below us moved out, we applied for and got it. This put a damper on my television and scanner reception. But even though my marriage was falling apart, I knew she had mobility issues and was even then was trying to appease her and her family. In early January of 2018, we mutually decided to cancel our Uverse television subscription and use Netflix and antennas but keep the Internet service in order to save money and pay down debt. Being on the bottom floor meant less television [and scanner] reception. However, I remember my ex watching Inside Edition and they were doing a piece on President Trump’s questionable diet. We could only catch WWL-36/(4.1) and KFOL-30. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I chalked it up to her wanting so badly to move downstairs. Then, I had found out some stuff she was doing behind my back coupled with years of mistreatment and I left her later that month also later that month and I applied for an apartment on the outskirts of Houma, Louisiana. I stayed with a friend until that apartment became available.

My ex wanted me to keep that old Dynex television, but I refused because I didn’t want to be reminded of her. God only knows where it is now.

I got my own apartment on May 1, 2018, and what was really a blessing is that I was offered a second-floor unit and gladly took it (a vertically higher position equals better television and scanner reception.)

Between leaving my ex and getting my own apartment, I purchased a 24 inch LG flat screen model and watched it at a friends house. it was hooked up to an attic antenna and I caught just about every station from New Orleans but none from Houma or Baton Rouge. This is because that attic antenna was a directional model and pointed at New Orleans. It also doubled as my computer monitor for the time being.

A few days after moving into my apartment, I set up my LG television. I knew I was not going to get cable and since my ex kept the other televisions and antennas we had, I went to The Ruble, I mean The Dollar General and purchased another flat antenna. I tried multiple several spots in my living room, until realizing that placing it in the window that faces the Gulf of Mexico, for whatever reasons pulls the stations in. I caught a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. What is very strange though is I initially tried placing my antenna in the window that faces New Orleans but didn’t catch ANY stations doing so.

I used my phone for all of my Internet use, but many times I ended up with throttled data. In July of 2018, I had begun subscribing to Internet through Comcast. I had it until April of 2019 when I purchased a good enough mobile data plan to where I didn’t need home Internet anymore. Once again, I became a cord cutter!

Also a few days ago, my brother and his wife gave me their Samsung 43 inch Smart TV, since they upgraded. I put my LG in my bedroom and this Samsung television in my living room. However, I’ve noticed that while Samsung televisions do have very beautiful pictures, their RF tuning circuits aren’t that sensitive. LG televisions have superior RF tuning circuits and I think that has something to do with the fact that they merged with Zenith! Okay, that 1992 Zenith television also had a very good tuner and actually it was in my family until about 2010 or 2011! My maternal grandma also swore by Zenith televisions to the point where she referred to all remotes as “the Space Command.” I’ve also been told that her husband, my grandpa also swore by Zenith products, but he died 29 years before I was born. Anyway, that’s why I am so prejudiced in favor of Zenith and now LG! It was January of 2006 when I had found out that LG and Zenith merged. I was highly ticked off because, at the time, I had found that LG made junky phones, however, nowadays they make pretty decent phones and because of that Zenith engineering that they inherited, their televisions have the best tuners, hands down. I could give other detailed examples of this too, drop me a line and I will. So earlier this evening I purchased a better antenna for the Samsung and if need be, I will also get an amplifier. I cannot wait for it to come in. Currently, it only catches WWL-36/(4.1, 4.2, 4.3) and KFOL-30/(30.1, 30.3.) By the way, the LG television in my bedroom picks up a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. I purchased the antenna for it at The Family Dollar and it is mounted high up on the wall that faces the Gulf of Mexico.

Now digital television does have its advantages over its analog ancestor. While the reception range is shortened, the picture quality is highly superior when the signal comes in properly. Also, the bandwidth required for one analog channel can fit six digital channels! Couple a good tuner and antenna system, most users can have a choice of channels that is almost on par with basic cable, but it costs nothing! Well, one does need a good antenna and that might also mean a tower, some coax, amplifiers, and a digital ready television or converter box, but the setup would pay for itself in one to three months!

As I stated on Facebook, I wish we could marry the signal strength and transmission range of analog television with the picture quality and channel capacity of digital television…It was that Facebook post I made earlier today that inspired me to write this piece!

But wouldn’t it be nice if ATSC 3.0 solves that exact issue, though?

Broadcast television has overall gotten better and cable has obviously gotten worse.

There need to be drastic changes in the cable and other subscription television industries as a whole, or more and more will get fed up and start hooking up antennas instead. They will lose too many customers and that will serve them right for charging too much for too little.

One of those changes I suggest is, if hospitals, hotels/motels, and even prisons can have cable without that freakin’ box (pardon my language but this really irritates me and therefore, unfortunately, warrants such crude language) and just plug the television directly into the cable wire, why can’t the average consumer do the same? I’ve been asking that question publically since 2016, but it has been on my mind much longer. Most of it is fueled by seeing my paternal grandma struggle to operate her cable box and her husband, my Paw Paw (God rest his soul) flat out give up on television because of the complexity of operating the cable box

I discovered broadcast television as an experiment but now rely on it daily for entertainment and information.

I much prefer broadcast over cable and I get mixed reactions for this preference.

I hope this piece has been informative and entertaining…

Notes on the Texas Instruments TI-36 Calculator

I have EDCed a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro (2011 version) either on my person, in my backpack or otherwise very near me since June of 2014. It is my favorite scientific calculator ever made!

For some time now, I had also been EDCing a composition book in my backpack and taking notes on subjects that interest me.

This page of notes pertains to the history of the TI-36 calculator and I will cite my main source as Wikipedia. I took these notes on October 14, 2018.

Without further ado, here are the notes:

These are details of the history and specifications of the TI-36.

The Texas Instruments TI-36 began in 1986 as an upgraded variant of the TI-35 Plus with Solar Cells a ten digit mantissa, two digit exponents, twelve-digit internal precision, base calculations (decimal, hexadecimal, octal and binary), complex values, statistics, the ability to convert the coordinates of polar and rectangular angles, an X-Y exchange, percentages, register-current stack exchange, factorial, permutation/combination, fifteen level parenthesis with six pending operation stacks, two operand registers (A,B) and one memory register.

The 1986 TI-35 Plus uses a Toshiba T7767.

The 1986 TI-36 Solar uses a Toshiba T7768 and features trigonometric functions, exponents, logarithms and intelligent order of operations.

They were upgraded in 1989.

The 1989 TI-35 Plus now uses a Toshiba T-7765 and now has a black shell.

The TI-36 Solar features smaller and more efficient solar cells. The Text, “ANYLITE SOLAR” replaces “SCIENTIFIC” on the bottom right of the face.

They were upgraded again in 1991 as the TI-35X or the TI-36X SOLAR and had a similar design of the TI-68, but lacking programming capability and the tilted screen.

There was also the addition of unit conversions such as: centimeters to inches, liters to US Gallons, kilograms to pounds, Celsius to Fahrenheit and grams to ounces, eight physical constants, a three-count register and two variable statistics with linear regression.

Base calculations now include Boolean logic (NOT, AND, OR, XOR, XNOR.)

Other new features included cube roots, fraction mode display and conversion of pure and mixed numbers.

The complex function was removed.

They have fifteen parenthesis stack level.

The 1991 TI-35X uses a Toshiba T6A58S and the 1991 TI-36 X Solar use a Toshiba T6A57.

They were mostly cosmetic upgrades in 1993, featuring redesigns of rubber like keys and a rounder case.

In 1996, the TI-36X Solar was upgraded with recolored labels, solid plastic keys. A bare processor was now attached to the motherboard.

The TI-35 was also discontinued.

In 1999 two variants of the TI-36 were released to the markets:

The TI-36 eco RS featuring a cabinet that was made from recycled plastics.

The TI-36 XII featured a two-line display, 11 5X7 cell characters, could store multiple expressions each holding eighty-eight characters, thirteen digit internal precision, five registers for memory, two registers for expressions, integer division, new unit conversions (meters to feet, meters to yards, kilometers to miles, litres-to UK Gallons and kilometers per hour to meters per second), eight more physical constants in addition to a Pi constant, two variable statistic regression models include natural logarithms, exponent, power, forty-two sample points or pairs can be stored, the binary base calculation was removed, the complex function was restored, supports conjugate, real/imaginary numbers, absolute value, integral calculation, random number generators, stacks were increased to twenty-three pending operations, eight pending values, a D-pad and a restyled cabinet.

2004 brought on another two upgrades:

The TI-36X SOLAR, which was a total cosmetic redesign on the 1996 model design. This new theme was based on the 2004 BA II Plus or the 2003 TI-1706SV.

There was also a slight redesign on the 1999 TI-36 XII, mostly different colored keys.

These were manufactured by Nam Tai Electronics.

In 2005, a talking version of the TI-36 known as the Orion was made to help the visually impaired.

2011 brought about the latest incarnation, the TI-36 X Pro.

Expression lengths were reduced to eight characters. Registers were increased to eight for memory, one for formula and can store three list formulas. Physical constants were increased by four to twenty, conversion sets increased to forty. Binary base calculations were restored.

A plethora of new functions were added:
Least common multiple, greatest common denominator, prime factors summation, product rounded value, integer part of a number, fractional part of a number, greatest integer smaller or equal to the number, minimum and maximum of the two numbers, Modulo calculus numeric derivative symmetric difference quotient method, two variable statistics, quadratic and cubic regressions, distribution functions, normal probability density function, mean=0 and sigma=1, function of x, probability between x boundaries, inverse cumulative normal distribution functions for a given area under the normal distribution curve with a user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified trial number and probability of success per trial, cumulative probability at x for binomial distribution with specified trial number of success per trial, probability at y and y for Poisson distribution with the specified mean, statistics results min/max of x values 25/75 percentile, function table formula based generator, manual table Matrix three editable tables, preset 2X2 and 3X3 identity matrices, matrix arithmetic vector three editable tables, preset last matrix/vector result, vector arithmetic, dot product, cross product, polynomial solver 2nd/3rd degree solver, linear equation solver 2X2 and 3X3 solver, Base-N operations, Boolean operators, expression evaluation, complex numbers, polar coordinate entry, polar cartesian display mode angle for complex number.

In 2017 and continuing, the TI-36 X Pro is now made in The Philipines.

The TI-35 and TI-36 lines are the highest end models of Texas Instruments scientific calculators.

TI-36 Calculator History Table:
YEAR……..Model………Processor……..Country of Manufacture
1986……..TI-35 PLUS….Toshiba T7767….Italy
1986……..TI-36 SOLAR…Toshiba T7768….Taiwan ROC
1991……..”” “”………Toshiba T6A57….Italy
1996……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………Mainland China
1999……..TI-36 eco RS..??……………”” “”
1999……..TI-36 X II……??……………”” “”
2004……..”” “”………??……………”” “”
2004……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………”” “”
2011……..TI-36 X Pro…??……………Mainland China
2017……..”” “”………??……………The Philipines

Notes on the Electronic Calculator

Since infancy, I have had a great fascination with calculators, in fact just about as much as with flashlights. This is because they were always around me growing up. Before my dad became a special education teacher, he was a bank executive so therefore he always had a calculator until his career change. My mom has taught high school math since 1980 and she has always EDCed a scientific calculator or two. I had EDCed a calculator on and off since the age of eight and then permanently since the age of twenty-five. Though both of my parents are teachers, I am not. I am more or less of an amateur tradesman, especially in the trades of electrical and computer repair. Because of this, I greatly realize the need to EDC a calculator, though not for the same reason as my parents. For a while, I have been also EDCing a composition book on which I take notes on subjects that I consider important to me. On October 2nd and 3rd of 2018, I did some research on electronic calculators and took notes into my composition book. I am transcribing these notes for others to read.

Without further ado, here are my notes on electronic calculators:

Wikipedia is the source I cite as that is where the bulk of this information comes from.

The first solid state electronic calculator was created in the early 1960s.

Pocket-sized models came avaailable in the 1970s after the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 was invented.

By the end of the 1970s, basic calculators were affordable to most and became common in schools.

In 1986 ~41% of the world’s general purpose hardware capacity was represented by calculators. As of 2007, it is only 0.05%.

Processor Components:

The Scanning/Polling Unit scans the keypad waiting to receive an electrical signal when a key is pressed.

The X and Y registers are where numbers are temporarily stored during calculations. All numbers go into the X register first, the number in the X register is displayed.

The function for the calculation is stored in the Flag Register until the calculator needs it.

The Permanent or Read Only Memory or ROM is the instructions for built-in functions that are permanently stored and cannot be deleted.

The User or the Random Access Memory or RAM is where numbers can be stored by the user and contents can be changed or erased by the user.

The Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU executes all arithmetic and logic instructions and produces results in binary code.

The Binary Decoder Unit converts the binary results into decimal numbers which are shown on the display unit.

The clock rate of the processor chip refers to the frequency of which the Central Processing Unit is running. It indicates the processor’s speed and is measured in clock cycles per second and expressed in the unit of Hertz. Basic calculations can vary between a few hundred Hertz to the KiloHertz range.

The first devices used to aid in arithmetic calculations were bones, pebbles, counting boards and the Abacus which was used in ancient Egypt and Sumeria before 2000 BC.

Computing tools started to arrive in the 17th Century with inventions such as the Geometric Military Compass, made by Galileo.

Logarithms and Napier’s bones were invented by Scottish mathematician John Napier of Merchiston (1550-April 4, 1617.)

The slide rule was invented by English and Welsh clergyman, mathematician and astronomer Edmund Gunter (1581-December 10, 1626.)

In 1642, the mechanical calculator was invented by German professor and minister Wilheim Schickard (April 22, 1592-October 24, 1635) several decades before the device invented by French mathematician, physicist and writer Blaise Paschal (June 19, 1623-August 19, 1662.) Schikard’s device used a well-thought set of mechanized multiplication tables to quicken the process of multiplication and division. Paschal’s calculator could add and subtract two numbers directly.

German polymath Gottfried Leibinz (July 1, 1646-November 14, 1716) spent four decades attempting to design a four operation mechanical calculator he called “The Step Reckoner. he was not successful but in the process, he invented “The Leibinz Wheel.”

At that point my medication kicked in and I went to bed, then resumed taking notes on October 3, 2018.

There were five other unsuccessful attempts to design a calculating clock in the 17th Century.

The first successful calculating clock was invented in the 18th Century by Marquess physicist, mathematician and antiquarian Giovanni Poleni (1683-November 1761.)

Assumed Italian inventor Luigi Torchi (1812-?) invented the first direct multiplication machine and the second key-driven machine in the world, following James White’s invention in 1822.

Real developments began during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. This made large scale production of devices that could perform all four functions of arithmetic.

The Arithmometer was invented in 1820 and put into production in 1851. It became the first commercially sold unit and by 1890, 2,500 units had been sold. There were even clone units from Burkhardt, Germany, in 1878 and Layton, UK, in 1883.

In 1902, American James Dalton invented The Dalton Adding Machine with the first push-button interface.

In 1921, American Electrical Engineer Edith Clarke (February 10, 1883-October 29, 1959), the first female professor of Electrical Engineering at UTA invented the “Clarke Calculator” which was a simple graph-based calculator for solving line equations that involved hyperbolic functions. This device gave electrical engineers the ability to simply calculate inductance and capacitance in power transmission lines.

In 1948, Austrian engineer Curt Herzstark (July 26, 1902-October 27, 1988) invented the pocket portable calculator which was called the “Curta.”

Casio released the Model 14-A in 1957. It was the world’s first all-electric compact calculator.

In October of 1961, British Bell Punch/Sumlock Comptometer ANITA, which is an acronym for “A New Inspiration To Arithmetic/Accounting” was announced. It used cold cathode tubes and Dekatrons in its circuits in addition to 12 cold cathode Nixie tubes. There were two models displayed: the Mk VII was for Continental Europe and the MK VIII was for the UK and the rest of the world.

Tubes began to be phased out in 1963 when the American-made Friden EC-130 was built of an all transistor design. It featured a stack of four thirteen digit numbers and a five-inch cathode ray tube. It also introduced Reverse Polish Notation. This machine sold for $2,200.

In 1964 Sharp introduced the CS-10A. It weighed 25 kilograms or 55 pounds and cost 500,000 yen or $4,457.52.

Italian company Industria Machine Electroniche also introduced the IME-84 with several peripherals so several users could make use of it (but not simultaneously.)

Several manufacturers followed including Canon, Mathatronics, Olivetti, Toshiba, Smith Carona Marchant, and Wang. These calculators used Germanium as opposed to Silicon for their transistors. Displays were either Cathode Ray Tube or cold cathode Nixie tubes and filament lamps. Memory was either delayed line memory or magnetic core memory. However, the Toshiba “Toscal” BC-1411 possibly had an early form of Dynamic Random Access Memory.

In late 1965, the Olivetti Programma 101 was released. It could read and write stored programs on magnetic memory cards and display the results on its built-in printer. Memory was achieved with an acoustic delay line and could be partitioned between program steps, constants and data registers. It could be considered the first commercially made personal computer and won many industrial design awards.

Also in 1965 the Bulgarian made ELKA 6521 was released. The name is derived from a portmanteau of ELektronen KAlkulator. It weighed 8 kilograms or 18 pounds. It was the first calculator to feature a square root function. Later in 1965 the ELKA 25 with a built-in printer was introduced. The ELKA 101 was released in 1974 and was ELKA’s first pocket model. It featured Roman script (I guess as opposed to Slavic)since it was exported to Western Countries.

In 1967, the Monroe Epic was put on the market. It was a large printing desktop model with an attached floor standing logic tower. It could be programmed to carry out many computer-like functions. Unfortunately, the only branch instruction was an implied unconditional branch (GO TO) at the end of the operation stack, which returned the program to its starting instruction. Therefore it was impossible to include any conditional branch ie (IF-THEN-ELSE) logic.

During this time period, the absence of a conditional branch sometimes determined the difference between a programmable calculator and a computer.

Also in 1967, Texas Instruments American electrical engineer Jack Kilby (November 8, 1923-June 20, 2005) led the production of the first prototype of a handheld calculator, the “Cal Tech.” It could perform the four basic operations and printed the results on paper tape.

In 1970 a calculator could be produced with just a few low power chips and be powered by rechargeable batteries. Also in 1970, the first portable calculators appeared in Japan and were sold around the world. Models included the Sanyo ICC-0081 Mini Calculator, the Canon “Pocketronic” and the Sharp QT-8B “micro compet.”

Desiring to reduce power consumption, Sharp introduced the EL-8 which was also marketed as the Facit IIII. it was close to being a pocket model and weight 1.59 pounds or 721 grams, had a vacuum fluorescent display, rechargeable NiCad batteries and sold for $395.

In early 1971, the first “Calculator on a chip” the MK6010 was made by Mostek. Also in 1971, Pico Electronics and General Instrument introduced the chipset for the Monroe Royal Digital III calculator.

The Busicom LE-120A “HANDY” was the first truly pocket-sized calculator. It was the first to feature an LED display, first to use a single integrated circuit and the first to run on primary batteries. It measured 4.9 inches by 2.8 inches by 0.9 inches (124 millimeters by 71 millimeters by 23 millimeters.)

The DB800 was made in 1971 in Buje, Croatia, and was the first European made pocket calculator.

The Bowmar 901B was the first American made pocket-sized calculator which measured 5.2 inches by 3.0 inches by 1.5 inches (132 millimeters by 76 millimeters by 38 millimeters) and was put on the market in Autumn of 1971. It featured the four basic functions, a red LED display and sold for $240.

Then in 1972, the first slimline pocket calculator was released. It was the Sinclair Executive. Measuring 5.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.35 inches (137.2 millimeters by 55.9 millimeters by 8.9 millimeters), it sold for 79 Pounds.

The first pocket-sized Soviet-made calculator was the Elektronika B3-04 was developed in 1973 and put on the market in 1974.

In 1973, the Sinclair Cambridge was launched. It sold for 29.95 Pounds or $38.40. Because of their lower price, Sinclair units were popular but they were slower and sometimes produced inaccurate results with transcendental functions.

The first Soviet-made, pocket-sized scientific model B3-18 was completed by the end of 1975.

Texas Instruments introduced the SR-10 (SR stands for “Slide Rule.”) It was an algebraic entry-level pocket calculator using scientific notation and sold for $150. Afterward, the SR-11 was released and had a dedicated key for the Pi constant. The following year, the SR-50 was released and added the trigonometric and logarithmic functions. It was a competitor model to the Hewlett Packard HP-35.

In 1976, the Texas Instruments TI-30 was launched and descendants of it are still in production.

In 1978, Calculated Industries made special purpose calculators such as the “Loan Arranger” which was marketed to Real Estate professionals. In 1985 they launched the “Construction Master” which was marketed to the building trades.

Programmable calculators such as the Mathatronics and Casio AL-100 were very heavy and costly.

The Hewlett Packard HP-65 came out in 1974 and had a capacity of 100 instructions and could store and retrieve programs in a built-in magnetic card reader. The HP-25 introduced continuous memory which stored data and programs in a CMOS. The HP-41C was released in 1979 and could be expanded with Random Access Memory and Read Only Memory. It could also be connected to bar code readers, microcassette and floppy drives as well as printers and communication interfaces such as the RS-232, HP-IL, and HP-IB.

The ISKRA123 was Soviet-made, grid powered and released in the early 1970s. The Elektronika B3-21 was developed at the end of 1976 and put on the market in early 1977. Its successor, the B3-34 was widely used and hundreds of thousands of games and program were written for it. The Elektronika MK-52 was used in the Soviet Space Program.

The Hewlett Packard HP-28C was released in 1987 and was the first calculator capable of symbolic programming.

The Casio fx-7000G was released in 1985 as the world’s first graphing calculator.

In 1981, the Hewlett Packard 12-C was the first financial calculator…

Notes on the Barometer

I have been fascinated by the weather since early childhood.

I have also had a keen interest in sciences of all kinds, throughout my life though I am not very good at it. I mean I am so terrible at science that I don’t even hold an Associate’s Degree.

However, I do spend a good bit of my time engaged in independent learning.

In this page, I will post the transcript of notes I had taken in my composition book that detail information about Barometers.

Without further ado, here they are:

These notes were taken on October 1st and 2nd of 2018.

The main reference that I will cite is Wikipedia as that is where I got the bulk of this material from.

Notes on the barometer and its inventor(s).

Barometers are used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure.

Pressure tendency detects short term changes in weather.

Measuring air pressure within surface weather analysis is helpful in locating surface troughs, high-pressure systems and frontal boundaries.

The term “barometer is derived from ancient Greek words which literally translate into words that mean weight and meter/measure.

Evangelista Torricelli (October 15, 1608-October 25, 1647) an Italian physicist and mathematician are credited with inventing the barometer in 1643.

Italian astronomer and mathematician Gapardo Berti (1600-1643) may have also unintentionally created a water barometer sometime between 1640 and 1643.

French scientist and philosopher Rene` Descartes (March 31, 1596-February 11, 1650) described the design of an experiment to measure air pressure possibly as early as 1631 but no evidence is there to suggest that he actually built such an instrument.

On July 27, 1630, Italian mathematician, physicist and astronomer Giovanni Battista Baliania (1582-1666) wrote to Italian polymath Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564-January 8, 1642) describing a failed experiment in which he made a siphon led over a hill ~21 meters high. Galileo replied explaining that the power of the vacuum held the water up but at a certain height the amount of water was simply too much and the vacuum could not hold anymore, like a cord that can only support so much weight. This was a restatement of “horror vacui” or “nature abhors a vacuum, a theory which dates back to ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle (384-322 BC.) Galielo restated this theory as “resistenza del vacuo.”

These theories were published in Galileo’s “Discoursi” and they reached Rome in 1638.

Raffade Magiotti and Berti were excited by these ideas and sought another way to produce a vacuum besides a siphon.

Magiotti devised the experiment and Berti carried it out sometime between 1639 and 1641.

A simple model of this experiment consisted of filling a long tube with water plugged on both ends, then stood up in a water-filled basin. The bottom plug was removed and the water inside the tube flowed into the basin. However, only a portion of the water flowed out of the tube and the height of the water inside the tube stayed at an exact level, which happened to be 10.3 meters or 34 feet, the same height that Galileo and Baliani observed to be limited by the siphon.

The most important detail of this experiment was that lowering the water in the tube left a space above it in the tube with no immediate contact with air. This suggested the possibility of a vacuum existing in the space above the water.

Torricelli, a pupil, and friend of Galileo interpreted the results of this in a novel way. He proposed that it was the atmosphere and not the attracting force of the vacuum that held the water in the tube.

Followers of Aristotle and Galileo thought air to be weightless.

Torricelli questioned and challenged this belief and suggested that air indeed has weight and it was the weight of the air which pushed up and held the column of water.

Torricelli believed that the level of which the water stayed at in the tube (10.3 meters of 34 feet) was reflective of the air’s weight pushing on the water in the basin, thus limiting how much water can fall from the tube into the basin.

Torricelli viewed the barometer as a balance or measuring instrument instead of a device to merely build a vacuum.

Because pf Torricelli being the first to observe this, he is credited as being the inventor of the barometer.

Torricelli’s gossipy Italian neighbors spread rumors that he was engaging in sorcery and witchcraft. Torricelli thus decided to keep his experiments a secret to avoid being arrested by the Roman Catholic Church.

In order to be more covert, he needed a liquid denser than water, to which Galileo suggested he use Mercury. As a result, he only needed a tube that was 80 centimeters long as opposed to 10.5 meters.

*SIDE NOTE*: While I was initially taking these notes on that evening in early October 2018, I decided to take a few sips of Wild Cherry Pepsi in an attempt to temper the sting of depression which I frequently suffer. Soft drinks, while extremely addictive do indeed help me write better and they do help fight depression, at least for me. Wild Cherry Pepsi is my favorite soft drink.

Decreasing atmospheric pressure was initially postulated by French physicist Lucien Vidi (1805-April, 1866.) He later invented the barograph, a device which records the pressure readings of an aneroid barometer.

German writer and polymath Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe (August 28, 1749-March, 22 1832) invented a water driven barometer based on Torricelli’s principles. It is known as the weather ball barometer and is comprised of a glass container with a sealed body half-filled with water. The narrow spout is open to the atmosphere. When the pressure is lower than it was at the time the body was sealed, the level of water in the spout will rise above the water level in the body. When the pressure is higher, the water level in the spout will drop below the water level in the body. This device is known as a “weather glass” or a “Goethe Barometer.

Mercury Barometer:
A vertical glass tube closed at the top sitting in an open Mercury filled basin at the bottom. The Mercury’s weight creates a vacuum at the top known as a “Torricelli Vacuum.” The Mercury in the tube fluctuates until the weight of the Mercury column balances the force of the air pressure bearing down on the reservoir. Higher temperature levels around the instrument will reduce the density of the Mercury, thus the scale must be calibrated in such a way to compensate for this effect. The tube must be as long as the amount of Mercury in addition to the headspace as well as the maximum length of the column.

Torricelli observed slight changes each day in the height of Mercury in the tube and concluded that this was due to changing pressure in the atmosphere.

On December 5, 1660, German scientist, inventor and politician Otto von Guerricke (November 20, 1602-May 11, 1686) observed that the air pressure was unusually low and predicted a storm which struck the next day.

The Mercury barometer’s design made the expression of atmospheric pressure in inches of Mercury popular. The range is typically between 26.5 and 31.5 inches (670-800 millimeters) of Mercury.

One atmosphere is equivalent to 29.92 inches or 760 millimeters of Mercury.

On June 5, 2007, the governments of the European Union restricted the sale of Mercury, effectively ending the manufacture of new Mercury barometers in Europe.

An aneroid barometer uses a flexible metal box instead of any liquid to measure air pressure. It was invented in 1844 by Lucien Vidi. The box is known as an aneroid cell or capsule made from an alloy of Beryllium and Copper.

The evacuated capsules are many times several stacked together to add movement and are protected from collapsing by a strong spring. Any change in the surrounding air pressure causes the capsule to expand or contract.

This movement drives mechanical levers in such a way that their changes are amplified and displayed on the dial face of the instrument. Many models also feature a manually set needle to mark the current observation and compare with previous and future observations so a change can be seen.

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) barometers are extremely small ranging size between 1 and 100 micrometers. They are manufactured using photolithography or photochemical machining. These can be found in miniature weather stations, electronic barometers, and altimeters.

Certain smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S3 through S6, the Motorola Xoom, Apple iPhone 6 as well as higher end Casio and Timex watches have built-in barometers using MEMS technology.

Formulas:
Pressure in atmospheres Patm=p*g*h
Where p=density of Mercury=13,595 kg/meter cubed (sorry I don’t know how to do sub and superscript on here) g=graviation accelaration=9.807 meters per second squared, h=height.
1 torr=133.3 Pascals or 0.03937 inches of Mercury.

My personal commentary:
Most weather predictions for civilians are obtained through the mass media and government run forecasting services. Should our enemies hit us with an EMP all of this will come to a grinding halt.

Personal maybe even homemade barometers may make a comeback should this happen.

After all, we would still want to know when will storms be headed in our area so we can spend time cuddling with bae.

A barometer could possibly give some advanced notice of incoming foul weather.

However, all modern conveniences will be gone so will we actually have the time to cuddle with bae?

The weather might be the least of our worries as I’ve stated before and cuddling with bae might be highly frowned upon because cuddling sometimes leads to intercourse and intercourse ultimately means more hungry mouths to feed…

Shopping at Target for Gentleman’s EDC Gear

Target can be an excellent place for purchasing a gentleman’s EDC items.

Well, this statement was even more true years ago, but still is somewhat true even today.

I know, most people associate Target shoppers with upscale suburban women, but there are quite a few items in Target that are perfect for a gentleman.

However, as I previously mentioned, this was even more true years ago than today.

Many of my current and former EDC items were purchased at Target.

The first time I shopped at a Target was in August of 2002. I was fifteen and almost three-quarters years old and one had recently been built in my metropolitan area.

My parents brought me along with my brother and sister to check the store out.

I was interested in what electronics were sold there and was a little impressed that they sold the Motorola FRS and GMRS radios, but they were all out of my price range.

Later that day we went to Wal Mart and I purchased a BellSouth 2231 FRS/GMRS transceiver for about $10. I had EDCed this radio, mostly because, I didn’t yet have a working cell phone to keep in touch with family and I also liked to communicate with the maintenance staff at my high school on there. In these days, I didn’t carry a knife or a flashlight, just a two-way radio, believe it or not.

Fast forward to Black Friday, November 29, 2002, my mom, my sister and I went to a few stores just to look around. The only other time I had seen my mom go shopping on Black Friday was in 1992 at Southland Mall. As much as my mom likes shopping, she hates to shop on Black Friday. I was looking around in the sporting goods section at Target and for the first time, I had seen a real Swiss Army Knife in real life. I saw a whole bunch of them, in fact. In those days, Target had a much wider selection of Swiss Army Knives than they currently do. And those sold at Target came bundled with equally useful accessories. More on that in a little bit. Prior to that, I had knock-offs of Swiss Army Knives, but they were all flimsy and dull. I didn’t purchase any that day, because I didn’t have enough money on me and my parents being overprotective would have not been happy if I bought a knife.

I also saw the Swiss backpacks and luggage sold there, but all of those were way out of my price range. I had a very rugged duffel bag which I would take with me whenever I could, so I wasn’t really in need of luggage at the time. This bag’s zipper busted on me sometime in 2007, though, so that is when I began trying different bags to carry my EDC items in.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2005, I had secured a job assisting the maintenance crew at my high school and the way I became friends with them was by talking to them over their radios!

I was eighteen and a half years old and had a good bit of disposable income with no bills, notes or rent to pay. Also since I was eighteen I could own a knife whether or not my parents wanted me to.

After work, many times I would shop at Target in the sporting goods sections. One day, in July of 2005, I purchased my first Swiss Army Knife, a Victorinox Sportsman. At some point, I had upgraded and gave it my best friend and I hope he still has it now.

Also in 2005, my interest in flashlights was coming back. Target had a wide selection of flashlights in their household section and many of them couldn’t be found anywhere else. There were many rugged, Aluminum pocket-sized flashlights sold there that weren’t sold elsewhere. There was Coast brand LED flashlights. There were Mini Maglites in all sorts of exotic colors as well as the standard colors. There were Inova (as in Emissive Energy Corporation, prior to the Nite Ize takeover) flashlights both in plastic and Aluminum that were the brightest LED flashlights at the time. There were also some unique brands such as Rock River or River Rock. Target does not have such a wide selection these days and I think it’s a shame. All of these would have been perfect EDC flashlights for a gentleman’s pocket

On the afternoon of January 27, 2006, I was shopping at my local Target and looking at Swiss Army Knives, which came bundled with very neat and equally useful accessories. The Super Tinker model came with a compact pair of Simmonds Binoculars. The Recruit ii came bundled with a Mini Maglite (which this is where I was initially inspired to pair a Swiss Army Knife with a Mini Maglite, as I believe all gentlemen should EDC these items together.) The Climber came bundled with some high-quality German-made Victorinox Scissors. That is what I had decided to purchase on that afternoon. The package sold for ~$30, but I know the knife alone was worth at least that and the scissors had to be worth another $35-$40, but they were free! My mom sometimes sews in her free time, so I knew these scissors would be perfect for her. I was 100% right too-she still uses them almost thirteen years later at the time I am writing this. In fact, she recently used them to fix the hem on my pants. I would misplace that knife a few days later, but then my mom found it again in December 2010. Since that time, I have kept it in a secure place because of its sentimental value.

In April of 2006, I had some cash given to me as Easter presents from family members, so I was in Target after school and saw an Inova Radiant 2 AA LED flashlight. At the time, Inova manufactured the most advanced LED flashlights or at least in my humble opinion. Also, they were American made, not like today. I still have this flashlight but unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore. However, this flashlight did come in handy multiple times for the rest of high school and the beginning of trade school. I would sometimes EDC it if I knew I was going to a very dark area or needed a light with a longer run time.

In December of 2006, I purchased from Target a Victorinox Super Tinker with Simmonds Compact Binoculars. I still have both.

Sometime in 2006, Target cleared out all of these Swiss Army Knives with neat and useful accessories and this was a big mistake in my opinion.

In January of 2007, I purchased my first Blue Mini Maglite from Target, as my Black one was getting very beat up. I had it until I misplaced it at some point.

In February of 2009, I was shopping at a Super Target and purchased an Energizer 3 Watt Tactical LED flashlight. I had EDCed both on my job and in leisure time until I traded it to my best friend sometime in early 2010. I hope he still has it.

In July of 2009, I purchased my first Wenger SwissGear backpack until I upgraded with another in March of 2010 and again in September of 2011. All three were purchased at Target.

In March of 2015, I purchased another Energizer 185 Lumen Tactical LED flashlight at a Super Target on Clearance.

Around this time, Target began to stop selling some of the Tactical flashlights they once sold, another big mistake in my opinion.

A year later, in March of 2016, Target quit selling the Mini Maglites, which I was able to get a Silver one on Clearance, for about $4, which I keep in my glove box.

Also, in March of 2016, I ordered a Casio G-Shock Wristwatch, which I wore until June of 2018, but still have.

In April of 2016, I managed to purchase the Victorinox Recruit ii and Mini Maglite bundled together in mint condition on eBay, but this was previously sold at Target a decade before.

In the past two years, most of the flashlights sold at Target were only appropriate for a domestic setting, though there are a few exceptions. Also, their selection of Swiss Army Knives has very much dwindled.

However, the said retailer still carries some decent items that are geared towards gentleman.

For example, in February of 2017, I purchased a Coleman Illumilast 2AAA LED flashlight at a Super Target, which I EDC on and off and I even wrote a blog entry partially about. In November of 2017, I bought another Wenger SwissGear backpack, which I still use AND In December of 2017, I bought a Wenger SwissGear bifold wallet, which I also still use.

There are a few EDC items in the sporting goods section, such as an OutDoor Products tactical LED flashlight with a strike bezel, I purchased one in October of 2018 and currently EDC it, though the pocket clip broke off. Also, a couple of Gerber products are sold in the sporting goods section, such as a Gerber Dime Multitool.

So, Target COULD be a place for a gentleman to buy his EDC gear still but imagine how much better it could be if the retailer would start carrying more items designed for EDC.

I think the company has reasons why they don’t carry some of these items anymore, but my post will become political if I begin to elaborate why.

But how about making Target a place not only for ladies to shop but also for their husbands and boyfriends to come shopping with them and not being bored to tears?

Those are my thoughts and experiences.

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

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