Addressing the Offensive Language used on VHF Marine Communications

There are two types of traffic that I listen to on my scanners more than anything else and they are:

Railroad

AND

Marine…

I get it, the majority of scanner listeners use their equipment to listen in on law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical traffic.

That’s also what the general public associates with scanners and those who use them.

Of the two, I listen to marine traffic much more often due to my geographic location.

Usually, I can only hear the dispatch towers of railroads on most days and nights unless the other associated signals are being propagated further.

However, I am only a few miles from several navigable waterways and can hear a good bit of marine traffic occurring on there.

Listening to marine traffic helps me know what passes through my area on boats and barges, and also gives me a heads up of when such watercraft are approaching in the case of me wanting to photograph or record their passage. When I am alone in my residence, these voices on my scanner keep me company. So listening to marine traffic is good clean fun for me and keeps me out of trouble. To a degree, it even helps me maintain my sanity.

I do have only one complaint about listening to marine traffic and it is:

I wish the personnel of these boat and barge crews would be mindful of the language they use over the radio.

Many times, it confirms the very intensity of the phrase “cuss like a sailor.”

Technically, it is illegal to use such vulgarity over the radio, but seldom enforced and actually, I’ve never seen this law enforced first hand.

I don’t see such filthy language used in railroad communications, or at least not first hand. That’s likely because the majority of railroad traffic is recorded.

The only other times I heard vulgar language used over the radio was in my teen years when a Houma City Policeman who was in a foot pursuit of a suspect and of course I’ve heard it all the time on CB and FRS.

The current racial tension going on in America right now is what prompted me to write this piece, though it has been on my mind for nearly four years.

And I will explain why too:

One day, in the Summer of 2016, my then-wife, now ex-wife, was working on an arts and crafts project at the Bayou Blue, Louisiana Library. I would usually sit on the computers there and either write or do my research. On that day, I had completed whatever writing or research projects I had wanted to accomplish, so I went for a walk at the track which is situated behind the library. I walked beyond the track and onto the levee of The Hollywood Canal. That location is in proximity to The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, so I had my portable scanner, a Uniden BC72XLT, and was scanning several VHF Marine channels with it. Standing on the levee about one hundred feet from me was a black lady, who was fishing in The Hollywood Canal. She was focused on catching fish, maybe for her Sunday dinner, and didn’t even notice me. About that time either a captain or a deckhand came over the radio and was repeatedly saying the n-word. My scanner picked it up loud and clear and I had it at full volume. Hurriedly, though, I shut it off. I don’t know whether or not that black lady heard my scanner or not. If she did, she didn’t make any trouble with me about it. My biggest fear was that she would see that the radio I was carrying was indeed a scanner and then assume that I was listening to law enforcement. I was ready to explain to her that this particular scanner I am using is not capable of picking up any law enforcement traffic in this area, save a few private security firms. Afterward, I went walk on the levee of The Hollywood Canal in the opposite direction of that lady. I don’t remember if I turned my scanner back on or not. In the following days, I remember telling everyone I know who works in marine logistics to watch their language that they use over the radio because they never know who is listening or in earshot. Imagine if that black lady would have raised ten kinds of hell and said how she had heard what she assumed was the cops using the n-word over their radios. Thank God, she likely didn’t even hear my scanner, but if I was any nearer she would have indeed heard it. God only knows what would have happened then because racial tension was pretty high in 2016. Of course, racial tension is once again at its boiling point here in 2020.

I can think of numerous other occasions where maritime workers use other filthy or offensive words over the radio.

One of my hobbies, as I’ve said before is to watch marine traffic as it passes by on waterways. My scanners greatly enhance that hobby.

But when I am in a public area, such as the Houma City Docks, I have to be constantly on alert if certain people are nearby because of the language that some of these maritime workers use. I wish these workers would watch their mouths when talking over the radio for that very reason.

I strive to be a gentleman and one of the things about being a gentleman is to not use foul language in the presence of women.

I try my best not to use it at all, but I slip up either when I am by myself or around worldly men. Another time I fail to preserve my prim and proper speech is when I have work or research that needs to be done and I have to fight with a slow Internet connection.

So, technically, it is none of my business what is being said on those radios, because I do not work in the maritime transportation industry at all.

However, it is a federal crime to use vulgar language over any radio channel, and also in many jurisdictions, it is considered a crime to use vulgar language in the presence of women or children. And calling a person a slur word denoting or connoting their racial or ethnic heritage is sometimes an arrestable offense as well. There are plenty of women children and people from very diverse backgrounds that frequent the city docks either for fishing, exercise or to play on the nearby playground equipment. It SHOULD be pleasant, but if any inappropriate language is heard, it can get very unpleasant and very fast.

I get it, by this point I probably seem like a prude with too much time on his hands.

Call me that if you wish, I don’t care. I’ve been called much worse.

I just wish those in the maritime industry would keep the filth off the radio because they never know who is within listening range.

I stand by my belief that a gentleman ought not to use any crude language in the presence of a woman.

It’s also wrong to use vulgar language in the presence of a child, even though most children will likely giggle a whole lot when exposed to such language.

Before 2018, I used all sorts of bad language. But then the Good Lord got a hold of me and told me how I needed to clean up that area of my life.

I’ll probably just be told to shut my scanner off if I don’t want to expose myself or others to such filth and that is likely what I will do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if I could have the scanner radio on and not have to worry about offending or upsetting those around me?

Let me make it very clear right now that I don’t want to get anyone in trouble because I know that those people who work in marine logistics are very hard-working individuals who have to be away from their loved ones for days, sometimes weeks on end, just to pay their bills and support their families. I greatly appreciate what they do. I think what they do is also very cool. I would love to do it myself if it weren’t for several medical conditions of which I am afflicted. If my words are properly heeded, trouble will be prevented, not caused.

I am not trying to start any sort of fight, but rather just give a friendly but firm reminder that offensive language ought not to occupy the airwaves.

Picture if you will you are speaking in front of a group of school children Kindergarten through High School from every different background there is, but not only that how about some church ladies as well and not just them your mother and your grandmothers and your pastor’s wife and if that’s not enough, imagine you will be meeting the family of your spouse or significant other for the first time. Think of how you ought to speak for that very situation with all those aforementioned people and then you would realize that is how you ought to speak on the airwaves.

How you talk to your coworkers amongst yourselves is none of my business and I frankly don’t care.

But those radios you talk on have a transmission range much further than you think and what you say on them is heard by many more than just the other party, so please, be very mindful of what you say on there.

Again, my motives behind this are very clean. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for any reason and it’s not my job to report any of you, nor do I have any desire to. However, I would like to be able to have my scanner turned on in a public place and not have to worry about what will be heard by those in earshot.

Thank you all for what you do and I hope this post will be peacefully considered.

Back to “Articles I Have Written”

An Excerpt from “An Online Romance”

On a muggy late October night in South Louisiana, Ezra Lee Toussaint was sitting on his sofa scrolling past profiles of ladies on a dating site. He lived outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, and couldn’t seem to find any ladies that interested him nearby. So he increased the distance parameter on the app and continued searching.

Ezra was a disabled thirty-seven-year-old. He stayed in a one-bedroom apartment and of course lived off of a government pension from Social Security Disability. The reasons for his disability were that he was schizophrenic and later became diabetic, due to side effects from his medication.

Around the age of thirty-four he had lost a lot of weight, but still needed to take his schizophrenic medication as well as monitor his blood sugar and take insulin shots for the rest of his life.

Because of the cost of his medications and supplies as well as their side effects in addition to the debilitating mental effects of Schizophrenia, he decided it would be much more practical to draw disability and keep his medical benefits instead of being at the mercy of employer-sponsored health insurance.

He spent his waking hours working on his 1985 Jeep Comanche pickup truck, riding around at night, listening to his scanners, watching videos, or reading online.

He had all the time to do whatever he chose, whenever he chose, but his life was incomplete. He was missing the love of a good woman.

There was a good woman in his life about five years prior, but she called it quits on him out of the blue.

He spent a good while getting over that relationship, but then he decided to get on several dating sites and put himself on the market.

On this night he wasn’t having much success with the app.

It seemed that the only women who wanted him were well below his standards and the ones that met his standards all eventually ghosted him.

Ezra was getting ready to give up on these apps and find an alternative way to meet women when he saw her profile.

Her name was Sadie, she was 31 years old and from rural Marshall County, Alabama.

He studied her profile extensively and realized that she fit his standards exactly.

She was an SSBBW with a very pretty face, long flowing reddish-blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, and the most beautiful curves.

On her profile she stated how she is indeed a big lady and if any potential mate of hers cannot deal with that, then just not waste their time and don’t even contact her. She stated how she wanted a man that would treat her like a queen, hold her by her waist, kiss her just because, and love her for her. She also stated how she is an excellent cook and despite her size, she’s the one to take and meet your family. Her profile then stated how she never smokes, or uses drugs and only drinks alcohol on special occasions. As her interests, she posted that they include hanging out with her family, riding around at night, swimming, playing games on her phone or tablet, and cuddling but only with the right man. She finally said how she is on disability because of her weight, but that means she can take care of herself financially and doesn’t want any man’s money, but rather his time, loyalty, affection, and love. Her height was listed as five feet.

Even though he wasn’t actually in her presence, Ezra felt immensely giddy as his heart skipped several beats.

For a few minutes he simply stared with great admiration at her pictures.

During those minutes, Ezra was going through in his head how he would write the perfect message for her, “Hey. I don’t know how to begin this, but let me first say that I am very picky about whom I would date. However, you seem to exceed my standards by far, and not only that I think you are beautiful and sweet. I want to get to know you more and if you are the right one for me, I would indeed treat you like a queen, hold you by that sexy waist of yours, shower your beautiful face with kisses just because and yes I could love you for you and let me say that you are indeed very lovable. I’m already crazy about you and if you would only know how giddy I feel just by looking at your profile, maybe you would somehow like me too. I know I am in Louisiana and you’re in Alabama, but gosh durn it, it wouldn’t matter to me how close or far you were, for you I would find a way to make it work. There aren’t any worthwhile women where I am, but you, well…you are more than worthwhile, you seem so perfect for me! I look forward to corresponding with you, so please give me a chance!”

Ezra sighed as he tapped the send button.

He then set his phone down and walked into the kitchen and took his medication.

Afterwards, he tested his blood sugar and saw that it was low, so he drank a cold can of Wild Cherry Pepsi.

He then turned on his scanner and listened as two towboat captains were coordinating their movements on the Intracoastal Waterway. He listened intently until he heard his phone go off.

A chat head appeared with Sadie’s picture.

Ezra took a deep breath then began to read the message.

“Hey. I’m really touched by what you told me. I also read your profile and you seem like a decent guy and yes I would be open to you getting to know me. I want to get to know you as well. I also think you’re really cute! It’s quite okay that you’re all the way in Louisiana because there are no worthwhile young men around here who are willing to pay attention to me, but I’m glad you are. You made me blush a whole lot when you told me that my waist is sexy. And yes, I am really happy that you are that you’re willing to make this work. Maybe you are the young man of whom I have been praying about. I hope you are serious about loving me for me because I am bigger than I appear in my pictures. I do weigh a little over four hundred pounds. When most guys find out exactly how big I am they ghost me. You seem really sweet, so I hope you are somehow different. I hope you would still want me now that you know my true weight and I promise you that I have an even bigger heart. Please write me back and let me know how you feel.”

Ezra’s heart swelled with joy that the young lady whom he was already catching feelings for was mutually interested in him. He knew he had to make it clear to Sadie exactly how much he was attracted to her. So, carefully, he typed back, “I’m so sorry all those other guys ghosted you but it’s their loss not yours. I hope it is also my gain and I apologize if that sounded wrong. There is something I want you to know and I pray you don’t think I am a pervert, but here goes: I am exclusively attracted to bigger women. There is just something about them that drives me wild but in a very good way. And if she has a pretty face like yours, I’m even more attracted. A skinny woman doesn’t have that effect on me. And a skinny woman wouldn’t ever make me happy but someone your size would make me the happiest man there is! I meant what I said when I told you how I think you’re beautiful and sweet. I won’t ever ghost you, but I will honor you and cherish you if you indeed let me! Please don’t ever ghost me either though. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and you have such a sweet and pure heart, that I want you even more now. I just hope this continues.”

A minute passed, then Ezra’s phone alerted him to another incoming message from Sadie. It read, “Oh, I don’t think you’re a pervert because you’re attracted to bigger women. Actually, I’m glad you are because you’re really cute and sweet and if you didn’t like bigger women you probably wouldn’t be talking to me right now, so it’s quite all right. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know you’re falling for me and I will admit that I am falling for you as well, but I have to make sure you are right for me. I am indeed attracted to you physically and I think you are really sweet as well, but I need to know most of all that you are a Christian and that you are a humble gentleman. I’m almost sure that you are are the latter, but I need to make sure that you are also the former. If you indeed are, then you will have the keys to my heart. But I must know. Let me close by saying that I hope you are because I really do like you and I could see you making me happy. Please let me know.”

“Why don’t I call you and explain it to you? It would be easier to say it verbally than to write it all down.”

“Sure. I bet you have a cute voice.”

They then exchanged phone numbers.

Ezra then called Sadie.

“Hey you!” She answered.

“Hi,” Ezra said.

“Well tell me all you need to say.”

“Okay, here goes: I am indeed a Christian and have been since my teen years. There is something else you must know about me and that is I get disability. First I got it for being schizophrenic, which I got saved while I was recovering from my first mental breakdown. A family member presented The Gospel to me and I surrendered to it. Most of my family is Catholic, except for this family member, and I always noticed how he was closer to God than the rest of them, so I hung on to his every word. It was the best choice I ever made when I got saved! The medication I take for schizophrenia caused me to eventually become diabetic. I was heavy from my twenties until my early thirties then at age thirty-four, I lost the weight, mostly from strict dieting because of my diabetes. I allow the Lord to direct my paths and I acknowledge Him every step of the way. I would also be in a lot of trouble without Him. If you ever meet me, you will see that I carry a SwissGear backpack and a small Igloo cooler everywhere I go. I carry my medication and diabetic supplies, as well as a few cool personal gadgets in my backpack, and I have a few cans of soft drink as well as my insulin in the cooler.”

“I can tell that for sure that you are a Christian and I am immensely happy about that fact! I’m so sorry about your disabilities, but maybe they make you humble, or at least I think they do. Could you tell me about the other stuff you carry in your backpack? I hope it is all legal stuff.”

Ezra replied, “Well, some of the stuff I carry may not be legal in New York or California, but it is perfectly legal in the rural South. I have my tablet with its charger, a scanner radio also with its charger, a Leatherman multi-tool, a Swiss Army Knife, three different tactical flashlights one of them has a USB-C charger the other two run on disposable batteries, my Bible, two flash drives, a power bank, and a scientific calculator.”

“That’s neat. But why do you have three flashlights?”

“Well one is for general purpose lighting. The other has a regular white light but also a red light for use at night such as fishing or looking for worms or just looking around in a car while riding and not disturb the driver. The third one is for self-defense, it is very bright and has a strobe feature that can disorient an attacker then I can hit him in the head with the flashlight while he is disoriented. There’s a lot of crime in Louisiana and my psychiatrist won’t clear me for a concealed weapon permit, so I had to improvise. As you can see I like to be prepared.”

“My Daddy carried a Leatherman on him everywhere he went, but he willed it to me when he passed away.”

“What did he die of?”

“He was big like me and couldn’t get his blood pressure under control, so four, almost five years ago, the Sunday just after Black Friday, he was out hunting with the new rifle he had just purchased and had a stroke out in the woods. We have a scanner too and heard EMT’s talking about him on it. He died hours later at the hospital.”

“I’m so sorry and he seems like he would have been a good man.”

“Oh he was. Maybe he would have liked you.”

“What was he hunting for?”

“Wild hogs. He wanted to roast one for Christmas Dinner but had to work up until Christmas, so this was his only time off, until Christmas Eve.”

“Oh, that sounds delicious. What was his job?”

“He worked at a gun store and he loved to hunt in his free time.”

“If scanners upset you, I won’t play mine in front of you. I know it must be traumatic to hear one go off.”

“Well, that’s very sweet and thoughtful of you, but it doesn’t bother me.”

“What do you listen to on yours, anyway?”

“Mostly boat traffic. If that isn’t too active, I listen to the fire departments.”

“And why do you carry that Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife?”

“Just so I can help myself or others should the need arrive. It seems I am always using them to fix something at my church. I see them more as tools than weapons, and I do enjoy helping others.”

“Now you sound like my Daddy, but I like it.”

“I know you know that I am a Christian. I hope you think I am also a humble gentleman.”

“Yes. I do, but I just had to make sure you were first.”

“Yay.”

“You seem happy.”

“Well, the young lady of my dreams thinks I am a gentleman I would say that makes me happy!”

“So, since I am the young lady of your dreams, why don’t you make me yours?”

“How do you want me to do that?”

“Ask me, silly.”

“Okay, I need to know your full name first, so I can do this right.”

“It is Sadie Claire MacBride. What’s yours?”

“Ezra Lee Toussaint.”

“That’s a neat name.”

“Thanks.”

“Okay, are you going to ask me?”

“Yes: Sadie Claire MacBride, will you be my girlfriend? I don’t have much to offer you, but I do promise to give you my time, my loyalty, and my affections!”

“Of course I will, and you’ve just made me a very happy lady, Ezra Lee Toussaint! I hope and pray that this is just the beginning!”

“It is just the beginning and I hope and pray that you are the one because I cannot picture anyone better!”

“I hope you are the one as well and I cannot wait to meet you in person!”

“How about we try to Thanksgiving week. I’ll save some money from when I paid on November 3rd.”

“Sure. But I’m too fat to drive myself so you’re going to have to come to me.”

“That’s fine. And don’t be so hard on yourself because I think you’re the most beautiful lady ever! Anyway, I have a 1985 Jeep Comanche, but it runs just as well as any truck made today. And I will gladly come to see you.”

“You’re so sweet and I think you’re the cutest man I’ve ever seen!”

“Thank you!”

“Hey, what time is it?”

Ezra looked at his G-Shock, then answered, “10:44.”

“I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I need to get some sleep. I too have high blood pressure because of my weight. It’s under control, thanks to the medications, but I need routine monitoring.”

“You do get disability as well, or at least your profile says so.”

“Yes, I get my Daddy’s survivor’s benefits. I use them to pay me and my Momma’s bills and the utilities. The trailer and the land are paid for, thank God!”

“Yes. Thank God indeed.” Ezra paused then continued, “There is something I want to tell you tonight, and every night before we go to sleep.”

“What is it?”

“Good Night Tidings.”

“Okay.”

“Here goes: I wish I was in your presence to lovingly give you good night hugs and a kisses goodnight, then gently tuck you into your bed. But I also pray that The Good Lord watches over both of us tonight and every night as we sleep. Finally I pray that we are together forever, because I only want you and no one else. Now, you get you some rest and I will take my medication.”

“That was very sweet and just know that I desire and pray for those very things as well!” Sadie paused then continued, “I will text you good morning and I will call you when I am out of my appointment. If you want we can spend some time then.”

“Okay. I will be waiting. I’ll probably be doing laundry tomorrow, but I’ll make time for you.”

“I know you will.”

“Okay, good night.”

“Good night.”

Ezra took his medicine then went to bed happier than ever.

Likewise Sadie went to bed filled with more joy than ever.

They dreamed about each other all night long…

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Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

 

 

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 Programmable Scanner Radio

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.

I must give credit where credit is due and I cropped it out of the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog.

Since the age of fifteen going on sixteen (September 2002) I had been listening to scanners.

I didn’t know such a device existed until the Summer of 2001 when I first read about them on

https://howstuffworks.com

Specifically:

https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/radio-scanner.htm

I had wanted one ever since, but at the time I was a no income fourteen-year-old with fiscally conservative and technology ignorant parents.

There was no way I could own one, not even an entry-level model.

Without getting too political, I believe that the prices of firearms and scanners are deliberately jacked up in order to discourage ownership of them.

Governments likely demand this but it also represents pure profit for the manufacturers of these ever so controversial instruments.

I will stand by this belief until I am unequivocally proven otherwise.

And by the way, if I can be proven totally incorrect; I will be more than happy to recant this statement.

…Anyway, enough of that…

Scanners are expensive there is no doubt about that.

And since I am living on a disability pension, I cannot afford the latest and greatest scanner really not even an entry-level scanner.

Then why do I own so many of them?

Well, it’s simple, I either buy older models at a very significant discount or people who no longer use them due to their obsolescence or perceived obsolescence give them to me and I always find a use for them.

In the late Summer of 2019, a friend of mine, gave me a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 and is what this piece will be a review of.

It is not the oldest scanner that I own.

However, it is indeed the oldest scanner that I use.

This particular unit came off the assembly line in July of 1991 and while it may not pick up what most scanner owners want to hear (police traffic) it still picks up almost everything I want to hear. I believe it is an aftermarket rebadged Uniden made for Radio Shack, but I’m not totally sure.

It may be totally obsolete for the overwhelming majority of scanner users.

While I don’t have a very detailed list of the technical specs, I know most of them right off the bat and will give them:

Frequency Range:
137-174 MHz FM
406-512 MHz FM

So, it does not Aircraft or 700/800/900 MHz and that’s understandable. But it doesn’t get VHF Low Band either and that seems like a mistake on the designers’ parts, especially since there were a lot more VHF Low Band users in the early 1990s then there are now. But I get it, this was a budget-friendly entry-level model that had a price tag of $99.95 in the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog. By the way that is $184.45 in 2019 Dollars! The only users on VHF Low Band in my immediate area anyway are some cheaper baby monitors and my local electric utility cooperative. I have other scanners to listen to those transmissions, anyway.

There are only eight memory channels and it does not have a full frequency display. However, it can recall the frequency assigned to any channel but will do it one digit at a time. But since there are only eight available channel memories, it shouldn’t be too hard to remember what frequency was programmed on each channel.

However, it has a dedicated Weather Band Search at the push of a button and it does indeed get all seven Weather frequencies. That is a pretty big deal since not all stand-alone weather radios made in 1991-1992 actually received all seven weather frequencies!

You, the reader, may think that this scanner is a piece of junk by today’s standards, but I am about to tell you why that is not the case.

It may indeed seem very limited both in 2020 as well as 1992 but the receiver sensitivity is where this model beats all of my other scanners. I have a ~12 Inch aftermarket telescoping antenna connected to the BNC terminal on the back, but it pulls in signals loud and clear that all of my newer scanners don’t even stop on. And some of my newer scanners have better antennas as well!

I cannot seem to get a listing of this receiver’s sensitivity as rated in microvolts, but it must be very sensitive.

And that makes this perfect for what I listen to most namely, railroad and marine traffic.

I keep this scanner on my kitchen counter and run it most of my waking hours.

It is running as I speak, but I am in my bedroom at the moment.

There are several navigable waterways within a few miles of my residence and this wonderful scanner pulls in all nearby transmissions on VHF Marine Inland Waterway Channel (156.650 MHz.) It also pulls in the Coast Guard transmissions on the International VHF Marine Distress Channel (156.800 MHz), some fifty miles away in New Orleans. There is a railroad line about ten miles away and it pulls in the dispatcher clear as day and sometimes the engineer’s side as well. I have a local amateur radio repeater that I listen to programmed in there and it works fine as usual. Finally, I have the Fire Dispatch Channel for all of Terrebonne Parish, the Fire Dispatch Channel for Lafourche Parish Fire District 1 (where a good bit of my family resides) and I have two Fire Tactical channels, one for my local fire department and the other for a neighboring fire department. Almost everything this radio picks up, comes in clear as day. And the other times, the signal is still intelligible. One advantage I have is that I live on the second floor. I specifically asked for a second-floor unit so I could get better television and scanner reception!

So, yes, to most this scanner would be a dust collector, given to a thrift store or perish the thought recycled for parts.

However, I have given it a new purpose and I use it daily.

Despite its age of almost twenty-nine years at the time of writing this, it still keeps me informed and entertained on a daily basis.

It even has helped me maintain my sanity during this quarantine!

Most people my age that have to stay home are likely watching various streaming services.

I, on the other hand, listen to scanners, which may have a considerable startup cost, but are free to use. Well aside from the electric bill and the cost of batteries.

My biggest question is:
Will any of the scanners made in 2020 still be operating without issue twenty-nine years in the future?

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of The Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59.

And yes, I give this product a rating of 5 out of 5 stars because it performs so well and does everything it is supposed to do!

Hopefully, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Datexx DRC-604 Atomic Clock Receiver

 

For the record, I do not own the featured image.  I give credit to whoever credit is due…

In some (but not all) aspects of my life, I carry myself with fervent precision.

Case in point, I always wear a watch and I strive to keep that watch synchronized with The American Atomic Time.

To do this, I synchronize it with an Atomic Clock receiver at the beginning of every month.

I have been doing this since 2008 when I would synchronize my watch with the time on my GPS device.

I do this usually on the first over every month, but sometimes I am late with it.

I was late this month with all that is going on.

I synchronized my watches and clocks in the wee hours of the morning on May 7, 2020.

When I was thinking about that, I was prompted to write this piece.

My now ex-wife always had an alarm clock of some sort and always heeded that alarm, mostly to wake everyone else up in her family.

She still pretty much got up at a set time every morning when she and I lived together.

She probably still does to this day, though I am not sure.

Because of this, in August of 2010, I wanted to get her an Atomic Clock receiver for her twenty-third birthday.

There was one being sold at my local grocer, Rouse’s, and for only ~$10.

It was a Datexx DRC-604.

Money was so tight in those days though that I couldn’t afford it for her.

Well all of my disability pension and then some went towards rent and I was working part-time, maybe 15 hours a week at $8 an hour which almost all went towards groceries and utilities.

Our financial situation improved in December of 2010 when my disability pension got bumped up and in January of 2011 for our first anniversary, I bought her a different Atomic Clock receiver, from Wal*Mart, a Westclox, though I’m not sure of the exact model number.

I know I frequently talk ill of that marriage but there were some good times, believe it or not.

And I think what was the ultimate ruination of it was brain damage from my then wife’s chronic hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so gosh durn mean, so it’s not entirely her fault either, just a very messed up circumstance.

I tried, for years in fact, but there’s only so much a human being can take.

She did indeed enjoy it, though whenever she got angry at me she would give it back to me, but then take it back when she was no longer angry at me.

I used it as well to synchronize my watch and any other clocks that didn’t automatically synchronize itself.

I left her in January of 2018. And I made sure that she kept that clock.

I also gave back to her almost everything she ever gave me, yes even a Weather Radio, which hopefully she still uses.

I moved into my current residence in May of 2018 but for about one hundred days, I stayed with a friend.

On a stormy day in the Summer of 2018, I was shopping with my Dad at Rouse’s and discovered that the Atomic Clock receiver that I initially wanted to give my then-wife as a birthday present almost eight years prior was now on clearance.

I know Rouse’s is primarily a grocer, but they used to sell some pretty neat housewares, electronics, and even flashlights.

Anyway, instead of ~$10, it was now ~$5.

I had a little bit of cash on me, so I happily purchased it.

As previously stated the Atomic Clock receiver is a Datexx DRC-604 and is what this piece will be a review of.

Between January 2018 and the following Summer, I was unable to synchronize my watches or my other clocks with the Atomic time and that did irritate me tremendously. But somehow I managed.

So, I was super happy to have an accurate clock once again.

It’s not the best of Atomic Clock receivers, but I’d like to think it gets the job done.

There are three major strikes against it:

This clock only works in the Continental United States.

It is difficult to properly set.

AND

It has a difficult time acquiring the signal, even when placed by a window.

Still, it manages to accurately keep time and it synchronizes every morning with the Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I especially like how it is efficient on batteries, which it runs on two AAA Alkalines and will run for at least a year before needing them to be changed.

Other features are:
Time Zone Setting.
Month, Date, and Day of the Week.
Two Separate Alarms that can be independently turned on or off.
Moon Phase.
Indoor Thermometer.
Bold Faced Clock indicating Hour, Minute, Second, and AM or PM.
Green LED Backlight activated by pressing the Snooze Button.

My biggest complaint is that I wish it could update more often and that it didn’t have such a hard time acquiring the signal but maybe it has a hard time because of all the electrical noise associated with modern technology and apartment dwelling.

Other than that, it has a plethora of nice features and it eventually does get the right time.

My main reason for owning this is so I can properly synchronize my watch and other non-automatic clocks to the most accurate time possible.

By the way, I give this product a 4.45 out of 5 stars, because of the issues with settings, frequency of synchronization, and reception issues.

I suppose this, therefore, concludes my review of the Datexx DRC-604.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Radio Shack 12-248 Sports Weather Radio

Just for the record, I don’t own the featured image.  It is the property of Radio Shack.

I have been fascinated and intimidated by the weather since I was a toddler.

Likewise, I have been interested in electronics and gadgets since I was a toddler as well.

The overwhelming majority of my childhood took place in the 1990s, so I do have a fondness for certain electronic devices that were made during that time.

Now, the first time I ever set foot inside a Radio Shack was on December 26, 1994, and all I did was look at a few computers.

I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack again until November of 2001 and I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until some point in 2002.

After that, I was in Radio Shack all the time, until most of them closed down in the mid to late 2010s.

When I was in my 20s, I discovered that there was a website that archived almost every Radio Shack Catalog ever printed.

That website is http://radioshackcatalogs.com/

I have since frequently used it as reference material in my research.

When I was in either my late 20s or early 30s, I was looking at the 1998 Radio Shack catalog on that aforementioned website and noticed a neat portable Weather Radio, The Radio Shack 12-248, of which this piece will be a review.

For the next few years, I had wanted one and frequently checked eBay for it.

However, either the price was too high or it was too beat up to be used.

Then in late April of 2020, there was one that appeared to be in very decent condition and selling only for $15 even.

I couldn’t pass this up.

So, on the evening of April 30, 2020, I made my purchase and it came in the mail on May 7, 2020.

The transit times with the Postal Service are agonizingly slow right now, but I think we can all chalk it up to this wretched Coronavirus.

…Anyway…

While I have only had this radio for a few hours, I am still thoroughly impressed.

Some of the features are:
Rugged, Water Resistant Design-This makes it ideal for outdoor use, especially boating in stormy weather.
Bright Yellow Cabinet-This allows it to be easily located.
Standby Alert Feature-Allows the radio to stay quiet until a Weather Alert is broadcast.
Alert Lock-Allows the end-user to know there was an Alert issued even if he/she wasn’t near the radio when it occurred.
Receives All 7 Channels-Will provide Weather Radio coverage almost anywhere in The United States but also parts of Canada and Mexico.

I read the instructions and learned that while it is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. This means that it would probably be ruined if it went overboard. However, it could probably stand up to light rainfall, which I mean it was designed for keeping track of severe weather while outside.

Speaking of that, the rod antenna is considerably long, so maybe that would be a lightning strike hazard if used outside during an electrical storm.

The price was a bit high, especially for 1998 ($49.99) but a lot of Radio Shack products in the 1990s were overpriced. However, they were built very well!

I’m not sure if the channel selector is a PLL tuner or if it’s crystal-controlled, but it pulls in station KIH23 loud and clear from about forty miles away. Even with the antenna retracted, the signal is still intelligible. Granted I am on the second floor, but most of my other weather radios don’t perform this well. The station even bleeds over into adjacent channels, even from about forty miles away.

I tested the alert feature and it is very oud and will get the end user’s attention.

All in all, it seems to be a good weather radio.

I cannot understand why Radio Shack only sold it for a year.

Maybe it was the high price?

One could go make a week or two worth of groceries in 1998 for that price.

As I stated on social media while talking about this weather radio:
“While I don’t think the Gorton’s Fisherman is a real person, however, if he was, I wouldn’t be surprised if he EDCed one of these [a Radio Shack 12-248] in his raincoat pocket while sailing in US or Canadian waters.”

Gorton’s Fish, especially the Beer Battered variety, has been on my mind a lot lately, and now I can eat it as I please. Both my ex-wife and my ex-girlfriend didn’t like to eat it. Now that I am single I can eat it all I want and not hear anything.

I could picture any fisherman carrying this radio though, and what would be cool is if another company would reboot this design but make it truly waterproof and maybe have a more compact rubber duck antenna tuned to the Weather Band. Another idea that I could change it to have a scan feature that automatically pulls in the strongest weather station, instead of a channel selector knob. Other than that it is a great radio and for its time it was excellent.

Nowadays one can get a portable and waterproof VHF Marine Radio with Weather Band and Standby Alert built it for around what this costed in 1998, maybe even cheaper if inflation is considered.

For those that can get one second hand and want to go fishing either inland or in the coastal waters, this seems to be great, if one can get it in decent condition. There have been quite a few Special Marine Warning issued in my area within days around the time of writing this piece.

I imagine that this radio would be great for those with a budget in mind, especially for other outdoor activities as well such as golfing, farming, or hunting.

I’m glad that God finally blessed me with one.

I give this product a 4.7 out of 5 stars because it isn’t truly waterproof and the antenna looks quite flimsy. Other than that, it’s awesome.

This, therefore, concludes my review of The Radio Shack 12-248 Sport Weather Radio.

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

Thank you for reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

A Review of the Midland Weather Center App

For the record I do not own the featured image on this page, I give all credit to whom credit is due.

As I’ve stated many times before, I am fascinated by the weather. I have been since early childhood.

By the way, my area is under a Tornado Watch as I am writing this.

I didn’t own an Android device until I was twenty-eight years old and I’m thirty-three at the time of writing this. This means I have been using Android for almost five years. I was late in the game, but that’s because I was more interested in rugged flip phones and later quick messaging phones because I didn’t like touch screens. However, once I bought my first touch screen phone, I haven’t gone back.

In May of 2015, I bought my first Android device, an entry-level smartphone which was an LG Optimus Fuel. Ever since all phones and tablets which I use have been Android.

In June of 2015, I bought a pocket-sized weather radio, a Midland HH50B. It came bundled with some literature about the Midland Weather Center app, of which this piece will be a review. Other Midland Weather Radios I have purchased also came bundled with this literature. This is my first review of a software product, so I hope you, the reader, will bear with me.

After I installed the batteries in my new weather radio, I promptly downloaded the app from Google Play.

And I had been using it on almost every subsequent Android device I own ever since.

I never was a premium subscriber to get automatic weather alerts for my geographic location, but I don’t need to be as I almost always have a Weather Radio nearby.

However, when a weather alert comes in on my Weather Radio, the first thing I do is check the app and then share the information on social media. If there is a Warning issued, I text that information to all whom I know located in the warned area.

The app gives a seven-day forecast for any given area in the United States and automatically does so for the device’s current geographic location.

It also gives near real-time images of all locations covered by NOAA’s Weather Surveillance RADAR network. These images are continuously updated every five minutes.

There are also detailed outlooks and discussions given from scientists at The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

When an alert is listed, a textual transcript of all of that alert broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, along with visual graphics and maps of the affected area, is included.

Just about all of this can be easily shared via MMS and/or social media as well as other apps with a few taps of the finger.

Other features include literary as well as audio/visual information about how to program a Midland Weather Radio and a list of Weather Radios made by Midland.

As mentioned before a premium feature is push notifications alerting the user to severe weather in his or her geographic location.

This is a very neat app and in my humble opinion, the best weather-related app out there.

Here’s the kick in the teeth: It is no longer available for download on Google Play. This is a terrible mistake on the part of all parties involved in that decision.

However, this wonderful app can still be manually downloaded and installed on an Android device, if the user knows what he or she is doing.

It was in May of 2018 that I realized this app was no longer available on Google Play. I was pretty ticked off about it and vented on social media. I was confronted about my venting at a Bible study even, because of my choice of words. I didn’t use any filthy language but I can see where it could be misconstrued if I said how it “irks my butt” that I can no longer download Midland Weather Center.

So for a little over a year, I went without Midland Weather Center, but one evening in 2019, I was doing some related research and found out that I could download and install it to my Android device without it being on The Play Store. I was thrilled!

Not only does it still fully work, but it also seems to be fully supported.

Now I keep a copy of it on several of my flash drives.

Still, it would be much more easy and convenient to have this app on Google Play. And not only that, more people would be able to use this wonderful app.

If any Midland or Google executives happen to be reading this piece, please heed my advice.

Midland Weather Center is a great app and I will not be a happy man when or if it is no longer supported.

I have been forwarding weather information to social media since about 2012.

When I started, I simply would transcribe what my Weather Radio picked up and I was using a flip phone.

It was quite difficult, but I somehow managed.

I now heavily rely on this app to forward severe weather information to social media.

This is one thing I do for my friends, family, and neighbors and I do it calmly and precisely.

This app helps me disseminate weather information so well to those who need it whereas, it was a pain in the rear end to do it before I had this app.

I know there are other apps out there, but I like Midland Weather Center the most and I think others also would.

I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Midland Weather Center app, but keep reading, there’s a little more I want to say:

Now, I’ve been saying how much I like Midland Weather Center and I did give it a rating of 5 stars, but let me be totally clear, that an app should not be the primary source of critical weather information. It should merely be a supplement. The primary source of critical weather information must needs be a Public Alert certified Weather Radio because it is fairly simple and very fail-safe. It must needs also be one that is well maintained. And the end-user should have adequate backup batteries installed and change them every Spring Forward and Fall Back, along with smoke detector batteries.

I apologize if I seem to be on my high horse, but this subject has always been of importance to me.

All in all, I am done now. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe, just maybe, a little entertained.

Thank you for reading! My back is starting to hurt, but I’m glad I was able to say all I wanted to say.

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Casio DataBank CA53W-1 Wristwatch

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, it is property of Casio America, Inc.

I have been fascinated by calculators since infancy.

I am also pretty adamant about wearing a wristwatch, especially one that is accurate.

So, you, the reader, are probably not shocked that I own a wristwatch with a built-in calculator.

I first bought a knock off calculator wristwatch in early 2015, but it didn’t last.

Then in, January of 2019, I bought another one, a Casio Databank CA53W-1, of which I still have over a year later.

This piece will be a review of that said watch.

First of all, let’s go back to January 2019.

I was going out for a night time drive. I drove all the way to the Gulf Coast in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.

There is something about cruising those roads in lower Terrebonne Parish that I find good for my soul.

I drove State Highway 56 all the way to its terminus at the Gulf of Mexico in Cocodrie, Louisiana.

Then I turned around and started up Highway 56 again, but turned onto State Highway 57 and drove it all along the lower parts of Bayou Grand Calliou.

Highway 57, especially in the lower parts of Terrebonne Parish is very curvy like a beautiful woman!

I stopped at a convenience store well below Dulac, Louisiana for a bottle of Starbucks Coffee and a Mister Goodbar, which was a frequent snack for me. Well, my peanut allergy has gotten worse, so I no longer eat Mister Goodbar or any other peanut product and I miss them terribly. However, I don’t like breaking out in eczema or any other adverse reactions that will result from me eating peanuts. One other family member of mine has had a peanut allergy since the age of two, but I gradually developed a peanut allergy in my late teens to early twenties but it didn’t get that bad until my early thirties. Peanuts used to be one of my favorite foods and I miss eating them.

…Anyway…

After getting the snack and coffee, I drove Highway 57 all the way to Houma. I wanted to do a little shopping because I had some extra cash on me. First I stopped at a truck plaza but didn’t find anything worthwhile.

Then I went looking around at the Wal Mart on Highway 57 AKA Grand Calliou Road.

I looked around at the sporting goods, then the men’s clothing then finally the jewelry.

I was looking at watches in particular.

There were three watches I previously had in rotation.

My Casio G-Shock DW-5600E which was starting to go on the blink.

My Victorinox Original whose nylon band was tearing.

AND

The Wenger that I only wear on special or formal occasions.

There, I saw a Casio wristwatch with a built-in calculator for ~$20.

I’ve owned several Casios prior to that, and I will say that they are more accurate than the Swiss models I’ve owned and they are built well.

So, without much thought, I purchased it then went home.

As soon as I was home I set it up and synchronized it with the Atomic Clock.

I would end up wearing it for most of the year 2019 and extremely early 2020.

In addition to telling the time quite accurately, it features:
An 8 Digit Calculator with the four arithmetic functions.
A Stop Watch-this came in handy when timing the four-minute intervals to flip my pieces of chicken when frying them.
A Calendar-In case I forget the day of the week or date of the month.
An Alarm Clock-I sleep to heavily to hear it but I suppose I could use it as a reminder to take medication.
An Optional Hourly Chime-Great to know when a new hour is upon me.
A Secondary Time Zone-I set it to UTC because of my amateur radio hobby.

Even though I bought this watch because it has a calculator, I rarely used that feature. This is mainly because the buttons are too small for my fingers. Also, I regularly EDC a calculator anyway. I wore it because it was accurate and to show off my fondness for calculators. It was as if I was making a statement!

Aside from the buttons being a bit small and hard to press, my only other complaint about it is it has no backlight. But maybe that is to make the battery last longer.

It also is not waterproof aside from maybe a little rain, but this isn’t the type of watch one would want to take swimming or diving anyway.

However, for light home or indoor work use, it is perfect!

I wore it until January of 2020 when I bought my second G-Shock, a G100-9CM, which I currently wear.

However, I may still wear this one, especially if I want my inner nerd to come out!

All in all, I give this product a 4.25 out of 5 stars because of the lack of a backlight and difficulty to press the buttons. But the timekeeping is very accurate and makes up for what it lacks.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Casio DataBaank CA53W-1 wristwatch.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even entertained.

Thank you for reading!

Back to “Product Reviews”

I am a Self-Taught Computer Technician

I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you, the reader, didn’t already know, I am a self taught computer technician.

I taught myself how to fix computers initially out of necessity, but now soup up old computers as a hobby.

My fascination with computers can be traced back to the late 1980s when I was a toddler.

The first time I ever saw a computer was either in late 1988 or some time in 1989 when I was shopping with my parents at the Sears in Southland Mall (which is located in Bayou Cane/Houma, Louisiana.)

It wasn’t until I was seven years old that I had found out that there was such a thing as home computers.

Some of my classmates had them, but my family didn’t.

We briefly had a home computer in the Summer of 1998 but didn’t permanently have one until the Summer of 2000.

The model my parents purchased as a family computer, looking back was pretty pathetic, even for the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I don’t remember the exact model number, but it was a Gateway Essential

The specs were:
15 GB Hard Drive (later upgraded to 20 GB.)
64 MB of Ram (later upgraded to 192 MB.)
566 MHz Intel Celeron Processor.
DVD ROM Drive (a CD-RW drive was later added.)
56K Dial-Up PCI Slot Modem (an Ethernet card was later added.)
Only 2 USB Ports
PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse Ports
AND
If I remember correctly the graphics (VGA 600X800 at best), sound and game adapter cards were all part of the mother board.
And if those specs were not cruddy enough, it ran Windows 98 Second Edition.

We made due with this computer from July of 2000 until some time in 2008.

Let me say that I didn’t have a car until the Summer of 2006, and was basically home unless at a school function, so my social life, my reading, my writing, my entertainment and my research were all done on this computer. I used it probably more than any other family member.

We didn’t have adequate virus protection and starting in 2003, began subscribing to cable broadband Internet so, this machine was frequently crashing.

When it did, I would fix it. My parents are fiscally conservative, especially when it comes to technology, if you haven’t figured that out already.

They are also pretty ignorant with technology, so I took it upon myself to fix it.

At first, it was with Gateway Technical Support over the phone, where they would walk me through reformatting the computer.

After doing it enough times, I was able to do it without help from tech support.

This was the beginning of me becoming a self-taught computer technician. I mean my source of many good things in my life was dependent on it.

So it is quite possible that had my parents owned a better computer, I may not have needed to teach myself how to fix computers.

I had known about Linux since 2001, while reading about it in a computer magazine in my school library.

I didn’t actually try it until 2005 when a friend gave me a live boot-able copy of Ham Shack Linux, which I would run on that said machine.

The ease and efficiency of Linux definitely caught my interest back then.

There was no need for hardware drivers everything was plug and play.

There was also no need for virus protection!

This also began my hate relationship with Windows that continues to this very day!

In December of 2005 I had purchased a gently used, but ten year old IBM Think Pad 365E, mostly for writing my stories but also for playing old games. I modified it to run MS-DOS 6.22. Had I known about FreeDOS, I would have loaded it on there.

From the help of a computer professor over the phone, I learned how to make partitions and modify boot sequences in the BIOS memory. This was in March of 2006 or so.

I had that laptop until December of 2006 and I wish I could have kept it.

Also around 2005 and 2006, I began to teach myself how to build computers and mix and match parts.

One of these days I am going to build one from scratch.

But in late December of 2006, I purchased a Compaq/HP Laptop which ran Windows XP Media Center Edition and could be upgraded to Windows Vista.

This is the machine that I discovered WiFi on.

However, it could only do 802.11 a and b.

Then it killed on me in 2008. My family’s Gateway also finally killed on us around this time as well.

My Mom bought a Hewlett Packard in early 2009, which ran Windows 7 and was a good machine until it became bogged down with viruses.

Early in 2009, I had purchased an Asus Eee PC 900A netbook.

It has some decent specs for its size and price:
WiFi built in 802.11 b and g.
1.3 Megapixel WebCam
8 GB solid state drive.
1 GB RAM.
USB and Ethernet ports.

I would have it until 2016 and it was one of the best computers I ever owned.

In December of 2010, it was extremely bogged down with viruses, so I finally figured out how to write an .ISO image to a flash drive and modify the boot sequence.

I ended up installing JoliOS 1.2 which served me very well for over a year. I also installed JoliOS 1.2 on my Mom’s Hewlett Packard.

By the way, it was ruined by a power surge following Hurricane Issac in 2012.

I gave my Dad an older Dell to use which a friend had given me.

He had it until 2019

I subsequently used other versions of operating systems, all from the Linux family on that computer.

In 2015, I finally purchased an Android smartphone. This allows me to Google for a solution when I am working on a computer and I come aross a hiccup.

That was a huge milestone, because before, I needed another computer as well as an Internet connection to get a solution when things didn’t go right.

In 2016, I began to put together a kit of tools that I EDC for my computer repair hobby. The featured image on this pages shows what I am carrying as of February 2020. These tools are kept in a special compartment of my EDC backpack.

In 2018, through most of 2019, I had attended a church and fixed the computers of several members.

By this point in my life, I had obtained a reputation as a computer guru.

There are several friends who come to me when they need their computers fixed and usually I am able to do it.

Now as of 2020, I frequently find myself restoring older computers and making them useful again.

This usually entails me taking a Windows computer and reformatting the hard drive or solid state drive with a version of Linux that has modern functionality but runs well on the hardware. Sometimes I will also upgrade the RAM chips or disk drives.

I wish I would have had this knowledge and skill when I was a teenager. I could have made that old Gateway run like a high spec machine, but if it wasn’t for that cruddy old Gateway, I may never have taught myself how to fix computers to begin with.

I hope to fix computers for the rest of my life because it is a fun and useful hobby.

I know I can also bless other who otherwise cannot afford a new computer but will make their machines run like new.

If it wasn’t for me being dependent on several expensive medications, I would try to make a career out of this, because it is something I can do from dawn til dusk or until those medications kick in, then I am dead to the world for twelve to fourteen hours. However, I would be self employed and have to worry about health insurance. We do need some serious reforms in this country and Obamacare doesn’t cut it!

I guess this concludes my piece on how I am indeed a self taught computer technician. I need to take those medications right now, actually.

So, I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

Thank you for reading!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Trustworthy

I began writing this in October or November of 2008 and edited it several times.  If it seems dated, that’s because it takes place in November of 2006.

It doesn’t teach the lessons I would usually teach, but I still think it is a sweet story.

Though the setting is a city called Melody, the real area that inspired it was Bayou Cane,  Louisiana, along West Park and West Main, around the time of Thanksgiving.  Between late October and Christmas, that area has always been inspirational for me even before I started writing.

So, without further ado, here is the story:

 

On a chilly November evening, a youngster caught somewhere between a boy and man named Luke Frost was getting off of his job at a gift shop in the city of Melody. He went to the circuit breakers and cut off the electricity; then locked all the doors.

Luke was a short and skinny nineteen-year-old with dark, slightly curled hair. Because he was starting out in life, he did not yet own a home or vehicle. Instead, he walked everywhere and rented a small one-room apartment.

On this particular evening, he was not in a rush to get home. Luke decided to walk through the park and watch the sun setting in the sky. After strolling for a spell in the park, he looked at his watch.

The hands indicated five thirty-eight, and he muttered, “I guess I will stay here two more minutes.” The time passed by quickly and it was now dark. “Well Luke, better get going.” He mentioned to himself. He knew he would be hard to spot in the dark as he was dressed in black pants and a navy blue work shirt. He also knew that the park was a dangerous place to be after dark. He began running to make his way out and safely get home.

Earlier that day Rebeka Stanley was riding on a bus from Blues City, with only a backpack full of possessions. She was on the run from some dangerous people. When the bus arrived at the station in Melody, she got off the bus and continued on foot, with no idea of where she was going. However, she felt halfway safe because her adversaries had no idea of her whereabouts. She saw a street sign which indicated the entrance to Melody Park and decided to go in. She also realized that is was now getting dark and cold. Her cell phone was dead, and to make matters worse she had nowhere to go nor did she know her way around Melody. Scared and lonely she decided to go inside the park restroom to at least give her time, rest and protection from the elements. As she walked into the entrance, a tall, dark angry-looking man shouted sexual remarks and made an advance at her. Immediately she pepper-sprayed him in the face and ran in the opposite direction. Frightened even more she did not realize the perpendicularity of the walkway in the park as she was sprinting until she and Luke Frost literally crossed paths. Both were knocked to the ground. A moment later Luke got up and pulled a flashlight from the side pocket of his pants, and shined it to see whom he had bumped into, as it was now pitch dark.

He saw Rebeka sitting down with her knees up, she was a very beautiful blond dressed in a brown knee-length skirt, a white blouse, and a black sweater. Luke was flashed by her and could see right up her skirt but quickly turned away from her, as he automatically had a reverence for her.

He asked, “Are you all right?” He paused but then continued “I did not see you coming and I am terribly sorry that I knocked you down…If there is anything I can do to make it up to you, I’d really like to.” He reached his hand out to her and helped her up as she smiled.

Back on her feet, she said, “I am also sorry I didn’t see you coming either.”

Luke stated with great concern, “It is dangerous here at this hour, you should be inside.”

Rebeka replied, “I…”

“What’s that?” Luke asked.

Rebeka continued “I have no place to go and some man almost had his way with me. That is why I was running.”

Luke now felt not only an attraction but now felt compelling compassion towards her as he said, “I could take you to my place, only if you would want that is.” Rebeka smiled awkwardly and there was a discomforting silence until Luke spoke again softly “Hey, I am sorry if I freaked you out. I am merely suggesting a place for you to be safe and out of the cold. I was not trying where I can take advantage of you. It’s just…”

Rebeka smiled warmly and said, “Go on.”

Luke continued, “It’s just I felt attracted to you when I first saw you. I now also feel much compassion towards you.”

Rebeka now smiled from ear to ear as she spoke sweetly, “I am hoping you really mean that.”

Luke put his hand towards her and held her as he said, “Of course I do. Now, exactly what brings you to Melody anyway?”

Paranoia struck her and she said, “Can I tell you later? I am afraid someone is listening.”

Luke replied, “Tell me whatever, whenever, wherever.”

Rebeka beamed and said, “You seem so sweet; I wish I could trust you.”

Luke nodded as he looked at her and said “I totally understand, the way I see it is trust is something that must be earned. It is up to you if you want to give me the chance to earn your trust.”

Rebeka smiled and said, “Yes I am willing to give you the chance. I mean what other choice do I have?”

He smiled took her by the hand and said, “My name is Luke Frost, by the way.”

She replied, “I’m Rebeka Stanley.”

Quickly they left the park and headed to Luke’s apartment. Rebeka undid her backpack, pulling out several changes of clothes, an MP3 player, and her phone with the charger. In the meantime, Luke removed his smart-phone and flashlight from his pockets and set them on top of his coffee table. They both sat down on the convertible sofa in peaceful silence.

Luke then asked, “So why are you in Melody?”

“A co-worker of mine was assaulted and I called the police. The assailants were arrested, but the case was unfortunately thrown out so now they were after me. I had to leave town, at least until this situation blows over.”

“How old are you anyway? I’m just realizing you might be jailbait and I might regret taking you to my apartment.”

“I’m twenty-five, actually, but I’ll take that as a compliment. How old are you though?”

“Nineteen.”

“You’re a baby.”

“I don’t know, I’ve got a job and I’ve got this place.”

“True. You’re doing very well.”

“Thanks, that means an awful lot coming from someone like you.”

Rebeka smiled and then there was an awkward silence.

Boredom and hormones overcame the situation and Luke decided to ask her, “What would you like to do Rebeka?”

To which she replied, “I feel dirty and would like to shower.”

Luke smiled and said as he led her to the bathroom “Right this way.”

He turned on the water for her and then walked out. She undressed, stepped in the bathtub and drew the curtain while Luke sat on his futon and waited for her. While showering she realized that she was starting to have feelings for Luke, and how wonderful she thought he was and decided to physically express to him those thoughts and feelings.

She walked out of the shower with nothing but a towel wrapped around her. Luke was sitting on the sofa when she walked into the room and said, “Guess who?”

Luke felt a tingle as he replied, “Wow you are so beautiful.”

“I am a mess.”

“Well, I still think you are beautiful.”

Rebeka blushed and then kissed Luke on the cheek as she said, “I know that I have found someone awesome!”

Luke tingled and twitched as he asked, “You really think I am awesome?”

Rebeka replied “Of course I do. Now, why don’t I change into something more comfortable.”

Luke replied, shaking, “I’ll be waiting here.” She winked and the walked off to change. When she came back into the room she was wearing a long white nightgown, with her hair down. She smiled brightly at Luke and asked him as he gazed at her, “Do you think I am pretty?”

Luke replied, “I think you are hot.” She pranced up to him, hugged him tightly and kissed his mouth as she said, “If you haven’t guessed already, I am also attracted to you as well.”

Luke smiled and said, “So what do you want to do right now?”

Rebeka replied with a bright twinkle in her eyes as she rubbed his chest “I saw you shaking earlier, you must have been shivering. Let me warm you up and snuggle with you.” Rebeka then paused for a second and said with slight anxiety “If you are all right with it that is.”

Luke smiled from ear to ear and said, “Of course it’s all right.” With that Luke rested his head on Rebecca’s belly and they covered under a blanket as they fell asleep.

A half-hour passed when Luke woke up to the sound of Rebecca’s belly gurgling. Right away he asked her “Are you hungry?”

She asked with a startled laugh “Luke, how could you tell?”

“I could hear your stomach!” Luke replied as he kissed her navel, then continued “I have nothing fancy, but I do have food.”

She answered, “Oh that’s fine; I didn’t have anything to eat since this morning.”

With that Luke led Rebeka to his table, microwaved her elbow macaroni with cheese and poured her some grape juice. After they finished supper, Luke turned on his world band receiver and tuned in a foreign station from The Ukraine. The music coming in over the airwaves sounded very sultry and provocative.

Rebeka looked at him in the eye and asked, “Could we dance?”

Luke answered “Sure, but don’t laugh at my two left feet.”

“Nah, I think you are sexy no matter what.” At first, the music was slow but then it switched to a fast-paced song. Rebeka swiveled her hips and spun around. Luke was extremely turned on. Rebeka playfully pushed him onto the futon and then hopped on top of him and kissed him wildly.

“I want to make love to you, but you’re so innocent,” Rebeka said with frustration.

“We don’t have to. We can just cuddle,” Luke replied, then continued,  “You seem innocent too though.”

“But my innocence was violently taken from me as a child,”  Rebeka said stoically.

“Then in my book, you’re still innocent!”

“Thanks, you are really sweet, Luke!”  Rebeka said as she kissed him, then continued,  “And it makes me want you even more though.”

“We will when the time is right and it will be perfect for us!”

“Where have you been all my life?”

“In Melody.”

Rebeka then giggled at Luke’s response.

Luke began to plant kisses on Rebeka’s head as she rested it on his chest.

“I do need some rest.”

“Then sleep in my arms. I will kiss you until you fall asleep!”

Soon they both fell asleep, in each others’ arms.

The next morning Luke woke up early. He quickly prepared breakfast then brought it to her as he gently rubbed her face, and said, “Time to wake up, I made you breakfast in bed. It’s just toast with jam cereal with milk though.”

Rebeka stretched and moaned as she spoke, “Still, I can totally get used to this.”

Luke replied, “Well, by all means, get used to it!”

She smiled and asked, “But where will I stay?”

Luke hugged her and replied, “Over here, of course.”

Rebeka wrapped herself around him and then said, “I think I love you, Luke.”

Luke replied “I love you as well, Rebeka. Thank you for counting me trustworthy.”

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…

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