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.”

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…

Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

Meet Aubrey’s Parents-Talking in the Loft

“So, I will ask you again, Aubrey, who’s this young man?” Her mother asked.

“Yes, and what are your intentions with my daughter?” Her dad added in, looking at Liam.

Liam became slightly stoic and nervous.

Aubrey came to his rescue and said to her parents, “Don’t be so hard on him, y’all, he was dealt a bad hand in life.”

“At least let him speak for himself, though,” Her dad said, then continued, “What’s your name, young man?”

“Liam Hartford.” He said as he finally collected himself.

“That name isn’t common around these parts.”

“Well, you’re right, I’m not from around here. But I am looking for work and a safe place to stay.”

“Well, I happen to know where you can get that. But my daughter has been tremendously hurt before, so I want to make sure you won’t hurt her. I will ask again: What are your intentions with her?”

Liam worked up the courage and said, “To be honest, I just met her today. But I do think she is a wonderful young lady, the little I found out about her and I think she could bring some stability to my life. Not to mention I think she is beautiful and sweet. We also have a similar past, so I won’t lie, I do like her and my intentions would be to at least get to know her, although if she is as wonderful as I think she is, I could definitely marry her and be true to her.”

Aubrey beamed from ear to ear.

“What is your past like exactly?” Aubrey’s mother asked him.

“Well, I had abusive parents who beat me for a yes or no. When I was fifteen I fought back and gave my dad a bloody nose. My mom called the cops and I was arrested. The sheriff molested me while I was in custody. I was also molested by two other guards in juvenile hall. I stayed there until I was eighteen then, when I was released I left that town and never looked back. That was a little over a year ago.” He paused, then continued, “Since then, I have been traveling around The States and parts of Canada looking for work and shelter.”

“How do you travel so much?” Her mother asked.

“I sneak onto freight trains.”

“Well, that is highly illegal and I know you don’t want to go back to jail.  Do you?”

“I have no other way to get around though. It would be nice if I had steady work.”

“Well, like I said before I can get you steady work.” He paused then asked Aubrey, “What do you think about him exactly, baby girl?”

Aubrey answered, “I think he is kind and genuine and that I can bring out the best in him. And after hearing what he told you and Momma, I want y’all to know I feel the same way about him!”

The winds began to die down.

“Well, with that being said, I’ll give him a chance. I’m Porter Gables and this is my wife Polly Gables,” Aubrey’s dad introduced himself and his wife.

Liam shook both of their hands.

Some sunlight, albeit still overcast was starting to show again through the shelter glass.

“I wonder if the tornado is gone,” Polly said.

“I can find out,” Liam said, pulling his scanner out of his backpack.

“Good, because I need to get back to cooking.”

Liam turned his scanner on and tuned in the Weather Band.

There was a message played about the tornado warning for their county being allowed to expire.

“I had a crystal-controlled tabletop model, years ago.  It’s put away now, though, because the durn thing doesn’t pick anything up anymore,”  Porter said.

“I bought this so I can know when a train is coming and where it is headed.  But it doesn’t use crystals.  I program whatever frequency I want in it.”

“Well, hopefully, you will never hop on a freight train again.  Now, I need to survey the fields and see if there was any damage to my crops. You are welcome to stay, but I require you to respect my rules and my daughter.”

“Don’t worry about that. I am very grateful, so I think I can live with whatever terms you come up with.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear!”

“Do you like green beans, Liam?” Polly asked.

“Of course. There was this old man I briefly stayed with and he made the most awesome green beans. But then he was committed to a nursing home. But just so you know, I’ll eat just about anything!”

“My Momma also cooks some awesome green beans,” Aubrey added in.

“Well, I cannot wait to try them.”

With that, they all exited the storm shelter.

Liam and Aubrey went back to the barn loft.

Polly went into the kitchen to resume cooking.

And Porter climbed on his tractor and drove back to the fields…

Back to “Talking in the Loft”

Affectionate Refugees

I was inspired to write this story around August or September of 2011.

I slightly altered it in late January of 2020 and am now sharing it with the world

It is a total work of fiction but takes place during Hurricane Lilly.

Without further ado, here is the story:

…October 2002…

…South Central Louisiana…

Jonas Gibson and Brittany Cryer were on the run from a hurricane that was soon to be bearing down on the Louisiana coast. Though they were about to cross paths, they did not know it just yet. Both came from areas ordered to evacuate, just in different school districts, so they never knew each other.

Jonas came to the shelter with his large extended family, including aunts uncles and cousins.

Brittany simply came with just her mother, as her dad was never in her life, and she really had no extended family.

Jonas was seventeen, while Brittany was thirteen.

Jonas was about 5 foot 6, stocky and had dirty blonde hair, while Brittany was considerably shorter, about 4 foot 10, slightly chunky, had reddish-brown hair and was bespectacled.

The reason for Brittany being slightly overweight was that she had a mental illness, and took medication to keep it at bay, which in turn caused her to gain weight. Her condition made her somewhat paranoid and depressed most of the time, and the fact that she might lose all she had because of the hurricane surely made matters worse. In fact, all she took with her was her purse with medicine in it, a few notebooks with all her stories on them and her Red Energizer Find Me flashlight that she had purchased with her SSI benefits. Though she was mentally ill, she was one she always tried to be prepared, this was the reason for her owning a flashlight that could be found, even in total darkness. As she entered the shelter, the police escorted her and her mother to the place on the floor where they could sit and sleep. It was there that she first saw Jonas along with his family and was instantly attracted. Brittany, being a very creative aspiring writer, and considerably good at it, wished to share her work with someone. “Could this boy possibly be someone?” She wondered to herself.

Jonas was a loner, he did not really have any friends, nor a girlfriend. In his free time, he listened to his police scanner for amusement. But, the dirty things he heard on there ultimately caused him not to trust in his local government. He made it his point that when he became an adult, he would become a human rights activist of some sort and expose all their dirty deeds. That was his fantasy, but for right now he felt very lonely. He was also worried about what would happen to his possessions, as he too only brought the scanner and his 4 D sized Maglite, which could be used for his protection though not officially considered a weapon. He brought the scanner not only for entertainment but he also knew that the authorities would be engaging in highly corrupt activities during this hurricane, and he wanted to be in the know of all of it. Jonas was quietly listening when he saw Brittany for the first time and he too was instantly attracted to her.

Both stared at each other for a great while, smiling occasionally, until Brittany winked. Jonas blushed as he was highly shocked but equally happy that someone seemed to be attracted to him. Brittany giggled when she saw him blushing, and then she blew him a kiss. Jonas blushed more and Brittany giggled even more. She then motioned for him to come and sit by her. He got up and walked to her. He took his flashlight and scanner with him, then walked over to her.

She smiled from ear to ear and said, “My name is Brittany Cryer. What’s yours?”

“Jonas Gibson,” He replied.

Both awkwardly hugged, then Jonas continued, “It sure is nice to meet you.”

Brittany replied “Oh my gosh, now you’re going to make me blush as well. I saw you blushing over there and I think it’s totally cute,” She paused, then continued “Well you know, I think you are totally cute anyway.”

Jonas replied, “And just for the record I think you are very beautiful.” He paused then spoke again, “I saw you blowing me a kiss.  Could I give you a real one?”

Sweetly Brittany smiled and said, “Sure, I would love that.” She then closed her eyes and puckered her lips. Jonas leaned over and gave her a kiss right on her lips. She then held his head gently and petted it as she kissed him twice more.

Jonas asked, “Would you be my girlfriend?”

Brittany replied, “I’ll give you the same answer I gave you when you asked to kiss me: Sure I would love that!”

Jonas smiled from ear to ear, blushed and then kissed her once more. Brittany then held him, cradling his head in her lap.

There was a problem though. Jonas was in possession of a scanner. The corrupt deputy on patrol of the shelter saw that Jonas had a scanner and felt very threatened by him having it. In fact, he had secretly been watching him as he entered the building. The deputy saw that Jonas had let his guard down by talking to Brittany.

The deputy approached Jonas and Brittany with an angry confrontation, saying, “Y’all separate immediately, or you will both be put under the jail!

Boldly Jonas stood up and said, “What exactly are we doing wrong?”

The deputy answered, “Okay smartass how about lewd behavior, and possession of a scanner while committing lewd behavior. I can book you right now on those two charges.”

Jonas sulked and walked away with his scanner and flashlight. However, he then, defiantly, turned the scanner on full blast in front of the deputy.

Whose angry reaction was, “Unless you want me to take that scanner from you and shove it up your ass, you will turn it off and keep it off.”

Jonas walked off. The deputy then began to harass Brittany. She was shaking profusely as he yelled at her, “You are a nasty slut, for carrying on like that right in front of your mother. I ought to beat your fat ass for that.”

Brittany’s mother stepped in and said “Get away from my daughter right now before I file a complaint on you and have your badge on a silver platter. I don’t know who you think you are but if she wants to talk to him, that is, in fact, none of your business!” She paused then continued “My daughter is severely disabled, and she is also very lonely. If for once a boy comes and pays attention to her, she should not be able to see him? They are teenagers; they are naturally going to be affectionate. Now either stop harassing her or I will sue the sheriff’s office, for harassing and intimidating a mentally disabled child.”

The deputy then said, “Look, woman, we cannot have this lewd behavior in a shelter.”

Brittany’s mother became even angrier and then said “It’s not about that, and you know it. You are against that boy for because he has a scanner and probably he knows all about the dirty dealings your agency is involved in. My coworkers also listen to scanners and they tell me everything. I’ve got a good mind buy a scanner myself, record what I hear and leak it all to the press!”

The deputy was speechless as Brittany’s mother continued “Now let them be together or when this is all over, I will also let the press know how you treated my disabled child.”

The deputy was getting ready to reprimand Brittany’s mother severely but then walked off as he received a call on the radio to be on the lookout for extremely severe weather.

Brittany’s mother then approached Jonas and said, “I took care of the cop, you may come and sit with Brittany and me if you want to.”

“What if that dirty cop comes back and harasses us again?” Jonas asked in distress.

“Let him try. I guarantee you he will regret it!” Brittany’s mother answered with total confidence.

Jonas nodded then walked over to Brittany as he asked her, “Where did we leave off at?”

Brittany giggled and said, “I think you had your head in my lap and I was petting your head.”

Jonas happily kissed Brittany and then said, “Well, I think I will return to that position for now.”

Brittany giggled again, then she took him in with open arms and held him in her lap, once again. She began kissing Jonas’s forehead as he looked up into her eyes.

He spoke to her, “I am so fortunate to have found you. We need to keep in touch after it is time to go home.”

Brittany replied “Sure, I would really like that. We can spend time with each other and do things together. I’ve always wanted to do that, now is my chance.” Overcome with happiness, Jonas began to passionately kiss Brittany and hold her close to him.

The deputy came back and saw them once again engaging in their passionate but otherwise harmless affections.

And again tried to break them up but then his radio sounded with the dispatcher coming in, “Headquarter, all units, our parish has just been issued a Tornado warning. Please implement all necessary precautions!”

The deputy then said, “I’ll deal with y’all later.” Seconds later the lights went out. Brittany grabbed her Find Me flashlight, as she could see the flashing red LED. Jonas hurriedly grabbed his Maglite and turned it on as well as his scanner with earphones. He tuned the scanner to the National Weather Service broadcast. He soon found out that the tornado, spawned by the approaching hurricane was headed directly to the shelter. He took Brittany by the hand and her mother, along with Jonas’s family all went into the hallway.

The hallway was very dark, with the power being knocked out. By the light of the two flashlights, Jonas and Brittany listened to the police scanner, with each an earphone.

They heard chatter on the scanner, “I just spotted the tornado, it’s heading near a packed shelter. We can expect serious casualties.” Someone replied, “10-4, I will get the fire department and EMS personnel there on stand by.”

Jonas told Brittany, “Let me get on top of you so I can shield your body with mine!”

Brittany hesitantly agreed with tears in her eyes. Suddenly the roof blew off the building, and the sound of a freight train could be heard. Jonas was hit by flying debris and knocked out. Brittany screamed out of fright as she felt Jonas roll of her and onto the floor. She began sobbing as she held him close to her. The tornado was there and gone in a matter of seconds, but the serious damage was already done. Brittany, still sobbing, placed her finger in front of Jonas’s nostrils. He felt a faint flow of air coming back and forth. She sobbed even more, thankful that Jonas was still alive, but worried he might not make it. I time, the fire and EMS responders came into the hallway.

Brittany cried out “Help, help my boyfriend is unresponsive!”

The EMT’s examined Jonas and soon revived him.

He came to and spoke, “Brittany, where are you?!”

She cried tears of joy “I’m right here Jonas.” She kissed him then continued “You were knocked out when the tornado passed over and you saved me in the process.”

Jonas hugged her and asked, “Is the tornado gone?”

Brittany replied, “Yes I think it is.” Jonas’s scanner picked up an E-Trigger signal on the police frequency. He looked around to see the deputy that had been maliciously harassing them was crushed by the beams from the falling ceiling.

Paramedics were taking him out on a stretcher.

Jonas spoke, “Look, Brittany, that dirty cop got exactly what was coming to him!”

They both waved tauntingly at him, but he couldn’t move or talk. He did, however, have the angriest expression on his face.

Jonas then said, “We need to exchange our information, so when all of this is over, we can have a life together.”

“I agree!” Brittany beamed with happiness.

They exchanged phone numbers, mailing addresses, and online contact information. Soon afterward were transported further inland just as the hurricane began to unleash its main fury.

Brittany spent the rest of the evening reading her stories to Jonas as they fell deeper for each other…

TO BE CONTINUED, HOPEFULLY?!

Back to “Works of Fiction”

Why would I EDC a Weather Radio?

I get different reactions when I show off the items I EDC.

While, like most, I usually carry a tactical flashlight and some sort of metal tool or knife along with my keys, wallet, smartphone, and a wristwatch. My psychiatrist refuses to clear me for a concealed weapon carrying permit, but one day I might open carry my Ruger LCP. Without getting too political, I am absolutely 100% opposed to any and all forms of gun control!

As a Christian, I also carry a copy of God’s Holy Word, namely, the Bible. For doing so I get kudos from fellow believers and mockery or even hostility from worldly or lost people, but that is totally expected.

I frequently carry a scanner radio, but no one really bats an eye about that. In public, I am frequently mistook for a firefighter when I carry it.

There are two items I carry that frequently raise questions from others in the EDC community.

One item is a calculator which I can easily explain and most will accept the answer. After all, I’ve been fascinated by calculators almost as long as I have been fascinated by flashlights and that is since infancy. As a high school math teacher, my Mom EDCs a calculator or two for work, though in reality, she eschews them. However, she is the reason why I became fascinated by calculators. My Dad was a banking executive when I was born and I don’t know if he ever carried a calculator or not, because he was laid off from the bank a few months after my birth. He then switched careers and eventually became a special education teacher. Even though my Dad was a sporting goods salesman for a couple years during the career change, he isn’t into EDC at all. His Dad, my Paw Paw, was into EDC at least to some degree, although he only owned extremely budget-friendly items. My Maw Maw also carried a flashlight in her purse for as long as I knew her, until she became a shut in and passed on December 28, 2019. At one point I’m almost sure she had an old school Pelican MityLite 1900! There were always calculators around though while I was growing up and I had been carrying one on and off since the age of eight. So, even though I am fascinated by calculators, when asked why I carry them, I can quickly justify and have done so.

Another item that I continuously EDC is a pocket-sized weather radio. While no one has directly questioned my motives as to why I do so, I’m sure I at least get eye rolls when I post pictures of mine or pull it out and listen.

In this piece, I am going to give a testimony on why I personally carry a weather radio and while I don’t expect you, the reader, to follow suit, maybe my reasons for doing so will be better understood.

Let’s go back to the Summer of 1990. I was three and a half and my brother and sister were a few months old. My Mom was off from teaching school, but my Dad was at work, working as a sporting goods salesman. There had been some storms going on all day. My Mom had baked home-made biscuits earlier in the day. It’s something, I can fry chicken almost identical to Colonel Sanders Original Recipe and my Mom can bake biscuits almost identical to Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits. I taught myself how to fry chicken that way, mostly through trial and error but also by God’s Grace. However, my Mom got her biscuit recipe from an old Catholic monk. The storms had gotten progressively worse during the day, then our electricity was disrupted. At some point, it became dark as night though it was only midday. My Mom gathered us into the center of the house and we sat there by the light of an Eveready Commander 6 Volt Lantern. The model number was 5122.

Though I was always afraid of the weather, I don’t remember being too frightened. I think it was because I was holding a flashlight and even back then I was fascinated by flashlights. I stood in the hall eating a biscuit.

We had no idea if there was actually a tornado present because we had no weather radio.

There was a Sears transistorized AM/FM radio that was put away, but I guess my Mom was probably more focused on getting all of us to safety rather than looking for that radio.

Even if my Mom would have been able to locate that transistor radio, the battery could have very well been dead. There was no way of us to know when the Tornado Warning, if any, had expired.

At some point, the sky lightened up and the electricity came back on and I guess we took this as the all-clear.

Looking back, this probably had an impact on me and is most likely was caused me to have a compelling desire to be accurately informed.

As I am writing this, I am reminded that back in the day, weather radios were somewhat of a status symbol, associated only with the affluent. I mean they were heavily marketed to golfers, of which playing golf during a thunderstorm is quite risky, so a golfer would desperately need one. I wonder if Donald Trump ever carried a weather radio in his younger days whilst playing golf. To further back up my claim that weather radios once were and maybe still are a status symbol now, at least to some degree is that, I’ve only seen upper-middle-class and wealthy people in possession of one. I’ve never once seen anyone from the lower socio-economic positions to ever be in possession of a weather radio. I have even read an article or two about how the white upper class are almost the only ones who purchase weather radios and that poorer whites, as well as most minorities, don’t even bother purchasing one.

While at the time, my family was lower middle class and stayed there until between 1997 and 2000. Now they are almost upper-middle class.

I didn’t know there was such a device as a weather radio until the summer of 1997 when I was reading some hurricane preparedness literature.

I wouldn’t actually own a weather radio of my own until late December 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000. Unfortunately, it killed on me in less than two years, but I did EDC it when I could.

I myself as an individual would be considered impoverished by most standards.

Yes, I’ll admit that fully.

The only reason I am able to afford a weather radio (and I do own several) is that I either purchase them on clearance as new old stock, a friend gives one to me or I buy one in gently used condition for a fraction of the cost.

Between December of 2001 and April of 2015, I had gone through a few portable weather radios, many of which killed on me, unfortunately.

Since the Spring of 2006, I had wanted a Midland HH50B, but it would be over nine more years before I would actually purchase one.

I guess it is poor quality control because I did not abuse these radios by any means.

I had some desktop models that were on constant standby as well as a Radio Shack Weather Cube as a backup.

Then one day in late April of 2015, my area was experiencing some severe weather. This weather resulted in the one and only train derailment on the Huey Pierce Long Bridge near New Orleans. The said bridge was about eighty years old at the time.

My standby models had alerted me to a Tornado Watch in advance.

Then there were quite a few Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued.

My then-wife, now ex-wife, as usual, was watching television.

However, I told her to get dressed in case we would need to move quickly.

The amazing thing is, she actually listened to me, though this was one of the very few times she did listen to me.

A few minutes later we received a Tornado Warning for our Parish.

The sky, though again around midday, became dark as night.

My apartment manager invited the second-floor tenants to her unit which was downstairs.

My now ex wife and I left with the clothes on our back, though I had a Mini Maglite LED in my pants pocket and I also had an Energizer Weatheready 6 Volt LED Lantern in my hand.

We made our way down the stairs and across the parking lot as lightning fiercely flashed.

The sky was still dark as night.

Several of us stood in the manager’s downstairs unit, anxiously waiting for the weather to pass.

Minutes crawled by, but, then, finally, conditions began improving.

The cell service was in and out that day, so none of us could rely on our phones, for weather data though at the time I didn’t even own a smartphone. I would though, a couple days later.

Several young women were wondering when the Tornado Warning would expire.

Eventually, I walked back up to my apartment and retrieved my Weather Cube, which while battery-powered, is still basically impossible to EDC.

I stood and listened to the weather report then when the Tornado Warning expired, I let everyone know and we all went back to our units and resumed our daily activities.

That day made me realize that I should own a weather radio that I could EDC in my backpack and even in my pocket if necessary.

I knew I was going to bite the bullet and soon purchase a Midland HH50B.

A little over a month later, I was able to score one brand new with batteries for ~$10 and free shipping. Thank God for eBay! I had been wanting one for years, so I gladly purchased it with my spending money.

At the time, I was also a new smartphone user and when my new weather radio came in, there was some literature enclosed in the packaging about downloading Midland Weather Center for Apple and Android devices.

I did just that and subsequently downloaded it on almost every smartphone I have owned since.

Granted this app is unfortunately no longer available on Google Play, but it can still be downloaded and installed on Android devices if you know what you are doing.

As for the Midland HH50B, I EDCed it from June of 2015 until December of 2017 when my then-wife now ex-wife broke it in a fit of anger.

However, I liked it so much that I quickly ordered a new one and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

I still EDC it in my backpack everywhere I go. And if I can’t have my backpack with me but I know I will be away from home or outdoors for any given time, I will have it in my right pants pocket next to my EDC flashlight.

It has come in handy numerous times either for stand by alerts for severe weather when I am not home or for sheltering in place during severe weather and monitoring the progress thereof.

The times it has been most handy is when I go on road trips and I am the passenger. I use it in conjunction with my Midland Weather Center app and use the weather intelligence gained to assist the driver in avoiding severe storms. I’ve even used it to confirm that there were no tornadoes nearby when my Dad called and thought there were. That was on January 20, 2017 and I was traveling with a friend between Shreveport and Dallas. A day later, though, while heading back home I used my weather radio to keep track of tornado near Nacitoches, Louisiana.

EDCing a weather radio has been very beneficial and never once detrimental, so I plan to do it indefinitely

I don’t know if these reasons will convince you, the reader, whether to also EDC a weather radio or not, but I hope this piece at least validates my reason to do so.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece and I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even a little entertained.

Thank you for reading!