Today, I’m posting a video about some of the stuff that’s turned up while I’ve cleaned my office. I hope you enjoy it! :)
Sorry about the paucity of written content. I’ve been busy publishing novels, writing another one, and writing screenplays. Not to mention that I need to get my hands on a backdrop of some sort for my videos.
Here’s some other things you may enjoy.
Which commercial do you like better? This one?
Or this one?
These are too awesome not to share!
Here are three more chapters of my young adult novel, which still doesn’t have a cover, but it will soon. As soon as possible, anyway.
After school, I’m standing out front, waiting for Denise. I check my watch. She’s running about five minutes late. I’m wondering if she’s full of shit about going shopping, when she approaches with two other girls.
“Hey, Portia,” she says. Her smile is unforced, her voice lilting. “Portia, these are my friends, Mindy and Tara.”
“Hi.” I can’t help but notice the way the two girls are staring at me. They look frightened.
“It’s okay,” I joke. “You won’t catch what I have. I suffer from lack of pigmentation, not leprosy.”
Denise laughs. “You’re really funny, you know that?” She laughs again. Mindy and Tara chuckle.
“Well, if I couldn’t laugh . . .” I leave the thought unfinished.
“I know what you mean.” For a moment, Denise looks sad. I wonder if she’s thinking about Randy and what he might be up to behind her back.
Denise perks up. “My mom will be here anytime now. She’ll give us a ride to the mall.”
I nod. I’ve already told my mom I’ll be going to the mall with some girls instead of coming right home. I texted her while waiting for Denise and her friends. She texted back, “Good. Have a great time.”
I realize she hasn’t asked what time I’ll be home, who the kids are, or where I’m having dinner. I wonder if she’s so floored that I’m hanging out at the mall with anyone that she forgot to ask.
Denise’s mother picks us up in a glossy black Beemer. Like Denise, her hair is blonde. Unlike her daughter, it’s styled. And she’s all duded up in a blue suit and pearls, as if she just stepped from a corporate boardroom. My mother goes around in jeans or sweats.
Hmm, I think. Not your typical soccer mom.
A chorus of “Hi, Mrs. Laughton!” erupts from Mindy and Tara, as we scramble into the car.
“Hi, Mindy. Tara.” Mrs. Laughton cranes her neck and bestows a pearly white smile. “Hi, sweetie.” She leans toward Denise, poised to give her daughter a peck on the cheek. Denise recoils. “You haven’t introduced me to your new friend,” Mrs. Laughton says. She sounds happy. Too happy.
How can anyone be that cheerful?
Denise introduces us. “Um, Mom, this is Portia. Portia, this is my mom.”
“What a beautiful name,” says Mrs. Laughton, sounding rather dreamy. She catches my grimace in the rear-view mirror. “Your name is charming,” she assures me.
Mrs. Laughton pulls up to the mall and delivers a final set of instructions about what time she’ll pick us up and where. She calls it the “pick-up point.” Well, duh! “Please don’t be late, okay?” Big pearly white smile. “Have a great time, girls.”
We explode from the car and race toward the entrance. I’m giggling and rushing through the automatic sliding door. Mindy and Tara bounce a few steps behind Denise, whose blonde hair reminds me of a flapping golden flag. I let them lead the way down the main hall with its shiny marble-tiled floors. The air conditioning feels cool against my skin. I smell cookies or pretzels. The girls slow down as we approach the central court, where several people are milling about—a good-sized crowd of mall rats from my age to late teens and a few mothers pushing baby carriages or guiding toddlers by the hand. Denise reaches the railing, leaning against it as if staking a claim. Tara and Mindy hover, ladies in waiting to the princess.
“So, where do you guys want to go?” Denise asks.
“Old Navy,” Tara says.
“That’s old news! Hot Topic!” Mindy pipes up.
I glance around. Wow, this place is overwhelming. Slightly dizzying even. The ceiling has lots of skylights and reaches halfway to the stars. Sunbeams wash over everything, making the place gleam. Plastic palm trees and flowers are arranged in the fake stone planters. I spot a bookstore across the way. It’s all I can do to restrain myself from running over there.
“Well, let’s ask Portia,” Denise says, snapping me from my reverie.
“Old Navy or Hot Topic?”
As a card-carrying nerd, I have no opinion and I couldn’t care less. But it seems best to play along. Which store should I choose?
After a moment’s pause, I say, “We have plenty of time. Why don’t we go to both?”
Denise smiles. “You’re so smart.” Tara and Mindy look befuddled. After a bit more discussion we settle on Hot Topic. Mindy seems to be more assertive than Tara. We wander over to the store, where, following Denise’s lead, the girls find things for me to try on.
“Oh, look! This is perfect for you.” Denise hustles toward me, with a pair of hip hugger jeans and cute cropped top with a sparkly heart decal.
“Honestly, you shouldn’t,” I say. “I didn’t bring any money.”
Mindy and Tara float about, holding items up and posing before the large mirrors. Despite my protests, they keep recommending clothes for me to try on. They don’t seem to understand that I have no money.
Sitting on a chair tucked in among the racks, I make myself as small as possible. Can I will myself into invisibility? What an interesting idea for a short story. Maybe I’ll write it someday.
That would be the most awesome job, wouldn’t it? To be a writer. To write stories about kids who could do things like think themselves into invisibility. Because when you’re a writer, you can make almost anything happen.
Denise walks up. “We’re going to Old Navy. Are you sure you don’t want anything here?” She holds up a pair of faded cutoff jeans with frayed bottoms like Daisy Duke would wear.
After a quick tour of Old Navy―nothing of interest―we make our way around the perimeter of the mall, stopping here and there. Because we eat dinner early at our house, I feel hungry and pick up a soft pretzel in the food court. Amazing! I text my mom and ask her to set aside my dinner. I keep thinking about the bookstore but don’t mention it.
Tara checks her watch. “Hey, Denise. Isn’t your mom coming soon?”
Denise, looking at a group of guys, snaps to attention. “Oh, right. Everyone have everything?”
Tara holds up her shopping bags. “You bet.”
Mindy holds up her bags. “Sure thing.”
I hold up my one bag with the new pair of jorts Denise bought for me. “Yeah.”
When I get home my mother looks distracted. She asks about my day and what I did at the mall, but I can tell her mind is elsewhere. I put on my new purchase and model for her. She nods and smiles, but she’s got this odd look as if she were seeing right through me.
Fine, whatever, I say to myself. Be that way. They’re just a pair of jorts. It’s not like I cured cancer or something.
I do my homework and then eat the dinner my mother has kept warm in the oven: baked chicken breast and mashed potatoes with gravy. She takes a salad from the refrigerator. I eat while watching Doctor Who on TV.
“Where’s Dad?” I ask, between mouthfuls of mashed potatoes.
“He’s working late, honey.”
“He’s doing that a lot these days.”
She sounds sad. Or maybe it’s my imagination.
People tell me, “Portia, you think too much.” Well, I also think I feel too much. You know?
The next day is Friday. Thank God. I make my way through the crowded hall. The kids are jostling me. I’m getting the hairy eyeball from the usual suspects. I’ve learned to ignore them. This time I get up the nerve to stare back at one. He turns away. Ha!
When the last bell rings, I go to my locker and open it. I’m looking forward to two whole days away from these people. I’m shuffling books, when someone taps my shoulder.
It’s Judy. I relax and let out my breath.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I’m just in a hurry to get out of here.”
Judy nods. “I know how you feel.” She seems anxious. Then I remember the asthma. Her breathing problems. That must suck.
“I was wondering about, you know, getting together . . .” Judy says. She sounds almost afraid to say the words.
I remember our date. “To study math? Sure. What time works for you?”
“You want to walk home with me after school?”
I nod. “Sure.”
I manage to make it through the following week intact. For some reason, I haven’t caught sight of Denise all day. When I looked around at lunch, I noticed Tara and Mindy sharing a table. I raised my hand briefly to say hi, but they either didn’t see me or they ignored me. Figures.
Judy walks up. I finish texting my mom that I won’t be coming home after school. For the second time in two days, I’ll be hanging out at a friend’s house.
“Hey, what’s your home number?” I ask. “My mom likes to know this stuff. Just in case my cell phone dies or something.” I say this as if I’m always going over to other kids’ houses. What a laugh.
Judy hesitates. “I … don’t have one.”
She bows her head. “Our phone was disconnected last week.”
She mumbles the words, but I hear her plain as day.
I reach out and touch her arm.
“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.”
Now here’s a version of Blade Runner I’ve never seen! :)
Phone’s ringing, dude! :)
OMG! Now, I’ll have to do my British accent! :)
The Simpsons weigh in on Scottish independence.
And Instagram this! :) It’s a lava lamp.
I’m doing a short post with my video. Mainly, just stuff I’ve found on the Interwebs, here and there.
Cheap Words. And where the hell were you two years ago? Hmm …? :)
PS: I’d like to thank my nephew for the following video: “Feminists aren’t being ‘what God designed them to be'”.
PPS: Have a great weekend! Catch a good movie!
PPPS: This is so sad, but I want to acknowledge this. RIP Riley. :(