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MYSTERY CLASSICS: THE DEAD TALK TOO MUCH FOR MY TASTE by Jamie Ruff | GBAMLOG.COM

I was so desperate I took a job attending funerals. It’s not as goulash as it sounds. I would open and lock up the church after the funeral. In between, the minister would officiate and comfort the family, but he couldn’t be expected to arrive a couple of hours before the funeral and stay an hour or two after. I was usually there five hours. The pay was decent enough.

The saying is that dead men tell no tales, but they do; and those who attend their funerals tell even more. The departed and the attendees tell everything. His obituary will say he was a faithful husband, but why is his girlfriend sitting on the aisle across from the wife? If he was such a loving father why didn’t his oldest daughter show up, and why doesn’t someone mention her name? If he was such a good husband, why is his wife nearly dancing a jig? I think she killed him. She has the look of someone who has been relived of a burden.

Family and friends, they try to put the best face on the corpse, but I can see it – he, or she, lies right there for all to see; to examine if his illness or age wore away his strength and vitality like his weight. Gaunt faces; sunken eyes; drawn lips, even before they were sown together. Old wrinkled fingers that squeezed pennies or let opportunities slip away.

People want to talk at funerals, especially to someone who doesn’t know. That way they can share it as news to a stranger instead of the gossip it would be to a family member or friend; and if you judge, so what? You’re just some guy waiting for the punch to give out so that the family will go home, never to be seen again. One person tells you the departed’s every accomplishment, but, sooner or later, someone else tells you his faults – maybe not directly, but they will tell. The particulars about the dead are like advertisements for houses, there is far more there than is revealed and the truth is concealed between the lines. She loved children because she had none, and that was because she couldn’t conceive; he riled against abortions because the one he forced a girlfriend to have so long ago still haunted him; he gave generously to good causes but cheated his partner and stole the business; she loved life, but committed suicide; he will be buried beside a wife he was forced to have instead of the man he loved. They will share a headstone the size of a small northern state: beloved wife; beloved husband, it says.

I’m afraid for my own funeral. Not because I’ll be dead, but because all my secrets will be revealed to the stranger sitting in the back of the room waiting to wash out the punch bowl. Who does he think he is?

MYSTICAL CLASSICS: TRUTH OR DARE by Ryan Thomas | GBAMLOG.COM

“Who is up for a game of Truth or Dare?” I ask, looking between Tim and the two girls inside of the pool, the back of my shoulders leaning against the ledge.

“Me! I am!” Lauren screams. “How exciting! Let’s do it! Woo!”

She grasps the neck of a Bacardi Limon. She hoists the bottle above the pool’s surface, as she wades in the six-feet-deep water, repeatedly pushing her right arm out to stay afloat. Her eyelids flutter — after she guzzles a few shots worth of liquor — and she continues to use her left arm for sustaining the Bacardi in air . . . post-drink. Next she leers at Tonya, whom is vastly more coherent and nearly sober after drinking a can of Bud Ice. Tonya drank a shot or two of Raspberry Vodka, as well, which has barely loosened her up. Other than a quick “Hello” to the both of us, she hasn’t said anything since our arrival. We showed up here to Lauren’s (i.e. her parent’s) impressive estate about ten minutes ago.

Lauren raises the 70 cl bottle — pressing it to her lips, awkwardly — before draining the last of its contents. She screams “Woo!” again. She whips her hair, flipping it left and right, inelegantly splashing her delicate, bony shoulders.

“I’ll go,” Tim says, laughs uproariously.

“Well, first . . . why don’t the ladies decide,” I say, looking for my High Life and not instantly finding the fat, heavy bottle.

Tonya watches my eyes, so I decisively flash her with a flirtatious smile. Next I push myself up — using the flat surface of my slippery palms — and lift out of the water. I sit on the pool’s concrete rim. “Tonya, you up for a game of Truth or Dare . . . or what? This is getting boring. My fingers are beginning to wrinkle like my prune-shaped privates over here.”

“Shit yea,” Tim adds, as if similarly prunish. “Let’s play already.”

“Too immoral,” Tonya warns, looking to Lauren with visible anxiety, until further vocalizing her genuine concerns: “I don’t know, Vince. Something bad could happen.”

“We’re not two bad guys,” Tim argues, moving water with his outstretched arms, repeatedly widening them and carrying them inwardly again, doing so while kicking his legs. They flicker, at light speed, other times conversely appearing to travel extra slowly. “We’re not evil, Tonya . . . Lauren.” His suave, winsome grin grows several inches, conspicuously evincing his eagerness. “Just sinners . . . right?”

He cackles and violently splashes a spray of water toward Tonya. “Play the game!”

Tonya deflects most of the water, showing impressive reflexes shielding herself by using hands and forearms as facial protection.

“Bad guys and sinners are pretty much one and the same thing,” she says, intentionally glaring in my direction. After dodging a new splash of soaring water, she erects her head and surprisingly her fuchsia fingernails slip like magnets away from each other in a sonorous snap, and — after lifting her same hand — she points at where I sit along the ledge. “Watch your boy, Vince. He’s out of control.”

“I’ll let you know why they aren’t the same,” I say, after rediscovering my thirty-two ounce of Miller High Life. It’s located to the left side of my hip, a foot away and completely knocked over on its side. I grab the neck, open the bottle, swig a bit of beer, and brush water off my Scooby Doo designed board shorts. I’m still a die-hard fan.

“Go ahead. Explain. I’ll listen,” Lauren says, outwardly enjoying my introductory set up on the surface of her covergirl face with a tiny, pert grin.

“The difference between them . . .” I begin, trying to sound officious and knowledgeable. ” . . . Tonya, is that a sinner — by very nature, at the core — does not intend to harm a soul. Bad people, evildoers . . . now, they’re an entirely different subject.”

“And why’s that?” Tonya responds.

“Once again, bad guys commit acts of evil. Right? What’s evil, really? Evil is when you hurt — or, even — when you wantor desire to hurt yourself or someone else. Point being, the wrongdoing is malicious and fully intentional. The deliberate decision to hurt your fellow woman and man, well . . . that just might be the worst transgression there is. Period.”

Again the thick-glassed bottle of Miller is angled toward my mouth. I swallow a couple more ounces of foamy, golden-brown beer. “Of course, a sinner’s propensities are typically related to partying. Far be it from me to be hyperbolic, but sinning can be incredibly fun. We do it to loosen up, rid ourselves of unwanted inhibitions and actually enjoy life. If sin is carefully controlled, it can hardly harm anybody. Nobody dies from it. Nobody ever gets hurt too badly. Wouldn’t you agree, Tonya?”

Tonya looks toward Lauren — as her sister sets the Bacardi bottle on the edge of the pool. It falls backward with a small, unceremonious plop into the water. Lauren even kicks it by her tiny heel, swimming away.

“Yes,” Tonya agrees, just slightly grinning. “I guess that is a sensible way of looking at the difference between evildoers and sinners. Perhaps I was overreacting just a little.”

“So, now we can play a game of Truth or Dare?” Tim asks, boldly.

Tonya still holds a noticeable amount of trepidation.

“We’ll keep it controlled, then?” she whimpers, nervously.

“Who’s first,” says Tim, raising his wet hand and waving it. “I’ll go,” he says. “Do me. Hey — everyone hear that — I just said do me. That’s hilarious.”

“Fine,” says Lauren. Her eyelids lifting and falling down from drunkenness, she effortfully lunges toward Tim in slowed, moon-walking style leaps. “Truth or dare, Timmy. You’re so cute. Like a puppy dog. I just want to pet you all day . . .”

She pats the empty air, then — so the imitative gesture is better seen — slaps the blue water’s surface that’s comfortably heated at seventy-two degrees, until she arrives in similar bobbing fashion to Tim’s front side. “Say dare, Tim . . . or I’ll chop your prick off with my fingernails.”

She arranges her apple-red fingernails into a threatening cat’s claw, adding, “Choose dare. Don’t make me castrate you, Timmy.”

“Dare,” Tim says, unemotionally, eyes tethered in solemnity to Lauren’s.

“Good boy,” replies Lauren, as she excitedly claps once. She gestures with the bright fingernails now pointing at the shallow side of the pool. “Go French-kiss Tonya. I want to see tongues entwining like Lesbians during sex. Thirty seconds of noisy making out. Half a minute . . . or it won’t count guys.”

Tim looks at Tonya impassively treading water with her arms and legs. He races toward her without checking for agreement on Tonya’s face. Tonya acquiesces, choosing to hop over — rather than swimming toward him — at a slow-moving advance. They embrace like old lovers and their lips connect together exchanging tongues for the requested period of time.

“Woo!” Lauren screams, but then something catches her intoxicated attention.

She discovers another bottle of liquor near the glass table. The table is deliberately situated in front of the latitudinous vista, obviously so her prosperous family can view the flora and wildlife — consisting mostly of birds, coyotes, and occasionally wolves — whenever peering inside the vast canyon behind Lauren’s home.

She fights through water to the edge of the pool, lifts out, sprints over the wet concrete in a frightfully tentative fashion, presumably in pursuit of the liquor bottle. She amazingly reaches the table without experiencing an injurious pratfall. She secures the bottle in her shaky grip, and — after almost dropping it, but catching the bottle with her knees — carries the liquor back to the pool and jumps into the water. She rises back up with the bottle of Raspberry Vodka.

“Who’s next?” she exclaims, loudly.

“Vince,” Tonya says.

She looks over to me with an aloof, joyful expression, as Tim confidently leaps back to the deeper end of the pool. He then pushes off the wall like an Olympic swimmer — two feet at a time — and his medium-height body (five feet and nine inches) torpedoes all the way through the middle area and approaches the six-feet water again.

“Fine, I’ll go,” I say, holding my beer, enjoying the elevated view from the ledge.

“Truth or dare?” Tonya asks, eagerly.

“Truth,” I reply.

“No, you chicken-shit —” Lauren interjects, exhibiting her cat-like claw and vehemently shaking her head in angry protest. She raises the Raspberry Vodka, only now to discover there’s no more liquor inside of the bottle. For a second or two, clearly, her disappointment overcomes her facial expression, but then, after a demonstrative shrugging of her shoulders, she heaves a sigh and follows that with a perky sweeping of her head. Her hair immediately fans out and shoots pellets of water away like an aqueous sort of machine gun.

“Don’t be a loser, Vince,” she says, throwing the bottle on the grass.

She turns at the edge of the pool and forms the kitty claws once more. “Don’t think I won’t chop your Johnson off, too. Vince chooses dare. He is doing a dare.”

“Fine. Dare, then. If it will make Lauren happy, I’ll —”

“— Terrific!” Lauren practically shouts.

Tonya looks at us, inspecting Lauren and myself while choosing the dare.

I swig the very last of the Miller High Life, discard the bottle by getting out and responsibly depositing it inside the only waste receptacle. Afterward, my strongest desire is to immediately slip back into the warm pool.

“I dare you to suck Lauren’s nipple,” Tonya says, surprisingly. “Go,” she says, clapping, finally showing a similar level of enthusiasm as her sister. “Suck Lauren’s nipple, Vince.”

“What?” I say, laughing. Afterward, I curiously look toward Lauren.

Lauren doesn’t appear disagreeable to the idea. So I change my mind. “Fine. I’m up for it.”

I walk toward Lauren’s thin frame in the water. She fixes her hair, so the wet strands cling to the back of her shoulders, preliminarily kept away from her face. I wait, as she lowers her top, giggling and then looking in different directions with a closed-lipped, immodest smile, noticeably excited the game has elevated in this manner. Once her full breast is exposed, she motions for me to approach with a welcoming arm gesture. I get closer, lower down to her chest, and — as dared — wrap my lips around the protruding bump. Her nipple looks like a pink bull’s-eye. It’s the size of a pushpin and closely resembles the game piece from “Sorry” that advances across the collapsible playing board. The supple breast tastes like chlorinated water, as I lap my tongue around the nipple, ever so lightly holding the tit as I do.

“Enough,” I say, raising my head . . . sort of like an overstuffed baby . . . from the exposed breast. “Who’s going to go next? Tonya . . . truth or dare? We all doing dares? Yes, no — what?”

“Dare!” Lauren shouts for her sister.

She rearranges her lime-green top over her breasts, covering up slowly and afterward straightening the upper portion of her two-piece. Desire to sustain the level of excitement is equally felt by everyone, especially Tonya, enduring the high pitch of Lauren’s continual screaming within elbow’s length of her: “Dare! Dare!”

“Nothing raunchy. Shhh! I hear you —” Tonya reaches her open hand toward Lauren’s mouth, as if to tamp her lips, but never actually touches her. “Shhh! I hear you. Dare.”

“Nothing too gross, Vince.” As she spoke, her quarter-inch — similar in extension to Lauren’s — fingernails threaten to slice me to ribbons. She’s like Uma Thurman from “Kill Bill,” swinging her claws and making guttural noises like a tiger.

The twins clearly think alike. They most likely yield a similar taste, as well. Either way, more unknown information of their exquisite taste and feel will — undoubtedly — be stored securely in my head by game’s end. I’m sure to remember this night for a great while.

“I got a dare,” I say, smiling nefariously. “I dare you two . . . Tonya and Lauren . . . to both drop your tops and French-kiss each other.” I extend my smile, wryly adding: “And the makeout session must continue for at least half a minute. Otherwise, it doesn’t count.”

“We’re sisters —” Tonya argues, laughs toward starry, dark sky. “Would that turn you on, Vince? You Perv.”

“Yes. Yes it would,” I say, unabashedly. “I’d be very turned on by that.”

Lauren is already frontally nude — by this point— and her light-green top drifts away from her at the surface of leftward-moving, choppy water.

“Don’t be a chicken-shit, Sis,” Lauren hops toward Tonya.

Tonya winces, reaching behind her back. Her black floral-patterned top falls toward water, carried leftward toward a skimmer drain.

Soon their soft bodies melt into each other. Everything appears to interlock: tongues, B-sized breasts, shoulder-length hair, grasping each other’s arms with small identical hands, as they French uninhibitedly, unapologetically, unfettered by taboos or common reservations of any kind. As they disconnect bodies, they momentarily peer into each other’s eyes. They give confident stares, signaling what they’d just finished doing wasn’t a very big deal to them. They have done the same thing many times before! They finally look our way, Lauren bowing, then Tonya, both of them smiling and appearing euphoric.

“Excellent,” Tim says, clapping.

“Yes —” I add, clapping a few times. “Excellent. You two are hot as fire. The conflagration is quickly spreading to my heart. It’s en fuego, really. Lauren, Tonya, thank you. I can say, now, I have greatly matured from sharing this experience. Bravo. Who’s going to go, now?”

“I’ll go again,” Tim offers, still overjoyed at what he just saw.

He swims closer toward the three of us. He waves at the topless twins and noticeably elevates his eyebrows just a little, grinning, as he turns my way and shares a strong look of approval. He lifts them up further, still, as he glances between the naked girls again.

“Who wants to do me?”

He softly chortles to himself shaking his head, which was a pretty corny couple of things to do after his repetitious joke, even making his nervousness more conspicuous by batting a hand . . . somewhat effeminately, in truth . . . toward them. Due to a heightened sense of self-awareness, he grows very solemn again. “Nevermind. Who wants to ask me to do what— Tonya, Lauren?”

“I got an idea,” Lauren says, snappily. “Whip out your dick and jump in the pool.”

“What?” Tim says, feigning confusion.

“She said,” Tonya says, laughing. “Whip out your dick and jump in the pool.”

“Fuck it,” Tim says, apparently letting go of any misgivings.

His surf style board shorts — showing crabs and seaweed as a design — make a brisk ripping sound from the Velcro strap. From his small-bellied waist, the shorts slowly and consistently descend further into the somewhat transparent, slow-moving water. His bare ass is a toast-brown sort of color, flashing above the pool for a disgusting length of time, as he relies on his moderately strong forearms and triceps, while pushing up onto the ledge. He proceeds — naked as a child at birth — and as, though denying such would do him no favors, he suffers from a similar condition as neonatal boys having an exposed, shrunken penis.

He fiddles with his miniature shaft, until it is enlarged enough to be firmly gripped and swung about like a rope. Then, squeezing the dangling junk with his right hand, he proceeds to flail his penis in a cowboy-with-a-lasso kind of way — the tip wavering like a fish head — jumping back into the warm, splashy water.

“Woo!” Lauren screams.

Even Tonya, clapping herself, screams “Woo!”, but then she heads toward the other end of the pool. The departure is probably due to wanting to fix her looks. In truth, she’s a perfect ten without a single flaw. Always will be.

Tim resurfaces and immediately thrusts his head backward. The strident thwack of his six-inch long hair is a bold declaration of his triumph over inhibition and self-consciousness, the water sort of being like fireworks popping around his relatively handsome, bluish face. He’s a conqueror of all mankind’s greatest fear: a cold, wet penis.

“Vince,” he says, like he’d been baptized. “I got a dare for you, man.”

“What’s that,” I say, with a cool smile. “What is it?”

“I dare you to go down on Lauren.”

“What?” I say. “That’s crazy.”

“C’mon,” Tim says, confidently smiling. He elevates his open hand while it faces toward Lauren. “Sushi style. Do it. You’ve got to do that . . . for Lauren, Tonya, you, and myself . . . and do it for epic games of Truth or Dare occurring everywhere.”

I’ve been hoping from years of escalating flirtation with Tonya to hookup with her, but Lauren isn’t a poor choice as a girlfriend either. She’s quite a knockout in appearance and personality herself, at least when judging from what I’ve learned tonight. Occasionally, Lauren would appear at Pay Less, when Tonya and I were both working together, yet she was always so taciturn and inaccessible, perhaps, wrongfully, I had her pegged as the unapproachable type. I figured she was mostly concerned with reading lengthy books and praying at church. I assumed she would only accept an earnest marriage proposal after “hanging out” with a guy for years, rather than agree to “date” a person.

Tonya has wandered over to the farther away end of the pool. She searches for something; meanwhile her bare thigh gently taps against the fourth step leading to ground. She finally finds her handbag, toward the left and resting only inches from the pool’s edge. She fumbles with something inside of the purse, most likely a bottle of perfume or some kind of compact.

“I’m naked below,” Lauren says, as if to steal attention.

“I heard that —” I say, immersing myself in a moment of impetuousness. “Let’s do this.”

“Awesome!” Tim shouts in a deep cry. He cups his mouth. Booms: “I can’t believe this is happening!” so the words echo across the canyon. The canyon shouts his words back.

I close my eyes before submerging in the warm pool. Realizing I’d have to do so sooner or later, I open them up again and swim froggy-style toward the pale pillars sweeping and kicking a few yards away. They drop and lift, recurrently, but they never fall below a foot above the elusive sight of the pool’s floor.

I arrive at Lauren’s — no more than — 130-pound treading body. I lightly hold her legs, encircling both of my thumbs and index fingers around the smooth, doughy flesh above her knees. Afterward, I reel out my tongue and connect lips to her exposed vaginal area. A lump, the clitoris, juts from the top of the dark purplish-red hole, a fact I’d known prior to the old South Park joke. I lick the salty portion of skin around the clitoris, under a thick bush of frazzled hair. It isn’t till — and only after — an ocular and indisputable check, that I realize my tongue is abrading six or seven or eight, even, tiny, button-like protuberances, collectively lining the purple walls of her vagina, as well

COMEDY ROMANCE: MODERN LOVE by Ruffled Quill | GBAMLOG.COM

Deep breaths…

Not so deep that you pass out, but deep enough to relax you into a state of such super coolness that you’ll pretty much glide up that finely paved driveway, knock on the door and ask her out. I try a few more deep breaths and then stop before I hyperventilate right here in the street. Her house is in the middle of the street, a semi-detached new build that screams ‘Yes, the area I was built in may be a little troublesome from time to time, but living in this house you’ll forget all that’.

It’s probably got four bedrooms with en-suite, the windows are double glazed, dark brown frames against pale, expensive brickwork and she has a garage that’s attached to the house. Whatever her dad does for a living he must be good at it.

In my head I replay the conversation that got me here.

 

***

I was sat on the wall by the art block. Ste, my best friend, was with me. We only had half an hour for dinner but he’d been back to the canteen three times already. As usual on summer days the girls in our year liked to sit in a group on the grass and gossip the time away; a ring of male spectators had gathered, keeping their distance just enough to avoid detection but watching them closely. We were in that ring but I was only watching one girl, Jo. We only had a few lessons together but it was enough for me to fall in love with her.

“She told me she likes you,” said Ste, trying to impale as many chips onto the small, plastic fork as he could manage; those he couldn’t  made a bid for escape over the side of the tray, dinner for the birds once we’d left the yard.

“Are you sure?” I asked him again. There were two reasons why I’m not convinced; one, a girl like Jo wouldn’t ever like me and two, I’ve known Ste my whole life and ninety-eight percent of what comes out of his mouth is crap.

“Trust me.” When he sees the look on my face he decides to elaborate. “She told Claire that she likes you-“

“You said she told you herself.”

He waved his hand in the air as though who said what wasn’t really important. I ducked the chips that flew off the folk.

“I meant she told Claire and Claire told me. I wasn’t supposed to know but I couldn’t keep that from you.”

As he fills his mouth with more chips I try to weigh up what’s worse, the girl of my dreams fancying me or her best friend’s shocking morals on confidentiality.

“Should I ask her out here, at school?” I ask myself aloud. Ste thinks I’m asking him. He shakes his head and I’m glad he hasn’t tried to talk with food in his mouth. Eventually he swallows. It’s like a snake swallowing a goat.

“Go round to her house after school and ask her,” he says as if he does this kind of thing all the time. I know he doesn’t since he has the same luck as I do with girls.

***

 

I try for the gate and it’s stuck, the bloody thing won’t open. Is this a sign? I’m trying desperately to get it open while at the same time trying to keep a cool exterior should anyone happen to glance out of their window. A small amount of light kicking and eventually it swings open and emits a high pitch screech of rusted hinges, like a warning system. Hopefully not one for an attack dog. Does she own a dog? She’s never said. Jesus, what if I’m savaged in her front garden? There aren’t any warning stickers in the window, though. You’ve got to warn people if you’re housing a four legged, ferocious killing machine. I read that somewhere.

I’m purposely dawdling now, admiring plants that I’ll never know the names of, following the intricate pattern of the crazy paving. The closer I get to the house the harder it will be to ask her. If I continue to panic this much my brain will surely seize.

Get a grip! I tell myself. She’s known you ages, she’ll be pleased, if a little surprised to see you at her door but that won’t matter. Once you ask her and she says yes then you’ve cracked it. You can crack a few jokes and stride off into the sunset leaving her breathless at the front door, unable to contain her excitement at your date the following night . . . you hope.

I’m at her door. Do I use the door knocker or bell? Is there a system? My hand hovers, unsure, between the two.  Is the door knocker for friends and family and the bell for salesmen and extremely nervous fourteen year olds? What do I do? Help, please anyone!

“Excuse me, mate.”

I spin around so quick that I almost turn a full 360. A man is standing by the gate dressed in a dark blue courier uniform, holding a clipboard and a package under his arm. I didn’t even hear his van pull up. He looks about thirty, unshaven and quite tough; like an e-fit from Crime Watch.

“Yes?” I say, happy for the distraction.

“Is this 14 Hamble Drive?”

“Erm…” I look back at the door, no number anywhere. Why would you not have a door number on your house?  “I er, don’t know.”

“Oh, right. I thought you lived here. It looked like you were unlocking the door that was all.”

“No, I don’t, mate.” Will he ask her for me? He can knock on the door and just tell Jo there’s a very nervous kid on the street who would like to go out with her. She’ll think it’s sweet.

“What’s the name of the family that live here?”  He asks, while placing the clipboard on the wall and checking the parcel over. My mind’s gone blank again, I’ve managed to forget my future girlfriend’s last name, and I thought exam stress was a killer.

“I don’t know,” I tell him, weakly.

“Are you a friend or relative?” He looks concerned. Concerned that he’s got a chance to unload a parcel but he can’t tell if I’m an idiot or not.

“Erm…not really.” Oh god, I’m getting flustered, he’s making me even more nervous and I’m doing my best not to show it.

“Not really what?”

“I’m a friend.”

“You weren’t sure a second ago.”

“I’m a friend,” I assure him, but he doesn’t seem assured. He reaches for the pen behind his ear and taps the parcel. He’s weighing me up, sussing if I know what I’m talking about. It won’t be long before he realises I don’t.

“A friend of whom?”

“Their daughter.”

“Who is?”

“Claire.” That’s not her name, you fool. “No Joanne, I mean, Jo.”

“Are you sure you know them?”

How has none of her family heard this conversation? There’s a man getting ever more incensed by a pointless conversation with a school boy in their garden and so far not one person has ventured outside to investigate. The Courier’s not keen on going anywhere because he’s now resting on the wall by the gate. Maybe I could reason with him? Explain the situation to him and he might understand. He might have been an idiotic fourteen year-old once.

“What are you doing at the door?” The laid back approach he had before has now disappeared and he’s looking at the other houses in the street when he asks his question. He thinks I’m up to no good, like her father will.

“I was going to knock.”

“You looked like you were fiddling with the lock.”

“I’m expected,” I lie. None of her family will back that story up if it comes down to me having to prove it. The Courier knows this.

“Well knock then.”

“Why?” I try to stall, but he knows what I’m doing.

“Because you’re expected.”

“No.” I tell him straight.

“I knew it,” he says. He begins to rub his chin while he thinks what he could do with me. There’s a sound of a door unlocking and Jo’s next door neighbour sticks his head out. I can tell he’s going to be a problem; he looks like he should be in magazines, selling life insurance or stair lifts. Eighty with grey hair and moustache, military look about him, the sort of person who sees nothing but bad news with anyone under the age of thirty.

“What’s going on?” he asks, straining at the neck like a tortoise.

“I’ve come to deliver this parcel and I’ve found this kid acting suspiciously by the front door,” the Courier tells him, instantly creating two against one.

“He was acting suspiciously by the front garden, earlier.”

“How?” I ask, tone a few octaves too high.

He’s outraged I’ve questioned him. “You were stood looking at the house for ten minutes,” he says, stepping out into his garden. He’s dressed in trousers, shirt and tie and a v-neck jumper. I almost expect war medals as well. Unless his house has air conditioning, wearing that outfit in this heat can’t be good for anyone, any age. “I thought you were lost but you were looking to see if anyone was at home.”

“That’s what I thought,” said the Courier, holding his hands out now he’s found someone who agrees with him. He points at me. “But he says he’s expected.”

“You’re expected?” the old man repeats, shaking his head.

“Yes I am.” Throughout all this the panic isn’t fading and I don’t move from the spot. I feel like I’m on trial.

“Who’s expecting you, then?” the old man asks.

“Jo,” I stress. “Jo is expecting me.” I pray this will end it.

“Well, you’ll struggle there I’m afraid,” he informs me. “She went out with her dad, earlier.”

A wave of relief crashes over me; I won’t have to embarrass myself. It’s instantly followed by a tsunami of realisation that I’ll be no closer to getting the girl of my dreams.

“I’m phoning the police.” The Courier takes out his mobile phone.

“Hang on a minute,” I protest, hands flapping about wildly.

“There has been a spate of burglaries around here,” states the old man pointing at me and raising his voice as if he wants the entire street to know. “I knew it was kids. You’ve got some nerve stealing from houses in broad daylight.”

“But I know Jo.”

“From school, that’s probably how you found out the house was empty,” says the Courier, as if he’s just solved a mystery on Scooby-Do. He puts the phone to his ear.  “Yeah, police? I want to report an attempted burglary . . .”

“I’m not a bloody burglar!” I shout.

The old man has shuffled over to the fence in his slippers, getting very excited at the prospect of me being arrested for something I haven’t done.

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” he says to me. “Margo saw someone the other day in Mrs Higginbotham’s garden; she’ll be able to say whether it was you or not, won’t she?”

“What number’s this house?” the Courier asks the old man. He still doesn’t know if he’s at the right address.

“Fourteen, Hamble Drive.”

The Courier looks at me as if to say you should have just accepted the parcel. The old man is already making his way across the road to the adjacent house where, I assume, Margo lives. He knocks on the door and an old lady, about his age, greets him. They spend a few minutes having a hushed conversation. The Courier hangs the phone up and stares over at the old couple talking.

“The police will be here soon,” he says to me.

“I’ll just head off home.” I begin to make my way out of the garden but the Courier blocks my way.

“Too late, mate. You can’t sneak your way out of this.”

The old man has obviously asked Margo but she’s struggling because she’s pointing at a tree. He moves her arm in my direction and she nods wildly. What can only be described as a sprint for an eighty year-old brings him back across the road, shaking with either excitement or illness, hard to say which.

“She says it’s him,” he says. “She’s a hundred percent sure. She says you were trying to get into Mrs Higginbotham’s shed. Probably trying to steal her lawn mower and sell it for drugs.”

“I’m not on drugs,” I protest. The Courier laughs; at least someone is finding humour in all this.

“You all are,” says the old man. “You probably have a knife, as well.”

“You could put any kid in this spot and that old woman would say that’s who she saw in the garden.”

I’ve horrified the old man. “Are you calling Margo a liar?”

“I think he is,” says the Courier, enjoying himself until the police arrive.

It’s not long before I can hear a car and judging by the curtain twitching from every house on the street I know it’s the police without having to look around. It’s just my luck to get a policeman eager to break the world record for the fastest response to crime in progress. I’m sure the Courier has phoned him directly.

All I wanted to do was ask Jo out. Why is everything I ever do marred by unrelenting problems? Nothing ever seems to go right for me. Will this continue into my late teens, early twenties?

The police car pulls up in front of the Courier’s van and I can see eager heads bobbing about in gardens down the street. A father has even put his child on his shoulders to watch the teenager get arrested; they’ll probably start chanting for me to be tasered. I’m going to be arrested for a crime I didn’t commit. Maybe Jo will hear about this in school on Monday and she’ll rush to see me in court before I’m sentenced? Maybe not.

The policeman unfolds himself from the car and begins to walk his six foot six frame over to Jo’s garden. He’s the same age as the Courier and looks like he’d be better suited to smashing down the doors of suspected drug dealers, or chasing rioters with a shield and bat. The Courier has left his post hoping to meet the policeman and give his version of events before I get the chance. The old man also has his back to me, but that doesn’t stop him pointing at me.

I decide, against better judgement, to make a run for it.

It’s difficult to know who shouted first, the old man, the Courier or the policeman. As I jump the front gate I can hear all three at once; and as I frantically run in the direction that has the least spectators, I realise that the Courier and the policeman are giving chase. Whatever story the Courier told him must have done the job because the look on the policeman’s face tells me I’m in deep trouble if he catches me. I’ve never been a keen runner but I have found that when pushed it can change.

I look on this whole episode as an argument for why we need email and social networking sites rather than face to face communication. I know all this could’ve been avoided by simply sending a text message to her, but I thought maybe knocking on her door might add to the romance. I’m still thinking about this as I take the next turn off the street.

And a car hits me.

Or maybe I hit the car, both seem plausible as the car was going under the speed limit and I was trying to break the speed limit when we connected.

There’s a scream and I glance up to see a man, early forties, his face as white as chalk sat behind the wheel and doing his best to comprehend that he’s just hit a child with his car. I’m surprised to see Jo in the passenger seat, hands over her mouth in shock. I smile at her as I slowly begin to slide off the bonnet and onto the road.

The Courier and the policeman have caught me up and are trying to help me. I try to count how many organs have ruptured being careful not to confuse winding with internal haemorrhaging but the way this morning is going I wouldn’t rule out a slow and painful death.

Jo climbs out of the car and kneels down beside me; she is crying and gathers my head (still attached to my body) in her arms. She’s been riding horses, there’s a strong smell of manure. Her long blonde hair falls across her face and she looks gorgeous, if a little puffy eyed. She strokes my forehead and tells me it will be alright, and that I’m not to worry.

 

Her dad hitting me meant not only was there no objection to me taking Jo out on a date but I also got to pick the film. She still flatly denies there was any cryingor head holding, she claims she stayed in the car until the ambulance arrived.

TRAGIC ROMANCE: THE BROKEN HEART by Jose Heavena | GBAMLOG.COM

TTRTTThe journey of a kind hearted girl, who has to face lots of difficulties post- marriage.

Kia is a kind-hearted, sensitive and a charming girl. She loves her family a lot. Her parents encorage and pamper her. She had graduated in Biotechnology from a reputed Institution. She had worked as a Lecturer and everyone loves her, because of her helping tendency. Kia  loves adventures and she has lots of ambitions in her life.

Kia wants to pursue PhD, but she gets married at the age of 26. Her marriage is a pure arranged marriage and it takes place in a small town in Tamilnadu. On 9th May 2016, she got married to Krish. Kia’s dad hold her hands and walk towards the aisle. Everyone’s eyes get fixed on Kia as she walks on the red carpet. Kia looks adorable in her beautiful white gown.Her marriage takes place grandly with her friends and relatives.

Krish is an employee,working for IT sales in Mumbai. He is the only son who is loved by his family a lot. Krish is a well of and male egoistic person. He values people based on their money and fame. Kia gets relocated to Mumbai after marriage. Everything seems to be fine and good at the start and she gets conceived and gives birth to an adorable bary girl named Ria, on May 8th,2017. All the members in her family becomes happy.

Days passes and Krish’s parents torture Kia both physically and mentally. They beat and abuse her.Kia bears everything for her daughter, because she does’nt want Ria to separate from her dad.Krish’s mom says to Kia, that she is not capable for her son. Kia’s heart gets broken and she cries terribly. Krish is always busy in his life with his work and watching football matches at night,without even considering Kia. Kia remains all alone in that home.  Kia informs this to Krish, but he tells her to adjust and live.

One fine day, Kia makes her mind and comes to her dad’s house with Ria. Kia’s parents support and encourage her to become an author and she finally becomes an author.Kia works hard to fulfill all her child’s needs. Kia made up her mind that she will not go back to Mumbai to her inlaws house.

When Kia was alone in Mumbai,she used to pray a lot and she believed only god can heal her wounds. Kia wants to give Ria a good life with good moral values and manners. Kia lives for Ria and she hopes Ria would take care of her in the future.

MYSTERY CLASSICS: The Enchanted Wood by REKHA VISMANATHAN

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time.

 

They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a twig or crunch of dry leaves under their feet, the irritating buzz of insects and the far away roar of the waterfalls.

 

Mesmerized by the quiet of the jungle, they look around and smile at each other. Their mother warns them of any pranks. The local guide smiles and assures the mother that these woods do not tolerate any pranks for the prank would be on the prankster eventually. The boys laugh hysterically hearing the local guide. Such naive locals! They wink at each other, mission accomplished the wink says.

 

Reaching the waterfalls, soaking the dust off, the family heads back home. A wonderful weekend, a memory to cherish and for the boys a memoir to hold onto.

 

The next week at school, the geography teacher summons the boys, a paper in his hand and a cringe on his face. The boys know the paper is their essay ‘ A trip into the enchanted woods’. The teacher doesn’t utter a word, nor is there any admonition. The paper has a note written on it. “return what is not yours, u have sinned. Nature always has the prankster pinned”. The boys recoil from the laughter of the teacher, an unmistakable relieved laughter, for all these years, he’s never for once smiled.

 

They race back home, take out the beautiful transparent pebble they found at the woods. The horror on their face when they see the reflection on the smooth face of the pebble replace the face of the teacher with the twins’ faces.