Monday, March 26, 2012

Address Marathon

It was spring break. And Gonga was engaged in the most grueling marathon of his life.
Twenty-six dozen full length addresses to painstakingly copy from the address list to the boxes of glaring white envelopes. Twenty-six dozen stamps to affix to the upper right hand corner of the envelopes. And twenty-six dozen cards with Derrick’s grinning maw enclose by illegible cursive purporting to announce his graduation to stuff into the envelopes.

Gonga’s decision to stay in Columbia over spring break was the quickly turning into the biggest mistake of his life.

Derrick was graduating. And his mother had forbidden him to skip town during his last snippet of freedom before entering the real world of drudgery and bills.

“I am not sending out your graduation announcements, if you want that return trip to Mt. Everest your uncles promised you, you better stay in town and write addresses till you puke.”

Derrick had imitated his mother with truly remarkable flare. Until he got to the part about puking. Gonga wasn’t quite sure he could picture Derrick’s Mom using a word like that, but he hadn’t given it much thought as he fell back on the couch, laughing at Derrick’s machinations.

It wasn’t till a few minutes later that Gonga realized he was getting roped into help. He had already made the fatal flaw of complaining about having no plans over spring break. By the time he realized where Derrick was leading him, there was no turning back.

Unfortunately, all of Derrick’s other “friends” had decided to skip town. Either they really did lead more interesting lives than Derrick, or they heard about Derrick’s imitation of his mother through the grape-vine and quickly invented excuses to be out of town.

Actually, based on the timing of their other facebook activity, Gonga found it very unlikely that Sean and Tommy would be through the grape-vine about his Mom’s threat. In any case, no one else was available.

The only person besides Gogna not smart enough to get out of Dodge was Lilia. But then again, she wasn’t smart enough to get away from Derrick either.

The Textbook Game Blogger: Laura Prather

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bradford Pear Tree Vendetta

The chainsaw bucked in Gonga’s grip as its teeth bit into the tree stump. He withdrew the blade and began again, making a smooth incision into the wood. White petals fluttered down around him. The Bradford Pear tree shuddered and leaned to one side, then fell with a splinter of wood and a spray of petals. Gonga raised the chainsaw high above his head in triumph.

The sound of the engine was louder now.

Gonga groaned and rolled over, slowing coming to the realization that it was actually just a lawn-mower outside making the noise, and not the chainsaw he had been fantasizing about.

He tried to blink his eyes open, and failed. Snarling with frustration, he lurched out of his bed and stumbled to the bathroom where he turned on the hot water, then fumbled around for a rag. A few minutes later he finally managed to un-glue his eyelids and open then a crack.

An un-shaven, un-combed, puffy eyes gorilla with gunk running out the corners of his eyes and down his face greeted him from the mirror.

Oh, he hated Bradford Pear trees. If he could cut down the entire arboreal population in one fell swoop, he would do it. Even if it took him a year. People could whine about missing the pretty white flowers as much as they wanted. He would never miss the stench. Or the millions of tiny pollen particles that attacked his tear ducts and sinuses every spring.

Even a skunk would smell better than those things. Skunks at least never made anyone’s sinuses swell shut.


Gonga put the rag down on the sink.

A skunk would be a nice pet…

He pictured the adorable black and white striped creature curled up at the foot of his bed. He room-mates would probably stop short-sheeting the bed if he left his skunk on guard. He could even take her on campus with him! Then all the kids who thought is his shins as a kicking block would think twice.

Of course, he would probably have to get her glands removed. Otherwise she might get startled and spray someone by mistake. That could make your eyes swell shut.
And the odor that lingered afterwards?

Well. Anything beats Bradford Pear stench.

The Textbook Game Blogger: Laura Prather

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Music Therapy

Relaxation comes in many forms. Some will sit in front of a TV and watch sports mindlessly for hours. Others go to the games and drink themselves into oblivion. Some would rather drown their sorrows in ice-cream, or fried foods, or amusement parks. Still others prefer to plug in a good soundtrack and let the music dictate their emotions.

Gonga usually resorts to a combination of several of the above methods after a particularly hard day of work.

His worst work-days generally come in early spring when it’s just warm enough to ditch the jacket, and just crazy enough that you will probably run into wind, rain and a hail all within a couple hours of each other. Umbrellas while a nice idea in general, simply do not work for a job that requires you to use both hands to pass out flyers. And with Missouri wind, umbrellas seldom offer much protection.

Last Wednesday was a perfect example. Gonga was wet, cold and hungry from being outside all day long. It had been windy the entire day, and ended with a downpour. His last stack of flyers had gotten completely drenched, at which time Gonga decided to just go home.

There are few things on earth more soothing than a whole quart of Moose Tracks Ice-Cream enjoyed in solitude. Gonga only heightens the enjoyment factor by mixing in a couple of mashed bananas. Yes, he huddled in a blanket on the couch while eating his ice-cream. But then again, he was soaked to the skin from the rain and wind. So one can hardly blame him. Eating ice-cream might not have been the thing to warm him up, but it warmed his heart, which is what he needed at the time.

The cherry on top of the whole experience was the music his brother had given him for his birthday. It was the most beautiful, most relaxing, richest sound-track Gonga had heard in a long time. Yes, his brother admitted that he had discovered the music while playing a video-game. Gonga didn’t care. It was great music, and he was going to enjoy it!

The Textbook Game Blogger: Laura Prather

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Buck's Ice Cream

Gonga’s teeth chattered as the wind bit through his t-shirt. He had grabbed the t-shirt from the bottom of the clean shirt stack in his dresser, and it was decidedly the worse for wrinkles. He’d hoped that wearing a t-shirt and shorts would convince the weather to behave accordingly. But it seemed that the weather didn’t know that you were supposed to dress for the weather you wanted to have. Or was it, dress for the job you wanted to have? Oh well, it didn’t matter. The weather hadn’t co-operated and Gonga was shivering painfully as a result.

He’d promised to go get Buck’s Ice Cream with Derrick after his friend got out of class. But he was pretty sure that Derrick’s plans would change as soon as he felt the bite in the wind.

For now, he was hurrying down Hitt Street and making his way across campus.

Gonga decided that Tiger Stripe ice-cream was overrated. Sure, it was the school’s colors and all that. But yellow dyed vanilla with Oreo cookies really didn’t cut it with him. His ice-cream needed something more to it. Mango was great. But nothing beat Butter Pecan.

The thought of cool Butter Pecan sliding down his throat, and the little chunks of nuts crunching between his teeth made Gonga shiver in anticipation.

He shivered a second time in tribute to the wind. Missouri weather was ridiculous!

An Add Sheet sailed through the air and smacked Gonga in the face. Really? Ok, if Derrick chickened out on this one, Gonga was never going to let him live it down. That boy had better join him at Buck’s Ice Cream for death by hypothermia or he would never hear the end of it.

Gonga did a double take. Lilia, Derricks’ girlfriend, was sitting just inside the glass doors of the ice-cream shop.

Figures. He should just start expecting to see her show up everywhere. But he would really appreciate it if Derrick would let him know when she was invited.

Worse yet, now he knew Derrick would show up. No chance of him missing out on time with Lilia. Even in this weather. And now Gonga’s single opportunity to hold something over Derrick was gone.

The Textbook Game Blogger: Laura Prather