Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

We’re having a slightly soggy Tuesday here in central NJ, but at least it’s warm. Then again, what better weather to have on tax day? That’s right folks, it’s the dreaded April 15th. To all my non-US friends - April 15th is the deadline to file your state and federal income tax returns, a day all Americans hate.

Today is the last day for the raffle that’s running on my blog, so I spent precious time trying to locate where I put the ad, so I could post a reminder in all the zillion social media places I seem to belong. I have to be at work early today, and then I have my critique group tonight, so for the first time since NaNoWriMo started, I’m concerned I won’t make my word count for the day.

Although yesterday was productive, I only finished one chapter, and I was hoping to finish two. Where I left off, things were heating up between Kieren and Logan, and Sebastian, the cat, was MIA; but you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about because I have been so bad at posting chapters this time around. I owe you several at this point, and I will remedy that situation tomorrow. (I don’t want to have three blog posts in one day.)

I know you have no way of knowing this, but I just had a momentary detour from this blog post. I needed to take a break to bring Dani out to the bus. I realize she’s fifteen years old, and it’s not like I walk her to the bus stop and wait with her, but I do go outside. We usually wait at the top of our driveway, then when we see the bus round our corner, she gives me a kiss goodbye, and walks to the end of the driveway to get on the bus.

Well, this morning, I noticed a can on the lawn, so I handed it to her and asked if she would toss it into the recycle bin at the end of the drive. Today is recycle pick up day. Then, because my stomach has been a little funky for the past two days, I had to run in to use the bathroom, so I left her outside alone. No big deal right? She’s fifteen. What could happen?

I’ll tell you what could happen. While she was waiting, a van pulled in front of our driveway, and stayed there until they saw my daughter pull out her phone and start to back away. Then they sped off. It was me she was calling, and I ran outside, but the van was gone by the time I got out there. I only got about five seconds of explanation before her bus pulled up, and she left for school.

I hemmed and hawed, then decided that since she was so rattled by what had happened, I called our local police. I told the dispatcher I didn’t have many details, but I wanted them to be aware of what had happened. She said she was sending an officer over. Oh joy. There I am, in my nightgown and robe, hair sticking up on end, and she was sending someone over to my house. I asked her to give me ten minutes. I hopped into the shower and got dressed.
As soon as I walked out of my bedroom, my doorbell rang, and of course, Colby started barking his head off. I cracked the front door and told the officer I’d meet him outside. The last thing that poor man needed was to be covered in Colby fur for the whole day, because Colby would have jumped all over him, and kissed him, and would have wanted him to play. Crazy mutt!

On a side note, not for nothing, but we have the nicest, and best looking, police force anywhere. All of our men and woman are exceptionally good looking, and any time I’ve had to deal with any of them, they were so incredibly sweet.

Anyway, back to my story. I go outside to speak to the officer, tell him the minute amount of information I know, then he says he needs to speak to Dani. Sure, not a problem. I run in and get my phone, call her, and tell her he needs to speak to her. She wigs out. She doesn’t want to talk to him. She has told me everything she knows. The officer must have heard the tone of her voice, because he said she didn’t have to talk to him directly, and that I could ask the questions.

The van was a purplish blue. It was smaller than our van. It was older than our van. It had a snubbed front end. The windows were blacked out, even the front ones (which is illegal in our state). There was a roof rack. The license plate was white, but she didn’t get a number. There was movement in the front seat, so she was able to determine there were at least two people in the van.

Guess she didn’t quite tell me everything, huh? I was glad, after she calmed down, she was able to give quite a few details. Even though it still wasn’t a heck of a lot to go on, it was better than just “a van”. The officer said he would tell the other patrol cars, just in case the same van stops at any other bus stop, but he was pretty confident we had nothing to worry about.

Dani is not a little kid, and could, at a distance, be mistaken for an adult. There is construction and a detour at the end of our street. The person could have been stopping to ask for direction, then pulled away when they realized they had scared Dani.

I’d like to think it was innocent enough, but honestly, Dani doesn’t spook too easily, and something put her guard up. That, and the illegal blacked out windows doesn’t sit well with me either. Needless to say, I will be diligently watching my daughter, every morning, until she steps onto her bus.

Okay, if I have any hope of getting any work done on Faerie Tale Queen today, I had best get going. I hope y’all have a fabulous (and safe) day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Does this taste funny to you?

I’m going to preface this one by saying it is completely fiction. There isn’t an ounce of truth to it. It never happened, and if you know me, the chances of it ever happening are slim and none, and slim just left the building. Okay, here goes…

So, the other night, I went out with my girlfriends for a few drinks. Tammy had just landed her dream job, and we all got together to celebrate her good fortune. Now, I’m not much of a drinker. If it tastes like alcohol, I’m not drinking it. I have however, found a drink I enjoy. It’s a sea breeze, or bay breeze, or madras; I can never remember the right name, but it’s the one with pineapple, orange juice and cranberry juice.

We finish our first round of drinks amongst a lot of talking and laughing and carrying on, and then Tammy buys the six of us another round. I take my first sip of my second drink, and it tastes strange, but I figure it must be from the handful of bar snacks I had just chomped down. I take another sip. Nope, there’s something not quite right. I turn to Lisa, who’s sitting next to me, and ask her, “Does this taste funny to you?” She takes my drink and smells it, then asks if it has pineapple juice in it. When I tell her yes, she tells me she’s allergic to pineapple. So, I tell her not to worry about it. I take one last sip, then push the drink to the side. No sense in drinking it, if it doesn’t taste good.

After a few minutes, things started getting a little bizarre. The music and noise in the bar started to get really loud, and then muffled. The girls at my table became cartoonish, their mouths gaped as they laughed and their teeth became freakishly large. The last thing I remember is Tammy’s face melting off and a skeleton speaking to me, asking if I was alright.

The next thing I knew, it was the next day, and I was waking up in my own bed. I don’t remember anything else from that night, or how I got home. Oh, and did I mention the new Tweetie Bird tattoo on my butt?

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a story about a day in the park – but here’s the twist, you can only use dialogue…

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.