Very In-Character Dreams

Because I stayed up so late last night, I am now exhausted and am going to sign off as soon as I record these two dreams, because they’re both really funny, for how in-character everybody was in them.

In the first one, Cortney’s brother Matt, for some reason, looked just like Tom Riddle, and I somehow (no idea how, though) knew that he was a dark wizard.  But Cortney had no idea.  She just thought he was cool because he was her brother and he was a wizard.

So later, he was going to cast some spell that I knew was going to be evil, so I cast the blocking spell on him to prevent it.  When he raised his wand, I pointed mine at him and shouted, “Finite!”  (I pronounced it, “fin-EE-tay”…and although this sounds like an actual spell, I can’t remember if it is or not, and I’m fairly certain it is not a “blocking spell”.)

Cortney stared at me.  (Her brother was glaring, but she didn’t notice that, either.)  “What spell was that?” she said.

“Finite…the blocking spell,” I said.

“That isn’t the blocking spell.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it isn’t.  The blocking spell is finite.”  (She pronounced it, “FIGH-night”.  Her brother sort of faded into the background as we launched into the “Argument Sketch”.)

“No; it’s fin-EE-tay,” I said.

“No, it’s FIGH-night!  All right, spell it!”

“F-i-n-i-t-e,” I said.

“That’s FIGH-night!”

“No; it’s FIGH-night in English; in Latin, it’s fin-EE-tay.”

There was a pause as Cortney contemplated this.

“Oh…so I guess that’s why it never works for me,” she finally said.

I love when Cortney and I argue over language when I’m dreaming.

The other dream took place early in the morning when I kept waking up and falling back asleep.  I could hear the sprinkler running against the outside of my house right behind my bed.  A long time ago, I had no idea what this strange sound was and used to picture hands scraping against the outside of my house.  But then we stopped running the sprinkler during hours that I slept; this was a fluke.  Perhaps that is why, hearing it again for the first time in forever, I pictured zombies.

Anyway, so I dreamed that the world was invaded by zombies, right there as I was lying in my bed.  I was lying there thinking, I wonder how long I have before they get into my house and eat me or whatever.

Then I thought, I suppose I should try and save The Mormon.

I figured that it would take me an hour to get to his house, and if I kept speeding, I could probably run over a good amount of zombies on the way and not have my car broken into.  And they were all over.  It was really, really creepy.

So I somehow made it to my car and was running down all these zombies on the way to his house, which they were also surrounding.

I called his cell phone.  Fortunately, he answered, so I was not stuck by myself out in the middle of nowhere with all of them.  Then I would have freaked.

“I am not getting out of my car,” I said, “but I have come to rescue you.  I’m waiting outside.”

So he came out, fought off a few zombies on the way, and got in.

THIS IS SO COOL!” he said.  You could tell he really meant it.  The Mormon is obsessed with zombie movies.

THIS IS NOT COOL!” I said.  “THERE IS NOTHING COOL ABOUT THIS!”

And that was pretty much the end of that one.

I just thought Cortney and The Mormon were both very much in character for just a dream.

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Secrets Internalized

A while back I was sharing a short story with you all in serial form about a girl named Astrid.  It ended up being much longer than I expected, but I am pleased to report that it is finally complete and you may read it all for free here!  If you happen to check it out and so desire, there is a button near the bottom of the page that says “Kudos” and I have discovered that guests may use that, so that will bump my views, I believe.  Comments will help even more.  Thank you in advance!

For those who have not already seen the beginning, or do not remember, this is the story of a girl whose parents were casualties of a cruel war when she was a small child.  For her own safety, she keeps this secret from the entire world all her life.  Now, fresh after graduation, she is interning at the largest publication in Britain when she accidentally stumbles onto a terrorist plot.  Seeing an opportunity to get ahead at work, she opts to tread dangerous waters to follow the lead, battling addiction, trouble at work, and an abusive relationship along the way.

It also happens to be set in the Harry Potter universe, if that’s your thing.  Being familiar with the books would undoubtedly increase enjoyment of the story, but I suppose one could pick it up with only a cursory understanding of HP.

Be sure to drop me a line here or there to let me know what you think!

ch1

A Special Breed of Stupid

When I finished reading “News Flash” to the class the other day, L’Owen said, “I love that line—‘special breed of stupid’—I’m going to steal that.  Not for anything I’ll write, but just to say it to people in everyday conversation.”

Nicole thinks I should sell it to Happy Bunny.

Well, you heard it here first.  You hear that line anywhere else, you’ll know it was stolen from me.

When I stood up to read “News Flash”, and L’Owen said, “This is Ginny’s love poem,” Corey said, “Love?  Who does Ginny love, Harry Potter?”  Bwahahaha.

Then later, L’Owen commented that there are all these serious emotions about past high school relationships in our love poems, and that when he was in high school, he wasn’t serious about his relationships at all.  And this one girl told him, “That’s because you’re a special breed of stupid, Professor.”  Then she immediately hid her face and said, “Oh, I’m going to fail now.”

But he was laughing.  “No!” he said.  “No, on the contrary, I’m pleased that you felt comfortable enough to say that.  This is the kind of rapport I like to have with my students.”

So yeah, class was fun—sad, though.  It was the last time I will ever be in L’Owen’s class.  He got us pizza, and the pizza guy walked in with these big gold hoop pirate earrings, and L’Owen was like, “Hold on a second there—show the class your earrings.  Class, look at his earrings!”

I’m going to miss random stuff like that.  He told us he wanted to give a speech that he usually saves for the last day of class, but he left it at home.  Some speech Bill Murray gives in Rushmore, which I haven’t seen, but I found it online.  Goes like this:

“You guys have it real easy.  I never had it like this where I grew up.  But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country:  Rushmore.  Now, for some of you it doesn’t matter.  You were born rich and you’re going to stay rich.  But here’s my advice to the rest of you:  Take dead aim on the rich boys.  Get them in the crosshairs and take them down.  Just remember, they can buy anything but they can’t buy backbone.  Don’t let them forget it.  Thank you.”

I’ve got to see this movie.

There’s this really obnoxious guy at work who seemingly tries to piss us off just by staring stupidly when we tell him he can’t do something or we can’t do something for him.  He annoys the hell out of me.  I don’t like dealing with him.

Last week, he tried to give Michelle two plates, and she’d just been yelled at for that, so she told him no, and he stood there and stared at her for about ten more people before she finally told him, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that, just go and eat that one and then come back.”  And he walked off huffily.

I was complaining to my mom about this guy, and she said, “Maybe he’s mentally challenged.”

Perhaps it is politically incorrect of us, but we decided to treat him like he is whether he actually is or not.  We decided to start calling him The Waterboy.

Thursday night we had make-your-own-pizza night, and during a slow moment, Michelle came up to me and said, “I’ve been wondering what would happen if we cooked one of these pizzas with an ice cube on it.”

I said, “DOOO IIIIT!”

She said, “I’ve got to wait for just the right person, though,” and I was opening my mouth to tell her to wait for The Waterboy, when he walked in.

Well, it came out looking normal, but we’re hoping it tasted soggy and watery.  Jerk.

When I told Sandra, she said, “Oh, you should have done it to Rain Man, too!  You should have put about five ice cubes on his pizza.  That boy annoys me so much…!”

Sandra has been well-trained.  Unfortunately, Rain Man never came through the pizza line that night.

Thursday I took my first and last final for the semester.  It was in history, so when I gave the prof my test, she whispered, “Ginny, do you have any more classes to take with me?”

I whispered back that I’ll be at UNF next semester, and she said good luck and keep in touch.  I am going to miss her classes; she’s the greatest history teacher I ever had, and she’s so sweet.  Haha.

I arrived in English class half an hour late today, as everybody else was leaving, and the prof gave me my A and then he and a couple other girls sat around talking for the majority of the class period, mostly about holidays and such.  He was telling us how when he was a kid in like third grade, it was mandatory that the class get up and sing “Jesus Loves Me” every morning, and his father told him he couldn’t (because he’s Jewish).

It’s a weird feeling—these are some of my favorite teachers from college, I’m taking them all for the second or third time, and now I know I’ll never take any of them again because I’m switching schools.  Strange.

L’Owen offered us all letters of recommendation, so I think I’ll remember that for the future….

I was about to write about the dream I had this morning, when I realized I’ve already forgotten it.  I haven’t had time to refresh my memory this morning, so it just…didn’t stick.

But yesterday morning I had a dream about this huge plant that ate people.  What’s funny is, I think in my dream I actually said, “This is just like Little Shop of Horrors!”

Actually, it was worse, though, because this giant plant (way bigger than the one from the play) had X-ray vision and super-hearing and would slam its way through walls and such to get at people.  No warning at all, it would just suddenly burst through the ceiling and scoop you up in its mouth.  And it grabbed onto things with its vine and pulled itself along.  You couldn’t run or hide from the thing—it was very much like a horror movie.

I have very little else to talk about right now, so I’ll just post this, I guess.

Creepy Crushes

There’s this guy at work, Roy, who likes me.  He’s really creepy because all he does is stare at me all the time.  He’s one of those runners who brings refills on food when we run out.  So he can just stand there directly behind me for a really long time and nobody asks questions.  He reminds me of Norman Bates from Psycho, just because of how he stares.  It’s creepy, I’m telling you.  Then he really likes saying my name.  “Here, Ginny, let me get that for you” or “Ginny, do you need help with that?” or “Ginny, how are you today, Ginny?  It’s so great to see you, Ginny, because I’m in love with you Ginny” and OMGSTOPSAYINGMYNAMEIDON’TLIKEIT!

*Ahem.*  Now that that is out of the way.  But yeah, it seems like he goes out of his way to brush against me when he’s walking by, and to me it just seems like whenever he does something for me it’s like, “Ooh, I’m doing Ginny’s job” and I can’t ask him for refills on anything because I feel like it would look like I was coming onto him.

For the most part I just ignore the guy.  Don’t look at him, don’t speak to him, unless absolutely necessary.

Then there’s the other guy.  Craig.  I can’t remember if I wrote about him before, but I’m going to tell the story anyway because if I can’t remember then I’m sure none of you can, either.  He used to be obsessed with Cortney when she worked in the café like two years ago.  In fact, it was pretty much the same thing, always staring at her.  Then he found out she wanted to be a director and all he did from that point on was make random, inane comments about movies, I assume in a pitiful attempt to start a conversation.

Cortney invited him to her birthday lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s (why, I still don’t quite understand) and then was late, because she is Cortney.  But Nicole and Milo and I were already there, sitting in the car and waiting, and there was this creepy guy sitting outside and staring at us, and we kept joking about how creepy he was.  So when we finally decided to just go inside, he came up and said, “Hey, aren’t you Ginny?”

I was, so I said so, and he explained that he was Craig, whom I’d never met, and now we all felt better because that explained why he’d been staring.

I told Cortney the story later, because we thought it was funny that we found him creepy when we didn’t even know who he was, and after a brief silence, Cortney said, “How did he know who you were?”

Well, that was eerie enough, until I realized he must have seen pictures in her wallet or something, and said so.  But Cortney didn’t have any pictures in her wallet.  *Twilight Zone theme*

Craig works nights now.  And he knows that I’m one of Cortney’s best friends, and that we’re obsessed with Harry Potter.  About a week ago, he came up to me and said, “So, you excited about that new HP movie coming out?”

I was, of course.  I told him, but I was thinking, “Oh…crap.”

Last night he said, “So I hear the new HP movie’s going to be all about Voldemort.”

I, of course, had known this for many months already, but agreed that it sounded really cool.

As he walked away, the other creep came and stood directly behind me to stare at me some more, and I laughed out loud at the irony of it all.

And that is all for now.  It seems like there was more, but if I remember anything, I’ll post it later tonight.  For now I am signing off to drive to work in the lovely cold weather.

Unrelated Things I Can’t Get A Title Out Of

Last night, while reading a bit of Goblet of Fire to Brother as he ate, I noticed something funny I never had before.  Ron is complaining to Hermione about him and Harry having to go to the Yule Ball with “a couple of trolls”, and Hermione suggests he take Eloise Midgen, whose acne “is loads better now”.  Ron looks at her disgustedly and says, “Her nose is off-center.”  I always just thought that was a really funny line, that he was coming up with this dumb excuse not to take somebody who didn’t interest him at all, when I finally connected the line with another one in Philosopher’s Stone, when they’re discussing some sort of spell or plant (I think it was a plant, because I think it was Sprout who said this) that was supposed to cure pimples, and Eloise Midgen used it wrong or something, “but they were able to fix her nose back on in the end”. I  can’t believe it took me so long to notice that.  It’s hilarious.

I was reading an interview with Danny Elfman about why he didn’t want to do another Spidey, and why he didn’t foresee himself ever working with Sam Raimi again.  Apparently, Raimi became really controlling and psycho during the filming of Spidey2; the term Danny used was “micromanager”.  He wanted to do everybody else’s jobs for them; Danny said he was never like that before, that he had changed since the last time they’d worked together.  Anyway, so they couldn’t agree on anything, and Raimi wanted Danny to write something like this one cue from Hellraiser, but Danny couldn’t get close enough, and he said he wasn’t going to fucking steal Christopher Young’s work, and if they wanted Christopher Young, to just fucking hire him.  So they did, but then Christopher Young couldn’t even get close enough to his own cue to satisfy Raimi, so they just bought the rights to that single cue and used it.  I found this hilarious.  I just had this whole image of this tyrannical Raimi going insane.  “Get me that cue!  I want it!  I don’t care if it kills you!  GET IT!!”

So I wrote an official note to Dann today asking for my old Sunday through Thursday schedule back.  Hopefully this will be granted.  Otherwise, I might just snap.

I’ve been writing a lot lately.  It’s kind of worn me out temporarily.  So I’m going to stop here for tonight.

Anything for the Story

Whether or not you’ve been following along (and if you have, you know I love you bunches right now), here’s the newest section of Secrets Internalized!  I’d love to hear about it if you’re enjoying the story or even if you have a constructive critique!  If you’d like to start reading it from the beginning, here are the previous parts:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10

~~*~~

Two weeks passed in much the same way.  Rita left Astrid largely to her own devices and Astrid worked overtime to churn out stories no one cared about, while Rita stole the recognition for any actually noteworthy pieces for herself.

One night when Astrid thought she couldn’t take it anymore, she stormed to Adrian’s desk at the end of her shift, teeth bared and hair askew, and growled, “Let’s go.”

“All right,” he said, wide-eyed, “let me just clear up my things.”

They headed to the Leaky Cauldron, where Astrid immediately ordered drinks for both of them before unleashing all her pent-up aggravation.

“She doesn’t even look at me when I pass her, Adrian!  Won’t even acknowledge my presence!  She’s supposed to be my boss!  I’m supposed to be able to look up to her!  Glean inspiration!  And everything I do is just wrong, might I add!  She finds a hundred things to nitpick out of every story I put out!  And then when I try to do something the way she told me to do it, suddenly that’s the wrong way to do it, too!  And it’s all my fault because how could I have been stupid enough to misunderstand her the first time?  I don’t even know anymore if the problem is me or her!  I mean, it must be me, right, because everyone loves her, so clearly I’m missing something!  I mean, is she just screwing about with my head, or am I really that pathetic?”

Adrian watched somberly throughout this diatribe and spoke up when Astrid paused for breath.

“Yeah, I thought this might happen,” he said.  “You’re not the first, you know.  I’ve seen four interns walk out because they couldn’t deal with her anymore.  And yes, she’s definitely screwing with your head.  Don’t even think you’re pathetic because you’re not!  You do good work with what you’re given to work with!  I’ve seen it!”

Astrid let forth a scream of rage at this.  “And that’s the other thing!” she said.  “I know I’m only just starting, but how am I ever supposed to advance from under her?  With her constantly shitcanning me to everyone above her, how can I ever get ahead?”

“You’re resourceful!  You’ll think of something.  And I doubt she’s shitcanning—”

“I’ve heard her!” Astrid interjected.

“Well…even so.”  He looked uncomfortable.

As Astrid began to devour her toad-in-the-hole, she happened to glance over into the same corner she had spotted Barty Crouch, Jr. in a couple weeks before and found him again, this time dining alone.  It was then that the hatchling of an idea began to come to her.  Resourceful.  Yes, she was resourceful.  If Rita was going to actively work to stunt her career at the Prophet, then maybe…maybe she would just find the story of the century on her own.

She continued to eat her supper, this time without taking her eye off him.  After a while, Adrian noticed and turned to look where she was watching.

“What are you staring—blimey, it’s Barty again!”  He looked back at her, suspicious.  “What’s your obsession with him all of a sudden, anyway?”

“What?  I’m not obsessed!”

“Yeah, you went on about him strangely a while back and now you can’t keep your eyes off him.  Are you in love or something?  I know he was interested in you back at Hogwarts—”

“Not love,” Astrid said, “just…interest.”  She found Adrian’s suspicious a useful cover for her real intentions.

“Well, go and talk to him, then.  What have you got to lose?”

“I’m just nervous, that’s all.  We haven’t been close for years.”

“So rekindle something!”

“There was no kindling there in the first place.  We were just friends, that’s all.”

“Friends, right.  I remember how he stopped speaking to you when you started seeing Dirk all those years ago.”

She took out her wallet, prepared to pay in case she had to get up in a hurry, and just in time, too, for at that moment, Barty stood up.  She hurriedly threw some cash on the table.

“I’ve got to go, Adrian, sorry!”

“Now?”  He turned back to look at Barty.  “Oh, I see.  Best of luck to you, then!”

Astrid downed a shot of Firewhisky and bade Adrian a quick farewell before chasing after Barty, heart pounding against her chest.  Anything for the story, right?

~~*~~

The next section is here!

Astrid’s First Byline

Here’s the next section of the story, which I am titling Secrets Internalized.  Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t seen them, please check out the previous sections here:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9

~~*~~

Half an hour later, Astrid found herself hailing the Knight Bus to a small country lane near Sussex.  The sun was high, but the temperature was mild for a June day, and she found herself enjoying the walk to her destination.  A smell like wisteria greeted her coyly, and she could hear bumblebees from the green field beside the dirt lane.  Reaching the address written in her notebook, she knocked on the door to a large two-story dwelling.

For a moment, nothing happened.  Astrid knocked again, certain she had heard a sound from inside, and the door was opened by a round young woman with rosy cheeks and a pleasant smile.

“Sorry, love, had to get my pasties out of the oven!  What can I do for you?”

“I’m Astrid Featherley,” Astrid said, holding out her hand, “from the Daily Prophet.  I’m following a lead about magically modified pumpkins?”  She made the last part a question, feeling nervous and slightly unsure of herself.

The woman’s face lit up.  “Of course!” she said.  “Do come in!  I’m Emma Tarts.  Would you care for some refreshment? T here’s fresh pumpkin juice.  And pasties!”

“Oh…no, thanks,” said Astrid, “I’m only here on business.”

“Oh, but this is the business you’re here about, isn’t it?  You might as well,” Emma said, already leading the way into a cheerfully decorated kitchen.  She pulled out a chair for Astrid and made for the cupboard, where she removed two plates and two glasses.

“Well…I suppose it’d be foolish not to,” Astrid said, relaxing a bit and allowing a small smile.

“Right you are, dearie,” said Emma, scooping two pasties onto the plates and setting one before Astrid.  “Careful!  This one’s still piping hot!  Best let it cool a bit first.  Here’s some juice while you wait.  Auntie Emma makes only the best!”

You’re Auntie Emma!?” Astrid said, instantly recognizing the biggest name in pumpkin juice in Britain.  What luck!  This lead wasn’t such a dud, after all.

“Yes, that’s right!  I own Auntie Emma’s Finest Pumpkin Juice.”

“You have one of the most popular culinary brands in the country.  Why are you seeking an interview with the Prophet now?” said Astrid, readying her quill.

“Well, perhaps Witch Weekly would have been the more logical choice.  However, my main goal was to bring a little light to the world, and the paper has been such an awfully dark place of late.”  She shuddered.  “And after that latest attack this morning…well, the time is definitely ripe for some cheer, wouldn’t you say?”

“Undoubtedly,” said Astrid.  “How do you propose to do that?”

“I try to do my little part every day to bring some joy into people’s lives.  But I’d like to play a more active role.  I’d like to teach gardening classes to anyone who wants them.”

“You mentioned in your message to the Prophet that you had learned how to magically modify the way a plant grows, to control its flavor?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Aren’t you concerned someone might steal your secret recipe?”

“Oh, no, dear, my recipe is patented.  That isn’t a concern.  But I’d like to help others learn how to create more beautiful—and tasty!—things.  Together I think we can make the world a better place, in our own small ways, by enriching the senses.”

“What can you tell me about the modification process?”

Astrid discussed herbology, cooking, and positivity with Auntie Emma until well into the afternoon before apparating back to the Prophet to prepare her story.  Working diligently, she was able to spin together the uplifting piece she thought Auntie Emma was hoping for before the deadline for the next morning’s paper.  Sure, it wasn’t front-page-worthy, but she had worked hard on it and produced a first story that she could be proud of.

She awoke and prepared for work eagerly the next morning, curious to see whether her story would have made it into the paper anywhere.  To her surprise she found it, not near the end, but in the middle.  She read it carefully.  It had been trimmed a bit for length, but nothing else had been tampered with.  She couldn’t resist a self-satisfied smirk as she sat at her desk.

Rita hadn’t even bothered to greet her yet that morning.  In fact, when Astrid had walked past her upon entering the building, Rita had not even acknowledged her.  If she had seen Astrid’s piece, she hadn’t been inclined to comment.  Astrid could see her sitting at her desk.  She couldn’t be sure, but it almost seemed Rita was blatantly ignoring her.

Astrid took the initiative and approached.

“Good morning,” she said.

Rita did not look up.  “Hello,” she said, sounding harassed.

“I’m just going to work on my file, then, this morning, shall I?” Astrid said.

“Oh, yes.  You can add this stack to it,” Rita said, handing her another manila folder nearly as thick as the day before, and turning back to her work without another word.

“I’ll let you know if I need anything,” Astrid said, heading back to her desk.

She was surprised to spot the Editor walking over to Rita’s desk a moment later.  Perhaps Rita had been unbelievably busy, much too busy to make eye contact with Astrid, a moment before, but all of that was forgotten as she looked up and began fawning all over the Editor.

“Hesiod!” Astrid heard her drawl.  “How are you this morning?”

They made boring small talk for a while, Rita’s work long forgotten, before Hesiod said something that drew Astrid’s attention again.

“That new intern you have published something quite unique this morning!”

Astrid saw Rita hesitate for the merest of seconds, glance over, and lock eye contact with her.

“Did she?” Rita said, her smile fading ever so slightly.

“Oh, yes!  Whoever would have thought such a light, feel-good piece could come from a simple story about pumpkins?”

Rita grinned.  “Of course, I put her onto the thing.”

Hesiod guffawed.  “Did you?”

“Indeed!  Scoop and spin!”

“I might’ve known!”  Hesiod chortled again.  “Nothing gets past the Queen of the Quills!”

“It certainly doesn’t,” Rita said, smiling in Astrid’s direction.

“Well, better get to it!” Hesiod said, and walked past Astrid’s desk without so much as a glance in her direction.

~~*~~

Find the next section here!