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22 November 2016 @ 11:34 pm
LJ Idol Season Ten: "Chasing The Dream"  
Chasing The Dream
idol season ten | week 1 | 754 words
I need the struggle to feel alive


People say that nothing ever happens in small towns, but I think they're just not paying attention.

Something was always going on in my town if you looked hard enough, and me? I always did.

It started when I was eight, and my mother would send me on errands to the corner store. "We need milk and eggs," she would say, counting out money to pay for the food and dashing off a quick note to the grocer.

I would go to the store and gather the things she'd asked for, and show the note to the man behind the counter. I couldn't read the note—my mother always wrote in cursive—and the grocer never said anything, but I knew those notes were secret messages. Maybe my mother was reporting on the day's activities on our street, or maybe something extra was packaged in with the food and sent home with me. Either way, I was the courier of something bigger than a simple errand.

At ten, I biked to my friends' houses over a network of ever-changing routes, in case I was being followed. I never carried anything more valuable than a couple of quarters for ice cream, but for all they knew, I could have been carrying information for my mother. Whoever "they" might have been.

I kept a diary—in code—of the things I saw around town and what I thought they meant. The mayor's wife went to the liquor store a lot—was she smuggling alcohol somewhere? Billy Traskell was taking violin lessons and he didn’t even play in the school orchestra. What was he hiding?

My friends never joined me in uncovering any of these secrets, and they weren't particularly interested in what I found.

"God, not this again," Pete would say if I suggested biking downtown to watch the comings and goings at City Hall for a few hours.

Ted Barker was no help, either. "Can't you just have, like, a normal life?" Read more...Collapse )

If you liked this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

encrefloueencrefloue on November 28th, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy this character! Would love to read a longer narrative of any of his anecdotes.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 28th, 2016 10:19 pm (UTC)
Can you imagine knowing someone like this? "There's a hidden message in today's crossword puzzle." "No, there isn't." "How do you know? I'll bet I can find one!"

And if the message is "hornet bubblegum," you can see the person extending THAT: "Trap the hive!" or "No, thwart troublemakers" or "Make treats painful."

That's the beauty of finding messages where they don't exist-- there's no way to know which random interpretation of the non-event is correct either!
(no subject) - encrefloue on November 29th, 2016 02:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
Rebeccabeeker121 on November 28th, 2016 11:50 pm (UTC)
I shudder to think what Mike would find in my accounting entries, my accidentally capitalized comment could set off an sudit to end all audits.

This was fun, I enjoyed your narrators' confidence.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 29th, 2016 07:31 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Remember, it's not punctuation-- it's a flag. At least, for the right auditor. :O
dmousey: pic#125576541dmousey on November 29th, 2016 03:10 am (UTC)
Mike would love forensic accounting! Way to bring someone to life without ever revealing any information on him except his name! The inner dialogue enough to build with. I enjoyed this! ::hugs:: and peace~~~D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 29th, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC)
Forensic accounting! That even sounds appealing to ME, and accounting has never seemed all that interesting to me before. :D

Thanks for reading. :)
yuniebabyyuniebaby on November 29th, 2016 04:22 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. The pacing was quick and the narrator/protagonist likable in a kinda crazy sort of way. A fun read!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 29th, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! He's not really malicious, more sort of obsessed and kind of weird. :O
penpusher: Penpenpusher on November 29th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Harry The Spy! Totally laugh out loud, and some nicely placed truths in there between the peeping and the spying.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 29th, 2016 08:07 pm (UTC)
Haha! Can you tell that I loved "Harriet the Spy" as a kid? Though this is a frightening place for it to lead. OTOH, when you find true things, how will you ever stop digging?
Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on November 29th, 2016 08:11 pm (UTC)
Love! This!

I was about halfway through before I realized this isn't you, this is fiction. So good on you!

A very innovative take on the prompt.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 29th, 2016 08:25 pm (UTC)
Haha! Oh, thank goodness it isn't me. Not that some of this isn't a little tempting, which is kind of unsettling. :O

But no, I am saner than this. Mostly. ;)
(no subject) - murielle on November 29th, 2016 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 1st, 2016 12:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
tijuanagringotijuanagringo on November 30th, 2016 01:43 am (UTC)
I think I like this guy, this narrator, "Mike" -- because he has talent and drive and a sweet obsession to find the truth, no matter what.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2016 02:01 am (UTC)
Haha! He IS talented, isn't he? Woe to those he encounters!

Thanks for reading. :D
(no subject) - tijuanagringo on November 30th, 2016 02:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
magazhchimagazhchi on November 30th, 2016 05:29 am (UTC)

I really enjoyed this tale. Childhood eccentricities and weird notion that we all grow up with.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2016 06:58 am (UTC)
Thank you! Oh, so many of us invent such fascinating, complicated worlds in our childhoods, all of them seemingly more interesting than the backyard corner we actually have.