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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

x-x-x-x-x

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?"

None of them seemed to realize that my way was a lot more exciting than theirs. I mean, watching TV and playing catch was okay, but what about adventure and intrigue? Why settle for the ordinary stuff?

My mother told me to get a new hobby and stop being so nosy. Hey, thanks for the support, Mom! Way to encourage your kid!

Nobody else was very enthusiastic about my work, either. In high school, I found out Coach Waters was running numbers on our football games. Was anyone grateful he'd been caught and disciplined? No.

"Geez Mike, no one actually wanted to know that!" they all said.

Could I help it if I thought honesty and integrity actually mattered? Which was exactly what Coach Waters used to tell us, by the way, before his gambling problem got away from him…

Now I'm in college, which is full of all kinds of new challenges. When I turned in my Freshman year take-home English final to the professor, I also handed her the solution to the cipher she'd hidden in the questions.

She gave me this sort of dazed look. "What the hell is this?" she said.

So, yeah. I think she was impressed.

Sophomore year, I got kicked out of my fraternity when a couple of guys caught me peeking through the windows of the girls' dorm.

"Dude," the frat president said, "we talk about stuff like that, but we never actually do it. What the hell were you thinking? You know that that kind of behavior is totally creepy, right?"

Yeah? Two of those girls had a major pharmaceutical enterprise going on in their room, how about that?

"Oh, for crying out loud. Just—keep it to yourself, man, you know? Seriously. Don't dig the hole deeper."

That kind of response was all too typical.

"God, what is wrong with you?" people were always saying. "Why are you always looking for puzzles everywhere?"

Why? Because without those puzzles, what was the point of doing anything?

So now I'm a Junior, majoring in business and accounting. Total snooze-fest, right? But it doesn't have to be.

After graduation, I'll go work for some big corporate firm, or maybe the I.R.S. Wherever I wind up, I'll keep doing my own form of investigating.

I'll poke through records and paperwork and Internet trails, and anything else I can find. I'll keep at it day and night until I'll figure out what people are hiding, because believe me—everybody's hiding something. Everybody.

Even if they don't know it.


-- fin –


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Rebecca Sparrow Wanderlustrswndrlst on November 23rd, 2016 10:22 pm (UTC)

None of them seemed to realize that my way was a lot more exciting than theirs."


Wow, this was good. That ^ line jumped out at me because as a writerly type with a vivid imagination I legit like to pretend sometimes that I'm being followed or I'm a spy on a way to a rendezvous just because it's fun.


I like how sometimes he found real hidden secrets. This is funny and frightening and clever. Good job!


Edit: what does div mean?? it's a code thing right? i've seen used a lot lately and your story having to do with patterns and observations, i just had to ask



Edited at 2016-11-23 10:36 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 25th, 2016 08:18 pm (UTC)
It's nice to have that sense of play in everyday life-- it gives you a different perspective on things, not to mention being fun.

To be honest, we have had two different cats at times who sometimes run around scaring themselves for entertainment-- so you can see how widespread that appeal is!

I had to look up "div," because I think of it as pseudo-code for "divide" (vs. modulo), but you probably mean the HTML version? It allows you to group things under a particular style, where you state style elements in the opening statement, and then show where the block ends with the /div. It stands for "Divider" (as in, I've divided this document into sections. This one begins here).

There's a tutorial on it here that has a decent explanation and shows some examples of what the output looks like. Hope that helps!
Rebecca Sparrow Wanderlustrswndrlst on November 26th, 2016 01:47 am (UTC)

thanks so much for the information!


I have seen it used a lot recently as a verb that I have div'd(?) from the context to mean "to figure out"


as in:


"I'll keep at it day and night until I'll div out what people are hiding"


^.^

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 26th, 2016 06:58 am (UTC)
Oh-- that sounds more like "divine", as in "I'll figure out."

I haven't heard or seen anyone saying that, but then again... my slang is pretty far behind the times. :)