status update

book, inspiration, life, motivational, writing

Since beginning the editing process, it’s become clear words and actions are two very separate things. The process seems straight forward: re-read, correct grammar, fix plot holes, format, create e-book, publish. These steps are so misleading.

The first three steps alone are intertwined and can go back and forth. It takes a long time to even finish these, because you can fix and tweak forever. It creates a sense of unrest. You get impatient. You want to get a move on and start formatting and making it pretty. You’re sick of your eyes glazing over and burning from reading words on a screen for hours at a time. But it’s worth it.

I really want to run ahead and start of the cover, the look, but the foundation has to be sturdy, reworked, crafted to last. Working towards publishing a book really makes you learn patience.

Aside from patience, the other nerve-wracking part has got to be that someone else is going to beta read and critique the book. Someone who hasn’t read these words a hundred times, a fresh pair of eyes is going to take in everything. The biggest fear is rejection, that your work doesn’t measure up. Simply, that it isn’t good.

But you have to tell yourself that you are good. You need to believe that you have done your best and that is the best you can do. You need to remain confident in your ability and your vision.

-Collins

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story excerpt titled “Tropicana” part 2 (unfinished)

fiction, life, shortstory, story, writing

Chapter 2 – Dine and Dash

          Rosie and I had headed to a craft store to buy the needle and thread, and to a liquor store down the street for vodka. The clerk doesn’t look twice at me as I handed over the money. I guess serving minors is more of a guideline than an actual rule. Or maybe with all I’d just been through, I looked like I’d aged at least two years. The only money I had were a few bills stuffed in my back pocket, and by the time we are done buying ‘medical’ supplies, a new shirt for me, and a couple candy bars, all I have left is a couple bucks. Rosie leads me behind the convenience store and has me lay on some crates that resemble a makeshift operating table. Comforting.

I strip off my bloodied shirt and stretch out across the crates, frowning when little splinters of wood chafe against the skin on my back. Rosie pulls the clear vodka bottle, along with a shiny needle and a spool of thread, out of a plastic bag and places them neatly beside me.

“Ok, first things first.” She screws the lid off the vodka and holds her hand out to cradle my arm. Reluctantly, I place my arm in her grip, biting my lip.

“This might hurt a little,” she says.

I grit my teeth and stare up at the sky between the slates of the fire escape above me. “Just do it.”

Rosie pours vodka over the gash and it’s like she’s pouring gasoline, then lighting it on fire. Pain courses up my arm and I stifle a cry. When she finishes disinfecting she picks up the thread, and expertly threads the needle. “Ready?” she asks.

“Not really. But go ahead.”

Rosie’s brows furrow in concentration as she pokes the needle into my skin. I feel nauseous and turn my head away. I can’t watch. “Distract me please,” I blurt between clenched teeth.

“How?”

“Tell me about yourself.”

Rosie sews while she talks. “Well, I don’t really know what to tell.”

“Anything. How’d you get mixed up with a guy like Rigo?”

“My mother moved my sister, Gloria, and me to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. She has ___ and wasn’t able to work, so foster care took us away from her and separated us. I got thrown into an orphanage and I don’t know where Gloria went.” Rosie swallows hard before continuing. “The people at the orphanage beat me, so I ran away. I was living on the streets, scrounging for food when Rigo found me.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he told me a girl as pretty as me didn’t belong on the streets. He said he had a steady job for me and I would be safe.” She sighs. “But of course I didn’t know it would be growing pot. And soon after I started, Rigo started getting really friendly.” A muscle in my jaw twitches with disgust as she goes on. “I tried to leave, but he wouldn’t let me. I’ve been stuck there ever since. Until you saved me, that is.” When I look over she smiles at me. “Thank you.”

“But you don’t have anywhere to go. I landed you back on the streets again. I haven’t really helped you, have I?”

“Oh but you did. I’m going to find my mother. I’m nineteen. I can get a job and I’ll be able to support us.”

“Do you know where she is?”

Rosie leans down and ties a knot, snipping the extra thread off with her teeth. “I snuck into the main office at the orphanage once, where they keep all the files. I found mine, and it said her last known address was in _____, a few miles outside of LA.”

“That’s great!”

“Yeah, we’re going to be a family again. And once we have money, I’ll be able to hire someone to find Gloria.”

Rosie looks triumphant as she admires her handy work. “All done. That could possibly be the best patch job I’ve ever done.”

My eyes are wide as I look at Rosie. “You’ve stitched up other people before?”

Her laugh rings clear as church bells. “No, which is why this is my best work.”

I grin at her joke as I inspect my arm. “Well done.” Rosie hands me the clean shirt and I pull it over my head.

“You should probably eat, before you pass out or something.” She hands me a candy bar. “You look pretty pale.”

“Thanks.”

I bite into the chocolate and peanuts, chew and then swallow, before I speak. “So we have to figure out what do for a few hours until we meet up with Essy.”

“Well, we should stay off the streets until it starts getting dark.” She looks at me, “Maybe we should stay here for a while. You look exhausted.”

I am about to protest when she walks over and crouches in front of me, wagging a finger. “Uh uh. You are beat, take a nap and recharge. I’ll wake you if anyone comes.”

I hadn’t realized how tired I was until Rosie brought it up, but I wasn’t about to nod off and leave her defenceless in some alley.

She purses her lips when I don’t comply. “At least stretch out, you don’t have to sleep.”

I lay back down on the crates, propping my injured arm across my stomach. “Happy?”

“Ecstatic,” she says as she sits down on the concrete, her back against the crates.

I last about 30 seconds before my eyelids droop shut, and sleep covers me like a warm blanket.

“Tizzy?”

My eyes snap open and I see that the sky is dark and speckled with stars. I press the heel of my palm into my eyes. “Why didn’t you wake me sooner? What time is it?”

“6:45. I checked the clock in a shop a couple doors down. We should get going.” She holds out a hand and pulls me into a sitting position.

“One problem,” I say as I rake my fingers through my hair, “I just realized I don’t know where the Crescent Moon Diner is.”

Rosie smiles. “Well, then I guess you’re lucky you have me. Come on, it’s four blocks east of here.”

She takes my hand and leads me out onto the sidewalk and we walk in the shadows with our heads down, all the way to the diner.

It doesn’t take us long to reach the diner. In fact, we make it there before Essy. Turns out the Crescent Moon is one of those retro diners. The sign outside was a big flashing neon blue moon. Inside, everything is black, and white, and red. The booths are vinyl, the floor is checkered tile, and there is a juke box in the corner. The waitresses wear poodle skirts and horn-rimmed glasses. Our waitress, Peggy-Sue, according to her name-tag, leads us to a booth in the corner, away from the evening crowd.

“Can I get you anything to drink?” Peggy-Sue asks as she hands us menus.

“Just water. We’re waiting for one more to join us,” I say.

“Outta sight!” Peggy-Sue says as she departs to get us our drinks.

Rosie waits before the waitress leaves to speak. “It’s after seven, shouldn’t Essy be here already?”

“He’ll be here.”

We sit in awkward silence, stealing glances at each other across the table, before Rosie says something.

“It’s almost half past Tizzy. I don’t like this.” Rosie frowns. “Maybe the police got him.”

I don’t like this either. Essy is never late. I am about to suggest we leave, when Essy waltzes into the diner. He spies us, and quickly heads towards our table.

“You guys weren’t about to leave me hanging, were you?” He asks as he slides into the booth beside Rosie. She immediately shrinks away from him.

“I could ask you the same thing,” I say.

Essy’s eyes are darting toward the windows constantly, and his hands are balled into fists on the table, a nervous tendency he’s had since I’ve known him. I lean over the table. “Essy, what is it? What’s wrong?”

Essy grabs the straw wrapper from Rosie’s drink and folds it over and over itself like an accordion. Rosie eyes him cautiously. “We’ve got problems.”

I chuckle. “Tell me about it.”

“No man, real problems. The police are the least of our worries.”

“What are you talking about?” Rosie asks.

Essy looks over at Rosie, eying her like a Chihuahua that just won’t stop barking. He turns his attention back to me. “Rigo,” he says simply.

“What about Rigo?”

“He found me this afternoon. I was hiding out at this abandoned house on ____ street. Rigo, Bronco, and a few other goons grab me while I’m sleeping. I wake up to a punch in the face.” It isn’t until he mentions it, that I notice a bruise forming under his right eye. “Rigo’s in my face, yelling at me.”

“Yelling at you about what?” I ask.

“About you, Tizzy. He thinks that you’re the one who tipped off the police about his operation. Why else would they have raided his place the same night you showed up? At least that’s what he thinks.”

Rosie’s lip trembles while she speaks. “Well he’s wrong! Did you tell him it wasn’t Tizzy?”

“I tried to. I said Tizzy would never do that, but he wouldn’t believe me. I managed to escape, but he’s looking for me, for you! He’s out for blood.”

I slump back against the booth. I can’t believe any of this is happening. Fear seizes my lungs, making it hard to breathe.

Tears roll silently down Rosie’s cheeks.

Essy’s words echo over and over in my mind. He’s out for blood.

*****

I have a hard time swallowing the meatloaf I had ordered. Rosie and Essy eat hastily across from me. Essy’s eyes constantly dart toward the windows. Unable to eat anymore, I shove my plate away and lace my fingers in my lap. Once Essy pays the bill, we head out, heads down. We walk down the sidewalk, sticking to the shadows. I don’t know where we’re walking.

Rosie breaks the silence first. “So what’s the plan?” she asks, looking at the ground as she does.

Essy walks with his hands in his pockets. “We need to get out of L.A. obviously.”

“Easier said than done.” I roll my eyes. “Neither Rosie, or I, have any money.”

“You never were a visionary.”

“Thanks,” I reply sarcastically. I stop dead in my tracks, as something occurs to me. “Essy, what did you mean by ‘we, need to get out of L.A.’? Rigo’s not after you.”

Rosie watches him coldly as he replies. “Guilt by association. I brought you to his place. I said he could trust you, and he thinks I lied.”

“But he doesn’t think you called the cops? That you were in on it?”

Essy shrugs. “If he did, I’d be dead right now, not walking around with just a black eye.”

I mull this over. “Okay. Well we need to catch a bus to take us to the train station. And we’ll need to get you guys different clothes. Oh, and money. That’s probably the most important thing.”

“I got the last part of the problem covered.” Essy pulls a wad of bills from the pocket of his hoodie.

Rosie’s eyes bug out, and my mouth falls open. I grab the money as I exclaim, “Where did you get this?”

“Rigo’s stash. I grabbed it on my way out during the raid. Figured it might come in handy.”

“Won’t Rigo kill you if he finds out you stole from him?”

“Emphasis on ‘if.’” Essy cracks a smile. I grin back.

He shoves the money back into his hoodie. “It’s late, so we should stay at a motel. We can get a good night’s sleep, change of clothes, and make a plan for tomorrow. On me of course. How’s that sound?”

I glance at Rosie for her agreement before I reply. “Sounds like a plan.”

Essy leads us to a cheap motel that doesn’t ask questions, and in a matter of minutes my head hits a pillow and I’m out like a light.

The smell of coffee greets me when I wake the next morning. I sit up and blink my eyes a few times. We didn’t want to squander our money, so we opted for a single room. I had slept on a pull out bed, and I am pretty sure I’ll have permanent dents in my back from the springs that jutted uncomfortably up through the mattress. Rosie had slept on the small twin size bed, and Essy on the floor.

I yawn and stretch my arms over my head. “Do I smell coffee?”

“You sure do,” Essy says as he hands me a Styrofoam cup with steaming black liquid inside.

I take a long swig, and the caffeine hits me like a bolt of lightning, jolting me completely awake. “Where’s Rosie?”

“Taking a shower. You should probably have one after, you smell like . . . well, I don’t know how to describe that odour exactly.”

I roll my eyes and take another sip of my coffee.

“Oh I found some muffins at the breakfast buffet, if you’re hungry.” Essy points to a plate on the end table beside the bed.

My stomach rumbles in response and I quickly grab a carrot muffin, downing it in a matter of seconds. I grab another muffin and sit on the bed beside Essy. “So what are we going to do today?”

“I just got off the phone with the train station. They have a train headed to _____ today at 4 pm. I figure that’s out best bet.”

I remember that Rosie’s mother’s last known address is in ______. I want to help her find her mother, it’s the least I can do considering what she’s been through. She deserves a fresh start. “Are there any trains going to _____?” I ask.

“Why would we want to go there?” _____ is a way safer bet.”

I roll the empty cup between my palms. “Well, I sort of want to help Rosie find her mother. There’s nothing left here for her now. She’s helped me so much, I need to return the favor.”

Essy’s face grows grin. “Tizzy, don’t let some girl derail our plan. That’s great that she helped you, but we need to go to ____. I have a contact up there that can help us disappear. If we go to ____ we’ll be sitting ducks.”

I consider this. “I guess you’re right.”

Essy smiles. “I’ve always been the voice of reason.”

Rosie opens the door to the bathroom. She’s wearing new jeans and a denim jacket over a red polo. Her hair is damp, and hangs around her face in dark tendrils. Her cheeks are flushed from the hot water. “You can have a shower now, Tizzy.”

I stare awkwardly at her. “Geez, Rosie, you look great. Where’d you get the new clothes?”

Rosie’s cheeks deepen as she glances down. “Essy took me to a thrift shop beside the motel while you were sleeping. We picked up some clothes for you too.” She points at a bag on the floor beside the door.

I grab the bag and head to the bathroom. “Great, thanks.” Rosie moves quickly out of the doorway as I pass.

I goan in ecstasy. The hot water dulls the aching I feel in my neck and back. It numbs the pain I feel in my arm. I clean the crusted blood from my cut and wash my hair. Once I am thoroughly clean, I spend the next 15 minutes standing under the hot water until it runs cold. I towel dry my hair and slip into my new clothes: jeans, a blue t-shirt and a black pullover. The jeans are a little too big, so I take one of my shoes laces and thread it through the belt loops.

When I emerge from the bathroom, Essy and Rosie are packing bottles of water and supplies into a couple of backpacks.

-Collins

quote of the day

advice, inspiration, life, love, motivational, quote, quote of the day

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”

Our job in life is not to make people around us feel lesser. If we are here, we mind as well make life a little brighter. If you have the opportunity to do that for someone else, do it. Cheer them up, comfort them, lend a hand, offer help, do whatever they need in order to feel better. Nothing feels better than that warm feeling around your heart when you truly help someone. So instead of tearing someone down, build them up. People will think of you as someone to remember, because chances are they haven’t had many people do that.

-Collins

Change with the leaves

inspiration, life, motivational, random

015So autumn is here, which means a lot of things. The leaves have changed to rustic browns, tangy oranges, and mellow yellows. They’ve transformed the landscape into a passionate and fiery transition to winter.

Every year around this time, I like to reflect. I like to take a look back at what I’ve accomplished this year, what I’m proud of, and what I want to change. With the year coming to a close, I always want to take the opportunity to see where I’m at.

I like to take a look at my lifestyle. Have I made the changes I wanted to make? Have I achieved the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year? Have I treated myself well?

Then I reflect on my academic progress. I know the struggles I’ve won, the obstacles I’ve overcome, and though things got difficult at times, I remember that I made it through. I praise myself because I need to remember I have the strength to make it through.

What about my relationships? I take a look at the relationships in my life. Are the friends I have healthy? Do they add positivity to my life? Do they create the kind of atmosphere I want to be around? Do they make me better? I consider if there are any people I should cut loose.

Finally, I take a look back at the things I did to push myself out of my comfort zone. What things did I do the test myself? Did the outcome of taking those chances make me grow? Were they positive or negative experiences?

I often feel a weight lifted off my shoulders when I can break down everything and analyze it. I can pinpoint where I have excelled and where I have fallen short. It’s a chance to re-evaluate how life is progressing and remind yourself that you are doing a good job, doing the best you can, and growing. You can change your colors with the leaves.

-Collins

status update

inspiration, life, motivational, status update, writing

So Turner and I have half a chapter left to write and then we are finished Unit 17. Of our three projects, this is the one we feel confident in pursing to publish. We will be working with a beta reader and also try to design a cover. So surreal. And terrifying.

In a week, we’ve already planned our next project, and we’re extremely excited to share snippets with you all as the story begins to form. Right now let’s just say California, 1960s, surfing, Vietnam war.

-Collins

my poem titled “The Freedom Manual”

inspiration, life, motivational, poem, poetry, writing

Freedom of speech should have come with an instruction manual.

Too many people use it as a weapon,

As a shield to hide behind.

We assume it gives us the right to say anything,

Whatever’s on our minds.

Unfortunately most people don’t use their minds.

Because if they thought for three seconds,

They might think twice,

And that could save someone a lot of hurt.

Open your mind and shut your mouth.

Are your words useful? Helpful? Inspiring?

Do they shine light on others?

Or do they snuff out sparks?

Freedom of speech is not the freedom to be a jerk,

To be insensitive or a bully.

So prepare your words carefully,

Because freedom is supposed to be beautiful.

 

-Collins

story excerpt titled “Tropicana”

book, book quote, life, quote, shortstory, story, writing

SONY DSC

Chapter 1 – Essy

“Come on! Grab my hand!” Escobar, yells as he reaches down to pull me up.

He has already scrambled up the chain link fence that blocks our escape, and straddles it like a bull rider. My sweaty palm connects with his and he hauls me up, over the fence. I land in a heap on the pavement as sirens sound in the distance.

Essy lands agile as a cat beside me and pulls me up by my shirt.

“Rapido, move!” he orders, “We just have to make it out of the heat, out of sight.”

I grimace as he propels me forward, my muscles are aching. We’ve already sprinted at least seven blocks. I have no idea where we’re running to, but Essy seems to be guiding us to some predetermined place. Wherever it is, I hope its close.

It’s funny how one stupid decision can change your whole life. My decision to help Essy rip off a high-end jewelry store wasn’t the best one in retrospect. We’d been best buds for years, so when he approached me a week ago, needing someone he could trust to back him up when he hit the store, I’d agreed. He offered me a split on what we stole, he knew I needed money. He promised there would be no police, the alarm would be cut. Long story short, we broke in and tripped the alarms. Essy’s inside man had choked up. Now we’re running from the police, and I really don’t want to go to juvi. My Papi would be rolling in his grave if he could see the trouble I’ve got myself in. “Be a good boy, my good boy,” he used to say.

I pump my arms and legs faster to keep up with Essy’s pace, I’m lagging behind. We’re in the industrial district now, and I have no idea where we’re headed. Sweat drips into my eyes as I run, blinding me.

“We’re almost there,” Essy says.

After a few more minutes we round a corner. Up ahead is a rundown factory that, according to its sign, used to produce children’s toys. What a strange place to go, I think. Why are we going there?

Our footfalls echo off the nearby buildings like gunshots as we hurry up to the factory; the sirens are getting closer. We finally stop at a door located on the side of the factory, and Essy pounds on the metal with his fist. As I’m wheezing for breath I notice Essy has barely broken a sweat. Maybe he’s needed to run a lot more than I thought. In a second there is a response to his knocking, and he mutters something to the guy on the other side, who then opened to door and welcomes us – well Essy mostly – in. Once the door is closed and locked, Essy and the burly guy who let us in embrace roughly for a second.

“Hola Essy, not getting into any trouble tonight are you?” the burly man laughs.

He notices me and gives me a slap on the back in greeting. “How’d you keep up to Speedy Gonzalez here? He’s one of the fastest runners we’ve got!”

“Uh, I don’t know, he kinda dragged me half way here,” I cough, still out of breath.

Essay laughs at my response. “Tizzy, this is Bronco. Bronco, Tizzy.”

Aptly named I think shaking Bronco’s meaty hand.

“C’mon Tizzy, I wanna show you where I work,” Essy says as he starts down a dark hallway. Bronco follows.

“You work here?” I ask as I slowly trail after them, “But this place looks abandoned. . .”

Essy and Bronco let out laughs that reverberate down the hallway, making me jump.

“Don’t you have any brains in that head o’ yours?” Bronco asks.

To be honest I don’t have a clue what one might do for work in a rundown factory, maybe use what machinery was left behind to make things to sell? As I’m staring at my shoes, pondering an answer, I smack into Bronco’s back. The two of them have stopped at the entrance to a huge room that smells heavily of . . .

“Marijuana?” I exclaim in astonishment.

Bronco slaps me on the back again, this time in excitement. “Now you’re getting’ it! We turn the green into green, get it?”

I did get it. When my family and I lived in Mexico City you’d hear stories about how people’s sons got mixed up in drug trafficking. It appealed to those who were broke and desperate for cash. My family was broke, but not desperate, and my parents wanted more for us, so they moved us to Los Angeles. How ironic it is to find myself in the very situation that we moved to get away from.

I step out from behind Bronco to take in the room. It is filled with rows upon rows of tables covered in cannabis. Between the rows are people tending to the plants, wearing rubber gloves and painting masks. Large fluorescent lights hang from the ceiling, illuminating the room with harsh yellow light. Abandoned machinery is pushed against the walls to make more room. As I look around I lock eyes with a girl tending to a section of cannabis. She is tan with long dark hair and scared eyes. She looks about nineteen, my age. She quickly glances away when Bronco moves from the doorway to sit in a chair a few feet away.

“Wow,” is all that comes out.

“We’ve got one of the biggest operations in LA” I hear a man’s voice say. Looking to my left I see a tall, stick man with a bald head covered in tattoos that continues down his neck and arms. I catch a glimpse of a gun tucked into his waistband. He extends his arm to shake my hand and his bicep bulges menacingly.

“Name’s Rodrigo, but call me Rigo, that’s what I go by around here,” he says.

I grab his hand and shake it, “Tizzy,” I reply.

Rigo looks over at Essy. “You had some heat at the job, huh?”

Essy crosses his arms over his chest, his muscles straining against his T-shirt. “Yeah, damn Alex didn’t do what we paid him to do. He’s gone with his money by now. Bastard.”

Rigo’s lips pulls into a sinister grin, a gold tooth glinting between his lips. “I’ll send my boys to find him, he won’t get far. No one double crosses Rigo and gets away with it.” He absentmindedly stroked his gun. I shuffle my feet nervously.

No one said anything about killing anyone. What’s Essy gotten himself into? I’ve got to get the hell out of here.

“Uh, Rigo, thanks for helping me out, but I’ve got to get home now. If you could just let me back out the way I came in that’d—“

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there. You can’t leave yet,” Rigo says.

“But I haven’t heard sirens in a while, the policia has left” I protest.

“It’s not safe to go yet. They search for hours before they give up. Just because you don’t hear sirens doesn’t mean they’re not out there. You two are hot right now.”

“But—“

Essy interjects. “Rigo’s right. We’ve gotta lay low tonight.” He places his hand on my shoulder for reassurance.

After a moment’s hesitation I agree. What choice do I have? These weren’t exactly the kind of people you could just say no to and do your own thing. They have guns, and like people following their orders. I don’t want to end up like Alex soon would.

Rigo makes a chirping type of sound and jerks his head toward Essy and me. “Rosie, baby, show these two boys to a room.”

The girl who I had noticed earlier steps out from behind a bunch of fronds, her hands twisting nervously in front of her. She walks towards us, eyes on the floor, leaving a large berth between Rigo and herself. “Please follow me,” she says quietly.

She turns to take a step when Rigo grabs her elbow and pulls her close. With his free hand he grips her chin and squished her cheeks, then gives her a kiss and releases her.

I have to look away. Rigo kissing Rosie was like a python cuddling a mouse. Wrong and unnatural.

“This way” she says, and leads us down another dark hallway.

*****

          I awake to Essy shaking my shoulder. “Tizzy man, we gotta go.”

I sit up and shake my head, yawning and groggy. Rosie had led us to a room that used to be for storage. I had had to shove discarded brooms and boxes into a corner to make room enough for Essy and me to curl up on the floor. He had found bubble wrap in one the boxes and spread it on out the floor, creating a sort of makeshift bed that made popping sounds every time someone tossed or turned. I hadn’t slept well.

“Man, I’m tired, can’t we leave in a few hours?”

Essy’s eyes flick from me to the door before he answers. Sweat glistens on his forehead. “We gotta go. I heard scuffling and shouts. The police must have found us.” He seizes my arm and hauls me up. “I know a way out, in the back.”

I am suddenly wide awake. “What about Bronco and Rigo, shouldn’t we go find them?”

Essy snorts, “They can look after themselves,” as he creeps to the door and shimmies it open, peeking out into the hallway. He motions me over and jerks his head to the left, mouthing the words ‘this way.’

I follow him into the hallway but grab his sleeve to stop him. I just remembered something. “What about Rosie?” I whisper.

Essy shrugs out of my grip. “What about her?”

“She doesn’t belong here. We have to help her.” I turn to start down the hallway, toward the growing room. But it’s Essy’s turn to grab my elbow, his face incredulous.

“What is she to you, Tizzy? She’s just some girl.”

Footsteps echo down the corridor and I can hear muffled voices. Essy glances down the hall and speaks quickly, looking displeased. “This place is crawling with policia, are you crazy?”

“I have to be, I helped you with that stupid break-in, didn’t I? Look, your right about the policia. There’s not much time, just tell me where Rosie should be and get out of here. I’ll find her and we’ll meet you somewhere okay?”

Essy looks strained. “You’re loco man.” He runs his fingers through his hair before he speaks. “Down the end of this hallway, take a left, follow it to the end. There’s a small window beside the exit door. Use the window, the door’s blocked off. Rosie should be in one of the sleeping rooms down there,” he points down the hall where footsteps can be heard, “If she hasn’t been caught already.”

“Thanks Essy. I owe you.”

“Tonight. We’ll meet at the Crescent Moon diner, seven o’clock. Good luck Tizzy.” He embraces me quickly and pulls away heading down the exit he told me about without a look back.

I turn and head the opposite direction, into the danger. The lights overhead are dim and turn off and on repeatedly. My sneakers squeak disconcertingly loud on the linoleum and my blood pounds in my ears.

I creep to where the hallway ends and the growing room begins. I hear voices, and when I peek my head around the corner I see several men in uniform. Many of the workers I saw earlier are handcuffed and sitting against the far wall. Bronco is among them. Rigo is nowhere to be seen.

“. . . Take your men and sweep the building” says one of the men, “We have reason to believe that the suspects from the break-in earlier this evening are hiding here.”

I hurry back down the hallway trying every door until one opens. “Rosie? Are you in here?”

I hear a soft cry, so I push my way into the room and close the door behind me. “Rosie? It’s me, Tizzy. You took my friend Essy and me to a room a few hours ago.” The room is dark so I step with my arms stretched out in front of me. I knock my knee into a crate and curse. “Rosie please, there are policia searching the place, I came to get you out of here.” After a moment of silence and groping in the darkness a small hand touches my shoulder.

“You came to get me?” Rosie asks.

I turn to face her. “Yes, we have to go now,” I whisper urgently. “We’re going to meet Essy at a diner.” I lean my ear against the door, making sure no one is searching this hallway yet. When I am sure the coast is clear, I open the door and lean out. Rosie grabs my arm.

“Why?”

I think about her question for a second before I answer. “Because you don’t belong here. Just like me.” I don’t give her time to answer, simple grab her hand and lead her out into the hallway.

We half walk half jog to the end of the hallway, Rosie’s small breaths are rapid behind me. Just as we turn left we hear “Stop” shouted behind us. I look back and catch a glimpse of two officers running down the hall towards us. I tighten my grip on Rosie and yell “Run.” Our footsteps ricochet off the walls.

“Stop now! There’s nowhere to go!” one of the officers calls.

We reach the exit door and I immediately go the window, trying desperately to prop it open, but it’s stuck. “Dammit,” I grunt. Rosie rushes over and pushes me out of the way, a brick in her hand. She throws it through the window and the glass shatters, raining everywhere.

“C’mon!” Rosie cries as the footsteps behind us get closer, someone fires a shot and it hits the wall few feet from me. I hoist Rosie up and through the window, she lands with a thump on the other side and I pull myself through after her. Another shot breaks glass above my head. It startles me and I cut my forearm on some jagged glass as I fall out the window and hit the ground with a thud.

Rosie pulls me roughly to my feet and then we’re running. It’s dark still, but pink and orange smudge the sky close to the horizon. The faint light casts shadows from the buildings across the pavement. We run and run until the factory has disappeared behind us and we’ve left the industrial district. A couple blocks into downtown I pull Rosie into an alley.

“I think we should be okay for a bit here,” I gasp, slumping against a building and slide to the ground, panting. Rosie sits down beside me. Her eyes widen when she sees blood on my shirt.

“You got shot,” she exclaims.

I look down at my shirt. “What? Oh, no. I cut my arm on some glass crawling out the window, see?” I hold out my arm to her, the long gash crimson against my skin.

“Let me look.” She grabs hold of my wrist and pulls a handkerchief from her pocket. “Does it hurt?”

I am about to say no, but when she dabs at the cut I grimace in pain. A couple glance down the alley as they walk by. When they see Rosie tending to my bloody arm they quicken their pace, whispering to each other.

“Hmm,” she says, “I don’t think there’s any shards left, but we need to disinfect it. You need stiches.”

“We can’t go to a hospital Rosie, I’m wanted.”

“Oh,” she says.

“We’ll have to figure something else out. Essy’s meeting us at the Crescent Moon diner at seven pm. We have the day to kill.”

Rosie’s eyes tighten the smallest bit when I mention the word ‘kill’. I don’t bring it up.

“I could fix your arm. I am very good at needlepoint. I could stitch it up.” She looks like she might throw up just thinking about it.

“Are you nuts?”

“Probably” she says, and shrugs, “But if you get an infection, you’ll need a hospital. And that’s the last place you want to be seen right now, right?”

I ponder this for a moment. “Alright,” I agree hesitantly.

She smiles as she hauls me to my feet, leading me out of the alley and onto the sidewalk. “Let’s go get some needle and thread. Oh, and some vodka too.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 -Collins

 

 

A Quote

inspiration, life, motivational, quote, quote of the day

“What’s happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness. – Don Draper from Mad Men

So, yes, I have kind of an obsession with this show. But the social commentary on the time period and the often very insightful and meaningful quotes and ideas are what make this show spectacular to me.

This quote is one of those that I stopped…pondered and realized was so true. Happiness is something you search for. It is also something that comes and goes. As sad as that may be to think sometimes, I can’t help but agree with. But, the positive in this all is that we have the ability to make ourselves happy. We have to find the things that make us joyous, that make us smile. We have to hold onto them and never stop looking for them. I believe we are all capable of finding that one thing or many things that bring us happiness, even if it can be fleeting.

Never stop looking for it.

-Turner

my poem titled “I Don’t Have Much to say”

inpiration, life, motivational, poem, poetry, writing

I don’t have much to say,

But what I say matters.

Don’t say something if it doesn’t mean anything to you.

Make it worth saying.

Move mountains.

Build people up.

Speak from the light in your soul,

Not the dark parts.

It should taste like honey coming up,

Not poison going down.

If you’re going to say something

It should inspire people,

Motivate them.

Make them see the beauty,

Understand a message.

You are a platform.

People listen to you every day,

So make sure what you say is worth saying.

Don’t waste people’s time.

Build them into skyscrapers

And give them the courage to say what’s on their mind.

-Collins