Friday, March 22, 2013

Tenth Grade Youngman Brown

This week, Dude Write is teaming up with  Here are the rules:
  • Tell us a real-life story. An embarrassing, funny, or cringe worthy story.
  • You must have either witnessed the embarrassing happening (good) or have had it happen to YOU (even better!)
  • The story should take up no more than 1500 characters, including spaces (that's something like 200+ words)
So here you go, world.  Something embarrassing:

*   *   *

I have no idea what he could have said that was so funny, but the photographer who took my tenth grade school portrait said something that made me laugh really hard.

There was no chance that I'd upload the actual picture.
So you get Mitt.  Sorry.
As evidenced by my tenth grade portrait.

In the picture, my head is tilted back, as if I am in the primary detonation phase of a sneeze... but really happy about it. 

It was bad.

Like, if for some reason you needed to Google Image search "teenager laughing hysterically," it is the picture that you would choose and upload to your blog, ignoring all thoughts of copyright infringement in the process.  It had a borderline fake-ish quality, it was that obvious.  With the head tilting back and the eyes clenched tightly and all.

As if I had done it cynically.  As if I scoffed at the concept of "school portraits."

You'd think that the photographer would have, you know, taken another.  Considering that he was the one who caused me to laugh maniacally, you know?

I could get retakes, of course.  And I did.  And they came out as handsome as you'd imagine.

But there was a different problem.  A problem that had a name: The Yearbook Committee.

The pictures that were taken on Picture Day were the ones that were used for the yearbook.  No exceptions, they said.  Like, whatsoever.

And that is how, amongst a gallery of smiling teenagers, the portrait of Tenth Grade Youngman Brown defiantly stood alone as the most embarrassing school portrait to ever appear in a yearbook. 

For the rest of time.

-Youngman Brown

Head on over to Dude Write to check out other embarrassing bytestories, and then vote for your favorite!

Dude Write

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The White Lie

It's my favorite time of the month: Dude Write Flash Fiction!  This month's prompt is an image given by Joe Cawley:

"Bride", an image by Nicholas Hayward

Here's my take.  Weighing in at exactly 500 words, here's "The White Lie":

*   *   * 
There was a brief moment, there in the woods, that almost made her laugh.

Tears -- and now sweat -- were streaming down her face.  Her legs ached, begging her to stop running.  Her lungs burned, screaming for her to loosen her dress and walk back to the church, where, in her sister's purse, her inhaler was sitting as idly as all her family and friends.
And through all of this not-just-physical pain, she wanted to laugh at how silly it was that she was instinctively holding up her dress.

None of it mattered, of course, once she found out that he had ran.

But she still unconsciously held up the dress, not wanting to expose it to the crumpled leaves, dangling branches, and dirt of the woods.  She needed to preserve the iridescent white that she had marveled at only an hour before.

But why?  What did it matter now that it was all over?

She hadn't seen it coming.  There was this unspoken communication between them.  One where she said untruths, made everything seem like it was okay.  And he saw through the untruths and loved her anyway.  Unconditionally.  Even when it took two tries to get her to agree to marry him.

She hadn't been sure.  Not until this moment, in the woods.

But why had he ran?  He was always so sure.  Perpetually sure.

She stopped running.  

Bending over, she put her hands on her knees and began violently retching.  Through her tears, she saw that some of the vomit got onto her dress. 

That is when she started laughing.

Her violent, soul-shaking laughter echoed throughout the empty woods.

How hard she had tried to keep things clean.  To maintain the image that her life was this pure, ivory white.  To build a relationship that relied on a man's unyielding love to disregard her own fabrication of sanity.  To hold up her wedding dress in the woods, not for the purposes of making running easier, but so that if she ever caught up to him, she would be able to maintain the white lie.

The laughter stopped as quickly as it came, and she crumpled to the ground, realizing that it was useless.  Since she met him, she had never been able to catch up to him emotionally.  What made her think that she'd be able to catch up to him now, in a footrace through the woods? 

She knew that he must have been so far away by now, happier and more relieved with every step he took away from her and the muddied dress that now defined her.

She missed him desperately as she envisioned him taking his first step to a million possible new lives.  All of them, free of her.

Of all the countless places that she saw him, however, the one place she didn't consider was the church, where he was still standing, holding the flowers that her sister had seen him dash into the woods to pick before the ceremony.

-Youngman Brown

Head on over to Dude Write to check out the other entries, and come back on March 23rd to vote for your favorite!

Dude Write

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That Whole "Anonymous" Thing

A month ago, I wrote something which I now regret.

It was a post regarding those annoying Anonymous spam comments that bloggers sometimes receive on their blogs.  In all honesty, the post was nothing more than a lazy attempt at a blog post whilst feeling unequivocally uninspired.

But at the end of the post, I challenged anyone who wanted to comment, to do so anonymously.  And anyone who didn't would be forced to meet the wrath of ME RESPONDING IN ALL CAPS.  WHICH KINDA MAKES IT SEEM LIKE I AM YELLING, RIGHT?  I MEAN, DIDN'T THE VOICE THAT NARRATES THINGS FOR YOU IN YOUR HEAD CHANGE A BIT AND START YELLING ONCE I SWITCHED OVER TO ALL CAPS?  IS THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD STILL YELLING?

There.  That's better.

Did the voice in your head switch back to normal talk?  Did he sigh, take a deep breath, and perhaps adjust his collar, as if he just came inside from a storm?

Anyway, the point of this wasn't to tell you about writing in all caps to the people who didn't respond anonymously.  It was to tell you that many people responded under the name "Anonymous," just like I commanded*.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dog Poop Addendum

I know I just wrote (too much) about picking up dog poop, but something else came up that I felt like I needed to add.

My girlfriend got me a thing that you put on the end of the leash for poop bags.  Like a toilet paper dispenser, but for picking up dog crap.

Anyway, the bags it came with are thin.  Like, really thin.  So thin that I imagine it would float away if you let one go on a completely windless day.

Being so thin, when picking up fresh dog crap, I can totally feel the temperature and texture of the specimen more than I could with my old bags, as if the bag is not even there.

Just thought I'd share that with you guys.

Oh, and yes.  Yes, that is the way I just announced that I got a girlfriend.

-Youngman Brown