Dependably Durable (Weekly Writing Challenge)

(If you don’t make a habit out of checking The Daily Post, you really should.  They help with my writing more times than I care to admit.  This week is no different.)

O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught.“ –Ralph Waldo Emerson


Book Review The Fifth AssassinMiranda pulled a grocery bag out from under her kitchen sink.  She laid it on the table next to her trusty scissors, masking tape, and her crisp new copy of Brad Meltzer’s The Fifth Assassin.  She had a regiment that each new book went through after it arrived at her doorstop.  The procedure had worked every previous time and she was not about to take chances now.

With a few quick folds, confident cuts, and strategically placed pieces of tape, the stalwart and robust construction paper was ready for its new inhabitant.  Miranda smiled and hummed to herself as she made the last few adjustments and then placed her new book in the waiting embrace of the sturdy book cover.  The last pieces of tape were put on, but Miranda made sure that they never so much as grazed the new book itself.  She moved the paper book jacket from where she had relocated it to the bookshelf. She tittered and tsk-ed at the ornamentation.  Such decorations were for display, not for travel.

Miranda smiled at the paper-clad book that sat on the table in front of her.  She cleared off the errant lengths and scraps cast off from the brown bag and let them fall slowly into the recycling bin.  She had gotten what she wanted from the former grocery bag.   After she meticulously put the scissors back in their drawer and the tape back on the shelf, all that remained was her prize.  She smiled at the anticipation of tearing through the new suspense novel, albeit gently and with respect for the white pages.

The book sat on the table, a tone of daring calling from behind the thick brown cover like a siren trying to lull in sailors at sea.  In an almost imperceptible voice, it beckoned to Miranda.  C’mon.  Gimme a read.  You know you want to.  Just give in.  You don’t really think you’re going to be able to wait it out, do you?  Succumb to the temptation Miranda!

As much as she wanted to dive into her newest purchase, she knew she would have to wait.  She had endured a long day at the office and her brain was done for the night.  Miranda knew herself well enough to play out what would happen if she tried to start any reading.  She would wake hours later with a string of drool right down the middle of the page.  Her book’s new binding would ha be stressed from the weight of her head pressing against it.  Once was enough to teach her a lesson.  She had all of Meltzer’s books.  She had devoured The Inner Circle and had waited impatiently for the years to pass until this new book was available.  Miranda could wait another twelve hours to learn all about The Fifth Assassin.

She turned the lights in her house off one by one.  A quiet and still mood encompassed Miranda’s home and she was lulled into a quiet sleep as she thought about how unfortunate the title of the book was.  Any book with the word “assassin” in the title was bound to attract attention.  Resting her head on her pillow and closing her eyes, she could see picture various scenes playing out.

On the bus there were plenty of strangers that plucked nonsensical conversations out of the air at the slightest cue.  Miranda half-dreamt of crazed people accusing her of being pro-gun because she was reading such a book and imagined some sort of anti-N.R.A. person feeding her their views and opinions.  Instead of being allowed to read her enjoyable selection of fiction, Miranda would be forced to politely nod and “mm-hmm” along.

Public Domain due to age from WikiCommons

Public Domain due to age from WikiCommons

Then there were the conspiracy nuts.  A book with a picture of Washington, D.C., the American Flag, and that loaded word, could only add to up something lunatics would cling to fervently.  She could practically smell the wackos with their drug-addled minds telling her “the real truth, the truth they don’t want you to know” about the Kennedy assassination.  No, Miranda decided as she fluffed her pillow and pushed such awkward social interactions from her mind.  It really was better to keep the cover of her book under wraps.  After all, it had worked quite well in masking her embarrassment when she had read Fifty Shades of Grey.

The next morning arrived and brought with it an increased anticipation.  Miranda weighed the pros and cons of calling in sick for work.  Realistically, there was no earthly reason she could give that would delay the presentation that she had to give that day.  She had spent the last two weeks working late in order to prepare the ideal approach to win over the board of directors.  Yet her love for books was doing its best to push her work obligations out of her mind.  The battle of pleasure over responsibility was a short one, and Miranda regrettably slipped out of her comfortable pajamas and into pantyhose and tight shoes.

Her bus was still a good ten minutes away.  That gave Miranda five minutes to get to the bus and a five minute buffer zone for herself.  Miranda pondered at the possibilities.  She had long ago learned that writing your name on the cover of a book was just as inviting to random commuters as any provocative book title.  She didn’t want to meet anyone, she just wanted to read.  (Well, within reason.  If the guy was really cute, Miranda wasn’t going to complain.)  Still, the brown surface needed something.  Her habit was to leave the paper unadorned.  This time she just couldn’t bring herself to leave the thing alone.  How could she decorate it and still maintain some anonymity?

Looking once more to the clock on the wall, Miranda saw that her five minutes of leisure were quickly fading away.  If she was going to act, she would have to do so immediately.  Her mind still wasn’t made up.  She looked to the scraps of paper in the recycling bin.  And that’s when she saw it.

Crawling across the floor was, without a doubt, the largest spider that Miranda had ever seen in her life.  She stared at it in horror.  The body resembled some sort of grotesque Ding Dong and the legs were like flexi-straws that had been caked in brownish-gray mold.  The creature was some sort of freakish mutant love-child of a daddy longlegs and a tarantula.  She did her best to stifle her instinct to scream, but the beast was skittering along the tile floor.  Worse yet, it was making a beeline for her legs.

Acting purely on adrenaline, Miranda grabbed the closest thing to her.  The book felt heavy in her grasp and she clasped it firmly between her two hands.  Bending her knees ever so slowly, she looked the spider in what she guessed were its eyes.  She squinted; her two neatly groomed eyebrows reached towards each other to form a menacing V-shape.  Glaring at the spider, she gave it one last chance to crawl off into some dark corner in retreat.  The spider did not relent.

“Grraaaah!!!”  Miranda screamed angrily as she shifted both her hands to the back of the book and slammed it down on the floor with all her might.  Sure enough, she had hit the target dead-on.  The spider, no match for the weighty literary skill of Meltzer’s writing, was now a splatter on the homemade book cover.  The kitchen floor somehow survived relatively splatter-free.

Miranda reached for a paper towel and did her best to remove the bug’s guts, limbs, and other bodily stains from the cover.  She felt as though the germs and bits of carcass were no longer a threat.  Also, her worries about her book coming across as plain and uninteresting were over.  She checked her book over as she scurried out the door.  Happily, she found that the binding and the corners of her new hardcover were still in excellent condition.  She laughed as she thought about her high-tech friends’ and their reading methods. 

Let’s see an eReader take out a monster like that and not shatter their precious screen, Miranda thought to herself triumphantly.

Family Binding

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Family Binding

A half-finished book is, after all, a half-finished love affair.” –Cloud Atlas

From Wikipedia.

I come from a family of book people.  It’s just who we are.  Before the world of the internet intervened and we all retreated to our separate laptops, we would all sit around and spend family time with our own individual books.  We don’t take family trips too much, and the small children running around the house tend to sap what energy we have out of us pretty darn quick.  But at some point, someone will yank out a book and we’ll all follow suit.

I try to add a little variety to the group.  Nobody else reads comic books, but I can’t get enough of them.  I don’t read devotional books; I want stories.  In tandem with my love of stories in book form is my appreciation of a good movie.  When I hear that a book is coming to the movie screen, I want to read the book first.

On the one hand, it’s an ego thing.  When the movie finally does come out, I can have bragging rights.  “Oh yeah, I read the book.  Did you?”  This additionally allows the option of spouting a pompous phrase like, “They left out three chapters of the book.”  I have yet to say such things, but I like to know that the possibility exists.

In addition, once you see the movie, it’s almost too late to go back and read the book.  The actors will always be stuck in your head.  (The only exception I’ve come across is Pride and Prejudice, and even then I still had Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle dancing around in my head.)

Tonight I got the e-mail that all true book huggers wait for.  The library wanted to let me know that a copy of Cloud Atlas was waiting for me.  The book is about six hundred pages and the movie comes out just before Halloween, so I had to get a move on.  (If any movie is made with Tom Hanks and Jim Broadbent, I’m forced to see it.  Those two actors cannot be denied.)  That was how I found myself in the local library this evening.  The sooner I had that book in my hands, the sooner I could put the rest of my life on hold.

I walked into the library, made my way to the reserve shelves, and plucked my book off the shelf.  Being the somewhat-considerate brother-in-law that I am, I checked the shelf to see if my relative had her normal stack of books.  I was on my way to babysit my nieces and figured I could save the other family members a trip.  There were no books for them on the shelf, so I assumed she had already been in earlier this week.

I needed to keep my nieces entertained and they like books as much of the rest of us.  I made my way towards the children’s section.  I assumed something worthwhile would jump out at me.  If nothing else, I figured I could inject a little Shel Silverstein into their lives.

Appearing out of nowhere, a small girl with blonde curly hair started running towards me.  It took me by surprise, but this sort of thing has happened to me a few times before.  Her blue eyes wide open; she ran to me in her spring dress and threw her arms around my leg.

“Uncle Phil!”

“I was just on my way to see you guys.”  I was taken aback, but not floored.  This was the third time that I have run across my family in the library.  Book junkies need a fix rather often and the librarians are good at pushing their wares.

Carrying a large cloth bag of books, my sister-in-law approached.  She gave me a little tsk-ing because my phone had been turned off.  She had been trying to offer to pick up my book for me since we were going to see each other.  Great minds think alike.

Instead of blindly guessing what sort of selections I should grab for my nieces, one of them helped picked the stories out with me.  Happily, she agreed that The Missing Piece sounded like an interesting read.  As a matter of fact, she made me read it twice to her tonight.  I tried to talk her out of it.  She wouldn’t have it; the munchkin likes books as much as the rest of us.  There’s no escaping that genetic trait, nor do we plan to.

Avoiding Neverland

A teacher's reflections on preparing teens for life

Late~Night Ruminations

...for all the ramblings of my cluttered mind....

Short...but not always so sweet 💋

Life is a series of challenges ~Happy endings are not guaranteed

Running Away To Booktopia

Because let's face it, reality sucks most of the time.


Exploring my own creativity (and other people's) in the name of Education, Art and Spirituality. 'SquarEmzSpongeHat'. =~)

The Land of 10,000 Things

Charles Soule - writer.

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Blog

This blog, swallow you whole


easy reading is damn hard writing


S1NGLE living H1GH thinking

Listful Thinking

Listless: Lacking zest or vivacity

Kim Kircher

Strength from the Top of the Mountain

The Byronic Man

We can rebuild him. We have the technology... Drier. Hilariouser. More satirical than before.

The One Year Challenge

A one-year chronical of no flirting, no more dating and absolutely no sex.

Beth Amsbary

Workshop Leader, Storyteller, Grantwriter,