I based this high school writing assignment on a story my dad used to tell us. The story always began the same way; the house suddenly sprouts legs and takes us anywhere we want to go. And then he would just take suggestions for the rest of the story, like Hawaii or Six Flags. The house would take us all over the world with giant leaping steps, then return safely to our neighborhood just before the sun came up. It’s a solid bedtime story. I tried it on Rodney and of course he wanted the house to take him to the water slide park. He asked the house to run and get his cousins Alice and Franky. After narrating an afternoon spent at Kalahari, the house asked for another suggestion.
“Nowhere else,” he said. “Just. Water slides.”
Even after sipping a warm glass of milk, cracking open his window, and listening to jazz through his tiny Walkman, Anthony could not sleep. He stared upward from his sweaty sheets, watching the quick, oscillating blades of his bleak ceiling fan. Anthony tried rolling – first to his right, then his left, and then with his face down in his pillow; but he was hopelessly restless. Anthony felt trapped.
“Get me out of here,” Anthony uttered, as the looming catacomb around him swallowed his whisper. It was at this moment he was startled by a deep churn beneath the floor. A voice bellowed ominously.
“Where would you like to go?” Anthony’s hair bristled as he pulled his sheets to his chin. His stomach jumped to his throat, and his heart rolled to his feet.
“Who said that?” Anthony did not expect a reply. His eyes spun around the room.
“Anthony, where would you like to go?” Anthony swelled with fear as he shouted into the darkness.
“Please, whoever you are, take me someplace beautiful! Anywhere but here! Take me as far from home as you can!” Anthony gripped his bedpost as the house quaked. The walls swayed and the floor crumbled. Anthony closed his eyes and cupped his ears in his tiny hands. His room shifted and crashed to a jarring halt. All was still.
“What happened?” Anthony sat up anxiously.
“Anthony, look out your window.” Anthony turned to his windowsill. A thin beam of sunlight crept below the curtain. Anthony moved the shade. His fear was instantly melted. From his window, he could see a lush, brilliant rain forest. A hoard of birds surged from the treetops and flittered by his room. Leaning further out his window, he beheld a magnificent waterfall. The blue water cascaded over shiny rocks only to crash thunderously on the ridge below. Anthony was wide-eyed.
“Where would you like to go next?” Anthony was much more eager to answer. He held his breath and searched his heart.
“Take me to Mount Everest! I want to go high!” The house chuckled and answered.
“Here we go!” Anthony could see a pair of muscular legs emerge from the bottom of the house. The legs lifted the house above the waterfall and the trees. The world around him began to spin as the legs carried the house into a rhythmic gallop. Anthony refused to blink as he marveled at the centrifuge of color. The great legs slowed to a gradual stop. Anthony breathed in the fresh arctic breeze as he rubbed his eyes. His senses were overwhelmed as he looked out into the wild, infinite sky that encircled him. He felt so mighty as he mocked the tiny mountain peaks scattered about his horizon. The bright red sun was tucked behind the rolling hills. Anthony grew frantic with excitement.
“I want to go higher. I want to be bigger. I want to go to space!” Anthony curled his legs into his arms in anticipation as an explosion of sound filled his room. The house convulsed and quaked more violently than before. From his window, he saw nothing but an empty, swirling black. The house froze in silence. Everything was still. Anthony crawled closer to the window.
Anthony was silenced, sobered by the vast panorama before him. Now, nothing could be seen from his window but a magnanimous blanket of darkness pierced by a few lonely stars. Anthony shivered as he crawled into bed. He was so far from home now. Anthony waited in silence. He began to sob quietly.
“Mr. House, I want to go home.” The house stirred.
“Anthony, I am your home. You have been home all along.” Anthony dabbed his tears with his blanket.
“Please, Mr. House, take me home.” Anthony felt a strong force as the house turned. He soon felt the rhythmic gallop of the house’s powerful legs. Anthony turned in his bed, releasing a breathy sigh. His eyelids sank into his red cheeks, sending him into a deep slumber. His heart gently marched to the tranquil rhythm of the walking house.
OK, so I need an extra 200 words to pay the debt today. As a result, I’m going to have to dig something random out of my notes. Let’s spin the wheel, shall we?
Whizzzzz. Tick… tick… tick.
Rocks for Brains
I remember going to a friends birthday party, and they hired this clown that made balloon animals for people. The clown handed me a balloon sabre, and before I left he said “you can store it in the freezer if you want it to last longer.”
After the party, I relayed the information to my mom. “The clown said that if I store it in the freezer, it will last longer.”
My mom squinted, holding the door of the freezer. “Well that clowns got rocks for brains,” she said.
I told Marissa this story, and now dropping a “rocks for brains” in conversation gets an easy laugh.
Asshole Packer Guy
It was 2019 and Marissa and I were walking around the Madison zoo lights event (which was pretty disappointing). I was wearing my new Bears hat that I just brought back from Solider field, so I was feeling cozy. Then out of nowhere this guy just sidles up to me and says, “Hey excuse me - excuse me, you’re wearing a Bears Hat.”
His tone was sort of mocking, like typical Bears Packers animosity.
I kind of winced and nodded. “Ha ha, oh thanks for letting me know.” But the guy just stood there to relish in his own moment. It was actually kind of awkward, the way he just hovered there over my shoulder with his red face and embarrassing ski jacket. He finally walked away back to his girlfriend, who was waiting to head to the car like his mother. I think if I ever see that guy there’s a good chance I’ll just punch him. And that’s the story of asshole packer guy at the zoo lights.