Thursday, November 24, 2005

Chapter Four

CHAPTER FOUR

“…unbelievable folks! Never before, in all my time, have I ever seen a competition this closely matched. I tell ‘ya, the talent here is just amazing; the intensity, the action, and the people! So far this is shaping up to be…” The announcers’ voice blared over the speakers, phasing right through my mind. After a quick trip to the bathroom to get my head together, I headed out to catch up with my friends; who I completely blew off today. I just can’t help it though, my mind—it just, I…I can’t stay focused. I just need to find out who she is…

“Where the hell have you been? We’ve been waitin’ like two hours for you! But damn, man this comp is insane!” My friend jokingly jabbed towards me as I finally found where they were at.

“I got here a little after it opened and the place was packed, so I just walked around a little, then some stuff happened and…”

“Stuff? What kind of stuff would that be?” he curiously implied.

“It’s a long story, I’ll tell ‘ya after the competition. Speaking of, what’s the deal with it?”

“There’s only about a half-hour left, right now they’re just finishing up the free skate runs and then it’s on to the awards; nothing too special. But hey, you should’ve seen Tim’s run, he killed it! That fool better win…”

“All he does is he skate, it better pay off. Anyway, I think I’m gonna get outta here for now. Gimmie a call later tonight, I’ll meet you at Corolla’s, we’ll grab some food. Sound good?”

“Yeah why not, I’ll see you then. Later.”

A long walk home spent thinking and four hours later I’m sitting in the back-corner booth at Corolla’s, waiting for my pizza and for Matt to show up. What a day. I still can’t get her off my mind…

“Here you go. Anything else?” says the waitress.

“Nah, I think I’m good, thanks.”

“One of those better be for me…” in comes Matt, as late and light-hearted as ever.

“Hey, what’s up? Sit down.”

“Same as always man, nothin’ to do. Jersey sucks; but hey, how ‘bout that competition today?”

“Tell me about it man. Crazy stuff. And I uh, I met a girl there too…”

“Ahh, so that’s the stuff, eh?”

“Yeah, it’s weird though man, I just—I can’t stop thinking about her. I-“

And then, breaking up this nice little heartfelt moment, with the straightest face and most honest intentions he says…

“Did ‘ya bang her?”

“Yeah, lemme tell ‘ya, right there in front of four-hundred people, oh yeah.”

“Hey, ‘ya never know, it could happen.”

“Come on man, seriously. That’s not all there is to life.”

“It’s a damn good part of it though.”

“Yeah, like you’d know.” I sarcastically retort. That’s all this damn kid ever thinks about, you can’t have one conversation without him bringing it up in some way. So, anyway…

“Seriously though, so I’m just kinda hanging around the show, trying to find somewhere to sit and out of the corner of my I see her start to walk up to me. So I’m thinking ‘holy shit’ and next thing I know she’s all like ‘Hey, where’s the bathroom?’ and I’m just standin’ there like a fool, all ogling and stuttering an’ shit but I guess I managed to tell her ‘cause next thing I know she’s all like ‘Hey I’m Laura’ and turns out she’s all about skaters and I think she was diggin on me.”

“No shit she wanted you man, you think she really had to go to the bathroom?”

And that’s when it hit me, that maybe this situation was a hell of a lot better than I originally thought it was.

So, she didn’t have to go to the bathroom, she…she just wanted to talk to me. You see, when it comes to women and picking up on all of their little “hints” and “signals” I’m terrible at it…terrible! The only way to get through to me is either with a megaphone or neon sign, I just don’t pick up on that stuff. But damn, this—this could turn out to be something good…something—

“You think so?” I curiously say…

“It’s a common fact man; women always use excuses to talk to you. They ain’t gonna flat out say, hey you’re out, here’s my pants. She wants you man, so go ‘an get her…”

And for the second time in my life, he’s proven to me that he’s a hell of a lot smarter than you would ever think.

“…you’re right man. I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna do it. This…this is gonna happen, this is…this is good.”

“There ‘ya go, that’s the spirit! Now, just—“

“One problem though, I don’t know where the hell to find her. People from a couple different towns all showed up at that competition, who knows where she’s really from.”

“Well, there’s your answer man. We just got around, town to town, until we find her.”

“You’re a fucking genius. But what do you get out of this?”

“Like I got anything better to do; it’ll be an adventure…and hey, maybe she’s got a friend. Damn, it’s getting’ late, I gotta get up for work tomorrow. Look man, gimme a call tomorrow night and we’ll get right on this thing. Were gonna get you some action!”

“Heh, alright, later man. I’ll give you a buzz.”

And with that we set out on our own separate ways. In some half-crazy delusional state of boredom, what have we done to our lives? This could easily be the stupidest thing that anyone has ever tried in this town. But that goes to show you, that’s what you do when you’re young and bored…but, could this really change our lives? Is this really going to work out like we hope it will? Because, honestly, nothing like this ever works out the way you want it.

Jesus Christ…

It’s gonna be an interesting summer…

All these questions bubbled in my mind on the walk home, but I wasn’t worried about it at all. Deep down in me, I could feel it. This…this was it. This was the one thing that was going to change everything for me. This…this was the start of something new…something good.

That night, as I got ready for bed and fell asleep, I felt like I always thought I should…I had a purpose, a goal, an idea and I’ll be damned if anything gets in my way of it.

This adventure…this is the making of legends. This is the type of thing that people make movies about and write books about and this is the thing that’s going to get us into the most trouble we’ve ever been in our lives…

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chapter Three

CHAPTER THREE

It was Thursday morning and surprisingly when I woke up I wasn’t tired. Over the past few months, no matter how much sleep I get, I always wake up feeling like a sack of bricks hit me, but not today. I could get used to this…

After I get washed and a quick breakfast I check out the time, eleven-twenty seven. That gives me plenty of time to take it easy and get to the competition on time. I head to my room, grab some money, my keys and I’m out, only not that easy. On the way down the stairs I run into my mom. She’s great and all, but she’s as crazy as they come. I love her and everything, but there’s just something about the way she talks, or does things, that it just irritates me to no end.

“Mike, is that you? Are you going out?” Her voice wines out from the kitchen, in an ever curious tone.

“Yeah mom, I’m meeting Matt at the skate competition in a little bit, I told you about it last night. I’ll see you a little later on.”

“You’re walking there? I don’t want you walking there, what if something happens. Call your father, tell him to drive you.” She says in an overprotective frenzy. I close my eyes and take a deep breath before saying…

“Ma, I’m fine. What’s gonna happen?”

“What if you get hit by a car, or someone kidnaps you, don’t make me worry like that.” She replies with a streak of fear across her face.

Sigh. Sometimes I just need to bite my tongue, shake my head and try not to get too worked up about it. You see, I only wish I was making that up, but she’s paranoid to no end and some of the things she comes out with are just plain stupid. If you ask her, the world is filled with people that want to kidnap me, or hit me with cars, or try something she’d like to think I know nothing about. But hey, isn’t that what moms are for?

“I’ll give you a call when I get there, that make you feel better?”

“No…”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll talk to you later. Oh, and if I don’t call you I probably got hit by a car or kidnapped. Later…” I say with a smirk as I walk out the door and head on my way. Sometimes that woman is too much even for me, I don’t know how dad does it.

With that behind me, I set out for the competition. It should be interesting to see how it turns out, the kind of talent people have going for them and hell, maybe it will get me motivated to skate again.

I make it up to the park just before twelve, good time. Everybody seems to be inside, so I buy my ticket, grab a soda and hit the bleachers. They really had a big turn around for this show, well over a hundred people, now to just find Matt and the guys. If I know them, they’re right up in the half-pipe action, I’ll check it out.

The speakers blast on, and heard around the entire park is…

“*Chhhhh*Click* Hey there guys and welcome to the third annual Skate Jam competition! Today’s activities will be underway in just a minute, but we want to thank you all for coming out here today and here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve got going on…”

“Okay, first to tear up the half-pipe for our Best Run comp is Tim Barker, everybody give it up for Tim!”

WOOO-OOOO! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! WOOO! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

“Alright Tim, you’ve got three minutes, make it count aaaaaaand skate!”

I struggle to make my way through the crowds and find a seat, but with no avail, so I lean up against the fence checking out the comp and everyone that passes by. I’m pretty shocked that this thing is filled up already. I mean, it’s great that skating is being received this well and that some kids are getting into it younger and younger, but I can’t help but feel that the people here have no appreciate for it outside the fact that the public decided that it’s “cool” to skate this month. Skating’s not about the widespread acceptance of it, it never has been, it’s-it’s-it’s-…

…Wow…

I stutter with words as my mind gives out on me and lets my heart take over. Standing there, walking ever so closer towards me is the most stunning girl I’ve seen this side of Jersey. Her light brown hair sits in a pony tail on her shoulder, low-rise jeans creep up her swinging legs and a belly high Habitat shirt seals the deal for me. I’m standing there like a fool as she walks by me, and than she stops and all of a sudden I find these blue eyes and dazzling smile looking my way as she says…

“Hi, uhm, do you know where the bathroom is?”

It takes me a few seconds to get myself together, but I swing my arm pointing over and stumble out…

“Uh, yea, it’s uh, down there to the right.”

…hey, my names Mike, I think you’re incredibly attractive and I’d like to take you out sometime. What do you say? Hey, my name’s Mike and I’m a fool because I’m letting you walk away…

“Thanks!” She says as she smiles and starts to walk again.

You’re a moron, you know that Mike? I just look at the ground trying to gather any thoughts I- - she stops again, three feet in front of me, slowly turns around and like every skater’s dream says…

“I’m Laura by the way.”

“Mike. Nice to meet you.” I manage to pick up my jaw and mumble it out.

“See you around skater!”

Man, I need to start skating more…

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Chapter Two

CHAPTER TWO

Twenty minutes had past and time seemed all the same to us. As we walked up the highway and headed towards our destination, the sun beamed in the sky as if it were shining for everybody but us. Each building, stretched out across these four city blocks of shopping and occupation, was weathered by the winds of many years. Every ledge, bench, and set of stairs was aged perfectly for one thing and one thing alone; skateboarding, as if it knew exactly what we needed. After a long day of school there’s nothing better than dropping all of the work, taking a walk and skating the day away. For me especially, it helped to clear my mind; to take a load off and put it all into perspective. There’s something about it that the second I push off, nothing else matters except the moment. It’s not like organized sports, competing to win, or impress everyone that’s watching you; with skating, you do it for yourself. You do it because you enjoy it, and you do it for the love.

As we approached the street, the bustling noises of the city flooded the air. There were hundreds of people, all shopping, eating, walking, driving, spending and talking. Some would find it irritating, and to be honest, after a while it can really get on your nerves…unless you’re in your own world that is…

“…and than boom! Lands a frontside flip over the seven set.” Says Matt, as we both begin to cross the street.

“Damn. I heard their new video was pretty sick, but that just sounds nuts! I gotta grab a copy.” I reply, and with that, there we were; Threads and Sleds, a skaters paradise of escapism and entertainment. Which, in reality, was an old beat-up two story building with a never ending twenty percent off sale, but still, we loved it all the same. And no matter what you needed, they always seemed to have it in stock.

As I turned the doorknob and walked through the door, my eyes moved across the room, searching out the boards, clothes and accessories for anything new that caught my attention. Matt proceeded to walk up to the counter, asking the clerk…

“Hey, how’s it going? You guys got any of the new Mint decks in stock?”

To which the clerk replied, “I think so, give me a minute, I’ll check it out.”

As we walked around the store, randomly checking out different merchandise we’d never be able to afford, something caught me out of the corner of my eye…

“Yo, check this out” I said, as I pointed to the wall in the back corner of the store. On it hung a cork board, and tacked to it was a roughened flyer and it read…

3rd Annual Skate Competition
Thursday, July 24 at the old East Skate Park; 12:00-4:00 P.M
Must be fourteen or older to enter; cash prizes, supply board and pads.
Grand prize – sponsorship from Juda Skateboards
Contest hosted by Threads & Sleds, inquire at register for more information.
Categories to include- -

“Dude, you should enter it.” Said Matt

“Nah, it’s not my thing.” I replied.

“What do you mean, ‘not your thing’? You’d kill that competition!”

“It’s not about that. If Im gonna skate again, it’s for myself. Not to prove to other people that I can skate.”

About seven months I go, I stopped skating. Not because I didn’t enjoy it anymore, but for the simple fact that I was lazy. School was going strong and I got real caught up in it, trying not to burn my ass with grades, and each day it seemed I had less and less time to go out skating, but more and more time to sit around watching T.V, writing, or reading comics until it became a habit. I still enjoy it a lot, but it’s just been a struggle to get out there everyday and work out a routine. And whenever I get started up again, something always happens; it rains, I get sick, school papers…I can’t win.

“Lucky man, last Mint deck in stock! You want to take it now?” shouted the clerk, as he poked his head out from the stock room, distracting my thoughts for the next few minutes.

“Hell yeah! Ring me up.” Matt said anxiously. For someone who doesn’t even skate that much, he sure as hell goes through a lot of decks…wonders never cease. So anyway, we make our way to the counter so he can pay for his new board, he says….

“Seriously though, you should enter, or at least go.”

“I’ll check it out, couldn’t hurt. I mean it’s not like I boycotted skating, I’m just a lazy son of a bitch.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“So the competition starts at twelve, want me to swing by your place around eleven-thirty and we’ll walk up there?” said Matt as we walked out of the store and headed on our way home.

“Nah, I’ll just catch up with you there when it opens, I’ve got some stuff to take care of. Give Bo a call, I’m sure he’ll head out with you.”

“Yeah, true. It should be a good comp though. Heh, maybe it’ll knock your ass into skating again…”

“I could only be so lucky…”

The rest of the walk home he went on and on about this other great video he checked out, but I just couldn’t stay focus. Between every nod and “yeah” I said not knowing what for, that incomplete feeling came over me again. It tugged at stomach and I couldn’t put my finger on it at all. It eluded my mind and drove me absolutely insane. I need to do something about it soon, I just can’t take it anymore…

It was about six ‘o’ clock when I finally got back to my house for the night. After Matt left at his place, I decided to go to the park for a while to clear my head and let everything settle. A bit of fresh air never killer anybody, but it still did nothing for me; except when the little kid fell on the slide. That was funny. After some quick food and a little T.V, I hopped in the shower and than hit the sack. Lying there in my bed, trying to fall asleep, I thought that maybe skating again would help me out. Maybe that will open up a bit to this feeling and finally put things on track. Maybe I’m just a nut and there’s nothing wrong at all. Maybe there are a few too many maybes about it…

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Chapter One

So, I decided to take part in the www.nanowrimo.com (National Novel Writing Month) and a few of my writing pals I know set up blogs to show their efforts, so I jacked the idea and said what the hell...so first, a quick bit of back story, I've never written a piece of Prose in my life, it's been strictly comic scripts for as long as I've been writing. At first (and still is) it was a bit difficult to get my head around the idea, describing in detail all the things I've let pictures stand for and taken advantage of, but slowly it's coming together.

Anyway, Everyday Anomaly I inteded to originally be a mini-comic, with me writing and drawing it. About three pages into it I decided that I couldn't draw for a lick of shit, so I canned that son of a bitch. But hey, you know, genuis me decides to do it in prose and that goes nowhere...so this whole NaNoWriMo comes along and it seems like it's working out, below is the first chapter of it which clocks in at 1,269. So that's about 48,740 more words to go that I'll probably never even get half of, but hell, it's worth a shot!

So, Everyday Anomaly is pretty much an 80/20 split in terms of content. Around 80% of it's all ture, all things I've said or done or thought, and about 20% is me just making things up to progress the story how I would think/hope it'll unfold, but only time will tell. Go easy on me, I'm still learning...Enjoy...

Everyday Anomaly
By: Mike Storniolo

CHAPTER ONE

It was the twenty-first of July and school had let out just over a month ago. Over thirty days with no more homework and no more waking up early. Thirty endless days of hanging out by the park with my friends and skating. Thirty days of a totaled reckless fun, pointless idiocy, summer romance and just being a teenager. I mean, that’s what summer is all about, isn’t it? No, it’s not; at least not for me. Here I am, at two-thirty on a Saturday, sitting in my room doing nothing. Most people my age are at the mall or out with their girlfriend; going to a movie, doing something, having fun. But here I am, at two-thirty on a Saturday, with nothing but The Gear and an off-white wall to keep me company. I hate New Jersey, I need to get out.

For what seems to be hours I lie on my bed staring blankly as my mind wanders. Maybe I’ll give Matt a call, see if we wants to head out to Threads today. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I pick up the phone and the silence is almost welcoming, and then, out of nowhere…

Ring…ring…ring…click.

“Hello?”

“Hey, what’s happening?”

“Nothin’ really, just watchin’ T.V., what’s up with you?”

“Same as always, I gotta get out of the house. You wanna take a ride up to threads and check things out?”

“Yeah, sure man, definitely. Swing by my house in like five, I’ll meet you outside.”

“Alright, later man.”

“Later.”

Well, it’s nothing special, but at least it gets me out of the house for a while. I mean, being fifteen doesn’t leave a whole lot to do. Skateboarding, comics, music; it’s all great, but I find myself wanting more. It just- -it feels like something’s missing and I can’t put my finger on it. Something I feel that’s going to make a difference and finally throw me out of this one way cycle and make things interesting…make things the way they ‘ought to be. Maybe I’m just too far ahead of myself, wanting something that will come in time...but will it? Ah, I can’t think of this now, it’s too early…

Walking down the street under the hot summer sun seems to drag out the day. Just feeling the pounding of the heat on the back of my head, the slow swaying of trees in a small wind, and the silent chirping of birds, I feel like I’ve been walking for an hour. Two blocks down, three more to go. I hate summer. I love it, but man do I hate it. As I round the corner of Valley Road a squirrel dashes across my feet, with a nut in his mouth, chasing after some who-the-hell-even-knows-what. Little bastard probably shit on my shoes, I wish they’d kill them all. Sigh, it’s gonna be a long two blocks, get your head together Mike. But what else do you expect, this is little town New Jersey, without all the random and stupid things there’d truly be nothing to pass the time.

In a little under six minutes, going on two hours, I make my way to Matt’s house, but as usual, he’s running late. I’ve known him since I was three years old, and as far back as I can remember, he’s always been late. At least there’s always one thing that I can count on in life. He’s a good friend though, been there a lot for me. We’ve had a lot of stupid fun in this town, some things that we probably shouldn’t have done, but it’s always been good. It just reminds me- -

“Yo Mike, you ready?” are the interrupting words I hear, and as I turn my head, there he is; five minutes late and happy as can be.

“Yeah.”, I confidently reply. Friends; just a few minutes with them and things don’t seem as bad. The walk to the skate shop takes over twenty minutes, but they fly bye in a blur as we pass the time in a long-winded chat, which starts off when Matt says…

“So I heard the new mint boards hit last Tuesday. I saw a picture of the graphic online the other night, its pretty killer. I hope they have one left.”

To which I reply “Of course they’ll have it. They’ve got everything. When have they ever not had what you were looking for?”

“Uh, Never...”

“Exactly; yo, can you believe I already got a letter from school today about the “exciting” upcoming school year. I mean, Christ, we’ve only been gone a month and they can’t wait to get us back in there already, what the hell?”

“It’s like some Nazi shit right there.”

“Heh, it’s all about the money man; all about the money.”

“How much money can they make though, it’s a public school, no tuition, no- -“

“Oh, they’re making money alright.” I interject, “They just don’t want you to know about it.”

“Everything’s a damn conspiracy with you, huh? So what’s next, they’re treating our food so we’re more inclined to discipline?”

“Hey, it could happen. Shit, I’m getting’ aggravated just thinking about that place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate being there; I just hate the fact that they have to mandate what they think is necessary for us to learn. We already have the basic skills, after that it should be up to us to take it from there. If they’d just drop the curriculum, make it more voluntary than forceful, I think they’d see an upswing. Everyone’s nature is to find information, we just don’t want to be forced into learning it, and so we rebel against it. Perfect example, summer reading; I don’t care about The Old Man and the Sea, let me pick out a book that I’m interested in and take it from there, don’t tell me what you think I should read. So now, by being forced to read something I don’t give a damn about, I ain’t doin’ it. They can go to hell with it, see what I care.”

“You’re nuts man, I love ‘ya, but you’re nuts.”

“But you at least understand where I’m coming from with all this. You gotta agree, right?”

“Mike, man, I get what you’re saying and yeah, it sucks, but that’s just the way it is. You think I really feel like being there eight hours a day? Hell no, I’d rather be out skating, but until we’re in a position to do something about it, just enjoy the ride man…enjoy the ride. It’ll all pay off eventually.”

And in that instance, I realized that those words were probably the wisest things that I’ve ever heard from my friend Matt since I’ve known him. Not a slight, but he's by no means a very intelligent man, but it just reminds me why we always just vent to one another, we’re on the same page but what one doesn’t know the other fills in. It’s like we’re two half-retarded teens, but when we pair up on something it’s like having one, fully-capable guy…or something to that effect, except maybe not that extreme, or gay-sounding, or- - yea, I think I better stop talking now, so back to the conversation…

“True that man, but damn is it gonna be a long eventually.” I said, “But at least we’ve got parties, skating, women and comics to keep us busy.”

He quickly retorted, “Well, ‘ya got two of those right.”

“Hey man, ‘ya gotta dream, it’s all we’ve got left…”