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Chalk Blue God

Chalk Blue God

Ratings: (0)|Views: 72 |Likes:
Published by G. W. Wollenburg
College is a hard time. You walk around believing you know everything, only to discover that after you graduate, you don't know anything.
This story is reminiscent of the former, but hints at the latter, and is, arguably, the best thing I wrote when I was in college.
Is it indicative of my current work? No, Not at all.

Posted, complete with Links to Podcast Version, at www.writelarge.com/Chalk_Blue_God
College is a hard time. You walk around believing you know everything, only to discover that after you graduate, you don't know anything.
This story is reminiscent of the former, but hints at the latter, and is, arguably, the best thing I wrote when I was in college.
Is it indicative of my current work? No, Not at all.

Posted, complete with Links to Podcast Version, at www.writelarge.com/Chalk_Blue_God

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Published by: G. W. Wollenburg on Mar 07, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/15/2014

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!
 Allica’s Chalk Blue ParentsorCreative Writing Never Saved Anybody’s Life, Anyway
by Gabe Wollenburg 
!
 Don't have the Main Character commit suicide as the end of your work.
That's what they tell you. In every creative writing class across the nation. They tell you:
 Don't have the maincharacter commit suicide as the end of you work.
 And
 Don't use the "poetic image" of teardrops in your  poetry.
That's pretty much how it goes around here.
"
Seven of us sit. On Our Grassy Knoll. That is capitalized on purpose. It's OurGrassy Knoll. That's what everybody calls it. (Truth, it’s not THE grassy knoll; it's anisland of grass surrounded by an ocean of concrete in the center of the campus mall. It'sreally more of a planter than a knoll. But that's what we call it. Besides, our group wouldnever, ever call it a Grassy Planter. That's not our style.) Much like young people wouldSing, Dance and Play, on our Grassy Knoll we sit Muffin, Beverage, and Cigarette.
!
Huge chunks of my day have dissolved in the act of Muffin, Beverage, and Cigarette.
!
I digress. It's a late autumn day. It's perfect weather. The trees are five days shy of blooming into fiery explosions of red, orange and yellow. I think that sometimes thecolors of the trees on days like today warm a cold environment to a point that iscomfortable, even when in actuality, it is not. It could be fifteen below zero, your breathfreezing and falling to the ground a frozen chunk of condensation, and if it was themiddle of the foliage climax, you could walk around in shorts and sweater.
!
That's what I'm wearing: shorts and sweater.
!
 Allica sets down next to me on the cement walls of our grassy planter. They makeconvenient seats. Ah, the advantages of our modern civilization. It's fun to look at andsit on, too. I am sitting on the pile of wood chips that the grounds-people lay at the baseof the three trees growing on Our Grassy Knoll.
!
 Allica is in the act of Beverage. "Hey," she says glancing at me for a second, then shelooked up into the chalk blue sky. She hesitated. "Hap had a party at Vivik's last night."Pause. Inhale. "Got totally wasted. Missed Poly-Sci. Had to stay in bed." Some wherearound the word "Vivik" her voice cracked as if she was forcing herself to speak in arelaxed manner. As she spoke she continued to look up into the chalk blue sky, as if shewere speaking to it, and she was waiting for it to answer. Maybe scorn her. Maybe tellher to get her head on straight, and figure out what was important to her. Allica waswaiting for God to look down at her, the color of His eyes the same chalk blue as the sky,and lecture her for skipping out of her 8:10 again. It's interesting who people find forsurrogate parents the first time that they are really away form home.
 
!
"Vivik's, huh? How come nobody called me?" Maybe God would let me off thehook for not lecturing her myself.
"
"We tried. It was a spur of the moment thing. You weren't home." It was true. Ihadn't been home. I spent much of last evening sitting on the floor of the city libraryreading a book about the great predictions for the year 1990 that was published in 1982. As for Hap's little party... Hap, Happy Adler (don't tease—- that is his real name) has away of planning spur of the moment stuff weeks in advance.
!
"You could have left a message on my machine." I really wasn't that upset. I wouldhave turned down the invitation to Vivik's anyway, even if I had been home. Vivik had away of irritating me when taken in large enough doses. Vivik DeLapados, take in smalldoses and always on an empty stomach. For the best effect, drink a glass of orange juiceabout a half hour after consumption. It's the vitamin C, man.
!
 Allica sighed. "Yeah," she said in a irritated tone, "Well, we didn't, so tuff noogies." Iguess we didn't think of that, Allica. Those answering machines are scary anyway. Theynever called. Otherwise she'd have remembered that I have a machine.
!
"Besides, Sweetie, I know that you wouldn't have had any fun anyway. I thought that you didn't like Hap." It was true. In addition to being irritated by Vivik, Happy Adlerwas nothing shy of annoying if seen one time too many in a given week. He had a way of getting really excited (really, really excited) about sort-of interesting things, that I guess Idon't care about as much as he does. No wonder I didn't go out with my friends veryoften.
!
I put a cigarette in my mouth and opened my bag . I dug through the many pocketslooking for a lighter. I bought a lighter once.
!
 Allica stopped waiting for God to send her to her room and turned to me. "Younever have a lighter, you know that?"
!
"I should hope that I would." Ask a stupid question, "I bought one once. It cost me$12."
!
"Well where is it now?" she reached into her jacket pocket, and she handed me herlighter.
!
I lit my cigarette with a blue Bic lighter with a Strawberry Shortcake smelly sticker onit.
!
"I dunno. Somewhere, I guess. I don't like lighters. There is something intrinsicallycooler about a match."
"
 Allica, taking back her Strawberry Shortcake Bic, flashed me a half smile. Shethought. Allica has a way of letting the world know that she wants to bring something upbut is scared too. She cocks her head to the side, opens one eye slightly larger than theother, stares directly at you for a second (giving the appearance of quiet calculated study)and then finally tells you what’s on her mind. She did just that and began to ask,
!
"Can I tell you--"
!
 And was interrupted by Dug. He came lumbering up to us, smiling and dumb, hisface always needed shaving, even right after he shaved it, and shouting, "Hey guys!"
 
!
 As he approached the Knoll he put a cigarette in his mouth. He stopped, looked atus, said ceremonial hellos, and with one smooth, calculated and nearly perfect flick of hiswrist, lit a strike anywhere red-tipped match on the edge of his thumbnail.
!
 And as he lit the match, and as he held it to his cigarette and up until he exhaled thecloud of cigarette smoke and started talking again, this 275 pound, jean jacketed, greasyponytailed, sideburned, clod became James Dean from the cover of Rebel Without aCause. This big dumb ox with the mere lighting of a match turned from Pee-WeeHerman to Cool Hand Luke and back in about five seconds. He was Hudson Hawk, James Bond, Al Pacino, Patrick Stewart, and Captain Kirk all at once, and all only for fiveseconds.
!
"Duggy," I greeted him by saying his name, the same way he always greets otherpeople. Allica stared wide eyed at him. He said her name. She turned to me. She smiled.Her eyes sparkled like the sunshine reflecting off of a freshly minted quarter, as she said:
!
"Yeah. You're right. There is something.... something cooler."
!
I offered to buy Duggy a muffin. He agreed, as he ground out the cigarette with thetoe of his boot. Cool. Very cool.*
!
*
!
*
!
*
!
There are two kinds of Muffin worth having. Both of them have poppyseeds so if  you're not a poppyseed person, I guess you are out of luck. The Almond-Poppyseed andthe Lemon-Poppyseed. All other muffins are just muffins. The Almond and LemonPoppyseed Muffins were the Chosen Muffins of the Grassy Knollsters and Myself.Denise, the cashier, and a friend of mine, saw me coming and grabbed one of each.They cost me ninety-nine cents apiece. These were big muffins. They were quite a deal.I gave Duggy the Lemon, because, frankly, the Almonds are better.
!
I stood with Dug while he waited in line for his Irish Cream Coffee. Duggy had athing for flavored and imported coffee. He was the only one of the group that did. Therest of us liked our coffee black. Very black.
!
Not that it had always been that way. We all go through our stages, right? For thelongest time it's all that you can do to choke down your first cup of Joe. Coffee, (it isn'tfair to call anything that has been that saturated by sugar and cream coffee anymore) isn'tthe best tasting thing in the world to a 14 year old child, who is more interested in thegrown-up feeling the beverage provides. So the child makes it taste more like candy,adding sugar, cream, Sweet and Low, Equall, Nutra-Sweet, Sugar-Twin, honey, syrup,peppermint disks, and milk. And the sugar saturated libation, somehow, tastes good tothese preadolescent angst-monsters. They sit in the smoking section and drink therecoffee-syrup at the local Denny's, smoking Camel Lights, bitching about how unfair it isthat their parents treat them like they are eight, and how there big brothers can doanything they want, just because they've got jobs and pay for their own gas.
!
Then the next step: Coffee Shops!

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