Tag Archives: story

Poisonous Mushrooms

Here is the second guest blogger story, written by two of my Mexican students in our fiction class.

Poisonous Mushrooms

by Amelia Victoria Nava and Karina Rodriguez

San Miguel de Allende was a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico. The main food in this place was mushrooms. People included mushrooms in all their food, like the potatoes in America or tortillas in Mexico.  Most people in San Miguel were farmers and they harvested mushrooms to eat or sold them to the nearest cities. One day, all of a sudden, people got sick. At the beginning of the illness the symptoms were headache, fever and diarrhea, but later it changed to red spots on their skin. If they scratched them they started to bleed. The worst thing was, people died after a couple of days in the advance stage of the illness.

People did not know what was happening at that time. The first person with those symptoms was Mrs. J. She was a very healthy person and always helped people. She was a happy and friendly person in that town. You could see her every Sunday in church.

When Miss K realized that her friend Mrs. J had gotten sick, she went to the clinic and talked to the doctor. They talked for hours and hours about the problem but the doctor told her that Mrs. J was going to die and all infected people too. It must be a secret because nobody knew that the virus had no cure.  Mr. A was a young, very smart man. He did research for the world in medicine. Unfortunately he had a problem. He was schizophrenic.

Six weeks later, you could see the town empty. No more kids playing in the parks, no students in the school and no people walking in the streets. Miss. K was very worried. She did not know why most people got sick, her friends, her family and her boyfriend too. There was no difference between her and them. Except the food. She ate all type of food but no vegetables. She started to notice this difference and started to talk to her relatives and asked them if they had done or eaten something different before they got sick.

She thought that the only thing people had in common was the food. All of them prepared their dishes with mushrooms and they were infected. Nobody knew, only the doctor.

Miss. K looked for help because she really wanted to assist the population. She planned her trip to the nearest city and talked to a group of scientists.

A month later, that group came to San Miguel in order to analyze the epidemic. Hundreds of people had died. The group did not explain why. The town had an expert in those cases, Mr. A.

Mr. D, who was the leader of the group, talked to Mr. A about the situation. The doctor only said viruses did not have a cure but gave people pills and serum to make them feel better. Mr. D was not convinced by it and started to make a vaccine to stop the epidemic but Mr. A did not help him.

One day both were in the laboratory and Mr. D found a file with all the information about the virus’s formula. But he did not say anything at all. He continued working on the research and later talked to Miss. K about the problem. He made a vaccine with the information he found. The result was that water contained a strange substance and people watered vegetables with it but only mushrooms reacted negatively. Both started vaccinating people in the town while Mr. A was on a trip.

Finally, when Mr. A came back to town, he was taken to the mental hospital. Unfortunately it was too late to save innocent people who believed in him.


Coffee and Writing and Muggings

Last Monday, I wrote a story that only had verbs and adjectives, called Read Run Inspired. People speculated what was happening in the comments and some got pretty close to what I had intended. Here is the full story, with nouns and prepositions and everything.

Sources 1 2 3

Sources 1 2 3

It was my New Year’s resolution this year to never have a full-time job again. That might seem risky but it wasn’t total suicide. The November before, an agent had gotten back to me about a novella I’d written. “Great,” he’d said. “Make it into a full-length novel and I think we’ll be in business.”

So I quit my job. I sold most of my furniture and moved into the back room of my friend Crazy Bob’s coffee shop, eating the bagels and baked good he couldn’t sell during the day. And I sat and drank free coffee and typed as fast as my jittery fingers could.

At least that was the plan. Maybe it was malnutrition or the pressure of having to produce a masterpiece, but everything I wrote sounded stupid. Crazy Bob was sympathetic but I could tell he thought I was stupid, and that’s something, coming from Crazy Bob. I wasn’t stupid, although I was afraid I might get scurvy by the end of the year if people didn’t stop buying all the lemon muffins.

I usually worked in the back where I wouldn’t take up table space, but one day I just kept writing and rewriting the same paragraph and went out front to get some sunlight and coffee. I sat there in an overstuffed chair and sipped my coffee, feeling my brain activity spark back into life.

I was feeling very cozy when a woman came in and walked straight at me. She was dressed like a mugger, or at least what one might be dressed like in a movie. She had a hand stuck in her pocket and it looked like she had a gun.

“Can I help you?” I asked, desperately hoping that I couldn’t.

“Give me all your gold dust,” she said. I didn’t know if this was a euphemism for money or a new kind of drug, but I just froze. She repeated it and moved a step closer.

I’m not a good one for crises. My body flips a fight-or-flight coin and I have no say in the matter. I yelled and threw my cup of coffee in her face. She screamed and fell down and I ran towards the door, leaving my laptop on the table.

“Wait, come back!” she shouted after me. I wasn’t going to fall for that trick. I kept sprinting. She stumbled out of the shop, still wiping coffee off her face, and promptly ran into a light pole. I heard the scream and looked back, still running. It was so comical that I laughed. I turned back around just in time for my nose to collide with the “S” on a stop sign. I shouted something that started with “S” but it wasn’t stop.

I kept running, limping even though it was my nose that was bleeding and apparently broken. The woman kept coming, cursing and shouting for me to stop. I was considering slowing down when I heard a gunshot, which convinced me not to. I was getting tired when I turned down an alley that was blocked by a truck at the far end. I stopped, trapped.

She came into view, scalded, bleeding, and holding a gun. I screamed like a little girl because no one gives out medals to the corpses that died with dignity. She stopped, caught her breath, then gave a little laugh.

“Are you done yet?” she asked.

“Uh, I guess.”

“You run really fast for an unemployed writer,” she said. I waited, not sure how to take that. “I’m Crazy Bob’s cousin,” she said.

I was confused so I just nodded. “He was worried about you,” she continued, “so he asked me to pretend to stick you up and ask for something bizarre, then just leave. He thought it would inspire you in your writing to have a real experience to write about. The gun’s not even real.” She put her hand over the muzzle and pulled the trigger. Sure enough, there was no hole in her hand.

“Are you crazy?” I was just about to begin an epic rant when I remembered whose cousin she was and thought it might not be a rhetorical question after all. I stood for a moment, trying to adjust my mind to not being mugged and murdered and then I started to laugh.

“Sorry about throwing coffee at you,” I said.

“Sorry about your nose.” We both laughed, then waved and limped our separate ways.

I went back and bandaged up my nose. It didn’t seem to be broken, just very sore. I got another cup of coffee and sat down again. The caffeine flowed through my brain and suddenly I started to write.

Thank you, Crazy Bob.


Read Run Inspired

This is a story with only verbs and adjectives. I’m not going to explain anymore than that.

 

Sources 1 2 3

Sources 1 2 3

Lives

Poor

Works

Depressing

Writes

Frustrating

Thinks

Thinks

Thinks

Frustrating

Goes

Drinks

Reads

Cozy

Sips

Delicious

Enters

Ominous

Threatens

Pleads

Panicked

Demands

Throws

Scalding

Screams

Falls

Painful

Runs

Scared

Chases

Blinded

Collides

Excruciating

Looks

Laughs

Collides

Broken

Throbbing

Bleeds

Staggers

Chases

Curses

Slow

Shoots

Loud

Runs

Runs

Runs

Exhausted

Traps

Screams

Screams

Terrified

Stops

Laughs

Confused

Explains

Confused

Explains

Shoots

Loud

Fake

Furious

Relieved

Amused

Chuckles

Waves

                   Waves

    Leaves

Bizarre

Returns

Bandages

Tolerable

Exits

Buys

Drinks

Caffeinated

Writes

Inspired

 

Got it? Let me know in the comments and what you think happened.


2015: The Year of the Green-Walled Tower

Belfry - New Years 1So, it’s not quite New Year’s here yet, but we’re counting down the last few hours and although 2014 has been a pretty good year, I have a really good feeling about 2015. I feel like this is going to be a big year for me and this blog, not because of random fortune, but because I am committed to doing a lot of work.

I don’t usually make resolutions for two reasons: 1) I don’t usually have anything I specifically want to do that I think I can accomplish with a resolution and 2) resolutions are treated very cynically these days. Resolutions seem to have come to mean “well-meaning but naive life changes that will be in effect from January 1-15”. I don’t want that.

However, this year, I have made some resolutions which I am 100% committed to keeping. I’m sure everyone says that so I am making them a matter of public record so I can compare this post with another one a year from now. Keep me honest, people.

New Years Resolution 1

 

New Years Resolution 2

 

New Years Resolution 3

And finally, the most important and most ambitious.

New Years Resolution 4

 

Thank you to all you who read my blog. Expect good things in the year to come. Happy New Year!

Belfry - New Years 2.2

Belfry intro

 


The Biomes of My Life

“Do you have a blog, grandpa?” the boy asked, kicking his legs against the stool rungs in the nursing home.

“No, I don’t do much with computers,” the old man said. “We didn’t have them when I was growing up and I guess I just didn’t find the need afterwards.”

The boy considered this. “What was life like for you, growing up? What was it really like?”

“It’s hard to explain,” the man said after a moment. “You’re too young to understand and there’s a lot of it.”

“Then you can start a blog and write about it.”

The man smiled. He pointed at the boy’s open backpack. “What’s that?”

“My social studies book. I got homework. We’re studying biomes.”

“Let me see it.” The man flipped through it, then handed it back. “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll tell you about my life.”

The next day, when the boy came to his grandfather’s room, the man handed him several pages covered with a firm, flowing script, made shaky at the ends by age.

“Can you read it to me?” the boy asked. “We don’t learn that kind of writing in school anymore.”

“This time,” the man said, looking more put out than he really felt. “Get your mom to type it out for you. Okay, here we go: The Biomes of My Life.

“I was born in the jungle, emerging from my cocoon into a world bursting with life. At first, I was amazed at the bright colors and variety around me but unaware of the dangers that stalked through the shadows. There were jaguars and tigers in the trees that watched as I climbed and swung through the trees. One day, an old tiger caught me and mauled me badly and that ended my career climbing trees. I stayed, stifled, on the floor of the jungle, and it felt like the trees were pressing down on me. I longed for fresh air.

“When I was a teenager, I finally found the savannah and reveled in the open space and air. I ran and jumped and played, unrestrained by anything. I saw the groups that moved around: the zebras and antelope, the lions and hyenas and remembering the old tiger, I allied myself with the hyenas. I was not going to be a victim. I was the killer now, preying on the flighty animals that ran in front of me. It was a glorious existence while it lasted, but the lions reminded us who were bigger and in the end, I took more harm than if I had run with the zebras.

“My early twenties were a desert. I had run from the lions and leaving the savannah, I wandered for long periods of time in areas devoid of life with just the rocks and sand as companions. The sky was large and although life seemed wide open, it was empty in every direction I tried. The scorching sun and wind burned me, crushing my young will. I could have died in that barren place if I had not found a tiny trickle of water that led to a river, which led to the ocean.

“It was in my late twenties that I embarked on the great ocean. It was as wide open as the desert but finally I was going places and life was all around me again. The crests and troughs followed in quick succession but I rode every one and although I was never satisfied, I went further and faster than I ever had.

“It was during this time, in my early thirties that I found my tropical island. The air there was heavy with the scent of flowers and luscious fruit was everywhere. It was the first time in my life that I was truly happy and I could lie on the beach for hours, just drinking it all in.

“But after a while, the lure of the fast-paced ocean life lured me back. I went back to the island when I could, but the visits became less frequent as I traveled further and further on the wild waves. Finally, I came back to find that half the island had burned. That was a shock. I gave up the ocean and spend the next several decades restoring the island back to life. It was never what it had been, but it became my home.”

The old man stopped reading. “What do you think?”

“I don’t understand,” the boy said. “You were born in a jungle?”

“It’s a riddle,” his grandfather said. “You will need a key to unlock it.”

“What’s that?”

“Experience. Then you will understand my story. But for now, let me tell you the lessons I have learned. Watch out for tigers and hyenas. Run from them. They are not your friends. Avoid the deserts but if you find yourself in one, never give up. There is more out there. And finally, if you find your tropical island, take care of it. It is more precious than you think.”

“Okay, I’ll try to understand it later.” the boy said. He looked uncertain and the grandfather gave him a hug.

“I hope so. Then you can tell your story to your son and grandson. You can even blog about it if you want.”


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