Whooooooooa… I’m half-way there!


By Commander John Bortniak, NOAA Corps. (NOAA Photo Library: corp1765) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

November 16th. Just over half-way through November, and over half-way through the craziness of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If you are participating, I hope you are having as much fun as I am.

In celebration of reading over 26,000 words, here is an excerpt from the work-in-progress. Enjoy, and don’t forget to keep writing!


from Unbought Stuffed Dogs and Other Pretty Thoughts (working title – just go with it)


“Just a while longer.”

The words echoed across the hundreds of miles between us. More promises and excuses with each phone call.

“Your grandma says you’re doing well in school. How do you like second grade?”


“Just fine?”

I said nothing.

“Made any new friends?” Muffled background voices.

Like you care. “No.”

“What about class? What are you learning?”


“That’s good. Learning’s good. And your leg braces, are they helping? Your grandpa told me you were fitted for new ones a couple of months back.”

“They’re okay.” She wouldn’t care to really know about the adjustment period. Didn’t want to really hear about my increasing muscle tension. It wouldn’t change a thing.

“So, what did you get for your birthday?” More voices in the background, laughter, and music. She was out.

“Hot Wheels,” I muttered.

“Did you get my present?” she asked.


“Darn it. I sent it last week and it should be there by now,” she claimed, but I knew she probably sent it earlier in the day when she realized she had forgotten my birthday. Another voice in the background, but closer. Someone attempting to usher her away. “Look, hun. I gotta go, but you have a happy birthday, and don’t forget that mommy loves you. Okay?”

“Okay,” I whispered into the receiver.

Then it clicked and the phone call died.

Two weeks later a padded envelope arrived with a chocolate bar, a bag of army men, and a note scribbled on a scrap of paper. “Happy birthday, Jake.”

Grandma and Grandpa made excuses for her. “It must have been lost in the mail.” “Glad it finally made it.”

But they couldn’t hide the date from the postage meter. Stamped with the number three days past my actual birthday.


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