On the Modern Pertinence of Etiquette in the, “Den for Story Makers and Takers”

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I remember when I was a child and the big joke in the library was to mock the angry librarian who hissed and insisted any noise-makers to quiet. Now an author struggling to become a money-making-published-word-carver, I do much of my editing in the quiet dwelling place of the bookman’s abode.

Unfortunately, there are still people, even my own age, who enjoy friendly stories and over-pompous smiles in this same place a modest author would just call a library, but a snob would call a ‘den for story-makers and takers.’

I cannot comprehend what comes over a person to fully engage in a conversation inside a library. I can see there are times we run into friends and are at the very least required to say, “Hello, How are you? – Me, I’m good. – Oh really! – Alright see you later.”

Anything more than that is unnecessary and rude. Oh, what’s that?? I’m being a prick for telling you to quiet when you feel like talking to your friend? Ah, I’m sorry, my mistake.

Please-shut-the-fuck-up and go pretend you’re cool somewhere else.

I don’t come to the library to look cool or impress anyone. I come to the library to get work done, and I’m pretty sure everyone else does, too. Even those pretty girls you see getting really drunk on Friday nights who accentuate  the ‘s’ sound at the end of every word they can possibly fit it into.

Yes, those girls.

So in conclusion, I would like to formerly invite that old, bead-chained-glasses wearing old strict ‘hag’ back to her place of work. We need you, I can’t take any more of these smiling ‘librarian’ good-for-nothings who leave me to do all the quieting for my pencil-pushing amigos.

If you like to talk when you are in the library,

You can suck-it.

– Thomas M. Watt

Prom Night Scandal

They were all packed in the limo. The music blared and several were trying to dance, hunched over under the low roof. Anthony was sitting next to brown haired Michelle and Olivia. Olivia was his blonde haired date to prom. But Michelle was the girl he had wanted to take. On the other side of Michelle, was Ryan, Michelle’s boyfriend.

“Oh my gosh, do you see this!” Announced Michelle, pointing out the drunk girl dancing with her legs wide open and crotch fully exposed from underneath her skirt.

“Oh yeah, I see it!” Said Ryan, laughing.

Michelle turned away from the scene, covering the side of her face with the flat of her hand. She faced Ryan with a smirk.

“Oh… my… gosh.”

Ryan laughed. “Your friend is ridiculous.”

“THAT’S an understatement.”

They both shared a laugh, until Ryan pulled MIchelle by the wrist, over to his own direction. “Babe, we gotta start dancing.”

“No,” said Michelle, pulling her arm away. “Not a chance in the world.”

She laughed, as did Anthony.

“Well I’m going to anyways,” Said Ryan, before standing up then rubbing his rear into MIchelle’s face, who pushed him away. He went on to the center of the spacious vehicle and started dancing in the center, with the rest of the drunk participants.

“Unreal,” said Michelle, to Anthony.

Just as Anthony was beginning to respond, his blonde date poked her head out from behind him. “Oh my God, you’re boyfriend is so funny!”

“Thanks!” Said Michelle, smiling as she met eyes with Anthony.

“He’s cute too. How did you guys meet?”

Michelle bit her lips at first, then stared down as she scratched her wrist. “Oh, just at a party.”

“Yeah? That’s really cool!”

Michelle nodded, met eyes with Anthony, and they laughed some more.

Anthony pointed to the dancers. “Is he doing the chicken?”

She looked, then busted up hysterically, covering her mouth. “Yes. I believe he is, actually.”

“I love the chicken!” Shouted Olivia, before rising to join the rest of the dancers.

The drive continued on, for some time, and though the music blared and dancers raged, Michelle began to doze, at first with her head back to her seat, before slowly tilting over then snuggling up on Anthony’s shoulder.

He didn’t know how to react, so he tried nudging her at first, but still, she did not move. He swiped the brown hairs out the way of her ear, then whispered. “Michelle. Hey.”

She opened her eyes slowly, and turned to look at him. For a moment she remained in close proximity, before suddenly darting her head away. “Oh… I’m sorry.”

Anthony laughed. “It’s okay, I didn’t mind… I mean, I just figured you probably don’t want to be seen sleeping on my shoulder.”

Michelle turned to look ahead, as did Anthony. Olivia was grinding her buttocks into Ryan’s lap.

“Er, sorry about my date,” said Anthony.

Michelle rubbed her eye, groaned, then looked upwards to Anthony, and spoke longingly. “Why didn’t you ask me to prom?”

“What?” He said, with an awkward chuckle.

She looked down, then rubbed her hands together. “Nevermind.”

Creasing his brow, Anthony felt his own heart beating faster. “You’re with Ryan, I thought.”

“Yeah,” responded Michelle, weakly. She continued rubbing her hands together at a quickening pace, and seemed almost nervous.

“Michelle, I would have loved to go to prom with you. Especially over her,” He laughed and pointed, but Michelle didn’t look. Finally, he grabbed her by the wrist and moved to make eye contact with her.

However, the moment he did, and the second he opened his lips to speak, she pushed herself into him, wrapping a hand around the back of his head as she forced her lips into his.

The entire bus quieted, the dancers stopped, and Anthony found himself hugging MIchelle as she sucked on his lips relentlessly.

Anthony heard the yells of Ryan, the insults of Olivia, and the button-clicking of all who were undoubtedly taking pictures of the monumental high-school hook-up and undoubtedly posting them to facebook. Anthony didn’t really care. His eyes were glued to Michelle’s, and her eyes remained in his.

– Thomas M. Watt

Malise and the Marine

underwater dancersMark enlisted in the marines straight after high school. He had been a popular student and a great athlete. In all his years of school, though he was always part of the ‘in’ crowd, he maintained a platonic relationship with a girl named Malise. Malise was a nice brunette girl, with shapely curves and a contagious laugh. The two of them always had fun together, childish jokes poked at one thing or another. But that wasn’t Mark’s girlfriend. Mark’s girlfriend was the popular girl, whose name was Eva.

Eva and Mark were supposed to last forever, but a short time after he had been deployed, she split, sending him the signature ‘Dear John’ letter to let him know they were through. Mark had a rough time throughout his tour, losing several of his closest friends in duty, and the shrapnel from a suicide bomber even tore off the bottom half of his leg.

When he returned home, he was never quite the same. His friends took notice, and he no longer had anything to do with the crowd he was once the leader of. His good looks remained, however, and his blond hair remained thick, as did the strength of his face.

One day, at the bar, he spotted his old friend Malise, who was strung along the arm of an old pal whose name was Tony. Mark knew Tony, who was largely a clown, and he knew him well enough to know that he had not a hint of intention to stay with Malise very long, and Tony had not a single bone in his body to know what such a girl meant in comparison with the others.

Mark had been sitting at the bar, sipping on his fifth beer by himself, watching the group he formerly knew as his friends. Malise was laughing just as she always was, and the smile on her lips never seemed half as beautiful. She made her way over to Mark.

“Hey stranger.”

“Hey,” he said, before taking another sip.

“You should join us over there,” said Malise, pointing to the group with her thumb.

Mark looked over at the group playing darts.

“No thanks,” he responded.

Malise rubbed his shoulder. “Alright then, fine. Suit yourelf grumpy!” She said with a wink. She left and returned to the group on the other side.

After several more beers, Mark still found himself in his all-too unaffected state of sobriety. A country song came on, and after a short glance at Malise, he stood up, and made his way over to her.

At his approach, the group all turned and smiled to him. “Hey mark!” Said tony, giving him a punch on the arm.

Mark didn’t seem to notice, and turned to Malise instead, taking her by the hand. “Come dance with me.”

Malise giggled. “Oh, so now you wanna dance, huh cowboy?”

Mark didn’t smile, only led her away.

The pair started dancing, Malise with a smile, Mark with a serious expression on his face and deep gaze into her eyes.

“Something wrong?” said Malise, though smiiling.

“No,” he answered.

They danced through the song, until another came on, of a much slower tempo. Mark brought Malise in so that she was up against his chest.

“Come marry me,” he said.

Malise laughed. “What?”

Running a hand through her hair, Mark repeated himself. “Come marry me.”

Malise tried to laugh it off, but found Mark’s intense expression wasn’t lettin up. “Are you drunk cowboy?”

“No.”

She laughed again, but Mark only pulled her in closer. “Come marry me.”

“What? I can’t Mark! Are you joking? You know I’m with Tony!”

Shaking his head, Mark gripped her hand tighter. “Tony’s a clown. You don’t want to be with Tony. You want to be with me.”

“Ah! A bit confident, are we?” She said, trying to ease the tension.

Sliding a hand over her cheek, Mark forced her gaze up to his, and the smile left her. “I don’t think so.”

Malise gulped.

Tony approached quickly, and his words came through equally fast. “Hey back off a little, would ya?”

Mark shook his head. “No. I’m not going to.”

Laughing awkwardly, Tony looked to both sides, then set his hands at his hips. “Hey Mark, I know your bitter about bein’ a gimp and all, but you seriously need to back off.”

“Do I?” Said Mark, releasing Malise and stepping his way.

Tony scratched his head. “Alright, whatever. Malise, I’ll be over there with the boys. Let me know if he creeps to close to you.”

“Okay,” she said softly, looking at Mark. “I will,” she said slowly, then gulped.

Tony poked Mark in the chest. “And don’t be-”

Mark plucked his hand before he finished, twisted his wrist, then led him forcefully back to the bar. “What? What Tony? Don’t be what?”

Tony took his hand away, turned around, then threw his arms into the air.

Returning to Malise, Mark took both her hands them strung them behind his neck.

“What’s gotten into you?” She said, tilting her head to the side.

Mark brushed her hair back. “I want to be with you. I want to be happy again.”

She laughed. “You don’t need me for that.”

Mark ran his hand through her hair, and stared into her eyes.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

The directness in his tone never let up for a  single word. “I’ll get us a house. I’ll build one if I have to.”

“Why?” She said, chuckling. “Why the sudden interest in me?”

“I want to have kids with you. I want to get a normal job then come home and have dinner with you. I want to laugh with you.”

“Come on, on you pulling my leg?” She said, slightly pushing him away.

Mark pulled her in closer, then led her until her back hit against the wall. He took both her hands in his then raised them up above, pushing the backs of her hands into the wall behind.

He kissed her.

“Mark,” she said, wiping her lip, speaking breathlessly.

Tony stormed over, then shoved Mark away.

Mark cocked back his elbow, then slugged Tony across the face. Tony wobbled at the knees before falling over, his face to the ground. The bouncer rushed over.

“Mark,” said Malise, wide-eyed and whispering, hand over her mouth.

Mark moved her hand away, hugged her in close, then took her lips into his. She moved herself closer into his chest, turned her head sideways, and closed her eyes.

The bouncer ripped Mark off from her, and pushed him by the back, prodding him to exit.

The group of friends all crowded around Malise, and watched Mark’s departure together, equally stunned. Malise, however, watched with a rising chest and a hand to her heart.

– Thomas M. Watt

Eddy the Loser

At a classroom in Georgia, the teacher, Mr. Rickert, was addressing his pupils. He stood at the front, and was speaking about Ernest Hemmingway, and more specifically, the prolific author’s contributions to literature. The entire class was jotting down notes on what he said made Hemmingway on such a great writer, and why he was so successful. Everyone in the class was taking notes, aside from Eddy, who was dressed in all black, had a hoodie over his head, and his page was covered in penis doodles. He sat there, rocking back and forth, until he suddenly hunched over and began to smash his own forehead into the desk, over and over.

“Eddy!” scolded Mr. Reckert. “Take your headphones out and listen up!”

Eddy did, though with a sigh. He sat back and stared back to his teacher.

“I don’t like your attitude young man. I don’t like it at all.”

“Yes, sir,” responded Eddy.

The lecture went on, until, fifteen minutes later, Eddy sat at his desk with his head between his arms, face down.

“Eddy!” shouted Mr. Rickert again, swiftly moving towards the young man then pulling him up by the back of his hoodie. “If you’re not going to pay attention, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the room immediately. I will not have you disrupting my class anymore.”

Eddy sat up, shook his head side to side, then muttered under his breath, “How am I disrupting the class by sleeping?”

Mr. Rickert heard him, and yelled back at once. “Young man, that’s it. Principle’s office. Now.”

“Why?” said, Eddy, standing from his seat.

Mr. Rickert folded his arms over his chest. “Because I’m tired of your antics. Always trying to get attention for being a loser, and you’re missing all the important lessons. You realize you’re going to fail literature this semester, don’t you?”

Eddy looked away. “Yes, sir.”

“Then maybe you should take studying more seriously. I hate to be the one who tells you this young man, but you’re in for a rude awakening once you get to the real world.”

“Oh, didn’t know it was a different world than this one,” the boy responded, heading towards the door.

“An attitude like that will get you nowhere in life. You better clean it up now, young man.”

Eddy continued to the door, opened it a creak, then sighed, scratched the back of his head, then turned around, facing Mr. Rickert directly, and spoke with all the other faces looking dismissively back at him.

“Would if this is bull-shit, would if you are wrong. Would if Hemmingway just wrote his own mother-fucking song. Would if this class bores me, ’cause it’s too fast that I think. Would if the lessons you give to me, are not even reaching my own brink. Would I’m not dumb, would if you’re the clown. Would if I’m a writer, and the rest of you are sounds.”

“Eddy, I will have-” Began Mr. Rickert, before being cut off.

“Would if high school bores me, because it really is no test. Would if intelligence abounds me, because I’m smarter than the rest. Would if I’m not so dumb, would if that one is you. Would if I can’t pay attention because my words are actually what is true. So what if I’m a loser, I really do not care. What bothers me the most is that you study what has never once been there.”

“Eddy!” shouted Mr. Rickert. “Enough!”

“Would if you’re all wrong, and really I’m all right. Would if I’m the one who Mr. Hemmingway was like. And say he grew up like me, with teachers who didn’t care. And would if Ernest Hemmingway could see right through their stare.”

“Get out!” screamed Mr. Rickert.

Eddy went on. “Would if you are dull, would if you are weak. Would if all the grades are based on the ability to repeat. Would if I’m creative, would if that is me. Would if I’m the one who knows what it truly means to think.”

“Out!” screamed Mr. Rickert.

“Would if you are boring, would if that is true. Would if it’s not bullshit that I reiterate to you. Would if I am smart, much smarter than the rest. Would if you constrict me with these stupid fucking tests. Would if this is jokeful, all the shit you teach. Would if all your lessons are hogwash that your are told to preach.”

“EDDY!” Screamed Mr. Rickert, pointing out the door. “GET OUT!”

“Why can you not see it, why are you so blind. Why do I spend my whole life trying to show you fucking dumbass guys. Why is it I scare you, why is it that you’re stool. Why is it that these things you teach only make me fucking drool.”

“Dammit young man, do I have to have you escorted out of here?”

“What’s the point of trying, when the prideful think they’re best? What’s the point of learning, when it only brings about distress? For I know of what is wrong, I know of what is right, I know the things you say to me will never help me fucking write. I can see it more clearly, much more clear than you. I feel I understand everything, and yet you make up these imaginary rules. What is writing for? For what does it exist? Why are you so pathetic, and why do you insist? To teach things that don’t work, to teach what isn’t there. I’m pretty sure for Ernest, he didn’t fucking care. I think you are a joke, I think you are a fool, I think all that is wrong with learning, stems from guys like you.”

“That’s it! Detention! One week!”

“Do you want to know, the reasons that I do, do you ever want to know, why I so fucking hate you? Does it ever seem, to anyone but me, does it ever seem like we’re learning all of the wrong things? Does anyone else know, does anyone else care, does any one give a fuck about learning things that are not there? It is a fucking crime, more than half a shame, it is a damn hipocricy when ego’s steal a share. You do not know about me, you do not know the truth, that if Hemingway were here today, he’d like me much more than you.”

After Eddy met with the principal, he was suspended three weeks for inappropriate behavior, indecent drawings and using profanities in the classroom.

– Thomas M. Watt