Mom, Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring, writing

I am not Tess Dyer

I know it’s not uncommon for a first novel to be at least semi-autobiographical, and judging by the sympathetic tone of some of the emails I’ve been getting lately, it seems that a lot of you think that’s the case with Waiting For Spring. Thankfully, I can say that it isn’t. Tess and I share some similarities: eye color, short stature, a tendency towards being a smart ass. We’re both avid Red Sox fans and both live in Small Town, Maine. I used my own ‘voice’–so to speak–for the narration. (Tackling the task of writing a first novel was much less daunting that way.) But the actual events of her life were in no way taken from mine*.

I sat down to write WFS over two-and-a-half-years ago with absolutely no plot in mind. I had no specific axes to grind, no confessions to make, no burdens with anyone’s name stamped in big, block letters to set down. Just thirty-five-and-a-half years of being a human being to sort through and a certainty that I had the talent to make something out of it.

I had been abandoned by someone who should have stayed around, then given the Someone who took his place a ration and a half of shit. Groaned about the minor imperfections of my mother*, only to count my blessings when confronted with the gross imperfections of the mothers of some of my friends. I had loved and lost, then loved again. Shed tears with friends as they struggled with the heartbreak that comes when a mate has been unfaithful, and later thanked God out loud that it wasn’t me. Watched other friends who were too young being buried in the cold, hard ground.

I had known what it was like to wonder where my next meal was coming from when my husband lost his job, making due for weeks with mac & cheese and tunafish, grateful that there was such a thing as government aid to help us through the roughest spots; then grumbled as I watched people who’d never worked a day in their lives buying lobster with their food stamps. I had trusted people who didn’t deserve it, and turned my back on people who did. I found out what it’s like to not tell someone “I love you” in time, then vow to never make that mistake again; knowing full well that I probably will. I found out, too, that forgiveness works both ways.

There was a summer when it seemed everyone I knew who wasn’t in rehab should’ve been. An autumn when my brother was so sick that I prayed for God to take him away, to end his suffering; only to watch him walk out of the hospital a week later. Moments when I looked at the ungrateful faces of the children I’d fought Nature to conceive and wondered why the hell I’d bothered; only to be followed by moments I couldn’t remember what life had been like before it had been blessed with their laughter. Dark times–even the happiest couples have them–when I had imagined what life would be like if I was on my own, single and carefree again; only to have those empty images blow away like ash when I heard the sound of my name in his voice…

So, no, I am not Tess Dyer. At least, not really. Or, if I am, maybe you are, too.

*I feel especially compelled, now that Chapter 38 of WFS (aka the chapter in which Tess makes her Confession From Hell) has been posted at Readers and Writers Blog, to reiterate that Tess’ mother is in no way based on mine. (Yes, she has recently confided in me her fear that people will think this.) So once again…My mother is not an insane, selfish psycho bitch. She is an amazing, supportive, if slightly off-center, mother who gave up a lot in raising my brothers and me, and set the ultimate example of what it means to be a Mom.

In addition, Chapter 39 of WFS and chapters 14 and 15 of Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow have been posted in the New Works at R&WBlog. (If you haven’t read any of Steal Tomorrow yet, do yourself a favor and get on it. It’s that good.)

geekery, Idol for Writers, Readers And Writers Blog, star wars, waiting for spring

Some Star Wars geekery

My buddy, JC, recently posted a blog entry about the Star Wars prequels in which he said: “The new ‘trilogy’ is not nearly as bad as so many make it sound. In some ways, I like it as much as the original ‘trilogy.'” I have known him for several years, and we have had many heated discussions about the topic. We finally had to agree to disagree.

Recently, however, I reached the point where I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy watching the new trilogy in its entirety. Ewan McGregor rocks as young Obi-Wan (and I’m not just saying that because he’s hot, although he is); the politics are not only interesting, but relevent (possibly prophetic?) to today; Mace Windu and his Purple Lightsaber of Awesomeness are the coolest characters to ihhabit any of the six movies; and the fiery showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Episosde 3 has got to be the most exciting [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. I do have many problems with the movies, though, and I will enumerate them for you:

1. Character development of Padme.

Lucas was all over the place here. Episode 1 establishes Padme Amidala as a strong, but fair, leader, willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. Episode 2 picks up with her as a Senator who is just as noble. She’s obviously attracted to Anakin, but tells him to buzz off because the Republic is falling apart and there are more important things to worry about than gettin’ a little nookie on the side. And then, out of the blue, she’s willing to put that all at risk by marrying the whiney pinhead? It wasn’t until I watched the deleted scenes on the DVD that I could see where she was coming from. They show Padme with her family, including her two young nieces, which allows you to see some internal conflict: She felt compelled to remain in public service, because of the political upheaval, but ached to have a life (and a family) of her own. Lucas would have done well to include these scenes. They took up very little screen time, were actually well done, and would have made her sudden capitulation seem not-so-sudden. And don’t even get me started on the Padme-died-of-a-broken-heart thing.

2. Dialogue.

Yes, I know it was cringe-worthy in the original trilogy, but Lucas hit new lows in the prequel, especially–again–with the Anakin/Padme love story. The hairbrush/balcony scene in Episode 3 has got to be the most excrutiating [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. When compared to the banter and sexual tension between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back…well, there really is no comparison. And the fact that all of the good stuff in Empire was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford speaks volumes.

3. That damned pod race.

It was twice as long as it needed to be. Even in the theater, the first time I saw episode 1, I found myself saying, “ENOUGH ALREADY!!! You have pretty new CGI toys to use…we get it…now let’s move on!!!!”


4. Jar Jar Binks.

Yes, the Ewoks were annoying. But at least they didn’t have the ability to speak which–as Qui Gon aptly observed–“does not make you intelligent.”

C3PO and R2D2 provided all of the “comic relief” necessary. We didn’t need this guy.

Most of the other concerns I have are relatively minor, and not worth mentioning. Stay tuned, though. In another 15 years or so, I’m sure George Lucas will have CGI’d in a whole new slew of things for me to complain about…

~~~~~~~~

Today is Sunday, and you know what that means. New stuff is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Mr. Sid Leavitt has much to say about the $700 billion gov’t bailout plan; more badness on the homefront–and then some badness off the homefront–for poor Tess in chapters 36 and 37 of Waiting For Spring; and some very powerful things are going down in Cassie’s world in chapters 12 and 13 of Steal Tomorrow.

In other news, voting continues at the Live Journal Writers’ Idol. Once the results are in, I’ll let you know how week 1 went for me, and I’ll post my entry here.

geekery, Idol for Writers, Readers And Writers Blog, star wars, waiting for spring

Some Star Wars geekery

My buddy, JC, recently posted a blog entry about the Star Wars prequels in which he said: “The new ‘trilogy’ is not nearly as bad as so many make it sound. In some ways, I like it as much as the original ‘trilogy.'” I have known him for several years, and we have had many heated discussions about the topic. We finally had to agree to disagree.

Recently, however, I reached the point where I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy watching the new trilogy in its entirety. Ewan McGregor rocks as young Obi-Wan (and I’m not just saying that because he’s hot, although he is); the politics are not only interesting, but relevent (possibly prophetic?) to today; Mace Windu and his Purple Lightsaber of Awesomeness are the coolest characters to ihhabit any of the six movies; and the fiery showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Episosde 3 has got to be the most exciting [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. I do have many problems with the movies, though, and I will enumerate them for you:

1. Character development of Padme.

Lucas was all over the place here. Episode 1 establishes Padme Amidala as a strong, but fair, leader, willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. Episode 2 picks up with her as a Senator who is just as noble. She’s obviously attracted to Anakin, but tells him to buzz off because the Republic is falling apart and there are more important things to worry about than gettin’ a little nookie on the side. And then, out of the blue, she’s willing to put that all at risk by marrying the whiney pinhead? It wasn’t until I watched the deleted scenes on the DVD that I could see where she was coming from. They show Padme with her family, including her two young nieces, which allows you to see some internal conflict: She felt compelled to remain in public service, because of the political upheaval, but ached to have a life (and a family) of her own. Lucas would have done well to include these scenes. They took up very little screen time, were actually well done, and would have made her sudden capitulation seem not-so-sudden. And don’t even get me started on the Padme-died-of-a-broken-heart thing.

2. Dialogue.

Yes, I know it was cringe-worthy in the original trilogy, but Lucas hit new lows in the prequel, especially–again–with the Anakin/Padme love story. The hairbrush/balcony scene in Episode 3 has got to be the most excrutiating [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. When compared to the banter and sexual tension between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back…well, there really is no comparison. And the fact that all of the good stuff in Empire was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford speaks volumes.

3. That damned pod race.

It was twice as long as it needed to be. Even in the theater, the first time I saw episode 1, I found myself saying, “ENOUGH ALREADY!!! You have pretty new CGI toys to use…we get it…now let’s move on!!!!”


4. Jar Jar Binks.

Yes, the Ewoks were annoying. But at least they didn’t have the ability to speak which–as Qui Gon aptly observed–“does not make you intelligent.”

C3PO and R2D2 provided all of the “comic relief” necessary. We didn’t need this guy.

Most of the other concerns I have are relatively minor, and not worth mentioning. Stay tuned, though. In another 15 years or so, I’m sure George Lucas will have CGI’d in a whole new slew of things for me to complain about…

~~~~~~~~

Today is Sunday, and you know what that means. New stuff is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Mr. Sid Leavitt has much to say about the $700 billion gov’t bailout plan; more badness on the homefront–and then some badness off the homefront–for poor Tess in chapters 36 and 37 of Waiting For Spring; and some very powerful things are going down in Cassie’s world in chapters 12 and 13 of Steal Tomorrow.

In other news, voting continues at the Live Journal Writers’ Idol. Once the results are in, I’ll let you know how week 1 went for me, and I’ll post my entry here.

Readers And Writers Blog, reading, waiting for spring, Web Fiction Guide, writing

Web Fiction Guide

I’m excited to announce that Waiting For Spring is now listed at Web Fiction Guide.

click here to read

Their mission:

“Web Fiction Guide is a community-run listing of online fiction. Our goal is to help you find stuff you want to read.

Web fiction is original fiction that writers have chosen to publish on the web — sometimes instead of on paper, sometimes as well as on paper. It runs the gamut, from complete novels, to ongoing serials (web comics without the pictures), to short story collection and anthologies.

Here at the Guide, we list anything that is original and story-oriented (we don’t list fanfic or erotica), and that is available for free to read.”

Readers get a chance to read, rate and review the works listed. If you haven’t had a chance to read Waiting For Spring, you now have one more place to find it. If you have read it, and feel so inclined as to give it a rating or review, it would be greatly appreciated. You can find it HERE

You can find lots of other great stuff there in a wide variety of genres, including Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow (see right side bar…also being serialized at Readers and Writers Blog). So check it out!

Readers And Writers Blog, reading, waiting for spring, Web Fiction Guide, writing

Web Fiction Guide

I’m excited to announce that Waiting For Spring is now listed at Web Fiction Guide.

click here to read

Their mission:

“Web Fiction Guide is a community-run listing of online fiction. Our goal is to help you find stuff you want to read.

Web fiction is original fiction that writers have chosen to publish on the web — sometimes instead of on paper, sometimes as well as on paper. It runs the gamut, from complete novels, to ongoing serials (web comics without the pictures), to short story collection and anthologies.

Here at the Guide, we list anything that is original and story-oriented (we don’t list fanfic or erotica), and that is available for free to read.”

Readers get a chance to read, rate and review the works listed. If you haven’t had a chance to read Waiting For Spring, you now have one more place to find it. If you have read it, and feel so inclined as to give it a rating or review, it would be greatly appreciated. You can find it HERE

You can find lots of other great stuff there in a wide variety of genres, including Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow (see right side bar…also being serialized at Readers and Writers Blog). So check it out!

Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring

"Kill your darlings"

***** WARNING: Some very major Waiting for Spring spoilers follow. Read this prior to Chapter 34 at your own risk. *****

“Kill your darlings” is a literary term that refers to the process every writer goes through of weeding out brilliant or beautiful, but unnecessary, elements of a story so it can move along more smoothly. It is quite often a difficult, even painful, process, since it’s easy for an author to fall in love with his or her own writing. Unfortunately, it meant something different to me when I was writing Waiting for Spring. Along with those [seemingly] brilliant and beautiful, but unnecessary, passages that needed doing away with, I had to kill a different kind of darling: Rachel LaChance, Brian’s lost and abused sister.

If you’ve been following the book at Readers and Writers Blog, today’s the day you discovered that Tess’ assumption at the end of chapter 33 was correct; Rachel really is dead. And please believe me when I say that no one mourns her loss more than I do.

Rachel was doomed to meet a violent end the moment I brought her to life, a literal sacrificial lamb, as evidenced by her name (Rachel means “lamb or ewe”). Her death was a literary necessity. Because when an author has presented her readers with a major character (Brian) whose biggest fear is that something terrible will happen to the sister he has raised, and another major character (Tess) whose biggest fear is that something will happen to put her relationship with the other major character at risk…well, there’s only one thing for that author to do.

And yet when it came time for me to write Rachel’s death, I just couldn’t do it. I had grown to love Rachel too much to kill her off. She’d had such a hard life. She deserved a happy ending and I tried for weeks to figure out a way to give her one, I really did. But, in the end, the story has to take precedence over the fate of one character. Even a character you’ve grown to love. Especially a character you’ve grown to love…

So don’t hate me for killing my darling. Mourn with me instead.

————————————–

Also posted today at Readers and Writers Blog: Chapters 10 and 11 of Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow.

Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring

"Kill your darlings"

***** WARNING: Some very major Waiting for Spring spoilers follow. Read this prior to Chapter 34 at your own risk. *****

“Kill your darlings” is a literary term that refers to the process every writer goes through of weeding out brilliant or beautiful, but unnecessary, elements of a story so it can move along more smoothly. It is quite often a difficult, even painful, process, since it’s easy for an author to fall in love with his or her own writing. Unfortunately, it meant something different to me when I was writing Waiting for Spring. Along with those [seemingly] brilliant and beautiful, but unnecessary, passages that needed doing away with, I had to kill a different kind of darling: Rachel LaChance, Brian’s lost and abused sister.

If you’ve been following the book at Readers and Writers Blog, today’s the day you discovered that Tess’ assumption at the end of chapter 33 was correct; Rachel really is dead. And please believe me when I say that no one mourns her loss more than I do.

Rachel was doomed to meet a violent end the moment I brought her to life, a literal sacrificial lamb, as evidenced by her name (Rachel means “lamb or ewe”). Her death was a literary necessity. Because when an author has presented her readers with a major character (Brian) whose biggest fear is that something terrible will happen to the sister he has raised, and another major character (Tess) whose biggest fear is that something will happen to put her relationship with the other major character at risk…well, there’s only one thing for that author to do.

And yet when it came time for me to write Rachel’s death, I just couldn’t do it. I had grown to love Rachel too much to kill her off. She’d had such a hard life. She deserved a happy ending and I tried for weeks to figure out a way to give her one, I really did. But, in the end, the story has to take precedence over the fate of one character. Even a character you’ve grown to love. Especially a character you’ve grown to love…

So don’t hate me for killing my darling. Mourn with me instead.

————————————–

Also posted today at Readers and Writers Blog: Chapters 10 and 11 of Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow.

Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring, writing

Anonymous no more


As you probably all know by now, R.J. Keller isn’t my real name. I chose to use a pseudonym for my writing career so I could retain a modicum of anonymity in the unlikely event my work ever becomes traditionally published. I’ve got two kids, both of whom are hovering close to high school age, and the prospect of having one or both them accosted in the corridor with a question like, “Hey, didn’t your mom write the blowjob-in-the-shower book?” is a frightening one. The teenage years are difficult enough without throwing that into the mix.

Imagine my discomfort, then, when a woman I’ve known for years siddled up to me in the produce aisle of the grocery store yesterday and said, “Hey, Kel…I really liked Waiting For Spring.”

I managed a noise that sounded like “Wha…?” combined with what I think was a squeak. And I became suddenly aware that a small handful of customers was hovering within earshot.

“The sex scenes were awesome,” she continued, oblivious to my discomfort…and without bothering to lower her voice.

I took another furtive glance around me. The crowd of customers seemed to have grown exponentially with each passing moment, and I was quite certain everyone was listening in while they pretended to examine corn on the cob and new potatoes…

“Especially when Brian’s in the shower and–“

Obviously, I had to steer the direction of the conversation away from Brian and showers. Some topics just aren’t appropriate for family-friendly aisles of the supermarket. Health and beauty…maybe. Feminine hygiene, sure. Fruits and veggies…nope. So I asked what she thought about Rachel, Brian’s sister, which led to safer topics like the horrors of teenage drug abuse, abortion, and vigilante justice. The crowd dissipated before my very eyes, and my heart rate dropped from about 315 beats per minute to a healthier 140. Finally I asked her an important question:

“How’d you know about my book?”

She smiled and gave me the rundown. Person A, who’d let her borrow it, bought it online about a month ago on the advice of Person B, who’d heard about it from my coworker “E” (aka, The Cute One). That’s when it all began to make sense. You see, a few months ago, “E” caught me editing my personal copy of the book (I can’t just read the damned thing, even after all this time). Intrigued, she asked to borrow it and I reluctantly handed it over. (Reluctantly because it wasn’t edited to my satisfaction). Apparently, she spent the next week reading it at work in between customers…and read certain sections aloud to customers as they came into the store. Those customers told their friends, and they told their friends, and–like the old commercial goes–so on and so on…

This was news to me. I knew E had read WFS, and liked it. I knew she’d let another co-worker borrow it. And I knew she’d bought a [properly edited] copy for her mother, because she asked me to sign it (which, I’ll admit, was one of the most exciting moments of my life). But I had no idea she’d been spreading the news that Kel–mild-mannered* convenience store clerk–and R.J. Keller–renegade author of angsty, semi-violent, sexually charged novels–were one and the same. I wasn’t sure this was a good thing. I couldn’t say that to this woman in the produce aisle (or any aisle, for that matter) without sounding like a bitch, instead of like the unsure, unpublished author I really am. So I just smiled back and thanked her for the kind words. And as I continued my shopping I mulled the situation over.

Three aisles later I realized that being recongnized for my work in public was a good thing. That’s what this writing thing is about, after all…entertaining people, moving them, inspiring them. I can honestly say I’ve done that which, in my opinion, is more important than seeing a book of mine in a bookstore.

So when I saw her in the checkout line a few minutes later I thanked her again for the kind words. Then I gave her the address to my website so she could buy a copy of Waiting For Spring for herself if she so desired. And I didn’t bother to lower my voice.

* This is a lie. I don’t have a mild-mannered bone in my body. I did once–in my right arm–but I broke it when I was a kid, and it didn’t set properly.

————————-

Chapters 32 and 33 of Waiting for Spring, in which Rachel’s situation goes from bad to as bad as they can get, are up at Readers and Writers Blog today. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you). Also posted are chapters 8 and 9 of Steal Tomorrow, by Ann M. Pino. According to her blog, she and her family made it through the hurricane, but there’s quite a bit of clean up to do, as I’m sure you can imagine. So big, big hugs to her…

Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring, writing

Anonymous no more


As you probably all know by now, R.J. Keller isn’t my real name. I chose to use a pseudonym for my writing career so I could retain a modicum of anonymity in the unlikely event my work ever becomes traditionally published. I’ve got two kids, both of whom are hovering close to high school age, and the prospect of having one or both them accosted in the corridor with a question like, “Hey, didn’t your mom write the blowjob-in-the-shower book?” is a frightening one. The teenage years are difficult enough without throwing that into the mix.

Imagine my discomfort, then, when a woman I’ve known for years siddled up to me in the produce aisle of the grocery store yesterday and said, “Hey, Kel…I really liked Waiting For Spring.”

I managed a noise that sounded like “Wha…?” combined with what I think was a squeak. And I became suddenly aware that a small handful of customers was hovering within earshot.

“The sex scenes were awesome,” she continued, oblivious to my discomfort…and without bothering to lower her voice.

I took another furtive glance around me. The crowd of customers seemed to have grown exponentially with each passing moment, and I was quite certain everyone was listening in while they pretended to examine corn on the cob and new potatoes…

“Especially when Brian’s in the shower and–“

Obviously, I had to steer the direction of the conversation away from Brian and showers. Some topics just aren’t appropriate for family-friendly aisles of the supermarket. Health and beauty…maybe. Feminine hygiene, sure. Fruits and veggies…nope. So I asked what she thought about Rachel, Brian’s sister, which led to safer topics like the horrors of teenage drug abuse, abortion, and vigilante justice. The crowd dissipated before my very eyes, and my heart rate dropped from about 315 beats per minute to a healthier 140. Finally I asked her an important question:

“How’d you know about my book?”

She smiled and gave me the rundown. Person A, who’d let her borrow it, bought it online about a month ago on the advice of Person B, who’d heard about it from my coworker “E” (aka, The Cute One). That’s when it all began to make sense. You see, a few months ago, “E” caught me editing my personal copy of the book (I can’t just read the damned thing, even after all this time). Intrigued, she asked to borrow it and I reluctantly handed it over. (Reluctantly because it wasn’t edited to my satisfaction). Apparently, she spent the next week reading it at work in between customers…and read certain sections aloud to customers as they came into the store. Those customers told their friends, and they told their friends, and–like the old commercial goes–so on and so on…

This was news to me. I knew E had read WFS, and liked it. I knew she’d let another co-worker borrow it. And I knew she’d bought a [properly edited] copy for her mother, because she asked me to sign it (which, I’ll admit, was one of the most exciting moments of my life). But I had no idea she’d been spreading the news that Kel–mild-mannered* convenience store clerk–and R.J. Keller–renegade author of angsty, semi-violent, sexually charged novels–were one and the same. I wasn’t sure this was a good thing. I couldn’t say that to this woman in the produce aisle (or any aisle, for that matter) without sounding like a bitch, instead of like the unsure, unpublished author I really am. So I just smiled back and thanked her for the kind words. And as I continued my shopping I mulled the situation over.

Three aisles later I realized that being recongnized for my work in public was a good thing. That’s what this writing thing is about, after all…entertaining people, moving them, inspiring them. I can honestly say I’ve done that which, in my opinion, is more important than seeing a book of mine in a bookstore.

So when I saw her in the checkout line a few minutes later I thanked her again for the kind words. Then I gave her the address to my website so she could buy a copy of Waiting For Spring for herself if she so desired. And I didn’t bother to lower my voice.

* This is a lie. I don’t have a mild-mannered bone in my body. I did once–in my right arm–but I broke it when I was a kid, and it didn’t set properly.

————————-

Chapters 32 and 33 of Waiting for Spring, in which Rachel’s situation goes from bad to as bad as they can get, are up at Readers and Writers Blog today. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you). Also posted are chapters 8 and 9 of Steal Tomorrow, by Ann M. Pino. According to her blog, she and her family made it through the hurricane, but there’s quite a bit of clean up to do, as I’m sure you can imagine. So big, big hugs to her…

Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring, work

Small Town Hackers

On a warm, starry night last week, my co-worker, “E” (yes, The Cute One) knocked on the back door of the store at just before 12am. Actually, it would be more accurate to say she kicked on the back door. Because when I opened it up I discovered she was holding a computer hard drive in her arms.

“Hey Kel,” she said, placing it gently on the ground just outside the door.

“Hey.”

Behind her, a guy we’ll call “N” was lugging a monitor, with a keyboard and mouse balancing precariously on top. “N” is a regular customer and former employee of our beloved store. He is a most unusual guy, in the best sense of the word. He’s rather tall, with mutton-chop side burns and long, curly hair that he wears in a pony tail underneath a leather newsboy cap. He’s the kind of guy who knows a lot about everything. We’ve spent hours conversing on topics ranging from Nietzsche to evolution to Star Wars. In fact, he once walked into the store wearing a Stormtrooper mask, complete with voice distorter. I knew it was him right away, though. How many Stormtroopers do you know with a ponytail?

But I digress.

“E” plugged the hard drive into the recepticle nearest the door, out of the security camera’s view (to prevent both of us from losing our jobs). Then she set up the monitor, keyboard, and mouse on some milk and soda crates and fired up the works. While we waited for the thing to get going, she explained the situation. A guy she knows gave her a computer that once belonged to his teenage son. It was infected with over 200 viruses, and she wanted to get rid of them. The only problem was that the administrator’s username was password protected, and even though she could log onto the computer itself, she couldn’t actually do anything (other than play pinball and open a few music and picture files) without it.

“If you were a sixteen-year-old boy,” she asked, “what would your password be?”

I gave her a plethora of suggestions, none of which are printable here. Well, I suppose I could print ’em, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve never been a sixteen-year-old boy, but I know how their minds work, and I’m sure you do, too.

“We tried all of those,” she grumbled.

You may have noticed something by now. I didn’t actually ask “E” why it was she had brought the computer to the store to do this bit of hackery instead of to her home, or to the home of a friend. The truth is it didn’t occur to me to ask. When you’ve worked enough graveyard shifts, nothing seems odd anymore. Compared to pantsless ladies and Stormtrooper disguises, sitting around a computer in the middle of a parking lot at midnight seemed almost normal.

It was “N”‘s turn to pipe up. “According to the movie Hackers, the four most commonly used passwords are love, sex, secret, and God.”

“Really?” I asked. “Secret?”

He nodded. It made my own various passwords seem like pure genius. “E” tried them all, to no avail.

“N” suggested we look through the music file to see what we could find out about the computer’s former owner. She pulled it up. It was labeled with his first and last name.

“Hey!” N said. “I know this kid! Try [year Kid will graduate from high school.]”

Voila! Instant access. There were cheers all around. We celebrated by playing a few games of pinball. Then they left. And when I got home several hours later, the first thing I did was to change all of the passwords on my computer.

Nobody’s safe in a small town.

———————————-

Speaking of unsafe small towns, things are heating up in fictional New Mills, Maine. Yep…chapters 30 & 31 of Waiting For Spring are up at Readers and Writers Blog. Check it out along with chapters 6 & 7 of Ann M. Pino’s Steal Tomorrow and a short poem called “Beneath the Apple Tree” by Laura Elliott.