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04.02.05 10:34 p.m.

Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.  

-Kurt Vonnegut


Previously in Xenology: Xen lost his apartment.

Adult Exams

I miss food shopping, knowing that I have stocked my refrigerator and cupboard with my work. Knowing that I chose the food, even if Emily reminds me that we eat organic free-range chicken that doesn't usually come in nugget form.

It has been a while since I could manage this feat and it is going to be a while longer before I have to again. I never imagined that this would be something that enriched my self-esteem. I remember with a certain surprise when I thought nothing of going to restaurants with my friends. Now, I can't even pay my car payments or afford an apartment. I am failing my adult exams.

Furiously Masturbate

"I know that boy. He was my students." I pause for a moment, trying to place in what class I had him or, indeed, what he is called. "I am pretty sure he was a pain in my ass... and was named poorly."

Zack looks the boy over as he recedes away from us and deeper into the mall. "He looks like he would have a stupid name."

The boy had a look of startled bemusement, as though his worldview was a little less that a former teacher was in the mall with friends. My hair was down, which evidently functions to people under twenty in the same fashion Superman's lensless glasses do.

This happened again and I waved to the girl before I had the presence of mind to stop. She was mortified and I felt quite pleased with that.

After this I almost got arrested by explaining the addictive quality of Katamari Damacy, a game in which you roll things into a ball. While passing a mixed group of children, adults, and a security guard, I completed a thought to Zack and Emily. "Like, for example, you look at a little boy and you think, 'Yeah, I can pick him up.'"

Zack assures me that I earned no fewer than seven dirty looks.

Zack is not one to talk, however. After our shopping, we made our way up to a nice Italian restaurant and had Dan and Kei join our party. In the midst of this classy eatery, he told the following story.

"There is this sixteen year old boy who comes into my diner..."

"I thought he was fourteen," interrupts Keilaina. She is correct; he had previously assigned the boy only fourteen years, but Keilaina was just trying to annoy him for fun.

"He is younger than me and is a teenager," concedes Zack in an effort to get on with the story.

"Because you said he was fourteen a minute ago. I want to make sure I know," Kei insists and grins a smile that shows the tops of her teeth.

Zack stops for a moment and thinks better of playing into this, instead continuing his story. A regular who comes into his diner was pissed off that his parents wouldn't give him something or let him do something so he screamed, "I am going to go up stairs and furiously masturbate." This is, of course, the most brilliant and reasonable course of action in this situation. A few minutes later, his mother goes up to check on him. The boy is completely naked, masturbating like it is going out of style, and wearing a storm trooper helmet.

"What did his mother do?" asks Kei, struck and laughing.

"Probably shut the door and walked away."

Over the course of the meals, Emily tries to convince Dan and Kei that they want to move to Colorado. I remain largely silent, as the thought of recruiting others scares me.

Kei more than entertains the idea by informing us that Dan and she have bought furniture for the move and only hope that her new place of employ, a local furniture store, delivers across the country.

After our meal and Emily's recruiting, she tells me that the night was quite young and she wishes to turn in.
I am going to go upstairs

"That's fine, I will go with you."

"No. You most certainly will not. You will go hang out with Zack or I will be very upset with you." Her lips purse to underscore how utterly serious she is so I, being a reasonable sort, kiss them. Emily can, on occasional, give kneecap melting kisses. She exhausts her weeks supply on this night and I could not do anything but agree to hang out with Zack, albatross around my neck that he so obviously is.

Zack and my first stop after losing the accompaniment of Kei and Dan is to the video store. He sought to select a movie that Katlyn had not seen and desperately needed to. In the course of our searching, Zack eschews a movie featuring time traveling midgets and Sean Connery for a foreign movie.

"Are you sure that is wise, Zack? I am all for foreign film, but not at the expense of time traveling midgets."

"They also steal things," he states.

"And your movie is better?"


"Than thieving midgets through time?"


"Not possible."

"They talk very little in my movie."

I wasn't sure if this was meant to improve it, but Zack tended to have better taste in media than I do, so I demurred to his judgment.
I will never get a good picture of her, but she really is hot.

We found Katlyn in her kitchen with two friends having tea. The way Zack had discussed their tea drinking earlier in the restaurant, I could only assume that it was a euphemism for some sort of group ovulation. But, no, there was very clearly tea and chocolates. It was a bit of a letdown.

One of the friends vanished soon after our arrival, signaling Katlyn and her dear friend Megan to tell us stories about her involving deceit and boys. So I was not completely let down.

Zack had told me that Katlyn and Megan occasionally cancel all of their plans and get together to have tea, at which point they discuss everything that is going on. It's possibly that are the Illuminati. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.

Katlyn got to asking me about majoring in education, as she is on this path. I did not want to be discouraging to her, but what good things can I possibly tell her? Nearly all of the higher ups in the educational bureaucracy have behaved in hideous and unprofessional ways. I cannot tell her in good faith whether she is better suited for New Paltz or Mount Saint Mary, only that the staff of each feel that I am not and are willing to put it in writing that they mass forward.

"Can I at least call you up and cry about how I cannot do this?"

I brightened measurably and assured her that I was definitely okay with this.

At this point, a foam dart hit my face. A day before, while walking around a toy store for hours, Katlyn earned the title of best girlfriend from Zack by suggesting that they both buy very powerful guns that shoot very soft foam. Then, like any healthy couple, they would repeatedly shoot at one another for hours on end.

The only thing that can possibly protect us against dart and midget time travelers would be a storm trooper helmet, but we know where that leads.

Soon in Xenology: I can climb any mountain.

last watched: Van Helsing (unfortunately)
reading: Franny and Zooey
listening: Hello
wanting: darts.
moment of zen: Helmets.
someday I must: Shoot M with a nerf sword.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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