The Things We Find When We Clean…

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison

When you’re a book lover and you move, your books provide as much physical exercise as they usually do mental exercise. Between packing up and carrying duffel bags of books to and from the car, up and down the stairs, and then maneuvering, carrying, disassembling (when necessary) the corresponding bookcases, I have to actively look at the process as contributing to my much neglected exercise regimen so that I don’t get too frustrated and rashly decide to give away my library-in-progress. I still have one bookcase to move and resettle (it will join the seven bookcases and one smaller mounted shelf-unit already in place).

The moving process is full of blessings and curses. In addition to the workout/hassle of physically relocating possessions amassed over time, there is the necessary evil of cleaning. And not just the superficial dusting or vacuuming but going through boxes of old things that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Of course, this can lead to unexpected strolls down memory lane and discoveries of days gone by. My niece, for instance, has been having a ball playing with costume jewelry from my own dress-up days and learning about toys I’m not sure they make any more (do they still make Lite-Brite or Wee-Waffles?).

One of the discoveries I made during this cleaning/moving period is a short story I wrote for class during my sophomore year of high school. Since I’ve removed some of my other pieces for publishing purposes (fingers crossed), I have decided to share this blast from my past entitled “The Price of a Good Time.” It’s nowhere near as dramatic as the title suggests (and keep in mind, this is at least ten years old now).

Here’s a little taste:

Krysten drummed her newly polished nails on her bedside table and sighed. Though the radio was blasting music from her favorite station, Kiss 108, on the other side of the room, all she could hear was the thick silence from the phone she held up to her ear. She shifted position so that her feet were at the head of the bed and her head at its foot. Nervously, she blew on her nails again to make sure there was no chance that they were still wet.

“Com on, Jen. You’re running up my phone bill. Where are you?” she said into the receiver. No answer. She hated call waiting when she was the one stuck waiting. Her foot began tapping against the headboard as she always did when sprawled on the bed in such a manner.

The next instant her friend was back.

“Sorry about that,” Jennifer apologized. Krysten wished Jen could see the look on her face. That would make her really sorry. “My mother is so… she must have asked me a million questions about school and how things are here. I mean, come on. I’m sixteen, I think that I can be at home alone for a few hours and survive. It’s almost like she doesn’t remember the fact that I spend more time baby-sitting for other people than I spend at home. If I can keep four kids under the age of seven out of trouble, I think I’m capable of taking care of myself.”

“Jen,” Krysten cut into her friend’s frustrated monologue. “You were saying something before you put me on hold…

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Keith, my cousin’s friend Keith, is having a party next Saturday,” her voice was suddenly all business and serious, like a partner giving an update presentation for a Board of Directors. “I can get us in. Can you make it?”


Read the full story here.


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