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What happens when you think you'll do something neat with the title, and play on the word "Spark" going up?  One of your first beta readers sees your crossword craziness and reads "Kraps Up."

I wrote this during one of those times I just had to take a break.  Unsure of myself as a writer, I had to poke fun of my redundant words, complicated analogies, song references, and infidelity to any one genre.

I hope you get a laugh out of it! (Caution --expletives)

She looked up when Jarod entered the room.

And she saw him.  With both her eyes.  The right one.  And. The. Left. One.

“You don’t want to go in there,” he gravely intoned from the threshold.

And that’s when it hit her.

The smell. The odor.  The--

“Alanis?” He said, suddenly in front of her, cradling her face, worry in his eyes.

“Omigod!  Don’t touch me!  Did you wash your hands?”

She covered her mouth, regretting the rash decision to open it.  Pulling her scarf over her mouth, she fled the room, Jarod on her heels.

Once outside, she turned to face him.  Like a soldier making his last stand.  Like a billowing kite finally catching the wind when the string jerks it back.  Like someone hastily leaving Starbucks, cradling the caffeinated goodness with a devotion worthy of such lifesaving elixir, slightly drooling in anticipation of the bitter blend, impatient to be alone with it, when they realize they left their keys behind on the counter. Like --

“Oh, Sh*t!” She could finally let the words out.

“Yeah, sorry about that.  I did, though, you know…”  His eyes search hers, challenging her to refute him.

“Did what?”  She whispers, heart beating madly, hope taking flight in her chest.

He takes a step toward her. 


And she backs up.

“Seriously?  Like seriously, Alanis, can you not keep running away?”

“Oh, sorry.  Old habits die hard,” she sheepishly says.  A car drives by, Brittney’s Spears “Oops I did It again” blaring through the open windows.

“Seriously, Dude, it's like 2020!  And this is New Adult YA!” Jarod shouts.

“If opinions count, I’d like some say on my name.  I mean, dated, people.  Really.  Seriously, if you need a hip name from a singer, how about Florence?”

“Still dated, Alanis-Florence.”

“WTF Jarod!?  Can’t you just nod your head and look cute?  It’s enough I have to deal with all this crap.  I’m pretty sure I can do anything and, as the main man, you have to swoon. And stop laughing!”

She smacks him, and he snorts.  “I can say ‘crap’!”  He guffaws and she wants to smack the crap out of him.  

“The heroines swoon in the bodice rippers.”  He is gasping for air and can barely get the words out,  “You’ve got your sexes mixed up.  And your genres.”  

“Me?  Do you know how hard it is carrying this YA--” Smack

“Romance--” Smack.

“Sci Fi -- ” 

“--I’d say its more speculative fiction than sci-fi," he interrupts.

Double smack.


”--Really?” he challenges, eyebrow raised.


“New agey--”

“-- More like dated old age…” he says under his breath.



“Yeah, but it’s really nothing without me,” he claims cockily from the ground.  #men #thentakeyourshirtoffalready


She looks at him, and waits.

And he stares at her, and waits.

They look at each other.

They have each other in each other’s vision, together, with each other they see … each other.

A leaf cartwheels by, and they both stare at it.

It is like life spinning out of control.  Like acknowledging the forces beyond their control.  Like the relentless progression of the cycle of digestion.  

“Should we just wait it out for the HEA?”

“Oh crap --” he snickers.

This boy.  #omigod #canttaketheboyoutoftheman #toilethumor #literally

“I was trying to tell you that I did wash my hands.” he says, once the giggles settle down.

“I’m not sure the word ‘giggles’ works for me here,” Alanis-Florence responds as she scrunches her forehead.

“Go with it.  We’re behind schedule and I’m supposed to tell you that was a double flusher.  Someone needs to go back in there and flush again.”

“I’ll do it!” Foo offers, scaring the sh*t out of Alanis-Florence.

“That’s dangerous.” Jarod remarks drily.

“Where did you come from?” Alanis-Florence asks, flabbergasted.

“No time for details or scenery.  Or anything but dialogue for that matter. Let’s go.” And she leads the charge, a suddenly manifested plunger raised like a spear.  Like a baton in the hands of an overly enthusiastic orchestra leader (is there any other kind though, really?).  Like a --

She realizes no one has followed her.  But that’s okay.  She walks through the gaping front door, covering her nose with the crook of her arm when the scent wafts towards her.

Music is playing -- Alanis-Florence must have left it playing.  Taylor Swift?  That’s an interesting choice, she wonders as she progresses forward, for someone named after --

“... Are you ready for it?”

Dumm Dumm Dumm

The bass thumps like warning shots.

And then she realizes she made a drastic miscalculation.  Her eyes start to water as the smell burns her olfactory organ, as her nose shrivels in disgust, as her smelling cells cringe and cry for help, as her --

She plunges the plunger, determined fast and furious is the best and only tactic.  She flushes and immediately, it strikes her ---

Its then that she realizes …

The first beta reader read the title wrong

That the author made the grave mistake to type it like a crossword puzzle, the flighty fancy to have the vertical words appear like sparks drifting up in a fire on the cover one day.

But they didn’t.  They weren’t.

They.. read..


When that sh*t doesn’t flow downhill.

Oh CRAAAP!  Run for it!!!!!!!

Dumm-Dumm Dumm, Dumb ;)

Hey, sometimes you just gotta laugh at yourself, you know?

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