Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dear Diary Chapter One

Maria Ramirez
Dear Diary,
Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever started an entry in this way.  Isn’t that funny?  It’s juvenile, that’s for sure, but only now as I approach my final year of high school do I say such a thing in the journal I’ve kept for years.  Something changed, somehow, for me to so suddenly decide upon doing such a thing.

Maybe it’s an ironic, roundabout way of showing I’ve finally come into the smallest degree of sexual maturity, portrayed by a tiny speck of age regression?  Just kidding.  Of course that isn’t the truth, after all, if I haven’t become attractive by age seventeen than I doubt I ever will, and the closest to any change in that fact I ever experienced was when I began to wear red lipstick.

More likely, I was possessed to begin the entry in this fashion because summer is beginning.  Soon enough, the half-year families will be arriving on the lake, and I’ll need to say the word ‘diary’ a few times while they’re here.  Reason being, I’ve decided to undertake a peculiar task.  When my younger brother Victor discovered I kept a journal, he informed me it was an archaic practice, replaced by blogging and oversharing with everybody you meet.

I guess that’s true, but I’m not the type to drop something like this, so I’ve blackmailed Victor into keeping his own journal.  Indeed, I then resolved to go one step further.  I am going to see how many kids in this town I can get to keep a journal.  Seasonal stays included.  I’ll ask everyone in my age group that I can get ahold of, and who aren’t so naturally loud that my words go unheard (I am a dreadfully soft-spoken person) to find out if it really is so strange, to chronicle days and feelings in this way.

I think it will be a very interesting experiment indeed.

Victor Ramirez

Hey Journal,
No way I’m going to call you a diary, but who am I to turn down Maria?  She’s my big sister.  It’s not like I’m saying I want to dote on my older sister, but she knows things about me.  Secrets that just happen to exist in the space where I live, things which I don’t want our parents to know or things which I don’t want my friends to know.

Also, she’s just terrifying.  I’m only a year younger than her, but it may as well be two decades, because she acts like she’s thirty.  Going into her senior year of high school and she’s already practically an old maid.  A really scary old maid, like those middle aged ladies living alone with twelve cats who can stare right into your soul, and she has the tools to back it up.  No, really.  She buys weird stuff off the black market all the time and I live in fear.

Hence, I’ll keep a journal at her request.  It’s a disappointing turn of events for sure, but I guess that there are worse fates.  Like spider venom.  Spider venom is most certainly a worse fate than writing in a journal.  She didn’t even say I had to write daily!  Well, sort of.  She’d like if I did, but if I forget or don’t have time, she won’t hold it against me.  Trouble is, I always have time, so all I’ve got going for me is the forgetfulness excuse.  Anyway, I’m probably not going to be alone, since she said she was going to talk to people tomorrow about starting journals themselves.

I’m guessing that Kevin Sherman will do it, and absolutely nobody else.  Assuming she even wants to ask him.  That’s her secret to tell, though, so I’m not going to bother putting it here.  This’ll just be a quick entry anyway, since we’re going out to eat at the very loud restaurant across the lake in a bit.  See you tomorrow, maybe.

Lily Chen
What’s up, Diary?

It’s been a while since I last kept one of these.  Years, even.  I think I stopped making journal entries in seventh grade, but it was fun, and I guess this is the closest to therapy I’m going to get.  Maria came by; Yeah, Maria.  Kind of hard to believe, but it’s true, she showed up at the door and asked Jack if he’d keep a diary for her.  He refused, but I overheard and said that I’d do it.  She noted that she thought I was leaving for the summer, and she was right up until two days ago.  Change of plans.

I was going to visit my grandmother in China, but then I... Accidentally, lost my passport in the lake.  I have other ID, so I can get a new one without too much hassle, but not soon enough to actually make the trip.  It’s the perfect crime.  It isn’t that I don’t love Grandma, but I was not feeling up to visiting her.  There’s such a thing as too much time spent with family.  Especially the more generations up you go.

Especially when she goes on and on about how I used to be ‘such a handsome boy’ before I grew my hair out, and started getting acne.  I guess she’s kind of right about the ugliness, but I don’t see why I’d bother trying to look good when I’m going to be just as miserable with my own appearance regardless.

Wow, I sound totally mopey, don’t I?  I’m really not such a sadsack all of the time though, I swear.  Just occasionally.  For the most part, I’m just your standard depressed nerd, expressing my mental illness through ironic memes.  However, I figured I should at least be a little real with a journal, yeah?  So I’ll go ahead and talk about that instead.  The journal’s existence, I mean.

The weirdest thing is of course, who asked me to write it.  Maria Ramirez is an enigma of a person.  I know that she’s on track to be the valedictorian of our graduating class, but I never see her anywhere.  Jack does from time to time, since he’s in higher level classes, but she never seems to be at lunch, or in the hallways, or around town.  I’d think she didn’t really live here, except that her brother Victor can be spotted in all of those locations.

Sometimes, people think that Maria is a group hallucination; just about the only common ground that I can find with anyone else at school.  I’m sure there are other geeks somewhere in the building, but neither I nor Jack are social enough to find them.  Nonetheless, even being at the bottom of the social ladder... Maria isn’t even on the ladder in the first place.  Even back when she was hanging around with Kevin.

It’s not as if I dislike her, I don’t think anybody knows enough about her to dislike her, or even think of any suitable way to be mean to her.  She’s ghost protocol.  It’s actually, to those of us who have to put up with various insults on the daily, it’s an enviable lot, although... Now that I think about it, it does sound kind of freaky to have people be unsure if I even exist.

Well, I guess that’s it for today.  I don’t have a lot to say, and besides, I was just writing to bide time till Jack was finished with the xbox.  We’ll see if I write again tomorrow.  Anyway, I’m out.  Peace.

Kevin Sherman

Hey Journal,

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear; I am only doing this because Maria asked me to.  I’ll keep a journal for her like she asked, and she’ll be so grateful that she’ll have no choice but to date me!  It’s a great plan and you can’t tell me otherwise.  Literally, you can’t, you’re a journal and journals can’t speak.

See, I am in love with Maria Ramirez.  I believe that she is the one and someday we’ll get married and settle down and have a happy life with dogs and fireworks and probably not any children unless she wants them.  She doesn’t seem the type to want kids, though.  She’s a professional woman who will want to focus on her career!  Back when we still spoke, she told me all about how she wanted to be a doctor someday, and she has the grades to do it too.

...I guess that raises some red flags, to say when we still spoke, but it’s not really anything bad!  We were friends, then I asked her out, and she turned me down and I complained about getting stuck in the friendzone so much that she decided I could mosey on back to the acquaintance zone instead... But that doesn’t bother me!  What’s important is persistence, and I’m still sure that we’re meant for each other.

And this will prove it to her!  I bet nobody else will be willing to do it, leaving me the only one standing to court her.  Of course this will happen.  I’m very confident.

I guess I’m supposed to write about my feelings or something, but... Eh.  The only feeling that matters here is my undying love for Maria.  So I guess, see you later.


Dear Diary,
Well, I got two people to agree.  Kevin Sherman (as if he wouldn’t) and Julian Chen.  Everyone else I was able to ask turned me down or tuned me out, but that’s fine.  I still got something out of it, and that’s enough to show Victor that keeping a diary isn’t that strange.  In fact, Julian said he used to keep one when he was younger anyway, and volunteered!  I was there to ask Jack, after all, seeing as I thought Julian was going to be out of the country...

Well, there’s only so much you can learn by being invisible.  People don’t notice, when I’m there, so I overhear quite a bit.  In fact, I can walk across town carrying a dead body and nobody even bats an eye.  What, does that make it sound like I kill people?  Don’t worry, that hasn’t happened yet.  I just steal corpses from the morgue.  You know, to practice on.  Nothing too terrible.

Anyway, I’m not going to give up just yet.  The seasonal residents aren’t here yet, and there’s plenty of people I wasn’t even able to talk to today.  I’m already going to say that this experiment is a success, given I was able to convince one person besides Kevin.  I am afraid that asking him to do this will give him the impression that he still stands a romantic chance with me... Really, he’s not a bad guy, though he sure can’t take a hint.  I just don’t have time for romance.  I barely have time in my schedule for friends, and I usually take that time to instead commit vaguely illegal acts in preparation for my future career.

Besides, even if I did have the time, I’m not sure I would want to be in a relationship.  The idea doesn’t scare me.  Nothing scares me.  However... It does intimidate me, in a way.  Dating somebody, well, it just doesn’t sound remotely pleasant.  People honestly enjoy all that... Touching and sappiness?  Ridiculous.  Well, to each their own, and my own is being on my own.


Okay Journal,
Get it, like Okay Google?  With phones?  No?  Okay.

I didn’t make an entry yesterday, I know, but like... I didn’t have anything I wanted to say.  Why are journals supposed to be a daily thing?  Do other people in the world just always have something they want to say about every day that passes?  I sure don’t.  Yesteday all I did was play video games, nothing interesting, so... Why bother?

Anyway, today was a little interesting.  Eric arrived; Eric Quill.  He’s this kid who comes up for the summer without any family members.  Just gets in this beat-up old pickup truck and rolls up to his family’s lake house and stays all summer long.  That may sound like he’s somebody cool and mysterious, but he’s actually boring if you talk to him.  Apparently he saves all his money from working at the post office during the school year to buy food and gas and such while he’s up here, and also his summer job is working at our local post office.

Also, he collects stamps.  I’m sure plenty of respectable people collect stamps.  Not Eric Quill, though, his stamp collection is one I disrespect greatly. Why?  He won’t shut up.  He never shuts up about stamps.  Invite him over to play a friendly game of Mario Party and he’ll tell you all about the limited edition nintendo stamps he found on eBay for a hundred bucks each.  Then he’ll stare at you, like he’s daring you to buy the stamps for him.

He’s a year older than Maria, but he got held back in elementary school at some point, so he’s in the same grade as her.  Maybe next year after he graduates he’ll realize there are better things in life than driving four hours to work a summer job and we won’t see him again.  Who knows.

Uh, aside from that, I guess there isn’t anything else to say?  I really don’t get the appeal of journaling.  

Eric Quill

Dear Diary,
Somebody interacted with me today.

I’m ninety percent sure that was a mistake on their part, of course.  Maria must have mistaken me for somebody else.  Especially if she thinks that I’m a good candidate to keep a diary.  Most people think I’m incredibly boring.  I don’t blame them.  I often feel like I am in another world from everyone else, because nobody else ever cares about the things I care about.  What I find exciting is boring to everyone else, so I’ve concluded I live in opposite-world.

In opposite-world, everybody is nice, and nobody thinks you are boring.  It isn’t just that they don’t say it because they’re being polite, they really don’t think it, because everything you say is the most interesting thing you know and they understand and so they’re interested too, not because they’re interested in the same things but because they’re interested in knowing you and knowing more about you and the things that you love.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Unfortunately, I’m the only one who exists in this world, and everybody else is the opposite of that.  They think that everything I say is worthless and they wonder how I’m able to live with such a boring hobby.  That’s okay, though.  I know they can’t help it.  That’s just how this world is.  I guess if Maria really did mean to talk to me, about writing a diary... Then it can’t be all bad after all.

I mean, there must be a few other people from opposite-world here and there, right?


Dear Diary,

Success!  The very first seasonal resident of my generation to arrive, and he agrees to keep a journal!  That will show Victor.  Though... My efforts continue nonetheless.  After all, as far as he’s concerned, everyone I’ve gathered so far is either a very strange person, or Kevin Sherman who will do anything I say.  I need to find somebody who counts... But who that ~counts~ would even want to speak with me?  Ah, it is a pickle.  I have faith I’ll succeed though.

Eric Quill... Is a very odd boy, but that’s okay.  He’s nice enough, and sometimes he even has an interesting stamp factoid.  I enjoy when he’s in the area, though we don’t talk.  I learned after my friendship with Kevin ended in... a falling out, that talking to people isn’t a fantastic idea.  Talking more than once, anyhow.  How could I have ever predicted that being Kevin’s friend would result in him falling in love with me?  I couldn’t have, that’s how.

Thus, I will not trust anybody to uphold a platonic relationship with me again, excluding my brother and married women.  Even the married women are a bit of a stretch.

Aside from Eric’s arrival, there isn’t much going on.  It’s rather... Idyllic, around here in the early summer.  Less idyllic around the fourth of July, then idyllic again.  There’s a reason people vacation here; a pleasant summer trip that doesn’t require a huge amount of travel.  Similar to Maine, or Vermont, or the Cape Cod part of Massachussetts (Massachussetts is, in general, not the most pleasant state, but it has its areas.  As does New Hampshire, I suppose.)

Victor actually went swimming today, which is a shock.  Usually he just stays inside and wastes the day away playing online video games, but I suppose that as long as he’s having fun there’s nothing wrong with that.  The purpose of life, after all, is to pursue happiness.  That’s the end goal, really, of anything.  Even if you hurt others... You are still seeking your own happiness.

Or, perhaps life is not chasing happiness, but running from sadness.  There’s a slight difference in thinking there, if the same concept.  Some people will never try to be happy, because it’s all they can do to fight off the sadness as much as possible.

I feel sorry for those people.

Now, you may think that I dislike people.  I am antisocial to a point of confusion, and I just wrote that I’ve sworn off the majority of friendships, but I love people.  Everything I overhear... Everything I learn, these things make me enjoy humanity as an onlooker.  Being a doctor... I can preserve this humanity without taking part in it.

Some people are like that, I suppose.

Doesn’t it sound tragic?  I don’t see it that way.  You might love falcons, or wolves, or elephants.  You can never be part of their lives, but you can admire them, and if you so choose you can help to preserve those lives.  People are to me what those animals are to those people.  I know there’s nothing I can ever do to be a part of life.

But I’m just fine on the sidelines.  Helping.


How’s it going, Journal?

I know you can’t answer that.  You’re a journal.

Anyway, just look at me!  Two days in a row already.  Maria’s going to be so proud of me... I don’t even care if my friends find out I’m doing something so gay.  It’s for a girl!  Therefore, that cancels out the innate fruitiness of keeping a journal.  Trust me, I know my no homo rules.

Anyway, I realized that you, journal, know jack shit about me except that I’m in love with Maria Ramirez.  For example, why is she such a goddess in my eyes?  Easy. My two biggest turn-ons are tits and eyes, right?  And she’s like.  Just fat enough to have a huge chest without edging into ‘you, girl, have got to go on Biggest Loser’.  And she has these amazing brown eyes that could just swallow you up;

But, fuck, I’m talking about Maria again instead of myself.  Okay.  My name’s Kevin Sherman and I’m seventeen years old, going into my senior year of high school.  I do two sports; Crew and Indoor Soccer.  Outdoor Soccer’s season overlaps too much with Crew and my dude, rowing boats is my passion.  It gives you sweet muscles, too.  All around, a ton of benefits.

I live in this town with my dad, it’s just me and him.  Mom lives out in California and she’s always buying me surfing lessons, hoping to get me to go out there and stay with her.  She buys plane tickets too.  I know these things happen, but I never know at the time because Dad always gets the mail, and she tells me at Christmas when we meet in the middle at Grandpa’s in Wisconsin, and I feel bad but there’s nothing I can do.

I don’t really get why Dad doesn’t want me visiting her.  Surfing seems fun.  Well, that’s something to worry about another time, I guess.

Speaking of Dad, we’re already planning for the Fourth!  Every year, we put on a big fireworks show to try and outdo the Chens.  I mean, it’s never gonna happen no matter how many Roman candles Dad buys, since the Chinese invented fireworks I’m pretty sure, and the Chens are at least part Chinese.  Blowing things up is fun, though, so I help him attempt anyway.  One year he set a tree on fire, but it was okay because it didn’t spread and the fire department was ready if it had.

There are a lot of fireworks on and around the fourth here at the lake.

Anyway, more about me.  My favorite color is beige.  I used to hate it but then I realized ninety percent of the world is some sort of beige so I may as well embrace it.  I don’t really have a favorite food.  Sloppy Joes maybe?  I eat a lot of E-Z Mac too but I’m not sure that’s because I like it.

My favorite television show is probably, uh, Breaking Bad?  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  I don’t... Do a lot.  Mostly I just sit around the house doing nothing at all.  Don’t tell anybody (Journals are for secrets right) but my hobby is sewing.  Yeah, can you believe that? A straight guy who knows how to sew?  Dad is provisionally okay with it but only because now he doesn’t have to call his sister and beg her to mend the holes in his twenty-year-old slacks.  I don’t know why he doesn’t just buy new pants.  It isn’t like we’re poor.  I get a pretty big allowance.  Maybe he just considers it an unnecessary expense when the same money could be spent on cool things and not just boring pants?

Anyway, that’s what I do.  I listen to the radio and sew, or just do nothing.  Usually when I do watch TV it’s just whatever Dad has on in the living room.  Hey, at least I only sew.  It’s not like I crochet, or knit.  Don’t let that kids’ movie fool you, knitting is unmanly as fuck.  Speaking of movies, my favorite movie is Fight Club, or maybe The Godfather.  I have seen a good number of movies, I guess, since the TV is usually set to one of the HBO channels.

My Dad’s favorite movie is Ace Ventura Pet Detective, but I don’t understand why.  It’s not very funny, and it makes me kind of uncomfortable.  I don’t know exactly why, but... The humor seems really mean-spirited?  Look, just cause I’m a jock doesn’t mean I like it when people are mean to each other.  It kind of freaks me out, if I’m being completely honest.  Is that weird?  I bet it’s weird.  

Mom thinks I’m autistic, but Dad says I’m way too normal for that to be true.  I really don’t know what I believe... To tell you the truth, I’m not very clear on much of anything about myself when it comes down to it.

But, Hell, I’m saying too much bullshit now.  I’m going to stop writing so I don’t write down anything else weird.


Dear Diary,

Today I found a brand new type of venom on the deep web.  I can’t wait to test it out.  A non-fatal one, of course... This one’s from a snake!  It temporarily paralyzes its prey so that the snake can swallow it alive.  Utterly fascinating.  I think that the best time to try it would be after I say goodnight... Is it possible to fall asleep while under the effects of a paralyzing neurotoxin?  Could that even be a... Fun experience, perhaps?  I’m going to find out.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to test it on somebody.  I’m going to test it on myself, as I do with every venom that I collect.  If I ever need to use it on another person, for some reason or other... Well, I need to have faith in what it will do!  If I just want to cause somebody excruciating pain but I end up killing them, that’s a bit counterintuitive.

I like to be prepared just in case I need to get revenge on somebody someday.


Hey Journal,

I can’t believe I’m writing this for somebody who gets excited over snake vore.  She’s blackmailing me?  Good grief!  I have dirt on her too!

But... I guess part of this is that I am enjoying it, a little.  Still don’t ever know what to say, but it does give me something to do.  I went swimming in the lake yesterday and it was fun.  I didn’t even cut my foot open on a rock or on somebody’s discarded booze bottle!  Bonus.  I also made a friend on Overwatch!  That’s a big deal because most people in video games are rude.  It’s a policy of mine to never trash talk.  His name’s Greg and he’s a really great Ana main, so we agreed to group up some other time.

Maybe we’ll even be able to get to Grandmaster!  I play Reaper most of the time, but I’m a decent Winston and Lucio if there’s better DPS players on the team.  I just hope we don’t get shit for two-stacking...

Anyway, that’s about it for me today.  I guess I do have a little bit to talk about, every so often.


Well, Diary,

Eric Quill arrived yesterday.  This is it, the beginning of the end.  And by that, I mean that he’s always the first of the seasonal visitors to arrrive.  The people who live around here year-round, they’re at least a known enemy.  The ones who visit... You never know what to expect.  Over the years there have been many a story of summer tourists causing trouble among themselves and the full-year residents...

Not that any of that is likely to impact me.  I keep to myself for the most part, and I definitely don’t go out much during the summertime.  Too busy with mobile games, and other games, and reading, basically every activity that lends itself to hermits.  However, Jack does do things from time to time, which is what worries me.  He already got into a bunch of trouble last year for vandalism after he fell in with some visiting teens with no regard for safety...

But I guess I shouldn’t worry too much.  He’s my twin brother, but his mistakes are just that.  His mistakes.  I can’t control what he does, I can just hope that it works out okay for him in the end.  It’s just... strange to see how he changes over summer break, when suddenly there’s people around who don’t know his reputation as a total dork.  I’m almost envious of the way that he can actually have friends three months out of the year.  Then again, I’m not super clear on if I would want to be popular if it meant getting called the wrong name even more often.

Whatever.  That’s not important.

Anyway, maybe the reason I dread it more is that Jack gets busy, and suddenly I have nobody to hang out with.  It isn’t like I don’t have friends, or that I’ve never had friends of course.  It seems pretty impossible to go through life without some sort of friendship establishing itself.  I’ve got some friends online, of course, and I do have one friend at school.  The trouble with her is, well, she’s only in town during the school year.  As many people flock to the lake to vacation, many who live here flock away.

In Emily’s case, she goes down to Virginia to stay with her cousin, or at least that’s what she tells everybody.  She’s not into sharing a lot about her life, so it’s anyone’s guess why she actually goes there.  It could of course, be the reason she says, but the first year she went down there at age twelve her excuse was that she had friends living there.  An inconsistent explanation makes me a bit suspicious, but it isn’t my place to worry about that sort of thing.  If she wants to keep secrets, that’s her call.

Anyway, the bottom line of all of this is that when Jack makes summer friends, I am left alone but for the grace of friends online when they’re up for streaming something or playing a game.  I can deal with that, of course.  I’m not pathetic.  It’s just... disappointing.


Dear Diary,

I didn’t make an entry yesterday.  I had nothing to say.  I don’t think that this should be held against me... It’s not a stain on my character.

Today, I anticipate nothing else new, but I am writing early in the morning.  Look at me, already procrastinating and failing to do the one thing I’ve been asked to do.  This is why I can’t work anywhere but the post office.  Not that I’d want to work anywhere but the post office.  I hope they hire me full time after I graduate.

I hope I can make a career out of it.  I sure hope so, seeing as I have no backup plan on my life.  I try to think of other jobs I could do, other ways I could survive in the future but I just come up blank.  Working in the mailroom is the only thing I haven’t made a complete mess of.

I guess only having one thing that you’re good at, which goes hand in hand with your weird hobby, is bound to make people think that you’re bland.  I understand it, but... Well, if I tried to become more interesting, it would just go horribly.

The reason I came up here without any of my family is because... I don’t have any.  I had a sister, and a mom and dad.  I still have a cat, but he’s not very friendly.  I should have been home when it happened, but instead, I got home to find my parents dead and my sister missing.  I... still have no idea what happened to them, but this house still has its utilities paid for year round because it technically belongs to a distant aunt who gave it to us as a gift.  I’ve never met her.

Last summer, they were still alive, but I drove up here alone anyway, as far as anybody knew.  My sister came too, but she stayed inside and never spoke to anybody.  People sometimes saw her in the window and thought that she was a ghost.  She’s always been an odd one.

Anyway... I’m not going to leave at the end of the summer.  Not this year.  I really can’t go back to that house, so instead, I’ll live here.  Because I’m a legal adult I already filed the papers to transfer to this school, too.  I’m saying this because, well, diaries are for your innermost feelings, right?  And... If nobody else knows I’m an orphan, at least this book should.

It’s strange, you know.

To be the only survivor of something.

1 comment:

  1. Great read. Highly entertaining. I love reading the different voices! I look forward to reading more from the characters and their diary (or whatever they choose to call it) entries. 👍