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so no one told you life was gonna be this way

Typically in a story with romantic overtones your biggest concern as a reader is that the author will get in the way. You’ll be humming along, reading away as you project yourself into every scene, and then the writer will make some clumsy inference that totally doesn’t sit well with your life experience and the bubble will burst.

Let’s get that out of the way right now. I’m a bubble-burster from way back. It might be the only talent I have.

Why am I so pessimistic about this particular story?

Because the two main characters are traveling together looking for metaphors. Actively seeking them out. As a writer who loves metaphors I’m now completely handcuffed. There is no way to slip one in without these two catching it.

I’ll give you a taste and you can decide whether you want to risk your bubble.

The two of them set off on a car ride in order to see a total eclipse. Where they currently reside the moon would only cover about 60% of the sun and 60% was just not enough. They needed complete closure.

Closure of sorts anyway. You see, they had dated previously but currently were both spoken for but their names were Ross and Rachel so anyone who’s ever watched Friends is constantly waiting for them to get back together. I have to admit that I watched a lot of Friends but I’m not sure when the show ended if Ross and Rachel ended up together or not. A more motivated author might quickly look up this information but as I’ve already started typing I feel it would bias me. My Ross and Rachel cannot be influenced by a sitcom.

Although they constantly felt not only influenced by their names but they both felt like their relationship was actually a sitcom being watched by the rest of the universe. Not a hit series by any means but having a small but loyal viewership.

Anyway, if either of their significant others suspected that they had gone on this road trip it would have meant curtains for that relationship. But they set off anyway.

Looking for a sign from the universe. Not the same sign of course. As simpatico as they were they were still individuals. Individuals that might have even agreed on the sign they were looking for but any time there are two brains involved you’re going to get two interpretations of what constitutes a sign and what it means.

The spot they decided upon to witness the eclipse was Great Smokey Mountains National Park on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. They chose this place because in addition to the one minute and seventeen seconds of total darkness they would get to see the moon’s shadow racing across the landscape just prior to the event. The drive down would take just under ten hours.

“So far so good” many of you are no doubt thinking to yourself. What could possibly go wrong? Two ex-lovers in a car for ten hours looking for a sign. Seems like a perfect story shaping up am I right?

Wrong.

The first time I even hint at the sign they were looking for at least half of you will stop reading because it wasn’t the sign you’d hoped for. And half of an already painfully small readership is just … well … painful.

And yes, the girl is young and beautiful as much as I wish she weren’t. It’s so cliché. I know, I know. And yes, she will be in shorts and not more than five minutes into the drive she will put her cute feet up on the dashboard and the poor male will be distracted and unable to think clearly for at least a hundred miles and within this hundred miles he will realize that the CD player isn’t working and thus the two CDs he’d made of his favorite mood music will become obsolete.

He will take this as a sign. Not the sign but a sign.

He will turn on the radio and the first song playing is the first song on the CD he made so he will take this as the sign.

The sign of what? He was still working on it.

You see, he desperately wanted a sign but he wasn’t sure what the sign was supposed to tell him. He wasn’t much of a believer in signs until he met Rachel and couldn’t help but feel that signs were just the kind of sorcery she was capable of.

The odds of the next song on the radio being the second song on the CD he had made were about a million to one but sure enough that’s exactly what made its way out of the speakers. He glanced over to say something to her and saw she was staring out the window. He took that opportunity to try and see if she was wearing a bra. Rachel had large, almost-gravity-defying breasts that he simply adored and if she had decided to take the trip without a bra then that would also be a sign. Ross thought that almost-gravity-defying breasts were a sign unto themselves, her breasts being particularly almost-gravity-defying so they counted as two signs, so in his head there was suddenly a four sign pileup on the highway of his subconscious.

She sensed the commotion going on to her left and smiled and changed the station. He grimaced until he realized that the new song belting out was perhaps her favorite song of all time. Although not a fan of Miss Britney Spears’ music he was certainly a fan of the effect her music had on Rachel.

She moved in such a way to let him know that she was wearing a bra.

I know this isn’t what you had in mind. How could a one-in-a-million musical coincidence end up in talk about boobs and bras?

How can I not tell you what his two songs were?

How could he fall for a girl who loved Britney Spears?

If I were to explain the next eight hours in the car you might have a clue but I don’t think either of us have it in us to write/read eight more hours of this.

They arrived at the park and they saw the moon’s shadow race across the top of the trees from their scenic vantage point and then they spent a minute and seventeen seconds in the dark and he tried to kiss her and she rejected him.

They got separate rooms at a hotel and then drove back home in an awkward silence. Except for talk radio because every time he tried to listen to the regular radio it played yet another one of the songs he’d put on his CD and he felt the universe was tormenting him. Of course on the trip home it was obvious that she did not wear a bar and she jiggled and shook in such a way that he contemplated driving the car into a tree a dozen times but didn’t.

Now I think about it I think Ross and Rachel ended up together on Friends.

My Ross and Rachel? Probably not.

How could I not explore the whole total eclipse metaphor thing?

Or any metaphors from the trip when I specifically stated that they were going to be on the lookout for them?

Because I know you too well.

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