Click on the Race Car to the right...

Then, listen to Burns or Eva. Note: Someday in the future, after millions of hours of studying classical composers and practicing piano, there will be better music, hopefully.

Snow in October..

Charcoal Study.

Story Finished for Round Five of NPR's Three Minute Fiction Contest

Some people swore that the house was haunted. These people, seventeen of them to be precise, all viewed 1634 Chaucier Lane by peeking through lace curtains from within one home across the street. Their eyes were always focused on a gray shadow hunching near an illuminated rectangle.
Night after night, this shadow was present within a room in the lower quarters of the haunted home.
Night after night, each listening mind rested in between white lace and translucent glass, completely transfixed.
Their thoughts, if translated in writing, would bear naked words scratched in between windowpanes. Scratched deeply. Perpetually engraining the manic curiosity within their gentle, wheezing souls.
None of these seventeen ever met the man who lived within the whispering walls, at least while he was alive. If they had, they would have found him to be brave and gentle. Just like them.
His name was Herman. He was a widowed man who had moved into the house shaded by willows in hopes to grasp a real moment again. He lived within this home, sworn to be haunted, for a few years. Each day consisted of him walking between rooms, playing piano and spending time with his only companion, Glubber.
One evening, different than any other, Herman leaned forward and peered into his glass, fish tank. It was empty. The Squarespot Anthias, which used to move about within the transparent trap, was no more. Glubber, his sole friend, had disappeared. Just disappeared. It was nonsensical. A fish doesn’t just fly away. Herman turned the luminescent tank light on as he searched closer. He thought that maybe if he looked long enough he would find Glubber. Hiding. His eyes focused within the tank. Scanning. Searching.
After a few minutes, Herman’s reflection in the pristine tank allowed for a distraction from his morose thoughts. It was seemingly dire that he should straighten his tie, his favorite tie. There were two main reasons why he considered this his favorite tie. First and more obviously, the muted colored stripes were utterly pleasant to look at, especially as the tie hung on his disheveled rack with other ties of not so stylish grandeur. Second, it was a gift.
His feeble hands managed to perfect the tie’s position. A sigh was released and his thoughts returned to Glubber. Unbeknownst to Herman, some time passed. A sharp knock on the door slightly startled him.
He crouched over near the window to see quite a gathering outside. A choir of voices pierced through the dead air, “Hello, sir? Hello. We’re from across the street. Hello?”
Herman moved toward the entrance and turned the key. He opened the door, slowly.
Nothing was ever the same again after that.

Story Time...

Race Cars

The White Beauty With Stupendous Stickers
I own a race car. Right now, it's sitting on a one lane highway which stretches about six car lengths. Fortunately, the white ride with black wheels isn't planning on traveling too far because if it does become a little more ambitious, the paved road doesn't present too many options.

There is a solid, five foot, vertical wall at the end of the unmarked, narrow speedway. If the glorified Magnum GTX raced, it would risk the damage of a head on collision. The damage would probably be minimal, considering the amount of gained speed permitted. Though, there is a chance the car would hit the wall and then bounce back at an angle which would take it off the edge. Oh yeah, there is an edge and a three foot drop. A drop like this could cause structural damage. You know, the glue might not be the best, so a nail might come loose and then a plastic wheel would fall off. Or the wooden body may crack in multiple places. Nobody would be injured. At least there wouldn't be any broken bones or blood. Wait, there could be blood. Blood gushing from a foot or toe. If not gushing, it's possible an onlooker might spot a hint of blood trying to seep through scraped skin.

Injury could be avoided if the car were anti gravity. Or, if the wheels were connected to a track, the car could roll forward three feet, up the wall five feet, upside down another three feet, and back down the other wall to the starting point. But that's not the situation. So, if this car ever wants to race again and relive its glory days, it will have to come up with a time machine. Travel back a decade or so to my brother's younger years. Cub scout years. There it would have a lengthy track and plenty of competition. As for today, since I am the current owner (or borrower or thief) and a time machine is highly unlikely for this inanimate object to muster up, it will remain stationary, collecting condensation as it sits next to the five foot high glass window in my room.

At least it has a nice view of the Oquirrh Mountain Range.

There were cars. Neon cars outside the window of my parents’ house. These were race cars with wings. They flew around our neighborhood, swaying like multicolored ribbon attached to a rhythmic gymnast’s baton. Not an amateur athlete. Definitely a coordinated one. Even still, I was terrified. As elegant as they did look, I remember wishing my view had been from greater heights. Preferably, above these contraptions showing off their mad skills. I was certain I was going to get crushed. My parents were going to get crushed. Pretty sure everyone in the Village West neighborhood was going to get crushed. What were these cars doing here and why were we so lucky to be the potential runway?

I was in my bedroom on the second floor, looking out a large, panoramic glass window. I don't remember too many details because it all happened so fast. I would look out and then duck behind the solid wall hoping its opaque nature also meant that it was ridiculously strong. While sitting there, thinking even happened at a rapid speed. Are there even any drivers? I can't make out a human being behind the wheel of any one of the cars. Maybe they are all automated. It is 2010.
Fear was overwhelming me.  I needed to move.
Within no time, I was away from the wall and back in my bed. Sheets and comforter up to my chin. My eyes were closed, but I was awake.
Well, I was waking up.
Waking up to a helicopter, circling the neighborhood. Its obnoxious sound invading the quiet humming of my ceiling fan, permeating in through my ears and quite apparently into my fantastical thoughts.

Sleek, Black, 2000 Honda Civic
My car has been broken into four times. On this subject, I will agree with the statement "once is enough," made by the mean lady I accidentally rang two times in second grade. I was innocent, but she yelled at me.
"Once is enough, twice is too much! WRONG NUMBER!" I was mortified. I'm still mortified. She was more frightening than the two guys I witnessed smashing in my car window during the fourth break in.
I didn't actually see them smash the window. When I arrived at the scene, they were already on to the trunk. At first I thought it wasn't my car - couldn't be. But then they looked up at me, slightly startled, and jumped in their getaway car. That's when I knew. They were long gone before I tried to read the license plate, leaving me alone to view the damage done to my car. Not only did they smash the window in and steal the entire console but they also took my gym bag with my tennis shoes.
Losing those items was almost as painful as the second break in when my acrylic paints were stolen. I don't want to talk about that one.
The third break in was quite possibly my favorite. I left campus around ten in the morning. Tried to unlock my door by inserting the key into the lock. It wouldn't work. I looked closer and realized why. The lock was completely defiled. If only the thief had noticed the black hole in between the steering wheel and glove compartment a few minutes, even a few seconds, faster. That would have prevented that nuisance. Though, truth be told, I kind of enjoyed climbing in through the passenger side and over to the driver’s seat. For whatever reason, for a few weeks I felt like a superhero. Illogical? Yes. Batman. Hmmm?

The first break in was interesting. Kind of a slap in the face. Well, not really. It happened outside my apartments, before sunrise, about four hours after I picked up my car from the tow lot. After paying two hundred dollars to a lady standing behind a shady barred glass window, the loss of a cd player was an added bonus, or something of the sort.
Just a side note: Years later when my car was towed the second time, I knew the fourth break in was soon to follow. I thought it would happen within hours, but it happened about five days later. Still, I called it. Tow Trucks and Tracking Devices.
Anyway, sometimes I imagine the next break in, number five, will work in my favor. I will see the perpetrator and they will run to their car trying to speed off. I will jump in mine and speed after them. Yes, like a race car. There will be no music because all I have lately are my own vocal chords and the drone of the four cylinder beast. Therefore, to increase the adrenaline rush I will include sound effects. Yup, you got it. Intense.
Once I have him (or her) (or them) surrounded, I will imitate the lady who yelled at me back in second grade. That would get the message across. He (or she) (or they) would definitely be shaken up. If for some reason that backfires, then I will offer some fruit, like bananas or dates. That's pretty much all I keep in my car these days, so hopefully the fifth thief (or group of thieves) has a liking for produce.

copyright emily wetterauer