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[Writing Contest] - THE ARENA

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ echo beach


    Sorry, I'm only catching up on this now. Two excellent stories but such different themes that it is difficult to choose between them. I loved both but for different reasons. hcass choose a theme easier to identify with, for some of us anyway, and that might have given it the edge. Fudge had a lot going on for such a short piece and it has potential to be longer. I think the realationship with the father is worth exploring more.
    Well done to both of you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Hi hcass,

    CENSORED


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 33,044 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pickarooney


    Weebley: Everything after line 2 belongs somewhere else. Please move it and keep the waffle out of the arena.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    Hi hcass,

    CENSORED

    I'm actually insanely busy this weekend. The family that came home from far flung places are heading back there on Monday so it's "family time" this weekend. Might even throw in a viewing of It's A Wonderful Life" ;)


    I can do it during next week? Or wait until next week?


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Hi hcass,

    As I mentioned before [edit] so, needles to say, I will be insane and busy, myself, this weekend, so a pause works well. Enjoy your extended FamJam; I'll talk to you in 7 days. I will officially ring your bell next Friday, so our stories will need to be posted by Saturday. I have faith we won't be writing our stories in Pottersville, but back in Bedford Falls. Oh, gotta tell ya: I took a look at the rack location where the bandsaw was showing in the picture - it actually contains George & Mary Bailey's suitcase. Fad Plastic Gadgets - that's where the future is - hee haw!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    Sounds good Weebley - stick a topic up tomorrow and we can get started.


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Hi hcass,

    My goodness, look at the time! What are we waiting for?

    It's a bit risky - I've never tried this before.

    The topic is: Fad Plastic Gadget

    The gadget can be anything, like a functional work device, or something equally as much fun, like toys, such as: Pogs, or a Thunderbird 2, or my Dad's most favourite toy: STINGRAY.

    Anything can happen in the next 24 hours!


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    ok - only seeing this now. lets do it...


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    That's FAB!

    For the record, I've been as busy as a one armed paper hanger this past week; I hadn't given the topic a thought.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    Fad Plastic Gadget.

    I’d never had one like it before. Nobody did.

    As my Canadian Aunty handed it to me, she apologised. “Sorry it’s so lame; we only had room in our luggage for small gifts.”
    I took it from her and walked away. My dad leaned forward on his chair, his stern eyes scolding me. I’d done something wrong. Catching my breath, I held the pencil case tight to my chest, thinking hard - I hadn’t said thank you. I turned back to my aunty, mumbling my gratitude and dad eased back into his chair.

    I took a seat on the floor by my mam’s feet. The pencil case was still being held close and I could feel my heart beating against it, strong and fast. I looked around the sittingroom; my little brother was receiving his gift – a miniature telescope. All eyes were on him now. I examined my pencil case; made of soft plastic, it was bright pink and had a clip on the front to open and close it. On the lid was a picture of a fairy. She wore a shiny blue dress that flashed and shone as it caught the light. Her wand was a cluster of tiny sparkles and glitter, raised slightly, so I could feel them as I closed my eyes and rubbed it softly with my fingertips. She was surrounded by tiny rainbows and shooting stars, each of which burst with more of the dazzling glitter. But that wasn’t the best thing – at the end of the pencil case was a tiny piano. It had a clear plastic covering over it, keeping it safe. I clicked open the case to check. Yes, there was a battery inside! Closing the pencil case I glanced around the room again. My dad had the telescope in his hands now, telling my brother that he was doing it wrong; he’d show him how it worked. I knew what would happen if I pressed the keys and the noise was loud. I eyed the door and then my case, not sure what to do.

    I wasn’t certain of the rules for your Canadian Aunty and Uncle visiting. My dad had spent the week monitoring my mother’s “spring cleaning” efforts. We hid in our rooms as he barked orders at her, pointing out every error or shortfall in her work. Leading me to believe this visit was more important than others. When Uncle Fergus called we were often ushered out of the room, encouraged to go outside and play or read in our rooms – quietly. But when Aunty Orla and Uncle Georgie came over we knew to stay in the sitting room for at least the first cup of tea. Dad usually needed us to fetch stuff for him – Bourbon Creams; specially bought for the visitors, photographs he may have recently got developed, or the latest project he was working on. Last month it was a hand crafted bow and arrow set. This month he was tackling a model airplane; A Spitfire from World War Two. He dedicated hours to his projects. We were told to leave him alone. Go out the garden and play – quietly. With my face and hands at the back door glass I watched him paint minute details through a magnifying glass. With patience and care, he lovingly created his masterpieces.
    Erring on the side of caution, I kept my place on the floor; caressing the tactile image on the lid, opening and closing the case, peeling, then replacing the plastic cover on the keyboard.

    The tea cups were long since emptied when my dad called me over. I stuffed the pencil case in my sweater pocket and went to my father. He whispered in my ear to “bring it in.”

    I walked out to the kitchen. But before I picked up the Airfix box I stopped, pulled the pencil case from my pocket and removed the plastic covering. I pressed the keys. It was an unfamiliar sound; shrill, tinny and synthetic. I loved it. I went to press them again but my father’s impatient roars interrupted me. I shoved the case into my pocket and grabbed dad’s Spitfire. He was still shouting as I ran to the sittingroom.

    “About time,” He moaned as I pushed the door open. I stepped over to him, my arm stretching out to hand him the box. I didn’t see my brother’s leg sticking out from between the two armchairs. I tripped, falling hard onto the floor. There was a crunching sound. My dad, aunty and mother jumped from their seats. As I was lifted from the ground my dad exclaimed – “It’s ok, she didn’t break it, it’s all intact.”

    I placed my hands in my sweater pocket and held back the tears.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Rick Shaw took a drag of his herbal cigarette, the smoke drifting up in front of his square jawed 2 O’clock shadowed chin. His carefully coiffed Brylcreemed glossy black hair reflected light off the window behind him. He watched as his creative team filed into his office for the meeting. Rick had split with Taxi - a vibrant new spin-off: Jinn. He was tired of playing it safe and cow-towing to the Accounts Department. On his own now, Jinn was Rick Shaw, and Rick Shaw was Jinn. He had to make it big and put his mouth where the money is.

    Key members of Creative at Taxi had followed to stay with him. Taxi, a successful agency in Toronto, had some great accounts – easy money. But Rick had a vision. He was looking to run the new company Hans Solo - stabbing at the heart of the ultimate motivator – unfettered creative.

    Sally sat right across from him, staring right into his eyes, waiting for him to speak. Her team of one sat beside of her, not really daring to look at Rick as intently as she was. He seemed to focus on Sally instead.

    Sally upturned her hands.

    “So?” Sally Smiled a little, her hands static and upturned in the air. “What’ve we got?”

    But Rick was taking another drag, looking at Sally, and having nothing for her. No ideas at all! Strange meeting that was yesterday, he thought. A guy announces himself at the reception as Rockford, armwrestles an immediate meeting with Rick, and then waltzes in with his silent partner.

    “I want a new fad to kick-off my new product line, Rick,” he said. But Rick had his eyes on his silent partner. What a beaut, he thought.

    “What’s the product? Rick asked.

    “TBA, Rick, TBA.” Rockford looked well assured in his obvious indecisiveness. He mentioned a few previous fads, while the silent partner looked on, and Rick looked at the silent partner. “Whatever is her name?” he thought, even though quotation marks are the only way to indicate the words were uttered internally by Rick. Rockford had never introduced her, but for some reason, as she looked over at him, he thought about the Starbucks mermaid, complete with tailfins up around her head.

    “Pogs.”

    “What?” said Sally. Rick’s attention was instantly drawn to Sally. “What about Pogs?”

    Rick had to think fast. In amongst the fads Rockford had mentioned: pet rocks, mood rings, 2 tone pants, and Captain Scarlet’s backwards driving blue metal car, was the biggest fad of the 90s: Pogs. Pogs were originally milk caps produced by STANPAC, a small Canadian packaging company for the Haleakala Dairy on Maui.

    “But what are we selling?” Sally upturned and raised her arms a little more, even though they previously couldn’t be upturned any more than before. Weird double jointedness, it seemed. Maybe she had a lot of practice?

    Rick wasn’t sure what direction this was going to go, so he asked Sally’s research assistant, Illya Kuryakin to look up “Pogs” on Wiki to buy him some time to think.

    “Wow!” Sally looked up from the screen, as they huddled. “This is going to be big all over again!”

    Rick sat back in his leather recliner and lit another smoke. As his eyes drifted up toward the ceiling, he couldn’t help thinking. “Who is this guy, Rockford,” - once again using quotation marks in lieu of thought bubbles.

    Rick spoke. “It doesn’t matter what Rockford’s product is going to be. We’re going to make the new Pog. A 3D lenticular plastic picture coin that kids are going to collect - and adults are going to cherish, as if it were money. This fad is going to be crossover advertising for many products and services. It’s magic!”

    Illya spoke up. “No, it’s money!”


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Well done, hcass!

    A wonderful story you weaved, I must say; your turns of phrase are always deliciously done, and the human emotions are always spot-on. I read it a few times, and got some good tips. You should write stories on your blog every day. I know my Dad loves to read your stuff, as do I.

    When I got the notification email that you had posted your story, I freaked out. I could not read your story at the time, as I had to pull a story together fast. All I had was "Pogs."

    This is the freaky deaky part:

    You mentioned a solitary "Uncle Fergus." My Dad's Uncle Fergus came to Canada back in 1977 with his 3 kids. Both my Dad's and my Uncle Fergus' families were supposed to emigrate together in 1975, but Aunty Janice was really sick, so they stayed back. Unlike my Grandad, John, his brother, Uncle Fergus, was really big on fads.

    And my story contained Illya Kuryakin, and Hans Solo.

    Actually, there's much more freaky deaky stuff about our 2 stories, but I just wanted to chime in with congratulations and jubilations.



    Short Epilogue:

    Oh, and I just realized I made a mistake - Hans Solo, rather than Napoleon Solo. I looked up Hans Solo and got Star Wars. I find Star Wars devoid of usable content for making humanoid neural net connections - much like carbon black. Inert. Weird, eh?


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    Well done, hcass!

    A wonderful story you weaved, I must say; your turns of phrase are always deliciously done, and the human emotions are always spot-on. I read it a few times, and got some good tips. You should write stories on your blog every day. I know my Dad loves to read your stuff, as do I.

    When I got the notification email that you had posted your story, I freaked out. I could not read your story at the time, as I had to pull a story together fast. All I had was "Pogs."

    This is the freaky deaky part:

    You mentioned a solitary "Uncle Fergus." My Dad's Uncle Fergus came to Canada back in 1977 with his 3 kids. Both my Dad's and my Uncle Fergus' families were supposed to emigrate together in 1975, but Aunty Janice was really sick, so they stayed back. Unlike my Grandad, John, his brother, Uncle Fergus, was really big on fads.

    And my story contained Illya Kuryakin, and Hans Solo.

    Actually, there's much more freaky deaky stuff about our 2 stories, but I just wanted to chime in with congratulations and jubilations.



    Short Epilogue:

    Oh, and I just realized I made a mistake - Hans Solo, rather than Napoleon Solo. I looked up Hans Solo and got Star Wars. I find Star Wars devoid of usable content for making humanoid neural net connections - much like carbon black. Inert. Weird, eh?

    Thank you, Nerfy. I read your story but I think it went over my head? The craziness is just too much. Do you mean to write such obscure material? I have real trouble working them out. I don't mean this in an offensive way - just that maybe you need to be a certain type of person to understand them?

    When I saw your topic I was thinking there was no way I could come up with a story but in the end it was kinda easy. Plastic fads gadgets are everywhere really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    hcass wrote: »
    Thank you, Nerfy. I read your story but I think it went over my head? The craziness is just too much. Do you mean to write such obscure material? I have real trouble working them out. I don't mean this in an offensive way - just that maybe you need to be a certain type of person to understand them?

    When I saw your topic I was thinking there was no way I could come up with a story but in the end it was kinda easy. Plastic fads gadgets are everywhere really.

    Hi hcass,

    With all due respect: "the craziness is just too much?" Are there acceptable degrees of craziness? If the story has a beginning, middle and end, is it crazy, or just Superenigmatic? Smoking a huge blunt then writing a story would end up as crazy psychodelic gibberish. My storylines, as always, are complex, multi-level and have a point. I began writing that particular story when I freaked out that you posted 7 hours early, and all I had was Pogs. I was shallowly pondering a Mad Men type ad agency backdrop, but could not find an entry point, and was ready to toss it - no, skip it for something else. I then decided to look at amanfromMars' posting on Saturday 4/13/13 for some possibly procrastinatory reason. Mad Men? Freaky Deaky. I had to write it now - it took me roughly 1.5 hours. (You should read his Sunday posting to find out what he thought about my story.)

    I would be tarred and feathered (again) if I were to proffer an extended explanation of my (massively losing 3/0, (now 6/0)) story, so I will unravel the "craziness" if you ask.

    Here are 2 clues to whet your whistle:

    Clue 1 - Jinn

    Clue 2 - human powered vehicles

    Oh, and here's an contextually relevant song that you could easily play on your cracked, but still playable plastic pencil case piano: Set Me Free.

    - or you could read Mound Of Hostages for the explanation, as I am sure I will eventually rap about it there.

    ;);)


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    I had to post my story early cos I was worried I would not be home at the deadline time. You didn't have to post your story straight away - you could have waited the seven hours.

    Sorry if I upset you. I just found it difficult to understand your story and I genuinely wanted some help in getting my head around it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,461 ✭✭✭ --Kaiser--


    Hi hcass,

    With all due respect: "the craziness is just too much?" Are there acceptable degrees of craziness? If the story has a beginning, middle and end, is it crazy, or just Superenigmatic? Smoking a huge blunt then writing a story would end up as crazy psychodelic gibberish. My storylines, as always, are complex, multi-level and have a point.

    She was offering criticism that I think you should take on board. She didn't understand your story, I didn't understand your story, judging on the lack of votes, I would say not many people did 'get' it. Is that the fault of the audience, or the author?


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Das Kitty


    Anyway...

    hcass, I loved your story. Your character was so true to life; I felt so bad for her at the end. I wanted to give her/you my old one of those pencil cases that's now sitting on a shelf in my mother's house.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ echo beach


    . My storylines, as always, are complex, multi-level and have a point.

    I'm sure they have a point but the problem is that most of us aren't getting it. There are lots of great writers I don't get, lots of acclaimed novels I don't know what the fuss is about but in a busy world there is a limit to how long I am going to spend on them.

    I wanted to like your story but the name of the character, Rick Shaw, put me off right away. I'm sure it is full of meaning and would guess it is related somehow to Taxi but I have better things to do than try to figure it out. I don't want a link to help me. I come from a pen and paper generation.
    I admire you for being quirky and original and I feel you are destined to become a cult writer but I'll be sticking with the old faith. The best of luck with your efforts.

    You can say that fate was not on your side for you came up against hcass at her very best. That is easily the best piece I have read in the arena. Simple but perfect.


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Sorry, hcass, Kaiser and echo beach, but I have been as busy as a 1 armed paper hanger, since a week ago last Friday - that mezzanine still isn't complete! Almost done though.

    hcass: Where did you ask me for help in understanding my story?

    Kaiser: Did you read my congratulations comment to hcass?

    echo beach: That was a nice comment, echo beach, but I'm still reeling over your "pen and paper generation" statement That conflicts with the fact you're on the internet posting stuff. Hyperlinks are synapses in the neural net. And your "cult" comment reminded me of cargo cults [no YouTube hyperlink.] If the cult is soooo incredibly big, like 7 billion people being in the cult, would it still be a cult, or would it be like - the truth - the system we are all supposed to follow?

    Here's a song in your honour - Echo Beach (remix) by Martha And The Muffins (or M+M) - written by Mark Gane - a wallpaper fault checker at the time. Damn it - hyperlinks - sorry, man.

    The man would have you looking down all the time - keeping you distracted. Look up! See the sea? My Man's got a heart like a rock cast in the sea.

    Oh well, no hyperlinks didn't last too long, did it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    hcass wrote: »
    Thank you, Nerfy. I read your story but I think it went over my head? The craziness is just too much. Do you mean to write such obscure material? I have real trouble working them out. I don't mean this in an offensive way - just that maybe you need to be a certain type of person to understand them?

    When I saw your topic I was thinking there was no way I could come up with a story but in the end it was kinda easy. Plastic fads gadgets are everywhere really.


    Although I didn't come out and ask directly - I did as I said "want soem help getting my head around it" the question marks at the end of my sentences were to show I was asking you...

    1. It went over my head ? - did it go over me head or is it supposed to be read like that.
    2. Do you mean to write such obscure material? (Well, that's a pretty plain Q)
    3. Maybe you need to be a certain type of person to understand them? - Do you think you are aiming your stories at a certain person or are they for everyone?

    I thought I wrote the post in a questioning tone but I suppose on the internet it is very difficult to get our tone across.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    hcass wrote: »
    Although I didn't come out and ask directly - I did as I said "want soem help getting my head around it" the question marks at the end of my sentences were to show I was asking you...

    1. It went over my head ? - did it go over me head or is it supposed to be read like that.
    2. Do you mean to write such obscure material? (Well, that's a pretty plain Q)
    3. Maybe you need to be a certain type of person to understand them? - Do you think you are aiming your stories at a certain person or are they for everyone?

    I thought I wrote the post in a questioning tone but I suppose on the internet it is very difficult to get our tone across.

    Those were merely judgements. Judgement - wasn't that the story my Dad wrote when he competed with you a while back - about colour blindness? That story was tied in with Frank Zappa and his sexy green hocker story (Ms Pinky painted green.)

    Thanks hcass, I see only green lights now. But, since I am leaving to do the last section of mezz at NIT, I will have to give you the low-down later.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ echo beach



    echo beach: That was a nice comment, echo beach, but I'm still reeling over your "pen and paper generation" statement That conflicts with the fact you're on the internet posting stuff. Hyperlinks are synapses in the neural net. And your "cult" comment reminded me of cargo cults [no YouTube hyperlink.] If the cult is soooo incredibly big, like 7 billion people being in the cult, would it still be a cult, or would it be like - the truth - the system we are all supposed to follow?

    Life, and especially art, is all about conflict. It isn't my fault that I skills I mastered are almost obselete. I adapted as best I can but I'll never be a native speaker like you and my children are.
    A cult can have any number of people but at a certain point it tends to call itself an organised religion, which is another name for a big cult.:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    You'll have to excuse me, but I have been working every waking hour since Thursday morning on this mezz project. Most of the hassle is moving suitcases and boxes around by hand, so we can install the corrugated floor and 3/4" tongue and groove plywood. Then move them back onto the new floor. Yesterday, I got up at 4am, and went to bed at 3:30am this morning. And then I got back at it at 11am today. I should have time to post an explanation as promised - tonight. I want to be done here by 7pm.

    And echo beach: you are fascinating. What if the conflict is external to the story? A subtle difference to conflict being within the story.

    Suitcases, suitcases everywhere, but not a craft to fly them on.

    Here's a taster of what's coming up - some Rhapsody In Blue - Angel.

    Oh - Sparks are gonna fly!

    [to be continued]


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ echo beach



    And echo beach: you are fascinating.

    That is the nicest thing anybody has said to me in ages.:)
    Thanks


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    echo beach wrote: »
    That is the nicest thing anybody has said to me in ages.:)
    Thanks

    Aw gee willikers! I would have loved to have inserted a "thanks" at the time, but I've barely had a moment to spare. This past week has been something else - a "thanks" would infer a pending speedy follow-up reply, which was just not possible .

    I would love to say more on why I think you are fascinating, echo beach, but I am still pressed for time.

    In the interests of staying on topic (and not getting my wings clipped for waffling,) I need to post elsewhere before I get back here to explain my "Mad Men" style story in its entirety. But here is the nub of what is happening:

    Since everything and everyone are connected, I will post a little 20 minute video of what my Dad and amanfromMars are all about, which is to take over the World from the current feudal owners, then give it to everyone as a Meritocracy immediately thereafter. I picked this particular video as a tribute to Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford - the bully from Leave It To Beaver, who passed on on April 13, 2013 - the day I wrote Fad Plastic Gadget. It is conjoined with another video: Cinebrania - a video that is connected to that Sparks tune I selected before I seemingly dropped off the face of the planet. Oh, and the videos are also connected to "remote control," Ms Pinky, Joe 90 and the Big Rat, EggyBaby!'s interspecies communication, and recent events on the long running but currently abandoned ARG MetaPhoria.

    Pinky And The Brain: Leave It To Beavers + Cinebrainia

    ttyl - Narf!


  • Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭ Carra23


    Is the arena dead or alive ? I have not contributed but followed it intermittently. Great thread with some quality stories. Who currently holds the title ?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Turtwig


    Carra23 wrote: »
    Is the arena dead or alive ? I have not contributed but followed it intermittently. Great thread with some quality stories.

    It's mostly dead, filled with the carcasses of fallen warriors. You may be the only glimmer of life.
    Who currently holds the title ?
    hcass, she's over there sleeping on the throne just past the bloody guts and entrails of other writers. Those heads you see on pikes are her most treasured trophies. Folks call 'em the lucky ones.


  • Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭ Carra23


    Sounds like the next challenge should be 'The Resurrection'


  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭ Agent Weebley


    Hi Carra23 and Jernal,

    Happy Mother's Day to you and/or yours!

    That was quite an interesting few posts you made today. I was in the middle of getting my post ready, since 401 people had viewed what everyone around here is calling my "Pink & The Brain" post, and it was high time I responded.

    But I realized that my post had to change in order to take into account what you had both said. This meant that I needed to add embedded Youtube video, which is a bannable offense, or is it an offence, or does it cause offense, or, no matter - I had to post it with embeds, otherwise it would lose meaning, since hyperlinks have a value, and embeds have a higher value, therefore they would have a flatline look here.

    So I posted it here instead.

    So, are you challenging hcass, Carra23?

    Or is it: "Mum's the word?"


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  • Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭ Carra23


    Hi Carra23 and Jernal,

    Happy Mother's Day to you and/or yours!

    That was quite an interesting few posts you made today. I was in the middle of getting my post ready, since 401 people had viewed what everyone around here is calling my "Pink & The Brain" post, and it was high time I responded.

    But I realized that my post had to change in order to take into account what you had both said. This meant that I needed to add embedded Youtube video, which is a bannable offense, or is it an offence, or does it cause offense, or, no matter - I had to post it with embeds, otherwise it would lose meaning, since hyperlinks have a value, and embeds have a higher value, therefore they would have a flatline look here.

    So I posted it here instead.

    So, are you challenging hcass, Carra23?

    Or is it: "Mum's the word?"

    No I am not challenging anyone, I don`t write often enough. I just find the thread and stories interesting.


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