Friday, November 25, 2011

Rims On the Wagon (chapter 6)

I'm only posting these occasionally since I've been lazy and haven't been doing any more work on it, and I don't want to post stuff too fast and run out of stuff to post. Moving on:

Chapter 6: the whale is freed

                Jacob was still mad. Mrs. James was still in a state of mild panic. She still needed to find a way to keep Jacob from talking. Jacob still couldn’t figure out how to get this whale out of the whirlpool in his head. He finally was about to decide he needed to tell Preacher James. He just had to hope that his bad record would keep Preacher James from believing him. He knew it was a long shot, but it was the only shot he had. This whale had been swimming in circles for too long, and he was ready to free the proverbial “Willy”. Mrs. James kept an eye on Jacob whenever she had the chance. She didn’t have any idea what she could do if Jacob started to say something about it, but she had to do something if she got the chance.
                Every day Mrs. James saw Jacob walking by the house. He always looked very nervous to her. Jacob kept deciding he was going to see Preacher James, but changed his mind whenever he got to the gate. After about a week of this, he finally decided there was no turning back. Mrs. James was on the back porch talking to a member of her usual ring of gossips, and saw Jacob coming around the bend towards the house. He looked nervous, but he also looked determined this time. His jaw was set, his strides were longer. However, when he started down the lane, all that changed. He suddenly became more nervous than he had ever been on his previous attempts. His hands shook, his jaw quivered, and he got goose bumps the size of grapefruits. He was twenty yards from the gate. He was fifteen yards from the gate. He was ten, nine, eight, seven, six (is this getting old?), five, four (this is actually kinda fun), three, two, one… only a step away from the gate his legs turned to jelly. He literally crawled the last three feet, used the fence post to pull himself to his feet, and turned the latch…
                Mrs. James (who by now was watching intently from the window) almost passed out when she realized what he might be there to do. She jumped from her seat by the window and ran to the kitchen window to get a better view. Her gossip friend, who had no idea what was going on, expected she must be witnessing the source of some potential scandal and jumped to her feet to follow. In the excitement, she tripped over the coffee table- breaking the best tea set in the process. Mrs. James, hearing the crash, ran back into the room and attempted to clean up the mess. Amid the confusion she never heard the knock at the front door…
                Preacher James heard the knocking at the door from his study adjacent to the kitchen. He waited for Mrs. James to answer it, but the knock continued. He finally got to his feet and walked over to answer the door. Mrs. James heard the door open and flew into an even greater panic than before. As Preacher James uttered the words, “How are you today, young Mister Hatchbacks?” Mrs. James flew through the door, knocking Jacob completely off the porch, and smashing several flower pots in the process. “What on earth are you doing?!” Preacher James asked when he recovered himself. “I… he… ah… oh… “ was all she could reply.
                After that day, Jacob never went to the James’ house again. Of course, the story of his visit came out once everything was cleaned up. Jacob told how Danny had found a forbidden device somewhere, and was hiding it in his room. The mayhem of the event made Preacher James forget about Jacob’s misdeeds and he took Jacob’s story at full face value. No one could explain, however, what had sent Mrs. James into such a frenzy. Not even Preacher James’ best interrogation techniques could get the truth out. He finally decided she was telling the truth when she said she had been missing sleep and was having a bad dream while sleep walking. “It was awful.” She said. “I dreamed that I was baking a heavenly batch of macaroni casseroles, and a man took them and tried to throw them off the roof… I saw in slow motion as they fell towards the ground, and then realized that there was a helpless kitten sitting on top of the dish as it fell! I had to dive to catch them… and I woke up on the porch with broken pots everywhere.” No one dared to dream of the horrible truth. No one could explain how this device had come into town. Preacher James had to talk to Danny.
                “Mister Dominici,” Preacher James began when Danny answered the door. Danny felt his heart skip several beats in a row. What was the preacher doing there? “It has come to my attention that you have found a device that violates our strict rules about possessing worldly items.” Danny’s heart sank as the whale from Jacob’s whirlpooling mind sat down on it. Having a whale sitting on your heart doesn’t feel good, Danny found. “May I see the device?” the preacher asked. “Um, sure. Yes, sir.” Danny stammered and walked upstairs to get it. He brought it down for the preacher to examine. “Interesting…” Preacher James said, thoughtfully. “I’ve heard of these, I haven’t seen one up close for myself before, though. Where did you find it?” Danny tried to regain his composure and answered, “I found it in a bush beside your house.” “Beside my house?” Preacher James was taken off guard. “Yes, sir. I was walking over to see what Mrs. James had baked that day, and a strange dog jumped out at me. I ran around your house and hid behind a bush, and this was on the ground.” Preacher James finally understood the meaning of this all. He never would have imagined that something like this could happen right underneath his nose. After a pause he resumed his questioning, “When was this? Why didn’t you tell someone about it?” “I found it about three months ago. I was scared to tell anyone. Things like this aren’t allowed here. I was afraid that people would think that I bought it, and I wouldn’t be allowed to go into town with Mother and Father anymore.” Preacher James thought for a moment, and finally said, “Thank you for your time. I will be back to talk with your parents soon.”
                Preacher James’ head swam as he walked home. The whale of a rumor in fact was a whale of a fact. That whale had had mercy on Danny’s heart after its initial belly flop on his superior vena cava, and was now happily fluttering like a huge aquatic butterfly in Preacher James’ stomach. He arrived home without the familiar smell of yeast and cinnamon that he was so used to. Mrs. James still sat on the back porch sipping Darjeeling tea. She still had that panicked look on her face that had grown worse over the last several days, but now that he knew the reason he seemed to notice it for the first time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rims On the Wagon (chapter 5)

Chapter 5: the attempt of a desperate crime; the mysterious voice of mystery

                Jacob was terrified after leaving the James’ house. He wasn’t at all expecting the outburst from Mrs. James. He didn’t think this was going to turn out anything like he was expecting. Jacob racked his brain to come up with a new idea.
                Meanwhile, Mrs. James had turned into a basket case. She couldn’t even imagine the scandal that would follow if anyone found out where the device came from. Just think about how the town would talk if the wife of the preacher (who was as outspoken as anyone against this kind of thing) was found to have this kind of secret life! Imagine the disgrace it would bring Preacher James! No one would believe that the man who could spot a lie from across the universe could not know about it happening right under his very nose. She had to make sure that Jacob never told anyone else. Someone might suspect where it came from, and if Danny ever had to tell where he found it…. She couldn’t think about that possibility.
                It was almost Danny’s thirteenth birthday. It had been three months since he found the device, and just as long since he had talked to Jacob. His family wasn’t in the habit of throwing birthday parties, but it was still a gloomy thought to him that Jacob wouldn’t be there for dinner, at least. Jacob’s aunt and uncle were still on good terms with the Dominicis, and asked if Danny would mind baby-sitting for them while they went to buy some goods in town. Danny was chasing Jephtha around the yard in a game of tag. Ruth was running the other way, Bob was hiding behind a bush, and Joseph was reading a worn copy of Homer’s Illiad. What none of them (with the exception of Joseph) knew was that behind a bush on the other side of the yard, Mrs. James was waiting with a large melon. “I’ve got one shot at this.” She thought. “A good whollop in the head might just make him forget all about finding that device…” she said to herself, almost laughing a cruel laugh that would give her away to all the children in the yard. She waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, Jephtha ran across that side of the yard with Danny chasing close behind. She waited a little longer for a good shot… three… two… one… “Hey, um, Mrs. James?” I asked. “You do realize that, 1. While your character is pretty stressed out right now, this is a little more villainous than what I had planned on, and, 2. While this book doesn’t portray the Amish sub-culture 100% accurately, the characters are mostly pretty believable. If someone goes throwing melons at kids, though, people start scratching their heads, like, ‘Wait, what?’ and then no one will take me seriously. I’m leaving this up to you, but I would advise you not to throw that. Besides, I pretty much gave your hiding place away so he can see you standing there about to throw a melon at him.” Mrs. James and the kids sat there with blank looks on their faces, trying to figure out what just happened. Well, most of them did. Joseph simply smiled his knowing smile and turned to the next page of the Illiad. Mrs. James finally recovered her senses enough to drop the melon and run for her life. Danny wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t have any idea why Mrs. James would be hiding behind a bush about to throw a melon at him, and he couldn’t figure out who or what had just started talking out of nowhere. The kids went back to their game and soon forgot all about the strange incident. Well, except for Joseph, but you could probably guess that.
                When they had run until their short legs were about to give out, they sat down and played tic tac toe on the ground. Danny quickly accumulated a large collection of tics and tacs, but Ruth held a monopoly on the toes. Danny proposed a trade, since Ruth didn’t have as many tacs as him. “No, I have enough for now.” She said, sounding a bit more like Joseph than usual. “But there is a trade I will make with you. I’ll give you two toes if you promise to let me make your wish for you when you cut your birthday cake.” Danny was taken off guard by this unusual offer, but he couldn’t think of much that he wanted right about then. Of course what he wanted most was for his family to accept his new love of rap, but he couldn’t tell anyone about that. “You have come to a fork in the road of your life.” Joseph said with his ominous smile. “You must decide whether you will fight, or if you wish to be defeated and disgraced.” “Um……” Danny again didn’t know what to say. “I guess I’ll take that trade.” He said suddenly. He immediately didn’t know why he accepted, but it was too late to take back. “Here’s your toes!” Ruth squeaked, happily. Danny just sat wondering what he had just done.
                The next evening, Danny was called down for his birthday dinner. “Get down here for your birthday dinner!” his mother called. When he came downstairs, Jezebel was waiting with his parents and a stack of gifts from family and friends. Ruth was there, waiting impatiently to steal his birthday wish, and he thought he caught a glimpse of Joseph, but he wasn’t sure because when he looked again no one was there. They gathered around the table, and Danny’s family began singing “Happy Birthday” while lighting the candles. When they were done, Danny had almost forgotten his deal with Ruth, but before he had a chance to say anything she screamed “GIVE HIM CHILDREN LEST HE DIE!!!!!” Everyone stood in awkward silence for a moment before his mother asked, “How big of a piece do you want, Danny?”
                Danny had a pretty good birthday. He obviously didn’t get either of his wishes. His parents didn’t give him a bus ticket to town to embark on his hip hop dream, and he didn’t get any kids. But, despite not getting any children, he didn’t die. He was definitely glad that he didn’t die, but he still felt somewhat empty. He went out into his spot in the woods to practice. He rapped about his loneliness and isolation from the world of hip hop. He rapped about love, he rapped about doves, he rapped about rubber gloves and lizzightning bugs. He rapped about anything that rhymed. For some reason, today it just didn’t feel right. He sat down on a log and thought for a few minutes. After a little while he heard a cracking branch behind him. He turned around and saw Jezebel standing there behind a bush. Danny wasn’t too surprised, and he just thought for a minute before saying, “Hey.” Jezebel walked up and sat on the log. Finally, she said, “That was really good. But you know you can’t become a rapper. What would everyone say? These things are forbidden here.” Danny sighed. “I know… what makes it wrong, though? Why can’t we rap? Just think how happy this town could be if we all embraced hip hop!” “Maybe you’re right…” Jezebel said slowly. “I still have a bad feeling about it.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rims On the Wagon (chapters 3-4)

Chapter 3:too crunk to handle

                Danny’s love for rap music grew with every day. He hadn’t talked to Jacob for a while, but he knew Jacob would get over it. He didn’t want to risk anyone finding out about it. Mrs. Dominici called Danny down for dinner one night.
                “It was odd... yesterday at church Marsha and Lyle Hatchbacks seemed like they were ignoring us.” His mother was saying to his father when he came into the kitchen. It had been a week since Jacob stormed out of the house. Danny thought he knew what was going on, and he was worried that Jacob might tell on him. “I didn’t notice.” His father said. “Something weird was going on with Mrs. James” chimed in Jezebel. “She stood by herself in a corner afterwards- kind of fidgeting. She looked like she was scared of something.” But no one had any idea what the horrible truth really was, not even Danny…
                As Danny walked out to the field to start his chores the next morning, the weather was wonderfully weathery. The sky was clear, the breeze was cool, and the very air smelled like happiness and toasted muffins. He reflected on his newfound passion, and wondered how he could fulfill his dream.  Would he run away? He thought about it, but realized whenever he tried to do something like that, about half way through he would realize, “Hey, I’m twelve.” and something would go horribly wrong. He didn’t know of anyone he could talk to about it, because technology of most sorts was strongly looked down upon by everyone he knew. “Maybe I could just show them!” he pondered to himself, “Maybe once they see what it’s like they’ll see it’s a good thing?” but then he realized again, he was twelve. “I wonder if there are any twelve year old rappers…” he thought to himself. “I doubt it. No one wants to listen to a kid rapping.”
                Danny decided to start practicing. What would he sing about? Would he sing about food? Would he sing about singing? He didn’t know what to sing about, so he sang about what his favorite rappers sang about. He sang of love and betrayal, he sang of guns and crime. He sang about haters, he sang about respect, he sang about revenge. But what love and betrayal was he singing about? He didn’t have any idea. What guns and crime was he singing about? He didn’t know that either. The only thing he connected with was respect. He wanted respect. From then on he walked with a new swagger.
                Jezebel started to wonder what had become of the quiet mischievous brother she had known. He was walking differently, he was talking differently. Now he was disappearing for hours like he always had, but by himself. He hadn’t been away from the house much since he and Jacob had quit talking. And what was that about? Jezebel wanted to get to the bottom of it. She started tagging along behind him at a safe distance when he would leave the house by himself. He was walking out to the woods- that wasn’t so strange, but he was going farther than any time she had gone with him. She stayed far enough away that he wouldn’t notice her following. She was afraid to get close enough to hear him, because he might hear her and she’d never find out what was going on. One day she got close enough to see him take a strange little box out of his pocket. “What on earth is that?” she wondered. She left as quickly as she could to go think it over. What did all this mean? What was the little box?
                Jezebel kept following Danny into the woods, but he seemed to be getting suspicious. If she got close he would take a long route back around to the house and wouldn’t go back for a few days. One day while he was out doing chores in the garden she went into his room to see if there was anything unusual inside. She looked high and low, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She sat down and thought for a while, trying to understand it. She decided to look one more time… she looked under his bed in his box of old toys. She finally spotted the little box! As she took it out, she heard footsteps coming towards the door. She knew it was too late to try to put it back. Danny opened the door, and Jezebel saw his face turn white as a sheet.

Chapter 4: in which Jacob finds out that a whale in a whirl pool is a difficult thing to move

                “What are you doing in here?!” demanded Danny. “What were you doing with this?” Jezebel replied. “You know you shouldn’t have something like this! Where did you get it, anyway?” she demanded. “I… I found it under a bush. What’s so wrong about it, anyway? We all enjoy music, it’s just made for listening to music.” Danny said. “It’s just wrong!” Jezebel said, frustrated. “Whatever. You aren’t going to tell anyone, are you?” Danny asked, “No one will get in trouble if no one finds out.” “Oh, fine.” She sighed. “If anything else like this shows up, though, I’m telling Preacher James.”
                Days went by, and with every day the fear in Danny’s little hip-hop heart grew that Jacob or Jezebel would spill the proverbial beans. Danny was afraid to go off by himself as often after Jezebel had followed him. He still found opportunities to practice his rapping. Whenever he did, he found himself swaying strangely with the music. It was as if his feet were in the music as much as his heart. He honestly didn’t know what came over him whenever he heard the music.
                All this time, Jacob had been seething. He had always been envious of the modern world, and now part of it had come to his best friend and he didn’t even get the chance to touch it. He felt cheated. He felt betrayed. He felt like no one cared about him, like he was an outcast. He sat around, alternating moping and brooding, then back to moping again. He knew how he could get back at Danny, but was he mean enough to do it? Day after day it got worse, and he found himself thinking about it more every day. He’d had the last laugh before, but it was usually because he didn’t get the joke. This time it would be for a different reason.
                How could he do it? Who to tell? Jacob’s head swam for its life as the ideas swirled around in a whirlpool of deadly, whirling whirlpool-ness. He couldn’t tell Danny’s parents, because he knew that Danny’s mother was a despicable liar and would hide it from everyone instead of doing something about it. He couldn’t tell Preacher James, because he had gotten in enough trouble on his own that the preacher wouldn’t listen to him. After hours of pondering and wandering around in his whirlpooling head, he finally hit the solution. He had heard rumors of Mrs. James being quite the fan of rumors. If those rumors were true, he could start a whale of a rumor that could prove to be exactly what he was looking for. His next task was to figure out how to best get this whale of a rumor out of the whirlpool in his head and into the mind of the town’s resident rumor enthusiast. You see, getting a whale out of any kind of water is a hard task, and getting a whale out of a whirlpool is even harder than you can probably imagine. Now, add onto that the fact that Jacob’s head wasn’t the cleverest of heads, and you have a bit of a pickle of a predicament. He swirled and whirled that whirlpool until he concocted the perfect story.
                Mrs. James was baking a batch of especially tasty looking macaronis when a frantic knock came at the door. “My pudding pie, what on earth is the matter?” gasped Mrs. James when she saw the distraught Jacob Hatchbacks at the door. “Is it alright if I come inside, ma’am? I need to… uh… sit down for a minute.” “Why, I suppose so. You look like you’ve been running for miles, child. Now would you please tell me what is the matter?” Mrs. James asked. “Well, I’ve been running for miles.” “I can see that, but why have you been running?” “Well, I was trying to get away.” Jacob said as he caught his breath. “Child, would you please explain what on earth you are talking about?!” “Well, Danny Dominici was chasing me.” They both sat in strained silence for a few minutes before an exasperated Mrs. James screamed, “CHILD IF YOU DON’T EXPLAIN YOURSELF RIGHT NOW I WILL SHOVE THESE MACARONIS IN YOUR LITTLE NOSE.” Jacob sat there for a moment before saying, “Well, I found out something he didn’t want me to find out about. He got mad…” “Well do you mind saying what you found out? Maybe then I’d be able to help.” Mrs. James responded. Jacob thought a moment, and said “I found out he had a… a forbidden device.”
                Mrs. James’ mind raced. Could he have found it? She hadn’t been able to find the device after she threw it out the window in her panic weeks before. She had worried every day about where it could be. She barely kept herself from panicking into another panic frenzied panic. She realized this. The only problem was that she didn’t realize it quite in time to keep herself from going into said panic-frenzied panic. When Jacob felt it was safe enough to peek out from under the sofa, he saw a frightening sight. The furniture was overturned, baked goods were scattered everywhere, and Mrs. James was sitting on the floor with a blank, horrified look on her face. “Thank you for your help, Mrs. James.” Jacob said, quietly. He then took the opportunity to run out the door screaming.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rims On the Wagon (chapters 1-2)

I wrote this novel for fun, it’s not meant to convey any kind of hidden meanings, and it isn’t meant to be an accurate representation of Amish lifestyles and personalities.

Chapter 1: every book has a first chapter. This is no exception.

Danny Dominici was an Amish boy, living in an Amish town, in an Amish house, in an Amish community in Pennsylvania. Danny wasn't unlike other Amish boys- he was short (though Amish kids aren't necessarily short), he was athletic (though Amish boys aren't necessarily athletic), and he was capable of getting into lots of trouble. Danny spent the afternoons (when he wasn't doing chores on the farm) at his friend Jacob Hatchback's house. Jacob always got Danny into trouble, but it never lasted long because Danny's mother, Rahab, was a despicable liar and always covered up for them.
One day, Danny and Jacob were walking through the field, when Danny saw his older sister, Jezebel, running around with some friends. “Hey, Danny” said Jacob. “Jezebel isn't in her room for once! Let's carry her furniture out to the lake and put it on that leaky boat in the middle!” “I'm not sure...” Danny said: “I guess we could just this once... She has been a bit annoying lately.” So, Danny and Jacob set out trying to carry Jezebel's furniture to the lake. They got her bookshelf out all right, they got her nightstand out, and they were halfway down the stairs with the bed when they realized “Hey, we're twelve.” So, they gave out under the weight and went crashing down the stairs. Danny slowly pulled himself to his feet, and looked up to see his father, Zecharias Dominici, standing there. “Hello, Danny.” Said his father. “You've been quite the little Abihu today.” Danny tried to stammer some kind of explanation, but by the time he got anything more than “uh, oooooooooOOOOOOOHHHHH WWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HEEHEEHEEHEE...” he was locked up in his room- grounded for a week.
Jacob was promptly sent home, where his mother, Marsha, was waiting for him. Jacob felt a large lump in his throat as he realized that for once he wasn’t getting away with this. “Jacob.” Said his mother: “Jacob, I can’t believe you would do something so stupid. You go get your little cousins and tell them I said they are to help you carry all that furniture back into Jezebel’s room. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!” “Yes, Ma’am,” said Jacob in a grumbly fashion. Jacob skipped grumpily to his cousins’ house to fetch his cousins. “Cousins!!” he yelled when he saw them in the yard, “Ma says you have to come help me put Jezebel’s stuff back in her room!!!” Now, Jacob’s cousins were Jephtha, Ruth, Bob, and Joseph. They were 10, 7, 6, and 4, respectively. Joseph was tall for his age, but not just incredibly brilliant. Jephtha was average size for a seven year old, and had bright red hair and big black eyes. Ruth loved younger kids. At her birthdays she would always beg her parents: “Give me children lest I die!”, but she never would understand that you can’t get children at the store. Joseph was almost philosophical, for his age, and when asked to clean up his toys would come up with all the reasons in the world that he shouldn’t (which sometimes were so logical they got him out of his chores). However, on this occasion the only words he could think of as an excuse were “lol wut?”
They went to the Dominicis’ house to help clean up, and found Danny (who had been let out of his room for the job) carrying the nightstand back up the stairs. Joseph looked at him with an ominous smirk on his tiny face. “You realize that you are carrying a seventy-five pound nightstand up an approximate thirty-seven degree staircase when your own body weight can’t be more than one hundred ten pounds?” he said, still with the ominous smirk on his tiny face. “What?” said Danny. “You’re twelve.” “Oh.” Danny said, and then fell back down the stairs under the weight of the heavy nightstand. “Couldn’t you have found some other way to warn me?” Danny asked as he picked himself up off the floor. Joseph smiled his ominous smile, and then left the room. “Your brother scares me.” Danny said to Jephtha. “Yeah, he scares me, too.” He replied. “Yesterday he sat there staring at me, and then said, ‘Why do you pick yourself up when you fall? You’re destined to fall again someday, but the higher you climb the farther there is to fall when that happens.’” “That’s weird.” Danny said. “You ready to take this stuff back upstairs?” he asked.
When Danny was finally un-grounded, he decided to take a walk and ponder his newfound freedom. He walked around his house. He walked around Jacob’s house. He walked back to his house. His father was standing outside smoking some beef jerky in a long corn cob pipe. “Hello, Danny.” His father said. “it’s a nice day, today. I see the thistles are starting to come out early this year.” Danny’s father had a slight obsession with thistles. He couldn’t start a conversation this time of year without commenting on them, or embarking on a long spiel about his experiences with making thistle pot pie as a boy. “They’ve always fascinated me, thistles. They are almost pretty from a distance, but uncannily ugly up close.” Mr. Dominici then proceeded to stroke his beard thoughtfully. Danny decided to take this opportunity to escape and walk back to Jacob’s house. Unfortunately for Danny, Jacob wasn’t home, so he decided to go see the preacher. Preacher James was an imposing man with a short scraggly beard and thick glasses. He wasn’t intimidating because of his height or size, but because of his intellect. He could spot a lie from miles away, and no one knew the book of Deuteronomy like he did. Mrs. James was known far and wide for her baking. She would commonly put baskets of goodies out on the porch for kids of the small town, and Danny spent the long, long quarter mile walk wondering if she had made apple fritters that day. As he neared the house, he heard an unfamiliar dog bark from somewhere behind a bush. Danny wasn’t fond of dogs, and the unexpected sonic onslaught sent him into flight. He ran behind the preacher’s house and hid behind a large bush. When he finally thought it was safe, he slowly crept away from the bush- making sure the beast was gone. As he stepped around the corner of the house, something shiny in the grass caught the corner of his eye….

Chapter 2: deep dark secrets of unimaginable magnitude


                I have said that Preacher James could spot a lie from a mile away. This was usually true, but is not a hard and fast fact. The hard and fast fact is that he could spot a lie from a mile away, but he didn’t always take advantage of this amazing talent. There was one exceptional exception, and this would someday be found in his wife. Mrs. James, while a very nice, respected person, wasn’t immune to the temptation to keep dark scandalous secrets. Preacher James was adamant about refraining from the use of modern technology in the pursuit of perfect focus on the commands of the Bible. Mrs. James, however, had always had slight leanings towards something like sympathy with the modern folk of the nearby towns. One day that had proved to be a nearly fatal misstep. It had come into her knowledge while in the nearby town that a new device could hold hours and days and minutes of music (in a way that seemed to border on witchcraft) but still fit inside one’s pocket. This temptation was too much for Mrs. James. While Preacher James was hitching up the horses one day after selling crops in town, Mrs. James slipped away to a store and purchased one such device. To her dismay, she found that it required the purchase of one much more expensive (and immensely harder to hide) device to take full advantage of this little magic box. She had to be content with the limited selection of songs the device had already. Be this as it may, she soon was spending every spare moment she could steal in sneaking away to take a dip from this can of suave jams from the modern hip-hop world.
                On one very particular day, Mrs. James was in bad need of a hip-hop fix. Preacher James had been gone for a few hours making his regular rounds, and she was certain that she would be safe. This one time- just this ONE time, she didn’t go into the cellar to listen to the music… When the front door opened she realized she had lost track of time completely, and there was Preacher James coming to ask about dinner. She panicked quite a panicky panic, and threw the device out the window to avoid being found out.
                “Mrs. James, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” said Preacher James.
He wasn’t far from the truth. In her mind’s eye she had caught a vivid glimpse in that moment of her ghost departing as she swung from the gallows… but the catastrophe had been averted.
                Danny walked over and picked up the strange object. He quickly recognized it as one of the devices he had heard about in town. He quickly learned how to use it, and was soon mesmerized by the rhythms and grooves of the modern world. He realized he couldn’t just walk around showing it off, so he took it home and hid it in the box of toys under his bed.
                The next day while Jezebel and Danny’s parents were gone to town to sell the crops in town, Danny stole into his room to look at the strange device he found. He listened to song after song, and then he listened to them again. With every song his fascination grew and grew, and he quickly became possessed with desire to create music, to sing, to rap…. He didn’t know what he could do, but he had to find a way. Somewhere in the midst of all these thoughts, Jacob burst into the room.
“What’s that?!” asked Jacob, in awe. “Shhhh! Don’t talk so loud!” said Danny. “But, what is it?” Jacob replied. “It’s… it’s…. fine, it’s one of those devices that play music. Don’t tell anyone about this.” “Whoa, where’d you find it?” Jacob asked. “It was in the grass by Preacher James’ house.” Replied Danny. “I wonder where it came from? Can I see it?” “No, I’m going to put it away… I don’t want anyone to find out about this!” “Wait, let me see it first!” demanded Jacob. “No, I’m putting it away. Why don’t we go check out that spot in the woods we found last week?” “No! If you won’t let me see it, I’m going home.” And Jacob stormed out of the house.