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The Great Un-American Journey

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Fri Jul 23, 2021 1:15 pm
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Riverlight says...

Note: I had the bestest dream ever last night and it is the primary reason that I'm writing this, because of course you have to share the bestest dream ever, right?

Chapter 1
Our story begins with young _____ _____ cleaning the principal's large, spacious office. _____ is around 24 years old and spent the last six years refusing to go to college so that he can pursue a writing career. Thanks to a job he was able to get through his mother, a teacher at the local private school, he is able to rent a small apartment and owns a bike. As young _____ cleans the room, the vice principal, a man named Harry Bodkin, enters and starts making snide remarks ("you missed a spot" when the room is as clean as can be). Bodkin sees himself as clearly superior to everyone at the school, barring the principal. _____ resists the temptation to bop the man on the head with his broom and instead chooses to ignore the man.

The story follows _____ throughout the school day-- cleaning up messes for teachers, keeping an eye out for puke in bathrooms, eating with the lunch ladies and other janitors as they gossip about all the happy teenagers or talk about how they can help some of the unhappier teens feel better. He takes a break for several minutes during 5th period, coincidentally his mother's break as well. She's excited to see him, which internally surprises him but partially scares him. She explains that summer is almost here and that because she just got a big bonus, the two of them would go with the family on a cruise, starting in Miami and going down the Gulf into southern Mexico. _____ is reluctant at first-- how the heck is he supposed to pay for that?-- and tells her that he'll think about it. He finishes work and runs into one of the lunch ladies, elderly Ms. Bernadette, on his way out. She thanks him for his help as she does every day, they hug, and she offers him a ride. He politely refuses and instead bikes home.

Upon returning home, he immediately starts to take off his clothes, shower, and then change into something more comfortable. _____ is exhausted, but he wants to finish his manuscripts and see what his agents have been up to. As he sits down and opens his email, expecting to find another rejection, he's shocked to find that he has ten emails. Opening one after the other, he finds he has rejection after rejection-- until he reaches the tenth email. A publishing company called Publishing Company will print his 5th draft of his sci-fi political thriller, Madison's Maine. He will be required to come to Miami, Florida for the signing. A reply is expected immediately. Half-shocked, _____'s hands are shaking as he reaches for his phone and calls his mother. "I'm getting published," he says, quiet at first. Then, half-yelling with excitement, "I'm getting PUBLISHED!"

After speaking with his agent and checking with a friend to see if they'll house sit, _____ agrees to go on the Cruise with his family. Upon receiving 1/3 of his advances upon signing-- around $5,000-- and spends a portion of it on finishing paying for the family cruise. _____, his mother, and his two siblings are sharing a room... and coincidentally, his father, stepmother, and two half-siblings are across the hall.... and Vice Principal Bodkin is a few rooms down with his wife... So much for a peace vacation with no drama, right? Aside from interacting with many people that he's not particularly fond of, _____ makes a friend, Christine/Lorraine (not sure which I like more)... who turns out to be Bodkins daughter. Which causes more issues and drama between Mr. "I'm So Superior" and the Writing Janitor Extraordinaire.

One night, as the cruise ship prepares to turns further south, towards Cancun, something goes wrong. No one is sure why, but the ship is sinking, and its become an every family for themselves situation because the crew has seemingly vanished. Bodkin gets hold of a pair of lifeboats and brings _____, his extended family, and a few others. What appears to be an act of goodwill turns out to be otherwise, however-- as soon as they are safely on the water, Bodkin starts handing out oars. "These are for you, this is not my job." Unable to really choose not to do it, _____ begrudgingly oars alongside the others towards land, their two rafts beyond full. Unfortunately, it begins to rain, then storm, and then-- nothingness.

Light shines down on _____'s eyes, waking him up. He's on land. He can feel the sand all over him. A voice calls, "get up," and through the glare, he can see his mother kicking his father in the side. Half-smiling, _____ slowly stands and looks around. The rafts are on land, but torn to shreds. A small fire burns closer to a clump of trees where his family, step mother, and the Bodkins all sit, huddled and shivering. Other families are tending to their own fires, chatting in groups. He and Christine/Lorraine exchange a small smile as he sits down beside his siblings. As his parents come over, this group starts trying to figure out where the heck they are. Bodkin suggests that it doesn't matter, the government will "come for us." Christine/Lorraine suggests that they are on the coast of Central America.

More details coming soon.
The politics of the world may be corrupt, but that does not mean that we must be corrupted ourselves.

This is a house of homes, a sacred place, by human passion made divinely sweet.
— Alfred Joyce Kilmer