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She Shoots She Scores! ~ Short Story

“She shoots, she scores!” I pumped my fists in the air. “All day, dude. That’s how it’s going to be. All day.”
“Whatever, bitch,” Nathan shook his head; his jaw flexed and he ground his teeth.
“Whatever, bitch. Drink up, and take off that shirt.” The crowd cheered, especially the girls.
Nathan pulled his shirt over his head and dropped it to the floor. He held the red cup with his teeth and flexed his chest, one pec at a time, starting with the right before bouncing the left. Now I’m not big on bodybuilders, but my eyes moved up and down and across his chest like a painter’s brush roaming over a canvass.
“That’s the last goal you’re going to get, Anna.” Nathan turned his head toward his friends, and winked.
“Ah, poor baby. I don’t think you know me.” I shifted my weight on a heel and snapped my fingers. “I’m the table hockey champ of Vancouver!”
“Fuck Canada.”
“Vancouver Washington, you dumb fuck!” The onlookers and I laughed.
Yes, I said table hockey championships. It exists. I’ve been playing for years because having a native Chicagoan die hard Blackhawks fan for a dad kind of makes hockey the center of my world. He’d stream Hawk’s games when they weren’t on national TV. And as Portland Winterhawks season ticket holders, we’d drive across the river and watch dozens of home games every season. We even packed the Ford and drove up I-5 to watch our boys play in Seattle against the league’s fucktards, The Thunderbirds. And, while other dads gathered their friends for poker or blackjack, my dad and uncles and their friends crammed into the cold garage, huddled around an old table hockey set, and played for hours. They’d drink beer and smoke cigarettes, twisting and pushing the rods and guide the plastic players around the rink until one of them would shoot and light the little red lamp behind the net. Sometimes the men threw dollar bills into a shoebox and played until someone walked away with everyone else’s beer money. Most of the time, it was my dad. I’d sit in my bed and fall asleep to the yelling and screaming erupting from the garage. It was a drunken old lullaby.
Mom wasn’t like dad. She was born in a small town outside of Nashville. Her mom stayed at home and took care of four kids while my grandpa fixed shoes and pumped gas for a meager living. My mom helped her mother make lunch before school, and dinner when classes and homework was done; and the family sat down every night and ate at a small round table. On the weekends, mom went to church, where grandpa was a minister. From the stories she told, there wasn’t a week that went by in her childhood without her stepping foot in that church. She passed that tradition down to me.
It was OK when I was little; going to church was fun because we’d eat donuts and draw pictures in Sunday school. My teachers smiled and patted my head when I won bible trivia. And sitting with new friends was cool. Most of my friends at school went to different churches, or didn’t go to church at all. I loved church back then. But things changed when I hit the 7th grade.
That’s when we started getting deep. There weren’t any more coloring books about Jesus’ teachings, and no more Gospel crossword puzzles. We moved from that fun stuff to talking about what a messed-up world it is outside of the church and how if we weren’t careful, we kids would fall into those traps and be walking down the road to hell. And it got worse in high school. While my friends from school were at the park or jammed into basements playing video games with boys, I learned about modesty and how my interest in good looking boys, and how well they might kiss, would transform me into a sinning teen mom. I rolled my eyes in class, and gnawed on gum during the service. I wished mom would let skip Sundays and let me hang out with my dad and the rest of the guys in the garage.
I never talked back because mom never hesitated to draw a wooden spoon faster than a gunfighter in those western movies that dad watched. I’d make my best sandwiches as fast as I could because the faster we go them done, the sooner we’d take them to the garage. Those moments of watching a game, before mom dragged me back to the kitchen were precious. And I still remember the day when everything changed.
A thin cloud of cigarette smoke hung in the air when mom and I walked into the garage. The smell of old sweaty men hit my nose hard; I would have waved my hand in front of my face but I carried a plate full of sandwiches. Mom followed me into the garage; the pitcher of beer sloshed in her hands as she walked. Mr. Oaks, who was retired and lived across the street, touched his temple with a finger and smiled at the goodies in my hands. His twin sons were there too. One lived in Seattle and the other was a teacher somewhere in Idaho. My leg bumped dad’s motorcycle’s pipe and I jumped because I remembered burning my other leg the same way last year. But, the bike was cold so I was ok. Mom and I squeezed through the guys packed in the one car garage and set the beer and sandwiches on a small table.
“He shoots, he scores!” My dad screamed. He nodded and gave Mr. Oaks a hard high five and almost knocked the old man off his feet. “Get your dumb ass off my table.”
“Fuck you Rick.” My Uncle Max kicked the table hockey legs.
“Fuck you! Lose like a man and don’t take it out on my table.” Dad pointed a thick finger at his younger brother. I’d heard stories about the fights the two of them had when they were young. It usually ended with Dad winning, but half the house would be torn up in the process. They were older men now, but my father was still taller and bigger. His arms were huge from lifting tires and working fixing eighteen wheelers all day.
“Hey you two!” Mom cut the tension with a voice so loud and high I had to put my hands over my ears. She tilted her head towards me.
“Oh please, Claire. This aint no place for her anyway,” Uncle Max said.
Dad shook his fist at his brother. “This is my house and my table, and my daughter can go wherever she wants.”
“Whatever, big brother. I’m just saying girls aint got no place at the table.”
Really?” Dad crossed his arms. “Ten dollars says my baby girl draws first blood.”
“Against me?” Uncle Max stood with his mouth wide open and laughed. “This is a joke, right?”
“Make it twenty.” Dad reached into his wallet and placed a wrinkled twenty-dollar bill on the plastic ice surface.
“Let’s do it!” Uncle Max matched the bet, cracked his knuckles and stepped to the table.
“Daddy?” I said.
Dad swooped me up in his arms and kissed my cheek. His beer breath hurt my tiny nose. “You can do it baby. Just like I taught you. Besides, Uncle Max is just a fat old drunk.”
One of Mr. Oaks sons placed an old crate in front of me; I stepped on it and could barely see over the top of the table. I put my left hand on the outside rod and my right on the center rod. When I twisted it in my grip, the plastic player, the center, spun around in tiny slow circles. I took turns spinning and twisting each rod, getting the feel for the glide and touch.
“This aint no Ice Capades,” Uncle Max said. “You ready to play or what?”
“Yes sir.” I nodded.
Mr. Oaks leaned over the left side of the table and flipped the puck between his thin fingers. He asked us if we were ready, and I nodded.
“Drop the puck, motherfucker.” Uncle Max said.
The puck fell from his fingers and as soon as the sound of it bouncing on the ice hit my ears, my right handed twisted and sent the puck into the left corner. My left wing sprang to life and sept the puck around the boards to the right side where I’d position the right wing. In an instant, the wing flipped it to the middle of the table and I jammed it as hard as I could with my center. The puck bounced into the net and lit the little red lamp.
“She shoots she scores!” I raised my hands and jumped up and down on the crate.
Uncle Max put his hands beneath the table, flipped it over and pushed his way out of the garage while everyone laughed at him. Dad put a twenty in my pocket and held me in his arms while his friends took turns messing up my hair. That night, while sitting in my bed, I smiled from ear to ear. And, I couldn’t wait until I got to play again. After my first goal against a real person, the first of many, and I was hooked.
College was an adjustment because it was a new school with new friends and so far away from home. I moved from Southwest Washington, near Portland Oregon, where the weather was mild and there was a junior hockey team about ten miles away, to a college town on the other side of the state. And, the nearest hockey team played about two hours away. It was sickening. But, to my surprise, the dorm where I stayed had a pair of arcade games, and a table hockey set. Within a few weeks, everyone knew I was the undeniable and undefeated queen of the table.
And then there was Nathan, always playing against his friends, who weren’t any good at all. He’d beat them and strut around the room and raise this little plastic Stanley Cup. He wore an awful Seattle Thunderbirds jersey too. But whenever I challenge him, there was an excuse why he couldn’t play. Until one day, he accepted the challenge, but he wanted to put some steaks on it. Not money though, he wanted to trade goals for clothes. Pervert. But whatever, I knew I was better than him.
“It’s one nothing. Ladies, what do you think? We should take his pants next, right? I laughed as a couple of the girls at the party nodded.
The puck dropped and I took a quick shot that just missed the net and bounced of the boards in my favor. I spun my center and the puck ricocheted off Nathan’s goalie and flew to my defensive end, where his left wing zipped the puck into my net.
He stretched his hands out like a bird and flexed his pecs while flashing a shit eating grin to everyone in the room.
My eyes widened and my mouth opened as I stared at the puck in my net. Someone handed me a beer and then reality hit me in the face. I needed to lose some clothes.
“Take that corny jersey off,” Nathan said.
My throat dried; I swallowed some beer, closed my eyes and took off the jersey. No problem; I told myself he just got lucky. I was embarrassed but I could handle showing a little skin.
The puck dropped again, and before I could blink, the little red light behind my net flashed red.
“How the fuck?” I said.
“Ha-ha!” Nathan screamed.
I stood still for a minute while the party erupted in teasing and taunting. I couldn’t move.
“Hey, you can’t back out now. A bet’s a bet.” Nathan’s smile hurt my soul.
“Yah. Don’t be like that, Anna. We came to see that ass!” A thin guy in a red muscle shirt nodded. “Take it off. Take it off.”
The gang repeated the chant; I stood still for thirty seconds before gaining the strength to take another drink, and dropped my pants.
“How? I don’t understand.”
“Babe, you aren’t the only champion around here.” Nathan took his phone from his pocket and slid it across the table to me.
I picked up the phone and watched a video of him doing dozens of table hockey trick shots, from every spot on the table. He was amazing, and my heart beat faster with every goal. The video ended with him showing off dozens of trophies in his room.
I looked across the table at Nathan, his thin smile told me I was in serious trouble.
“Shit.” I whispered.
“Here we go. You ready?”
I bent my knees, leaned over the table, and relaxed. Focusing was hard because I felt a dozen pairs of eyes glued to me as I stood there in bra and panties, with my gold cross dangling from my neck.
My center spun his stick when the puck hit the ice, sending a pass to the right wing. The timing was perfect because the wing’s stick flicked as the puck arrived, sending a missile to the goal. Nathan anticipated and blocked the goal. It was ok though because my shooter recovered, sent a pass to the opposite wing, and I shot again. But Nathan blocked yet another shot. This time he recovered and displayed elite skill, working the puck into my net with just two moves.
Nathan crossed his arms and bobbed his head toward the frenzied party. I replayed the shots in my head and stood frozen.
“So,” Nathan coughed into his fist.
After taking a drink, I closed water filled eyes, reached around my back, unsnapped the bra. It fell to the floor and I crossed my arms over my breasts.
“You aren’t going to score like that.” Nathan laughed along with everyone else.
“Fuck you.”
I knew that in the blink of an eye, he’d shoot and score and I’d be standing naked in front of everyone. Everyone knew it was coming, and I prepared myself for it. But, it didn’t work out that way. Nathan took an errant shot, which I recovered and worked up the ice. I took aim at an empty corner of his net and shot. He blocked it. Then he worked the puck back and forth from player to player, keeping it away from me. He could end the game at any time, but he kept me playing, topless, gold cross swinging from side to side.
“You’re an ass.” I stood tall and put my hands on my hips.
Nathan laughed, took a shot, and lit the lamp one final time. Cheers and laughter filled the room.
“He shoots. He scores!” Nathan yelled.
I clenched my jaw tight enough to flex my dimples. My mouth was a thin line and I shot him angry eyes, warning him he should watch his back. I’d get revenge. I wasn’t sure how, or when, but a bitch named Payback would hit him. I shut those thoughts out my mind and drew back into the moment.
It was humiliating, but a bet’s a bet, and I’m a big girl. So, I got naked and picked up my clothes. Some of my peers taunted. Some told me I had guts. A few raised their phones and took pics. I covered myself as best as I could and walked back to my dorm room.

The End. For Now…

 

 

Should You Join a Motorcycle Club

So you’ve been riding for a bit now and you’re mostly lone wolfing it, but a couple of friends join the rides whenever you can drag them from the couch or their chores. The occasional poker run has been fun, but if you’re like most of us, 90% of your riding has been a solo affair. And then one day, you are out doing your thing and the roar of ten, twenty, or fifty v twin engines fills your helmet as a club rides past. They look awesome in their  jackets and black vest, patches on display as they maneuver through the twisties in unison. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be one of them? It could be, and here’s why you should join a motorcycle club (MC)

What is an MC? There are so many definitions floating around out there but I will define an MC as a group of people who form a club based around the motorcycling lifestyle Now, there are different levels. I’m not going to discuss the 1% and outlaw clubs sitting on the top of the food chain because I’m not qualified to do so. As for the other 99%, you have traditional clubs that require periods of prospecting and have by laws. You have ridding groups, were it’s all about the love of the road, a model of bike, or an area to ride. Then you have social clubs that are more about gatherings, charity and partying. There is something for everyone out there. If you’re craving the deep bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood, a traditional MC might be for you. Want to ride with other people on the same make and model of bike, and get discounts on gear? Join the Goldwing Club, Riders of Kawasaki, or something similar. Into spreading The Good News or protecting kids from child abuse? There are clubs for you too.

Joining an MC can be a fantastic or dangerous thing. Just do your homework. Research the clubs and associations you are interested in and find something that is a great fit for you. How much time can you commit? Does the club come first or does your family? You need to know these things before wasting their time, or yours. Joining the right club can enhance your life and motorcycle experience, it is the right fit.

If you’re a member of an MC or association, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Add your advice and tips, and please share your experiences.

~Ride On

Green River Road

After spending 40 hours a week driving forklifts, teaching classes, and bouncing from cubical wall to cubical wall, we of the two wheels dream of the moment the weekend hits, because it’s ride time. Sure, a lot of us commute to work but there’s nothing like having that free time to go wherever you want to go. The problem is, as our lives get busier, the weekends don’t always give us the opportunity to log hundreds of miles in the saddle. There are yards to mow, kid’s soccer games to coach, and garages to clean. But you still want to ride, right? The best thing you can do is find a local ride that is quick and satisfying. For me, that is South King County’s Green River Road.

DCIM100GOPRO

This ride is only 8 miles long but it offers twisting roads and fantastic scenery. The north end of the ride starts in a suburban industrial zone, full of strip malls, a justice center, and dozens of warehouses. But after riding less than a city block, the two lane road dips into a thick green belt that blocks the sun and the annoying hum of city life. The first turn sets the tone for the ride; cruisers will slow and counter steer hard and sport bike riders can drop a knee, but watch out for fallen leaves and the loose gravel that might be left behind by 4×4 driving fishermen who love the area too. Speaking of fishermen, you’ll see them wading the river, depending on the season, as they hunt for salmon.  Take your eyes off of the twisting road for a moment and watch the waters of the Green River as you ride, but beware of miss hit golf balls as you streak past the long par 5 that sits next to the road. And don’t forget to look up. If you’re lucky, you might see one of the bald eagles that nest in the tree tops over the river. Or at least, you’ll see the amazing 277th Street Bridge as it stretches across the river. This ride doesn’t take long at all, and when I have more time, I head further south and ride the twisting turns of the Auburn Black diamond road. Here’s a quick video of an early summer ride.

Do you have a favorite short ride? Tells us about it in the comments below.

 

Ride On ~

The Wrestler ~ Short Story Writing Process Part 2 ~ Settings

Welcome back! In our last post, The Wrestler Writing Process Part 1, we explored the writing process beginning with character creation and inspiration. We took those ideas and created our main character, Stacy Yamato, and outlined what the story would be about. In this post we will talk about setting, but before we do that, let’s mention one more thing about character creation. Last time we only created Stacy’s character but feel free to do that for every major or minor character that you please. The longer the story, and the more in-depth the story is, you may have to do more than one character sketch. I’ve done that with the wrestler as well, but there’s no need to outline every single character and post them to this tutorial. Okay, so let’s talk about setting. What tools can we use for inspiration? How important is it to include every little detail of the setting?

 

Las Vegas is the Setting for our story, The Wrestler. The nice thing about this setting is that we all recognize the name and can draw pictures in our mind of the sights and sounds of this wonderful local. But what if you want more, or the setting you use isn’t so recognizable, you may need a little help. For me, that’s where Pinterest can be a life saver. Take a look at this YouTube video about writers and Pinterest. And I’ve created my own board for The Wrestler. Notice the shots of hotels, and pools and gambling tables? Whenever I get stuck for ideas, I can go to the boards and find something that clicks.

 

We have two major locations in The Wrestler. The hotel’s pool and the biker bar. Notice my pins and how they focus on those locals? There’s bar furniture, drinks, and some of the people we might see in the bar. There’s inspiration for the pool and everything you’d see in it. I challenge you to peep these pins before you read our story, and then refer back to them once you’re done reading. How many made their way onto our pages? How many got left out?

I’ll show you the opening act in the next post of this series, and we will see how all of this starts to come together. In the meantime, try creating your own board and posting a link to it.

 

~Write On

The Wrestler ~ Writing Process Part 1

Where do you get your inspiration? Where do you come up with ideas for characters and stories? What does your writing process look like? I get these questions from tine to time, and we writers face these dilemmas at various stages of the writing game, so it will be cool to take everyone on a tour of story creation in my world. In these upcoming posts, I will create a short story and outline the steps right here. This will give writers insights and tools to assist with their own works.

The Wrestler. I got the inspiration while sitting by the pool of my Las Vegas hotel over mother’s day weekend. A group of women lounged in the  chairs near me, and I overheard them talking about how they’d ditched one of their friends because she was too bossy and stuck up; not only was she having a horrible time, she was bringing everyone else down. I started asking who is this woman and why is she such a wet blanket, especially in Las Vegas. She knew she was going to party central, so what made her act this way? And, how would she react to getting ditched by her friends? What would the flight look like on the way home? Boom! There’s a story right there.

So let’s start with the character. I started brainstorming and came up with some stats for the main character.

I. Basics

Name: Stacy Yamato
Age: 53
Height: 5’8
Weight: 137 lbs
Hair: Brown

Eyes: brown
Race Human
Culture Japanese American

Location: Mercer WA, lives in a small house on the southwest side of the island. 3 bedroom waterfront house>

II. Friends

Tammy Yeoman

Alicia Barnes
Meghan Amari

III. Sexual orientation

Combine her recent divorce from a cheating husband and the effects of menopause, she doesn’t have strong desires to roll around in the bedroom. She typically is attracted to strong features on a man, especially tight jaw lines, clean cut hair, and she’s turned off by men with tats. Doesn’t like bad boys. She is turned on by intellect, ambition, and success.

Stacy has been with two men; high school sweetheart and then her husband. Her romantic and sexual experiences are pretty basic and standard. In fact, both men have called her boring.

IV. Skills

Orthodontist
Writer
PHD
Her favorite hobby is playing cards, mostly solitaire and poker.
She is a left brained person
Schooling: Mercer Island HS
University of WA for undergrad and MSD in Dentistry

V. Personality:
Stacy is a strong-willed woman with an independent spirit. Although she is opinionated, she doesn’t offer those opinions unless they are solicited. Her views are conservative, socially and politically. This is a contrast to many of her friends because they tend to live more toward the center, if not the left.

She’s considered the mother hen of her group, and sometimes a wet blanket. Despite these would be faults, Stacy is very generous with her time, her friendship, and her money; she’s easily the most giving of her group of friends.

This is only a small sketch; it took about 30 minutes to create. I usually create more stats and flesh characters out a lot more, but this will be enough for this short story. I also have sketches for the supporting characters, but no need to add them here, right now.

We have a good start here and next time will get into the structure and some plot points.

~Write On

 

The One Thing you need to be a good streamer

Game streaming is a fantastic hobby. I Love it because it gets us gamers together no matter where we are, and it’s easy to get into because you can start a stream with a YouTube or twitch account, game system or PC and a few other pieces of equipment. But once you get going, you may find yourself struggling to find your grove on camera. Well this post is for you. After reading these short article, you will know the only thing you need in order to become a better streamer.
Browse through the top streamer pages on twitch and you’ll find streamers of all  genders and ages gaming in front of hundreds of viewers. Some of these streams have production values that rival low-budget film productions. You’ve got colorful overlays, custom watermarks, green screens or dynamic backgrounds. There are bots that offer in chat games and song selection. And the streamers themselves are full of personality that jumps through the screen and grabs an audience by the throat. All of this can be intimidating to a new streamer; newbies think their channels will never succeed with their lack of technical knowledge or lack of special effects. But really, all you need is, YOU.

Seriously. Don’t worry about all those bells and whistles because they aren’t necessary for great streams. Really, you just need to be your best, authentic, and entertaining self. Take a look at one of my favorite gamers,  Dria Burrito. She averages around 40 viewers per stream and has been going hard almost every day for 6 months. No overlays, no sound effects. It’s just her, her mods, and great game play. She’s a chill gamer who works the chat while she plays. Here’s a video of one of my past streams; its got nothing fancy, just a few characters having a great time.
It’s as simple as that. If you’re new to streaming and feeling uncomfortable or insecure about your lack of technical ability, let it go! Just be your best self, roll the dice and see what happens. You will get better with practice. Just be you.

~press start

Tales From The Front Lines ~ Episode 1

Hello Game Fans!

I’ve posted the first of many in my new Battlefield 1 game-play series, Tales From The Front Lines. The game mode is Frontlines, of course, found on the They Shall Not Pass dlc. I’m playing on PS4, and often streaming on YouTube Gaming. Want to join me? Absolutely! Just search for dcsanders92 on ps4 and send me a friend request.

Enjoy Tales From the Front Lines Episode 1, and my other videos on the channel. Thanks again, I’ll be back soon, and…

~Press Play

Giving Up On The Dream

“You can be anything that you want to be,” my dad would say as we drove to Saturday morning soccer games when I was a kid. Parents like mine, great parents, were full of good intentions and didn’t miss an opportunity to pump up their kids’ confidence. It didn’t matter if I was holding up the end of the bench, or if I was the starting midfielder for the varsity team. My parents were in the stands, shouting their unwavering support for me and my dreams. Be anything you want to be. It didn’t matter that, although I was a good high school player, I didn’t possess the skills to play in college or beyond. They had me gassed up with belief, until reality snatched the dream away. Funny thing is, I’ve taken that ridiculous confidence with me into adulthood; I’ve never been afraid to go all in and try anything and everything, until reality knocks me on my butt and the ref calls the fight over.

Reality kicking my ass. Is that where I am with the dream of being a professional writer? Its funny, even though I’ve had many successes at the office, I’ve never been a climb the corporate ladder type of guy. More power to the 5 year plan guys and gals , chasing down prestigious titles and breaking through those glass ceilings with a sledgehammer, I wish I was that guy, in a way, but I’ve always thought of my current career as something to do while I pursued full-time writing. I’ve sold a few articles and short stories in my writing career, and even moved more than a few copies of my 1st novel, but man, as the days go by, the dream of becoming a full-time writer dwindles as I wake up to the realities of the real world. I’m struggling with this one, even more than the failure to become a pro soccer player, because unlike the athletic body, the creative spirit doesn’t go away so easily. I mean, if I tried to quantify this whole writing gig in an hourly wage, you know what, I changed my mind, it’s probably better if I don’t go down that rabbit hole. Lets just say, I made more per hour working at McDonald’s as a kid, than I do with writing.

But I still enjoy the late nights, the early mornings, and the speed writing sessions during lunch at the office. I still listen to the voices in my head as they feed me story ideas and plot points while I’m in the shower. I love the planning and the process of creating short stories, novella’s and novels. But unlike the top writers in our field, i don’t see the full-time writer thing working out anytime soon. And maybe that’s OK. I have a great family and a great job. I ride motorcycles and stream video games in my spare time. Life isn’t bad at all. So, maybe the dream isn’t dead. Maybe I just have to tweak it a little.

 

~Write On

Lunch With Meghan

Hello Everyone,

High School can be a wonderful time in a young person’s life. But it can also be a less than perfect time, full of missteps, failures, and emotional roller coasters. What makes it a fantastic experience for some, and a nightmare for others? Nobody knows the answer to that question, but my new short story explores some of those perils and how they affect the lives of two people.  Was it really the best years of their lives? Please enjoy, Lunch With Meghan.

 

 

~Write On