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The one that got away.

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Steven is away at the moment. He is attempting to figure out how to explain the process in which Danyo harvests emotions and creates a new life for you in an alternate multiverse. Steven likes to think, perhaps sometimes a little bit too much. Currently, he is walking down the street listening to Prince.

Steven has a lot of anxious thoughts. He read this article this week and discovered that you can’t think away anxiety, so he is out walking it away. So you have me, Watts! To catch everyone up.

This is a rough draft of Steven’s story, the Adventures of Aquafunkapus, and his Band of misfit heroes. The story was written by Steven in November of 2019 during National Novel Writing Month. Steven decided to post an excerpt from the novel for the next 30 weeks. This post number six. Steven called this a Spiritual Science Fiction Soap Opera Musical. So far, we have introduced the villain Danyo, Multiverse Jumpers, Akemi, and DJ.

In addition, we have met DJ’s best friend, Travis. Travis happens to be engaged in an affair with Kayla. DJ is upset. This week DJ is reflecting back on his time with Laura in college. One more thing. Steven is the author of the story, the owner of this blog, the host of a podcast, and a youtube channel. He created all of us. He writes himself in and out of the story. It may get confusing. That’s ok. Just write to him. He keeps a google document with feedback and tries to put it into the story. Steven wanted a Prince song for the title, but I am changing it. The title of this week’s excerpt is the One that Got Away. By Katy Perry.

 Twenty-some odd years ago, DJ worked with Laura at the student-run radio station on their college campus. They worked on a political show. This was long before Fox New MSNBC and the craziness we see. Yet it was the time of Oprah, Jerry Springer, and Morton Downey Jr. So the excitement was still to be had.

 Laura had moved to their college from Portland, and she met DJ in line at a coffee place. Grounds for coffee was the name of the spot. DJ would go to read and study between classes. A coffee shop is a small slice of heave. Even when you are stressed and overwhelmed, the smell of beans roasting and cups clanging brought joy back to your heart. DJ enjoyed people watching.

He would stare at couples and wondering what movies they would watch together. He would peer at girls and wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with them. DJ was ordering coffee, just coffee. Laura ordered coffee and a scone. They were brewing a fresh pot, and DJ thought her to be a bit odd. It was January, and a girl was standing in front of him with dreadlocks and Birkenstocks. Who wears Birkenstocks in the winter?

 As they were waiting for the coffee to brew, he saw her put her bag down on the table. Then come back up to the counter. Darn, he thought to himself, he should have done the same thing. Now there were zero tables left in the place. When the coffee came up, he took his, went over, and put his cream and sugar into the coffee, a ton of sugar. He had watched a movie written by Quentin Tarrantino, and the lead character played by Christian Slater, said he puts sugar into his coffee until the spoon stands up. To heck with getting diabetes, and who thinks about getting diabetes at 22? He looked around the shop, no one was getting up from their seats. 

 He looked over at Laura, and she sat down and was drinking black coffee. This was something he had never seen before. Black Coffee? No cream? No sugar? There had to be something off about this. 

  DJ stirred his coffee and watched Laura, he didn’t know her name was Laura at the time, but he was slowly becoming enchanted by her. Then she pulled out her notebook, it had a sticker on it that read- “Meat is Murder. ” This is cool. She is a vegetarian, the next item that came from her backpack was a book. He saw the title from a distance-“God Is a Woman and She Is Growing Older” DJ thought Wow that is interesting. He had never believed that God could be a woman, he thought to himself. Then the next book came out- The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. DJ was in love at that moment.

 

 You would be led to think that Laura and DJ would’ve embarked on a whirlwind romance, that they would’ve married, had kids, moved to Portland and started a tech company. They would homeschool their children and raise sustainable livestock. Nope, not at all. Not even close. Laura would be co-opted. Her activism would soon become raging capitalism. She would start voting Republican. Her God is a woman book would be burned, and she would end up reading books like Fascinating Womanhood: How the ideal women awaken a Man’s Deepest Love and tenderness by Helen Adelin. The idealistic women would adopt the persona of a Stepford wife.

There was a whirlwind romance. The only problem is that it existed in DJ’s head. DJ was too insecure to begin any sort of romantic relationship. The two of them would go on to build a great friendship, and no one really outside of Laura ever knew what she thought about DJ. I mean, who really knows what goes on in the mind of a woman, outside of the woman herself, and trying to figure out what goes on inside that mind is an exercise in futility or arrogance, whichever you choose to believe. 

Fast forward 27 years. DJ thought about Laura. She chooses Travis, and now Travis was picking Kayla. She didn’t deserve this. Not at all. I mean, in some aspect, he felt a strange sense of joy that their marriage was falling apart. Over the years, they had always been the couple who, in his mind, they thought they were better than everyone else. They went to church, they worshipped God, they felt that their church was better than everyone else. DJ had attended their church for several years, but he existed more on the fringes of it. People didn’t really know what to make of him. He poured himself into service, but he never got married, so people thought him odd. He worked a job that had odd hours, and no one really knew what he did. He then packed up and moved away. 

 Yet because they grew up together. Travis confided to DJ about his relationship with Kayla, and again DJ felt shame. He should’ve rebuked Travis for his indiscretions. Yet he failed at that.

The road of stupid decisions is paved with ingratitude. Those were the seeds that led Travis to break his life long commitment he had made with Laura. He never would’ve thought that he would betray Laura when they said there vows. No one would think it or believe it. Travis and Laura appeared perfect. They took Christmas pictures every year and handed them out to their friends. The outfits were matching, even the dog had a matching outfit.

Laura’s Instagram feed was the envy of all of her friends. During Halloween, she had pictures of pumpkin patches, harvest parties, parades at school, and of course, trick or treating with there neighbors. Every year they would meet close friends for trick or treating and then head back to someone’s house for pizza, and the kids would watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Thanksgiving was the same, a beautifully set table, a luscious turkey, mac and cheese, yams, and pie. Christmas was a family treasure, matching pajamas, nights when they would all cram into the family van, and go see Christmas lights. On Christmas Eve, they would gather in front of the fire and watch the Polar Express. Then on Christmas Day, Laura would make pancakes; the family would open presents. 

 New Year’s was spent with friends as well. Everyone would watch Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve, they would toast in the New Year, embrace and kiss. They were the perfect 21st Century Family. Why because Facebook and Instagram said so. People envied them, wanted what they had. 

 Yet Travis had a hole in his heart. A lack of satisfaction with what he had. A roving eye, An active imagination. He hid it well. No one knew. No one knew the growing discontent that bubbled inside his heart. On the outside Travis was a model citizen, He read his bible, led song service, served the poor, preached an occasionally Sunday message, gave his 10 percent. Coached sports teams. Why then did Travis have this hole?  

It is hard to explain where holes come from. You don’t see them. They are present. Holes can also be doorways, entry points. Travis had a hole, and it led him to Kayla. DJ felt bitter against Travis. Bitterness and regret are potent ingredients. What DJ didn’t know was at the moment Danyo was harvesting his emotions. Harvesting the resentment, and Harvesting the disappointment. Harvesting envy. Danyo was an artist. Feelings were his medium. Sculpting news lives was his passion. Yet it came with consequences. IF you knew the results of your actions, would you still proceed down the path?

” Hey, Steven, we are finished.” Watts cried out to Steven, who was in the other room watching Primary Election results. Steven yelled back to Watts, ” How was the transition back to me and you talking?” Watts looked around, she really didn’t know what to say. Transitioning between the story and the story within a story was confusing. Steven wasn’t helping at the moment. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned, and there was Danyo. Danyo was eating a bowl of ice cream, he took a spoonful and began to chat. ” Steven loves watching politics, except he never talks about it because he is afraid of upsetting people.” Watts looked at Danyo with annoyance. ”

“Really, Danyo? You show up mid-story and eating ice cream, and you didn’t bring any to share?” Danyo put down his ice cream and stood up. Danyo had come for a reason. He was going to explain to us how he would harvest the bitter emotions that DJ had and allow DJ the option of going into a different multiverse and starting a new life with Laura. The one that got away. How would Danyo do this? Come back next week to find out. 

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