A Little Excerpt
It was May 2008, on a weekend from school, and Brett Ingram (Rockybado) just woke up with the absolute worst throat pain possible. He was absolutely fine the day before. It was around 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, and it was just him, his older brother, Dawson, and their mother. Their father took their other brothers, David, Brody, and Toby to their cousins' house for the day.
Brett was lying on the couch, fighting to stay well. This was the fourth time he had strep throat in a matter of six months. However, he did not have to miss school due to being sick. Ironically enough, his cases of strep throat always fell on a weekend. This made it convenient for him in the sense that he did not have to miss school, but sadly he couldn't practice with his band mates today.
Instead, his mom would have to drag him to the doctor to get a confirmation that this was strep throat for the fourth time. There might have to be an alternative to avoiding another case of strep in the future.
Brett was afraid that he may have to part ways with his tonsils.
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From The Jazzy Island of Dinosaurs
It was the next morning, and the potential new name for the band was still fresh on Caleb’s mind. It was now 7:30 in the morning, and the boy just woke up. He took a fast shower, put on some everyday clothes, and walked down to the kitchen to eat breakfast with his siblings who were awake.
Alyssa was now the only Grzedek kid who was still sleeping.
While the four boys were eating a variety of different foods: cereal, toast and butter, fruit, basically all of the healthy choices, they thought about what their days would entail. The kids had a lot of different things that they were going to do on this fine day.
Andrew was thinking about the exciting fact that he would be hanging out with his girlfriend, Eliza Colbert, this afternoon. Her family invited Andrew to come with them to Chicago to watch a baseball game.
Caleb was considering the fact that he, of course, had band practice with his friends today. He was going to tell his friends the name that Adam had come up with last night. And, hopefully, everyone would agree on that name. Therefore, everything would be settled, making everyone’s life easier.
Adam was going to hang out with his best friend today at around noon. He was also going with his friend’s family to Chicago today to browse the amazing city and what it has to offer. And perhaps get a deep dish pizza, as well as some ice cream.
Cameron was going to spend time with their grandparents this afternoon. Not their grandparents that were here last night, but their other grandparents. The kids’ maternal grandparents live in Valparaiso, right by Highway 30, and they were planning on getting ice cream and walking around downtown today, and maybe doing some other things that would strike their fancy.
Alyssa just woke up. As if that really meant anything. However, she was also going to visit their grandparents with Cameron. The real excitement for her?
The ice cream.
All five kids sat down at the table. The boys had finished eating about five minutes ago. However, Alyssa helped herself to some cereal and toast and butter. After Alyssa got her cereal and toast and butter, all five kids still sat at the table, continuing their thoughts about their plans for the day.
“When do you guys have your band practice today?” Adam questioned Caleb.
“In a half hour,” Caleb said.
“Will you mention my idea for the name of the band?”
“Yes, I will.”
“‘The Sound of a B Flat’ is definitely a name you should go with.”
Caleb then went back into his room to get ready for practice. He had to gather up everything that he needed for his practice. The boy thought everything was together in one area of the room. But he wanted to double-check, just to make sure he did, in fact, have everything.
Bass guitar. Check.
Instrument cable. Check.
Guitar strap. Check.
Bass case. Obvious check.
Small screw driver. Check.
Bass pick. Check….oh, wait.
Caleb could not find his guitar pick. He swore that he had it in his guitar case. But, alas, the small green pick was nowhere to be found. And he thought he would need it. Actually, he was pretty sure he would need it. So that he would not get blisters. And if he didn’t get these blisters, then he could still play baseball with his friends.
And it would be fun.
Seconds seemed like minutes, and minutes seemed like hours. The boy could still not find the blasted bass pick. It was only seventeen minutes later, and he gave up. How could he have lost such a valuable treasure such as a bass pick? It should have been in his case. Surely no one would have just opened up his case and stolen the pick. And surely a bass pick couldn’t have grown legs and walked away.
At least that shouldn’t have happened.
Oh well. Caleb decided to quit looking. He has some more picks around here somewhere, but he was not going to take the time to look for one. The one that went missing in action has always been his most favorite pick. But Alessandra has at least two bass picks that she could let him borrow for a day or two.
Just leave it at that.
When Caleb came back downstairs, he noticed that all of his siblings gave him a funny look. Sure, it probably didn’t mean anything. However, it could also have met something. It could have meant that something goofy was about to happen. Also, it could have meant that something good might have happened. And then it could have been the case that something bad would have happened.
But, in all sincerity, how could anything bad happen on such a good day?
“You got a call from Kathryn,” Adam said bluntly.
“Oh yeah? Did she get an updated keyboard, like she thought she was going to?” Caleb asked.
“Is it goofy?”
“Is it good?”
“Is it bad?”
“What happened?” Caleb asked, desperate for Adam’s words.
Fifteen seconds later….
“She just said she feels under the weather,” Adam replied, somewhat apathetically.
“Great. Is Mark coming?”
“No. He said he didn’t want to spread whatever Kathryn has to anyone else.”
“How very noble.”
Well, great. In all honesty, how could anyone get sick on such a nice day? After all, it is summer. In fact, summer vacation just now started. There should be a law where no one is allowed to get sick over the summer. It just shouldn’t happen. It just shouldn’t happen that way. It just shouldn’t happen at all.
However, Caleb, Alessandra, and Tad still had to practice.
Andrew and Caleb walked over to Alessandra’s house to meet up with the kids who were going to be at their own band rehearsal today. Alessandra lives only a block away from the Grzedek’s street. Therefore, they live in the same neighborhood, but on different streets.
After Andrew dropped his younger brother off, he was going to meet his girlfriend at the end of the neighborhood. Andrew was going with her family to Chicago this morning, and they thought that it would be much easier to pick him up there than it would be to pick him up at his house, especially since Andrew and Caleb were walking around the neighborhood to begin with.
Within thirty minutes, everyone was out of the house.
Band practice today was going to be very weird because they were missing some of their more important parts: the keyboard and the drums. However, Tad could play drums today, since Mark was not going to be there.
Caleb was the last kid to arrive at Alessandra’s house. When he came in, he noticed Alessandra and Tad discussing the latest issue of their favorite gaming magazine. Caleb arrived, and they put the magazine away because they both knew that Caleb wanted to practice and then go home. Well, unless no one else was home by that time, he could hang out with his friends for a little while longer, instead of practice for the upcoming concert.
“Hey, Caleb,” Tad greeted.
“Hey, guys,” Caleb answered.
“So, we both decided that it might be best to put the practicing off today,” Alessandra said.
“Did you and Tad both talk about it before I came over?”
“Yes. So, I think we should just play games and have fun.”
“Okay. I’m up for that.”
“Kathryn should be fine by tomorrow, so we might as well just postpone the practicing until then,” Tad said.
And Caleb was okay with that.
What would a band be without its important elements? A band would not really be considered a band without a keyboard or drums, according to them. Even though Tad can play drums, Mark is a little more experienced. The band today would be short the keyboarder and the more experienced drummer. And that would not be good.
And, to a degree, the band without a keyboarder and a drummer is similar to a clarinet without a reed. How can a clarinet be remotely playable without the reed? Someone could conceivably blow into the clarinet, but no sound would come out. Instead, the “music” played would just be a simple blow through an instrument that does not serve its full purpose.
Now, how about the flute? Someone could just blow into the flute. However, he or she has to blow into the flute in a certain way. Or it would not be playable. The embouchure is really what counts in this scenario. The embouchure is very crucial for the clarinet as well, but the reed is essential when playing the clarinet. There is no reed that is required for the flute.
In the school band, the kids, of course, play much different instruments than they do in their own garage band. Caleb plays the alto saxophone. Alessandra plays the clarinet. Kathryn plays the flute. Tad plays the trombone. And Mark plays….
The drums. Of course.
“Does Kathryn just have what we all get every once in a while?” Caleb asked.
“Yep. At least she said that she will most likely be feeling better by tomorrow,” Alessandra said.
“Let’s hope at least,” Tad chimed in.
“What should we do?” Caleb questioned.
“Video games,” Alessandra replied.
“Agreed,” Tad concurred.
“I also have to agree.”
Caleb, Alessandra, and Tad played video games for a while. They had alternated between games, but they spent a lot of their time playing car racing games in the common area. The three kids were having too much fun trying to beat each other at several of the video games being played.
Alessandra’s mom and aunt were at home today, and they decided to get pizza for everyone. As a matter of fact, everyone decided to go to the very good pizza parlor and have lunch there. They all, especially the three kids, had nothing else to do today besides play video games.
And, at this pizza parlor, there was an arcade room. So, with that in mind, Caleb, Alessandra, and Tad spent a lot of time playing arcade games that date back to the ‘80’s. And these games are ones that they have always liked.
The band still played today. But not like they had anticipated.
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From The Jazzy Island of Dinosaurs
All was well for the small-town folk in St. John, a small Northwest Indiana town just a mile or two south of Highway 30. Boys were playing video games. Girls were making attempts at calling boys before they got very emotional. Well, except for five siblings who live in the same house on Muirfield Lane.
These kids, Andrew, Caleb, Adam, Cameron, and Alyssa, all between the ages of fourteen and six, were playing outside in their sprinkler. They were having fun and just being their own goofy selves. It is okay to be that way at least once in a while. And it was the first day of summer, so of course they all had to be happy about that.
Next fall, Andrew will be a freshman at the nearby high school and plans to be part of the tennis team and the speech and debate team, as well as several academic teams.
Caleb is in seventh grade, and he is already in a band with his friends, Alessandra Marbanks, Mark Davis, Tad Beruve, and Kathryn Ashley. All five kids of this group plan to be in the school’s band as well.
Adam is a fifth grader, and he already wants to be a doctor. Since he was six, he has always been interested in the medical field. After knowing some of their cousins who have asthma, he has always had the desire to help people with those specific ailments.
Cameron is also in fifth grade, and he wants to play drums because their dad used to be a drummer in a rock band. Cameron is Adam’s twin brother, and everyone knows that Adam is the older twin.
And Alyssa is the only girl of the five children. She is in first grade, and she just lost her two front teeth after getting hit in the mouth by a tennis ball. Her favorite thing to do is play in the sprinkler with her four older brothers.
While the kids were still goofing around in the sprinkler, their parents were inside conversing with the kids’ paternal grandparents and ordering pizza from the best place in town. Their grandparents are from Schererville, so they are not at all far away from the family. The pizza place is also there, and, once the delivery boy arrived with the pizza, he came to the door, knocked on it, and spoke somewhat professionally to the kids’ mom when she opened the door.
“Mrs. Deena Grzedek?” he asked.
“Hello,” Mrs. Grzedek answered politely.
“Here’s your pizza.”
“Have a great day.”
“Same to you.”
Once the delivery boy left the house, Mrs. Grzedek brought in the pizza and called the children in for dinner. All five of them came into the house and got ready to eat with the rest of the family. While Adam, Cameron, and Alyssa quickly changed and headed straight to the table, Andrew and Caleb were not as quick.
The two oldest boys were in their room changing clothes, thinking about the fun that they had together in the sprinkler. It didn’t even take the two oldest boys five minutes to change clothes, but they stayed in their room to talk about the establishment of a new band that Caleb is in.
Caleb, Alessandra, Kathryn, Mark, and Tad have been in their band for a couple months. However, they have never really been able to come up with any clever names for it. The five kids have done a lot of brainstorming, but no elaborate names have stood out to any of them. At least not yet.
Caleb plays electric bass and is very easy-going. He is a very good listener, so a lot of people go to him if they have problems with something. He is also very quick-minded, so he can find a problem and fix it rather quickly. Caleb is by no means bossy, and he does not assume full leadership. He and Alessandra are the co-founders of the band, so they are both considered leaders. However, people believe Caleb should assume full leadership because he was actually the one to come up with an idea of even having a band in the first place.
Alessandra Marbanks plays lead electric guitar and happens to be the complete opposite of Caleb. Even though she is nice, she is very bossy. Alessandra sometimes thinks that she is entitled to pretty much anything and everything. She and Caleb are good friends, but their opposite personalities sometimes pose a threat to the entire posse. Alessandra, like Caleb, is very quick-witted, but she sometimes uses it without Caleb being able to step in and help whenever needed. Alessandra basically thinks she has to know everything.
Kathryn Ashley plays keyboard and is the airhead of the group. Even though she is the complete opposite of both Caleb and Alessandra when it comes to wits, she is more like Caleb in that she is very easy-going. Sometimes, she and Alessandra don’t get along very well. However, most of the time, they do. Kathryn is the one in the posse who will trip on absolutely nothing and, at least, twist her ankle. Or she will climb a tree, fall out of it, and break her wrist. Or she will forget something important before she does something and then remember the same thing when it’s too late to go back. The possibilities are endless.
Mark Davis plays drums and is relatively similar to Kathryn. As a matter of fact, they are brother and sister. However, they are not biologically related. Mark was adopted from Arizona when he was a baby. Since Kathryn met Mark, they have been very close friends. And, when the posse is together, Kathryn and Mark usually hang out with each other.
Tad Beruve is the acoustic guitar player, but he sometimes plays drums for Mark. His first name is Cameron, and his middle name is really Thaddeus. However, he likes to be called Tad. And he is also obsessed with frogs, so that is also why everyone calls him Tad. Short for “tadpole.” When all five kids are together, Tad normally hangs around with Kathryn and Mark because his personality nearly matches both of theirs.
All of the five kids in the band: Caleb, Alessandra, Kathryn, Mark, and Tad, have a lot of things in common, as well as a lot of things that they do not have in common. However, with their similarities and differences, they all have a lot of fun being together.
Wherever they are.
Caleb could not help but think about the start of their new band with Andrew when they were still in their room, getting ready for dinner. They were trying to choose what clothes they should wear when having pizza with the whole family, unlike most boys.
“We’re still trying to come up with names for our band,” Caleb said.
“Still? I thought you had that all figured out already,” Andrew replied.
“Have you thought of any ideas yet?”
“Well, we have. But none of us can seem to agree on any of them!”
“Well, what are some of your ideas?”
“These ones are the best. Mine is ‘The Lost Island.’ I just think it sounds cool. Alessandra’s is ‘The Polish Posse.’ She’s Polish, so, of course, she would have that as a suggestion. Kathryn’s is ‘Turkey Day.’ Mainly because Thanksgiving is her most favorite holiday. Mark’s is ‘Prehistoric Rock.’ He loves dinosaurs, so that is why his idea. And then Tad’s is also pretty awesome,” Caleb replied.
“What is it?” Andrew questioned, with utmost curiosity.
“That is actually a pretty awesome name for a band. I like bands based on their names.”
“So do I.”
Andrew and Caleb stayed in their rooms to admire themselves. Why were they doing this? Probably because they wanted to make themselves look really nice and presentable for dinner. Again, unlike the vast majority of boys. They straightened out their wet hair after running around in the water. They stared at their nicer shirts to make sure they weren’t dressing up too formally. They….
“ANDREW! CALEB! WHAT’S TAKING YOU SO LONG?!” Cameron shouted from downstairs.
“Coming!” Andrew shouted back in a sing-song voice.
The two oldest boys raced each other to the dining room where everyone else was waiting for them for about five or six minutes. When Andrew and Caleb finally sat down, everyone stared at them as if they were from outer space.
Probably because of their semi-formal shirts. Andrew had on a nice red polo shirt that he only wears on special occasions. And Caleb had on a vintage Hawaiian-print polo shirt that most likely dated back to the ‘70’s.
“This is not a formal occasion, sillies,” Adam remarked with complete sophistication.
“Adam,” Mrs. Grzedek scolded. To the two oldest boys, “You do look really nice, Andrew and Caleb.”
“Thanks,” Caleb answered.
“Now. Who is going to say grace?”
“I WILL!” Alyssa shouted in a cutesy tone.
Silence filled the room like marinara sauce filled a plate of spaghetti. Alyssa didn’t quite know what to say at first, since she has never really said any kind of prayer before meals. It has always been either Adam or Cameron, who could always come up with clever prayers before their meals. But, Alyssa finally had something on her mind, and she was certainly not afraid to blurt it out.
“GRACE!” Alyssa shouted.
It was admittedly funny. Everyone died laughing. This was Alyssa’s first prayer before meals, so she had to get at least a little bit of praise for trying. Applause filled the room like more marinara sauce was filling the plate full of spaghetti.
“Good job,” Andrew assured his younger sister.
“Thanks,” Alyssa answered in a more cutesy tone.
“Now, let’s eat,” Grandpa announced.
The entire family spent thirty quiet minutes eating a nice dinner. Not a word was said. Not even the word “the” was said in that period of time. After everyone finished a nice dinner, they all went about their own business.
The kids’ parents conversed with the kids’ grandparents. Andrew, Caleb, and Adam walked around their neighborhood for a while. And then Cameron and Alyssa stayed inside and played video games.
Tonight was going to be a good night. It was, of course, the last day of school. So, that is always something the kids have always looked forward to. And then, the kids’ grandparents were here. Yet another thing that they were all thankful for. And Caleb was going to Alessandra’s house tomorrow morning with their friends to practice for an upcoming event.
Kathryn’s and Mark’s sister’s open house.
Jennifer Ashley just graduated from school, and she will be attending a local university next fall. Since the first day that she had walked around campus she fell head over heels in love with the entire institution. And she was particularly impressed with the business school, where she will be studying finance. Unlike Kathryn, and Mark to a degree, Jennifer likes numbers, and she loves to crunch them into any solutions, any time she has a chance.
The open house was going to be a week from this Saturday, and everyone had to come up with a name for the band prior to the performance. And this would be their first performance ever. So, they could not just say, “Ladies and germs, the band.”
“Out of all the possible names for the band that you guys have come up with, which one do you like the most?” Andrew questioned Caleb, while they were walking around the neighborhood.
“I have to say that I like ‘The Lost Island’ and ‘Prehistoric Rock,’” Caleb answered matter-of-factly.
“What happened to ‘Northbound?’ It didn’t just fly away, did it?”
“Of course not. I like that name, but not for a band.”
“You guys should seriously come up with more names for the band,” Andrew replied.
“I know we’ve all tried to, but nothing good comes out of our heads,” Caleb said.
“The Sound of a B Flat?” Adam blurted out after thirty seconds of silence.
Andrew and Caleb both looked at their younger brother. Adam felt as if his older brothers thought that he may have been from Planet Goofy. Not that Planet Goofy is really a planet. That specific name for the band had never occurred to them. It was not only a clever name that someone outside of the band had come up with. But it was also a name that might very well suit Caleb, Alessandra, Kathryn, Mark, and Tad.
“How did you come up with that name?” Caleb asked.
“I don’t know. It just popped out of my head, I guess,” Adam answered.
“I like that name. I like that name a lot!”
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From Rockybado 4: Running Up a Hill
It was just one of those summer days. One of those summer days that could be considered lazy. One of those summer days that could be considered sultry. One of those summer days that could be considered not so motivating. And, one of those summer days that a lot of college students might want to sleep in. Of course, David had that luxury because his full-time job didn’t start until tomorrow. Brody, however, had to be up bright and early because he was going back to his internship today.
It was seven o’clock in the morning, a time when both David and Brody would normally be sleeping on a weekend and in the summer. Their dad came into their room just to wake up Brody, since he knew he needed to be up by now. David was let off the hook. Well, at least for now. He could celebrate his last free day with wine and baklava if he so chose. Brody would have to celebrate later.
Toby was already awake, and most likely playing video games in the common area.
David and Brody looked very comfortable when they were sleeping. David was, as normal, sleeping on his side. His comforter was lying on the floor, and his head was buried under one pillow. His left arm was wrapped around another pillow. Brody, as normal, was sleeping on his stomach. His comforter was also lying on the floor, and their dad found this somewhat humorous.
Their dad realized that he needed to do something in order to get Brody out of bed.
“Wake up, Brody,” Mr. Ingram announced in a sing-song voice.
“No,” Brody replied in his pillow.
“Guess what today is?”
“Time for you to get a watch.”
“Now, you don’t get sassy with me, B-Rodes,” their dad remarked humorously.
“Just let me sleep,” Brody said, his voice muffled by his most comfortable pillow. He moved over on his right side, and he also buried his head under a pillow.
“Today’s your first day back at your internship.”
“Would you like another thirty minutes to sleep?”
Brody nodded in his pillow.
“Okay. But when thirty minutes are up, you’re up. Got it?”
Brody nodded in his pillow again.
Their dad smiled and left. He shook his head because he has always known that David and Brody have never been morning people. Since the two boys were little, their parents knew that the struggle to wake them up would be real.
When Brody was very little, try four years old, he would always pull the funniest gag ever. When he was really sleepy, he would literally fall asleep on the bottom stair and wait for one of their parents to pick him up and carry him to his bed. A few weeks ago, on a weekend when Brody was home from college, he was very tired. He tried pulling the same gag that he did when he was four years old. The boy fell asleep and waited for their mom and dad to pick him up and carry him. However, their mom and dad would not let him get away with it this time around.
When David would finally wake up today, he was probably going to ride his bike over to Brett’s house to practice with the Hawaiian Geeks. He left his guitar at his older brother’s house, so this was perfectly acceptable. Not like the guitar was suddenly going to grow legs and walk off to an unknown land.
As if that could actually happen to begin with.
It was now 7:38 in the morning, and David somehow woke up. Why, though? This was David’s last “free day” before his full-time job started, so he should definitely go back to sleep.
At least he would have more time in the day to actually do something. He could possibly play tennis with a few of his friends, or he could play video games, or he could practice with the Hawaiian Geeks this afternoon.
The possibilities were endless.
“Good morning, David,” Mrs. Ingram said to one of her sons as he walked down the stairs. He looked very sleepy.
“Morning,” David replied feebly.
“You don’t have to go to work until tomorrow, right?”
“Yeah. I wish I could just go back to sleep.”
“At least you will like your job. Well, I hope you will,” she stated.
“I’m sure I will, but I’m so sleepy,” David remarked.
“Well, that will pass.”
“I hope it does. I hate mornings like these.”
“You just hate mornings, right?”
“I absolutely hate mornings.”
David got himself some coffee. Since he was a freshman in college, he has gained interest in coffee. For obvious reasons. He poured himself a cup from the freshly made pot, and he added some French vanilla cream and sugar to it. Even though David still prefers tea over coffee, he thought that coffee would be a good idea for today. Even though David likes coffee more now, Brody still detests it. He has never liked coffee, not even when he was younger. He didn’t like the taste of it. He likes the taste of tea, especially English Breakfast.
Thirty minutes later, Brody was supposed to wake up and get ready for his first day back at the internship. This was going to be a fun time waking up at eight o’clock in the morning. Which is way too early for him.
“Wake up, Brody,” Mr. Ingram said to the sleepyhead, once he returned to the boys’ bedroom with a noisemaker, which was found in a safe place in the kitchen.
“Really?” Brody replied in his pillow.
“Yes, they do,” Mr. Ingram remarked sympathetically.
“Can I stay in bed the whole day?” Brody asked.
“You have your internship today, you know.”
“Don’t meh me, you little sleepyhead!”
Brody couldn’t help but laugh a little.
“Fine. I’m up.”
Brody got out of bed. He wasn’t in an especially great mood, but he knew that he needed to get ready for his internship, after having nearly two weeks off. He took a quick shower, and then he got ready for the day. He came downstairs, wearing his royal blue shirt and jeans. Brody made himself a bowl of cereal with a honeycrisp apple and strawberry yogurt. He said “good morning” to his family and nothing else. He was still trying to wake up before he left for the internship, and they have always known that.
When he was done eating, he left for his internship, which is in Merrillville. After his internship ended for the day, Brody was greatly considering a visit to Dawson’s and Daniela’s apartment, since it is technically on his way back to his house. It took Brody ten minutes to get to his destination. When he finally got there, he walked into the building and saw a slender guy, who is a little taller than he, with a brown mop top and big thick-frame glasses. The typical “nerd” stereotype at its finest.
His name is Dan Mattinson.
“Welcome back, Brody!” Dan greeted one of his interns. There would be two interns this summer: Brody, of course, and Jacob Frank, someone from Merrillville. Brody was going to meet Jacob today, and he was looking forward to it, being the extravert that he is.
“Hey, Dan,” Brody replied.
“Hey! How were your two weeks off?”
“They were relaxing, but I’m glad that I’m back here.”
“That’s good to hear. Jacob is coming in about thirty minutes,” Dan remarked.
“Awesome,” Brody said quickly, not putting much thought into what he said.
“Do you remember much from your first couple weeks here?”
“If I see it, I probably will.”
“Good. I figured that you and Jacob are fast learners.”
“I’m sure we are.”
Dan showed Brody around the area, just to double-check that the intern remembered everything from two weeks ago. These two weeks off were completely unexpected, but they were well worth it, from Brody’s and Jacob’s perspectives. Dan and Brody talked about how well their two weeks went for about thirty minutes. Then, as expected, the other intern had arrived.
Brody was pretty sure that he was going to make a new friend today. Jacob seemed friendly enough when he first walked into the place. However, he seemed a little shy. Jacob is a little shorter than Brody, who is five foot eleven and weighs 130 pounds. Jacob is probably about five foot nine and weighs 170 pounds. He has short brown hair and straight eyebrows, as well as a small gap in his front teeth. At least those were the attributes that Brody noted.
“Hey, Jacob. Welcome,” Dan greeted the other intern.
“Hello,” the other intern responded quickly. By what Brody saw, Jacob appeared to be quite nervous. Dan and Jacob walked over to Brody for the introduction.
“Brody, this is Jacob Frank. Jacob, this is Brody Ingram. I know that you guys are going to make a great team and that you will both be an asset to the company.”
“Hello,” Brody said to Jacob.
“Hello,” Jacob said to Brody.
“Now, Brody, this is Jacob’s first day at the internship. He was on a three-week vacation with his family. They went to Europe. Which countries did you visit in those three weeks?” Dan asked the newer newbie.
“We went to Ireland, France, and Poland. We spent one week in one country,” Jacob responded, suddenly starting to feel comfortable in this environment.
“Nice! I’ve been to England before. My dad and his family are originally from there,” Brody remarked.
“Oh wow. Where in England?”
The first couple hours went by very quickly. Dan introduced Brody and Jacob to the rest of the team, mostly consisting of HR, marketing, accounting, more computer engineers, finance gurus. There were fifteen people altogether at this business, but Brody and Jacob could not perform their internships without Dan around. Brody and Jacob mostly learned the basics of what they were expected to do this summer.
Then, it was time for lunch. Dan encouraged the interns to get something from a quick service restaurant so that they could get to know each other a little better. Brody and Jacob then decided to go to a Mexican grill right off Highway 30. Brody drove Jacob and himself there, and they were going to bring their orders back to the place.
“So, where are you from?” Jacob asked Brody when they left for lunch.
“Crown Point,” Brody remarked. “You?”
“Merrillville. Where are you in college?”
“Valpo. What about you?”
“I’m at Valpo as well. I’m surprised that we haven’t met,” Jacob said plainly.
“Nice! Do you live on campus?” Brody asked.
“Yes, I do. You actually look like someone I know.”
“I have a cousin who graduated from the same high school as you. Her name is Kellie Wickes.”
“Not who I was thinking of.”
“Then who is it?” Brody asked.
“Andreas Bianco,” Jacob answered.
“Don’t know him.”
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From Rockybado 4: Running Up a Hill
Brody was still lying on the gurney. He knew where he was; however, he wasn’t quite sure what had happened. Poor kid. He couldn’t remember anything that had happened a few hours ago. Brody closed his eyes and listened intently to the heart monitor in the background. In a weird way, he was very relaxed. He was aware of his heartbeat, which gave him some relief there. In another weird way, he was very stressed out. Not remembering anything could really stress anyone out.
The boys’ dad and older brother were still with him. Just to make sure that he was stable. Dawson was completely speechless; he felt god-awful for Brody, since he was the one who took all of the impact of the car accident, and the culprit was not going to take any responsibility for it. That was probably his nature to begin with.
The culprit, whose name that Dawson and Brody were probably going to forget sooner or later, was out of their lives. Probably a good thing.
While trying to get the culprit off their minds, no one said anything for a little while. Mr. Ingram and Dawson were still keeping a very close eye on Brody. They noticed that his eyes were still closed, and he was breathing through his mouth. Apparently his chest hurt too much for him to breathe normally. This would probably need to be brought up to the nurse, who actually came back within a few minutes, just to make everything was going well.
“Hi, Brody,” the nurse spoke softly to the injured young man, who slowly opened his eyes in response.
“Hey,” Brody responded softly.
“How are you feeling?”
“I know,” the nurse remarked sympathetically. “Can you rate it for me, with 10 being the worst pain?”
“Eight or nine,” Brody replied in a seemingly nonchalant manner.
“Good to know. I’m sure the doctor will want to prescribe some pain meds for you.”
“Of course, you know that you broke your right hand and bruised your sternum, so at least it’s not worse than that. Are you right-handed or left-handed?”
“Also good to know.”
The nurse left the room to speak with the doctor about her findings. About thirty minutes later, Uncle Alan and Kellie Wickes spent some time at the hospital. The rest of the Wickes family could not make it to the hospital right now because they were in Plymouth, visiting some friends. They might be able to make an appearance some time later, as long as Brody was still in the hospital.
Chances were great that Brody would be released within a couple hours, as long as he was stable. Right now, things were fine; only his chest hurt a lot. That was the one thing that kept him from being completely relaxed. It was nice seeing that his family was willing to pay him a visit in the ER. Brody’s best friends would have stopped by as well. But Andrew was busy tonight, and Adam and his family had left for New York for a few days. And, since John Garfield lives in Valpo, it would take him a while to get to the hospital where Brody currently was. At least Kellie was here to pay him a visit for now.
“Hi, Brody,” Kellie greeted her cousin.
“Hi,” Brody answered softly.
“How ya feeling?”
“Like a bus ran over me. How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. I’m sorry that this had to happen to you!” Kellie remarked.
“I am, too,” Brody replied. He was very tempted to pull the heart monitor pads off his chest and run as quickly as he could out of the hospital. Really, he just wanted to get out of here. Brody felt very helpless at this point.
“What exactly happened?”
“I can’t remember. All I can remember is that I was driving my car, and a truck ran into us.”
“You remember nothing else?”
“I can’t remember anything.”
Uncle Alan, Mr. Ingram, and Dawson ended up conversing amongst themselves. Brody and Kellie, however, didn’t say much to each other. Brody couldn’t think of anything to say, and Kellie didn’t want to converse if Brody wasn’t up to it. Instead, she put her hand on Brody’s shoulder, just so that he would be made aware of her being there with him. Brody didn’t mind this at all. As a matter of fact, this made him even more relaxed.
Brody couldn’t think of anything; he was mostly concerned about the level of pain that he was in. Kellie wasn’t really thinking about anything either; if she was thinking about anything, she was probably thinking mostly about what had happened in the car accident. Of course, she didn’t know all of the details yet. The only ones who really knew what happened at the moment were Dawson and Brody, since they were both involved. Brody, of course, couldn’t remember anything, and Dawson didn’t really want to open anything up to anyone yet.
“What were you guys going to do tonight?” Kellie asked.
“I can’t remember,” Brody replied.
“You’ll be fine, though. All you have is a broken hand and a bruised sternum.”
“I don’t think it’s too serious,” Kellie remarked with a wink.
“I hope not,” Brody stated.
“Are you wondering about Dawson?”
“Did he break anything?” Brody asked.
“No. I guess he didn’t get hurt, so he actually refused medical treatment,” Kellie replied.
“Good for him. I’m glad he doesn’t have to deal with this.”
“I wish you didn’t have to.”
Brody wasn’t really thinking much about who would come in and pay him a visit. As a matter of fact, he didn’t really even care. All he cared about at this moment was to feel better. His hand wasn’t bothering him, but his chest felt as if someone had just punched him hard with brass knuckles.
That would’ve really hurt.
However, there were people who came in during the short amount of time that Brody was most likely going to be in the ER. The boys’ grandparents, on both their mom’s and dad’s sides, were at the hospital for about thirty minutes, and then they left. But someone that Brody was not really expecting showed up at the hospital. It was his girlfriend, Candace Seales. She stayed for an hour and then had to leave because her family was going to have a late dinner.
“Hi, Brody,” Candace said as she walked into the room.
“Candace?” Brody replied softly, somewhat shocked that she would come all this way to see him, and also that she actually knew about what had happened.
Dawson must have called to let her know.
“Hey. So, I heard that you and Dawson were in a car accident this afternoon.”
“Nothing too serious, I hope?” Candace remarked.
“I broke my hand and bruised my sternum,” Brody answered, still very softly.
“Ouch. Does it hurt?”
“Hopefully it doesn’t hurt too much.”
“I hope not.”
At least Candace was here to pay him a visit. While she was here, Brody closed his eyes and tilted his head toward her. She stroked his hair while sitting with him. Brody was trying to remember the times that he and Candace would be together and they would both lie on his futon and take the goofiest selfies. Then, Candace would do something completely different from what they had been doing. Brody would play on his portable gaming system dating from 2005, which would normally be on the table next to his bed. Most of the time, Candace would put her head on Brody’s chest so that she could listen to his heart beating.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, Brody, but I need to get going now,” Candace said after fifteen minutes of absolute quiet.
“Aw, really?” Brody asked.
“I need to get home. I’m staying with my mom tonight, and since she lives in St. John, it’s basically a straight shot from here.”
“Take me with.”
“I wish I could, but you should probably rest up for a few days,” Candace remarked.
“I hope this will all end soon,” Brody stated.
“Don’t worry. It will.”
“I just want to get out of here and sleep for a few days.”
“You will get out of here soon, and you’ll be able to sleep for as long as you’d like. I guarantee it. Now, my mom’s expecting me soon. Love you, Brody.”
“Love you, too, Candace.”
Brody couldn’t remember anything at the hospital, except for the fact that the nurses had kept a very close eye on his vitals, as he was put on a heart monitor for the time being, and he had a pulse oximeter clipped to his left index finger. This was a very long few hours for Brody, especially since he couldn’t remember anything that had happened: the crash, the ride in the ambulance, and the time spent in the Emergency Room.
At midnight, Brody was finally able to come home. However, they had to go to the police station to fill out a report, which took some time. When they all finally arrived back to their house in Crown Point, Dawson and their dad helped Brody into the house. It took some time for Brody to get comfortable, but he lay on the couch and was probably going to fall asleep there.
Dawson went to his apartment to get a few things, and then he came back to spend the night with Brody. It took all but ten minutes. They then decided to watch two of the four movies that Brody had picked out at the store (nothing in the trunk was damaged).
“Hey, Brody,” Dawson tried getting his younger brother’s attention.
“Hey,” Brody replied sleepily.
“We’re going to watch your favorite movie now. Just you and me.”
“A few hours late, but at least nothing in the trunk was damaged,” Dawson stated.
“Huh. Interesting,” Brody remarked, pretty certain that he was going to instantly fall asleep anyway.
“How are you feeling?”
“Oh, you know.”
“Would you like some tea?”
Regardless of the fact that Brody did not want tea, Dawson went on ahead and made himself a cup of English Breakfast. In a matter of minutes, Brody fell asleep with his left hand on his chest. It was a reassuring feeling for him that he could feel his strong heartbeat and his breathing and that he and Dawson escaped any serious injuries in today’s car accident. Dawson fell asleep sitting up. Brody’s pillow was close by, so Dawson put his hand on Brody’s chest, which was another reassuring feeling for him.
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From Rockybado 4: Running Up a Hill
After the end of the work day, Dawson and Brody had spent the afternoon in Valparaiso for two reasons. The first reason? They love Valparaiso, and they wanted to spend some time there! The second reason? They had gone to the arcade room right off Highway 30. The third reason? Dawson and Brody had to pick up some stuff from the store before they came home.
Before the thirty-minute trip back to Crown Point, they had stopped at a store on LaPorte Avenue to get a few things for Dawson’s apartment. Brody thought that it would be a good idea to pick out some movies from the five dollar bucket. Surprisingly enough, Brody had found some movies that he has not seen in quite a while. He got four movies from the five dollar bucket that he thought everyone would want to see.
Dawson needed to get some more clothes hangers, a few more towels for their bathroom, and some more coffee mugs. After spending about thirty minutes at the store, Dawson and Brody were at the check-out line.
“I picked out some movies that we should watch tonight,” Brody remarked.
“Oh really? What did you choose?” Dawson asked.
“What do you think I always like to watch?”
“Oh yes. That.”
“Aren’t you excited? You haven’t seen that movie in a long time,” Brody said.
“It has been a while,” Dawson replied with a smile.
“And Mom and Dad are planning to order pizza for the night.”
“Nice! It’ll be fun to have a night with all of us around.”
“I know! All we have to do is get home.”
Dawson paid for everything, and then he and Brody headed toward the car, which belongs to Brody. They put their bags in the trunk and started the car. Brody was in the driver seat, and Dawson was the passenger. Brody backed out of the parking lot and then headed west, toward the university.
Dawson and Brody did not say much for a while. They were thinking about different things at the same time. Dawson was thinking about everything that he had just bought for his and Daniela’s apartment. Brody was just thinking about pizza. Come to think of it, he was starting to get a little hungry.
As was Dawson.
“I hope we get pizza soon,” Brody broke the ten-minute silence.
“Yeah. Me, too,” Dawson replied.
“I’m starting to get really hungry.”
“I know! And didn’t we eat recently?”
“Probably. You know how I am!” Brody remarked, causing both boys to laugh.
“I know how you are,” Dawson said.
“At least we’re only about twenty minutes away from home.”
“I’ve made it home in fifteen!”
“Well, that’s because you live in Merrillville! It takes you like five minutes to get there.”
Dawson and Brody were joking for a good part of the way back to the Ingram’s house in Crown Point. The drive on Highway 30 was not a bad one, actually. Even though it was clearly afternoon, and it was probably rush hour. The boys were still doing pretty well with time.
But then, everything happened all at once. The car was on Highway 30 and Highway 51, headed into Merrillville. Dawson and Brody had the green light, and they saw a silver blob cross Highway 30 toward their car. Before they knew it, they heard a crash that hit the hood of Brody’s car, causing it to spin in the other direction.
Once the car stopped, it was stuck near the corner of 51 and 30, facing 51. Dawson looked at his hands to make sure that he didn’t break anything. Brody did the same thing. Only when he was trying to wiggle his fingers on his right hand, he found it hard to do so.
“Dammit,” Brody said after he looked at his hand.
“What’s wrong?” Dawson asked his younger brother, worried.
“This isn’t good.”
“What? Just tell me.”
“I can’t move my fingers. This isn’t a good sign,” Brody remarked.
“You probably broke your wrist,” Dawson commented.
“I know I did.”
“What should we do?”
“I don’t know, but my chest also hurts.”
“I’ll call an ambulance.”
Dawson and Brody just sat in the car, not quite sure what else to do. But Dawson then decided to call their parents and let them know what happened. At least their mom was home, so she could easily drive over to the site of the crash and make sure that her sons were not in a world of hurt.
Brody started crying because his chest hurt so badly. He didn’t do anything else because he found it hard to even move. Dawson kept a close eye on him to make sure that nothing else would happen. He put his hand on Brody’s shoulder to let him know that he was still in the car with him.
A man came out of the silver pick-up truck and stormed over to Dawson and Brody. This couldn’t be good. He was obviously mad. Dawson was ready to fight. Brody would have been as well, but he was not in the right mind to do anything but remain defenseless, and he was also starting to feel nauseous.
“I HOPE YOU HAVE CAR INSURANCE!” the man shouted at Dawson and Brody. He looked like he could be 25 years old.
“You were the one who ran into us,” Dawson remarked to the man. His left hand was on Brody’s shoulder; Brody was trying really hard not to throw up.
“No. You ran the red light.”
“We had the green light, for crying out loud!”
“You’re placing all the blame on me, for crying out loud!” the man shouted.
“I do not always like to pick fights, but I get ugly when I do,” Dawson pointed out.
“This ain’t time for jokes. This is serious.”
“Why are you twisting everything I’m saying?”
“You ran a red light.”
“No. You ran the red light, as I said before.”
Mrs. Ingram made it to the scene of the crash, and she saw Dawson and Brody. Dawson was okay, except that he was beyond furious at the man who ran into them. He and the man, whose name he would never know, were still arguing. How long would this stupid argument last? No one would know.
Brody was still in the car. He didn’t want to move because it hurt too much to do so. However, five minutes later, he had a weird feeling in his stomach. It was a combination of severe nausea and pain. With this bizarre feeling, Brody couldn’t handle it anymore. While his mom was watching him, he slowly opened the car door with his good hand and walked toward the grassy area. He made it just in time to throw up. Dawson and their mom ran over to where Brody to make sure that he was okay.
After he was finished throwing up, he slowly sat on the ground and stared into space. Mrs. Ingram sat with him and put her arm around his shoulder. Dawson called an ambulance to take Brody to the hospital. A few minutes later, a police car and an ambulance arrived at the scene.
The policeman approached Dawson and the man with the silver truck. The EMTs approached Mrs. Ingram and Brody. In five minutes, Brody was lying on a gurney in the ambulance. His hand had a burning sensation. His chest hurt. And his stomach still had that weird feeling. Dawson opted to ride in the ambulance with his younger brother, and their mom drove her car to the hospital where Brody was going to be for a little while.
While riding in the ambulance, Brody closed his eyes and tried to block out everything that had happened today. Before they knew it, they were at the hospital near their house. Right now, Brody was taken to the emergency room.
“Hi, Brody. I’m your nurse for tonight. So I’ve heard that you were in a car accident this afternoon,” the nurse said in a friendly manner.
“I think I broke my wrist and some bone in my chest,” Brody remarked sleepily. The nausea was finally gone.
“We are going to examine you to make sure there is nothing serious.”
“Is Dawson okay?”
“Is he your brother?” the nurse asked.
“Yes. He was also in the accident,” Brody said, trying to remember everything.
“I know who you’re talking about. He refused medical treatment because he thought that he didn’t get injured during the accident.”
“So, I took the brunt of everything.”
“Well, hopefully none of your injuries are serious. Now I’m going to listen to your chest and you tell me where it hurts the most when you breathe in.”
The stethoscope felt very cold against Brody’s chest. The whole room felt very cold. Brody lost the shirt that he was wearing today, so the only thing he had similar to a shirt was a hospital gown that was open to expose his chest. He still had his shorts on, though.
When he had the chance, Brody looked down at his chest and noticed that there was a decent-sized bruise in the center. He must have broken his breastbone to some extent. Hopefully the injuries weren’t much more serious than that. He also noticed some bruises on his right hand, which he thought he also broke.
“What’s this thing on my finger?” Brody asked a nurse.
“That’s a pulse oximeter,” the nurse replied.
“What does it do?”
“It measures your pulse rate and your oxygen saturation.”
“Can I take this home with me?” Brody questioned with a weak smile.
“I wish I could say yes, but you can pick one up for relatively cheap at a convenient store,” the nurse remarked.
“Maybe I should invest in one.”
“It’s pretty cool, if you really want to think about it.”
“How much does it cost?”
“The cheapest one is about twenty-five dollars.”
He lay on the gurney, not quite sure where he was. A doctor came in to see him and to check his vitals to make sure that he was stable. Then, Brody had to have both his chest and right hand x-rayed. The results came in within a few minutes. Brody bruised his sternum, and he broke his right hand. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to talk. It hurt to even move.
Mrs. Ingram was with him for an hour, but Dawson was planning to stay the whole time. When their mom had to leave, David, Toby, and their dad came to the hospital to check on Brody. David and Toby left after an hour, but their dad stayed at the hospital.
“You okay, Brody?” Mr. Ingram asked his son, putting his hand on Brody’s left shoulder.
“Yes,” Brody replied softly.
“Are you comfortable?”
“Does your chest hurt?” Mr. Ingram asked.
“Yes,” Brody replied, still very softly.
“At least you didn’t get seriously hurt.”
“I got hurt.”
“You did, but nothing was serious.”
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From Rockybado 3: The Invasion of the Naughty Blue Aliens
Rockybado and the boys were getting everything for the picnic into the spaceship, and then they would be off to the most beautiful place in all of Texamilio. Jeremy and Johnny, however, were pulling some hilarious knock-knock jokes. They were standing by a nearby sandbox because they had watched a little kid build a sand octopus out of….well….sand.
After watching in awe, Jeremy and Johnny told some more hilarious knock-knock jokes, and then they danced the Irish jig with the same little kid. They were having a great time, while everyone else was trying to pack everything into the potentially cramped spaceship.
“Are you guys excited about going to Calignobia?” Rockybado asked all of his comrades.
“I believe we all are!” Andrew exclaimed for everyone, including the two crazy Bobinos, who were still dancing the Irish jig with the little kid.
“I brought some food for us while we enjoy the beautiful scenery.”
“Yeah, the sky is always pink,” Brody remarked.
“Well, magenta. But close enough,” Rockybado corrected.
“Magenta is a darker shade of pink, with a little purple mixed in.”
“You are correct.”
“Needless to say, I can’t wait.”
Even though the spaceship might have been a little cramped, Rockybado, the six boys, and the two crazy Bobinos were able to fit into the King of Texamilio’s prized possession. Thirty minutes later, the spaceship landed in Calignobia, arguably the most gorgeous place on the entire planet.
The boys’ eyes were staring at the beauty of the town. Rockybado took a picture of Calignobia. He then decided that he would put the picture in his copy machine and make copies for everyone. However, before that, it was time to indulge in some fried chicken and potato wedges from a really decent fried chicken restaurant in Texamilio.
“Where did we get the fried chicken from?” John asked.
“From over the hills!” Jeremy exclaimed. He apparently caught everyone off guard; they just stared at him, while Johnny could not stop laughing.
“Seriously, this fried chicken is good!”
“WE GOT IT FROM THE CHICKEN STORE!!!!” Johnny shouted.
“Really?” Johnny continued to inquire.
“Yes, in all cereal, bacon, chicken livers, and donuts, that is the name of the place.”
“Interesting name for a fried chicken place.”
“John, it is called Mr. Fry’s. It is arguably the best fried chicken restaurant in Texamilio,” Rockybado, the King of Texamilio, corrected the two outlandishly hysterical Bobinos.
“Who is it named after?”
“Mr. Mister Fry. He was my secretary until he opened this restaurant.”
In what seemed to be five minutes later, the posse had finished eating by the cerulean water and magenta sky. For a couple hours they spent swimming in the lake and then playing some card games. As always, the time went by very quickly, and then it was time to head back to Texamilio. Rockybado walked back to his spaceship and attempted to turn on the ignition.
But….after a few seconds of the engine making sputtering sounds, the spaceship completely died. Or….at least the battery was dead….for a little while. The six boys and the two Bobinos could hear Rockybado’s random exclamations and figured that something was wrong. The King of Texamilio walked slowly toward the posse, with his head toward the ground.
“Well, this is spectacular,” Rockybado remarked.
“What happened?” Adam asked the King of Texamilio.
“The spaceship won’t start. We’ll need to get it in the shop.”
“Where are we going to stay for the night?”
“Hotel Calignobia,” Rockybado remarked, somehow a little hopeful.
“Where is that?” John questioned.
“A half-mile from here.”
“That’s not too bad. But will you have to get the spaceship towed?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“At least we’ll get to explore Hotel Calignobia.”
Rockybado called a tow truck to take the spaceship to the most trusted shop in all of Calignobia, and the driver was nice enough to drive everyone to Hotel Calignobia, where they were definitely going to stay for the night. Again, this period of time appeared to be a blur since they were going from one place to another in a matter of minutes. For fifteen minutes, everyone was waiting for the tow truck. For another fifteen minutes, they sat at the shop.
“Mr. Rockybado?” a low monotonous voice spoke from the front desk at the shop.
“Yes?” the King of Texamilio responded.
“We did an evaluation of your car.”
“Well, it’s a spaceship.”
“Whatever,” the front desk receptionist remarked.
“So, anyway, what were the results of the evaluation?” Rockybado questioned.
“We will need to keep your car in the shop to get it fixed.”
“It’s a spaceship.”
“Anyway, so how long should I expect all the work to be done?”
If it was going to take two days for the spaceship to get fixed, then it was going to take two days for the spaceship to get fixed. Rockybado was not quite sure what to do, since he was hoping to speak with Claude McSmith and the Naughty Blue Aliens before they made any more moves toward Rockybado’s position as King of Texamilio. Even though he might not have been happy at the moment, everyone else was. The whole posse might have to stay in the beautiful Calignobia for an extra day.
Not a bad idea.
Fifteen minutes after that, everyone found themselves inside Hotel Calignobia. A very beautiful place indeed. What they could imagine at a four-star hotel in Chicago (Brody and David have been inside some nice hotels in Chicago when their dad went to a few conventions there for his job) was here in the amazing Hotel Calignobia. It was already eight o’clock at night, and the entire posse was assigned a room. Adam and John had a room together. David and Brody were going to share a room. Andrew and Toby were roommates. Rockybado, Jeremy, and Johnny planned to share their room. Rockybado was pretty sure that he would be surrounded by silliness for the next couple days.
Once everyone settled in their rooms, they went to the convenience store downstairs and got some necessities, and then they stayed in the common area to play cards. About an hour later, all six boys were hungry, so they ordered pizza. Toby invited Rockybado, Jeremy, and Johnny to join them for pizza, and all three said yes. After pizza was delivered to Hotel Calignobia, everyone played card games for two hours before they decided to go to bed.
They all went back to their rooms and at least tried to go to sleep. Brody and David somehow fell asleep at midnight. Normally, on a summer night, they like to stay up as late as three or four o’clock in the morning. However, everyone was very tired, so they most likely went to bed much earlier than anticipated.
Then, Brody woke up. He could not get back to sleep. Apparently, going to bed at midnight was not the best option for him. He also realized that there was a unique feature of this hotel that no one else really considered, and he wanted to bring it up to David tonight.
“Hey, David?” Brody got his older brother’s attention.
“What, Brody?” David responded.
“Want to sit on the rooftop with me?”
“Yes,” Brody replied.
“It’s two o’clock in the morning. I hope you know that,” David remarked sleepily.
“Well, I can’t sleep.”
“Now I can’t either. Thanks, B-Rodes.”
“Is that a yes?”
“Is what a yes?”
“Will you sit on the rooftop with me?”
“Okay, Brody. You asked for it. Yes.”
David and Brody got out of their beds and tried to find the “safest” way possible to climb out of the window and get to the rooftop. There were no windows that could be pried open, so the two curious young men crept out of the front door and saw that there was a ladder leaned against the building. But it was way too short for David and Brody to reach the rooftop.
David and Brody ran back into Hotel Calignobia and pressed the button to the elevator. The light turned blue, and the elevator door opened. Both boys entered the elevator, and David looked for the highest level possible. To their surprise, there was a button that said “ROOFTOP” in all capital letters.
Apparently a lot of people are fond of accessing the rooftop when spending their time in Hotel Calignobia.
Brody pushed the button, and the elevator door closed. In a matter of thirty minutes, er….thirty seconds, David and Brody had full access to the rooftop. Once they stepped out of the elevator, they instantly felt at peace. The rooftop was a wide area with a concrete floor and rock walls. There were four lawn chairs and a very soft mattress with plastic covered over it, meaning that it hadn’t been used yet. Brody called dibs on the mattress, since he was pretty sure that this could be a new addition to the furniture family.
David sat on a lawn chair and stared out in the open. There was nothing in the sky, except for the stars that lay against the beautiful excuse for a magenta sky. A few minutes later, both David and Brody walked toward the edge of the short wall and found some places on the wall to sit. When they decided to sit down, there was another wall that was supposed to be used for their feet, so that they wouldn’t just dangle in the air.
This was the perfect time to be awake. Sitting on the rooftop of Hotel Calignobia at two o’clock in the morning, looking at the stars, and contemplating the positive aspects of life. David and Brody said nothing for about fifteen minutes because they were both having a very peaceful and enlightening experience.
“What are you thinking about, Brody?” David asked his younger brother of a year.
“I dunno. Lots of things,” Brody replied half-heartedly.
“This is so peaceful.”
“Thanks, B-Rodes,” David said.
“Well, I guess I’ve been thinking about a lot while here. I’ve been mostly thinking about me and Candace and all the fun that we have together. Do you remember when you found us sleeping together on the hammock?”
“Oh yeah. I thought of doing a prank on you guys, but then I decided not to because you were both sound asleep, and you looked very comfortable.”
“Yeah, it was like two o’clock in the afternoon. Candace and I were both in the hammock listening to music, and then I fell asleep. Then, she apparently fell asleep because, when I woke up, her head was on my chest. That felt really good. After about five minutes, I fell asleep again.”
“I remember that. Wasn’t that like a few months ago?”
“Yeah. Back in April.”
David and Brody sat against the wall and continued to stare at the magenta sky and think about everything positive. About fifteen minutes later, David got up on the ledge and sat there, continuing to stare at the beautiful sky in Calignobia. Brody, however, pressed his chest against the wall so he could feel his heart beating through it. No one said a word to each other for a good twenty-five minutes.
Brody’s older brother decided to close his eyes and concentrate on what was most important to him. He wanted to take in more of the gorgeous magenta sky, but he also wanted to think about the great time that he was having at the current moment. He could feel his hair blowing in the gentle wind, and he could feel his heart beating in his chest. David was in a good place at the moment, and so was Brody, whose chest was still pressed firmly against the wall.
“What time is it?” Brody asked.
“Three o’clock. Why do you ask? Getting tired yet?” David answered with another question.
“No. I just don’t have my phone on me.”
“I don’t have my phone on me either.”
“You have your watch then?” Brody questioned.
“Yep. No need for my phone. This is so peaceful,” David remarked.
“I agree. I don’t want to go to bed.”
“I don’t either.”
“So, I guess we’re spending another day in Calignobia?”
“I think we are.”
“Fine by me.”
An Excerpt from a Writing Project
From Rockybado 3: The Invasion of the Naughty Blue Aliens
It was the day that school got out for the summer, and the Ingram’s knew that they had quite a few plans. It was a sunny day in Crown Point, a city in Northwest Indiana, about forty-five minutes away from Chicago. The Ingram’s didn’t really have anything planned tonight. However, David and Brody Ingram were going to play tennis with their friends tomorrow. Brett, the second oldest, had a gig for his band in a couple days. Among other things. The five siblings were not about to waste this summer by doing absolutely nothing.
Dawson is 28 years old, almost 29; he lives in an apartment in Merrillville with his fiancée, Daniela Cardis. They are getting married in a couple weeks.
Brett is 24, and he lives in a house owned by his friend’s uncle. He lives in Crown Point with his fellow band members, John Coolwood, Chris Paragnotti, and Tony Rossi. Brett’s main band is called the Hawaiian Geeks, as a take on the Hawaiian Dweebs from the three seemingly “fictitious” islands. However, Brett is also a part of another band called Mr. Morton, but he spends more time with the Hawaiian Geeks.
David is 22, going on 23 on September 30th.
Brody is 21, going on 22 on September 23rd.
Toby is 18 and now a senior in high school, not quite sure what exactly he wants to go into; however, he has his eye on the business field. Toby is looking into some good colleges around the area, as well as some schools in Chicago and Indianapolis. He has obviously not made his final decision yet.
According to most people, it was the year 2014. According to others, it was the year that has made a positive impact on their lives. And still, according to others, it was the year that has made a negative impact on their lives. However, it was still the year 2014. And the Ingram’s were okay with that. A little confused as to how much time has quickly gone by, but they were open to any possibilities in their futures.
After graduating with his Bachelor’s in Marketing and Spanish in 2008 (he dropped education and switched to business because marketing was more interesting to him), Dawson returned to the same school in Valparaiso and received his Master’s in Business Administration last year around this time. That was also the year Brett received his Bachelor’s in Finance. However, Brett did not graduate from the same college as Dawson; he graduated from a university on the north side of Indianapolis. David also recently graduated from a small school just south of Warsaw, Indiana, with degrees in Marketing and Finance. Brody is now a senior at the same university that Dawson graduated from; only he is studying Computer Engineering and minoring in Marketing. And, of course, Toby has not completed high school yet.
Brody and Toby, especially, did not have anything to worry about, in terms of academics for a good two months, and they were okay with that. They wanted to focus this time on playing video games and gaining insights on what they would like to do when they get older. At this very minute, however, the two boys just wanted to play video games.
“What game do you want to play, Toby?” Brody asked his younger brother of four years.
“Beats me. I can’t think right now,” Toby replied.
“Want to play something older or newer?”
“Whatever you’d like.”
“Seriously?! You’re putting all this on me?!” Brody exclaimed.
“Yes,” Toby replied with a grin.
“Okay then. I’m in the mood for….”
“Baklava!” Toby shouted and ran downstairs toward the kitchen. Brody ran after him.
“I WANT BAKLAVA, TOO!!!!”
“CAN’T BEAT ME TO THEM!!!!”
Even though Brody and Toby are twenty-one and eighteen years old respectively, they are still very young at heart. And chances are, that will not change for a while. The two boys were downstairs, fighting over the package of baklava. Brody grabbed the package and split the Greek goodness in half. However, while trying to cut into the baklava, he didn’t realize that there was a wine bottle right next to him until he heard a crash on the floor.
“Wha….” Brody mumbled as he saw the accident that he had caused.
“Oh dear,” Toby remarked.
The wine bottle wasn’t just broken. It was shattered. All over the floor. And the contents of the wine bottle looked sad on the white tiles. Brody didn’t quite know what to do. And Toby wasn’t quite sure what to think.
“I was hoping for some wine with my baklava,” Brody said with a sigh. “Oh well.”
“Can I get the mop?” Toby asked.
Brody nodded, and he picked up as much debris as he could with the nearby broom. Toby came in and mopped up the mess. In a matter of fifteen minutes, the mess was cleaned up, but Brody couldn’t help but feel sorry for himself. Not necessarily because that was a bottle of wine, but more because that wine was not the cheapest wine on the market. The two boys completely forgot about the baklava, and they returned upstairs.
“Okay. I know what we should play,” Toby said after he and Brody found a place on the floor to sit.
“What?” Brody asked, still a little down.
Toby grabbed an older game out of a nearby shoebox and showed it to Brody. They played some older video games for quite a while, try an hour and thirty minutes. The two boys were waiting for their parents to return home from work, for Brett to finish band practice with his friends, and David to come home from an interview that he had with a local business. Dawson and his fiancée were probably coming over to the house later tonight, and the kids’ parents were probably going to order in pizza or Chinese take-out. Typically the family has this kind of treat the day that school gets out for the summer.
“I GOT THE JOB!!!!” a familiar voice suddenly boomed in the room where Brody and Toby were playing video games.
“You did?!” Brody asked excitedly to David, his older Irish twin brother.
“Yes! They told me they liked me, and I start next week!”
“So, what will you do?”
“Finance mostly, but a little bit of marketing as well,” David remarked.
“Nice!” Brody replied.
“You have an internship, right?”
“Yes. I started a couple weeks ago, but I have a week off because my supervisor’s in Spain. As a side job, I’m working at Uncle Alan’s business. I got off today at three o’clock.”
“Does this internship count as college credit?”
“Not this time around. Last year’s did.”
This is the second internship that Brody has had since he started college. Both internships involved the knowledge of computer engineering, but Brody wouldn’t need to report to his internship supervisor for another week because his supervisor was on a business trip. In the meantime, Brody wanted to pick up some hours at their uncle’s consulting agency, which is only ten minutes away from home.
“Do you have to go to Uncle Alan’s tomorrow?” David asked his younger Irish twin brother.
“No. I went in three days in a row, so I can finally sleep in tomorrow!” Brody replied with a lot of excitement in his tone.
“That’s good. I can sleep in tomorrow as well!”
“How long should we stay up tonight?”
“However long you’d like to stay up,” David answered.
“When will Brett be here tonight?” Brody asked.
“Probably in thirty minutes. He sent me a text saying that he just finished up his practice. His gig is in a couple days!”
“And chances are that we are going to have pizza tonight because you, Toby, saved the day!”
“Last day of school for Toby!”
David just graduated from college, and now he has a full-time job. For all the college graduates out there, it must be extremely weird to receive a sheet of paper worth thousands and use it to obtain a dream job. It must also be a weird feeling to be out of college and not have to return the next fall. That was probably how David was feeling at the moment. A bittersweet feeling, because David now has a “big boy” job, and he won’t have to return to college in a few months.
Brody will be in the same boat as David next year, as long as he can get into the classes that he needs for graduation. Like David, Brody has had a great experience in college, and he probably wouldn’t want it to end so quickly. But, then again….
There’s the real world.
“I’M AT YOUR HOUSE!!!!” another familiar voice shouted from downstairs.
David, Brody, and Toby dropped everything they were doing and ran downstairs to meet up with Brett. He was here to pay everyone a visit. His friends were off to their own families’ houses tonight, and chances were that Brett was going to stay here for the night because he did not want to be at his own house alone.
Brett was, of course, in his band garb, consisting of a green Irish golf cap, a nice white collared shirt, blue jeans, gym shoes, and….the Hawaiian print vest that their grandma made for him a few years ago. Every one of the members of the Hawaiian Geeks owns at least one Hawaiian print shirt or vest.
Of course, that is the theme of the band.
“How was band practice today?” Brody questioned his older brother of two years.
“It was great, as always,” Brett replied.
“That’s good to know. Are you excited about your gig?”
“Definitely! This is the one that we are all looking forward to, because Coolwood’s sister has always wanted us to play for her graduation party.”
“And what’s her name again?” Brody asked.
“Melissa,” Brett answered.
“She was crazy about me in high school. She was a freshman when I was a senior, and she and her friends always went to my tennis matches.”
“Tennis is fun to watch.”
“It’s much more fun to play.”
After one year of playing tennis during his freshman year in high school, Brett found his real passions: bowling and playing in a garage band.
Dawson and Brett are still on the bowling team, and that is how Dawson and Daniela met. Brett and Olivera Slobodan have been in an on-and-off relationship for a few years. Right now, they are happily dating.
“How’s Olivera?” David asked Brett.
“She’s doing well, as always,” Brett replied with a smile.
“Is she going to the gig?”
“She can’t because she and her family are going to London for a few weeks.”
“That’s where Dad was born and lived until he was eleven!” David pointed out.
“Yes. That’s true,” Brett replied.
“When will everyone be here?”
“I guess Mom and Dad will be here within an hour. Not so sure about Dawson and his fiancée.”
“Well, we need to figure out if we want pizza or Chinese food.”
In a matter of thirty minutes, the Ingram’s parents arrived at the house, closely behind Dawson and Daniela. So, with this in mind, let the fun begin.
A Little Excerpt
It was March 2018, so during tax season. It was also Saturday, so none of Brett Ingram's (Rockybado) friends had to go to work on this crisp morning. It was a beautiful morning in New York City, but not everyone wanted to be awake. Brett was sleeping pretty soundly at 8:30 in the morning. He is a CPA, and his plan was to assist one of his friends with his taxes. This friend was expecting him at his apartment at 9 am, and he lives on the other side of Brooklyn. It would be beyond difficult for Brett to actually wake up, get ready, and be at his friend's place by that time at this point.
Brett was lying very comfortably on his stomach. He was exhausted from the busy week at work, and he was hoping to get at least a few more hours of sleep than normal.
His phone started ringing, and Brett slowly woke up from that. After a few fumbles, he put his phone to his ear.
"Hello? Brett answered his phone sleepily.
"Hey, Brett. It's Mac. Did you forget something?" Mac questioned.
Marciano Salvatore, Mac for short, is someone that Brett's friend and roommate, Byron Lewis, introduced him to. Mac is one billion percent Italian. Brett is a quarter Italian, with the majority being English, and some Irish, Greek, German, and Polish.
"What do you mean?" Brett questioned.
"Um....my taxes. I'm only free in the morning. I have a gig for a wedding later this afternoon, and I can't do much else after that," Mac replied.
Brett jumped out of bed and attempted to run into the bathroom. Little did he know that someone was in there, and he ran into the door.
From Rockybado 4: Running Up a Hill
The next day came along like a beach ball, and David and Brody were still sleeping soundly on their futons. Toby was awake, and he was playing video games in the common area. The parents were also awake, and they were conversing in the dining room. David was sleeping comfortably on his side with his face underneath a pillow. His comforter was thrown on the floor, and he was sprawled out on his bed like a cat. Brody, however, was sleeping comfortably on his stomach with his face in a pillow. His comforter was not thrown on the floor. It was pushed to the right side of his futon while Felicia was sitting on top of it. Honeybunny was not in the room. She was probably sitting “comfortably” in the bathroom sink.
Like a lot of cats do.
It was 9:30 in the morning, and both boys were obviously still sleeping. The typical lives of two young men on a weekend. However, Brody slowly woke up to the sound of his phone. It must have been ringing for quite some time. He lifted his head out of the pillow, and he put it down again. Brody really did not want to wake up. But it was either his alarm going off, or someone was trying to get ahold of him.
Brody slowly grabbed his phone and saw that his own girlfriend was trying to call him. He felt obligated to answer the phone since Candace was hoping to hang out with him on this beautiful day.
“Hello?” Brody answered his phone sleepily.
“Hey, Brody,” the voice answered on the other end.
“Yes! Who else do you think it is?”
“Candace,” Brody replied with a smile.
“You’re too cute,” Candace remarked, laughing.
“So, when can I come over?”
“Whenever. It’s already 9:30.”
“I’ll probably ride my bike over if that’s cool.”
“If it works for you, then go for it.”
Okay, then. Brody tried to go back to sleep for thirty minutes, but it didn’t work. At ten o’clock in the morning, he finally got out of bed and got ready for the day. When he stretched and did fifty push-ups, he noticed that David had gotten out of bed earlier than he had.
David almost always gets out of bed at least thirty minutes earlier than Brody. It was probably a big brother thing. Or David just woke up to Brody’s phone going off. Nonetheless, David beat Brody to getting out of bed earlier. Brody eventually came downstairs, got himself a toasted everything bagel with plain cream cheese, and saw David sitting at the dining room table, eating some watermelon.
It took a few minutes for David to fully acknowledge Brody’s presence, since he was very hungry for watermelon. Brody even took a piece of watermelon from David’s bowl, and he didn’t even notice that. However, two minutes later, David looked up and gave Brody a goofy smile.
“Hey, Brody,” David said as his face returned to normal.
“Hey,” Brody replied, somewhat amused.
“Going over to Candace’s?”
“In a bit. What are you up to?”
“I’m going to practice with The Hawaiian Geeks today,” David answered.
“Sounds fun. How’s Olivia?” Brody asked his older brother.
“She’s doing pretty well. I’m hanging out with her tomorrow.”
“Cool. When are you practicing today?”
“Probably in a couple hours. Toby’s coming with.”
“He likes sitting in on your rehearsals.”
“Yes, he does. Toby just likes listening to The Hawaiian Geeks play.”
And it is true. Toby has always liked listening to rock music, no matter which band. But, of course, he prefers the Hawaiian Geeks over any other band that he has heard of because….well, Brett is in the band. And his other bandmates are pretty chill.
Especially the keyboardist, whose name is Tony Rossi.
Even though the Ingram’s have some family members with the last name Rossi, Tony and the Ingram’s are not related. Tony is just the chilliest dude on the planet. His long straight brown hair, his neon blue beanie, and his relaxed demeanor are all a dead giveaway.
Toby wanted to wear a beanie today, so he wore his favorite green beanie to the rehearsal.
Brody just wanted to spend some time at Candace’s, so he got his bike out of the garage and started to head over to Lowell when Brett, David, and Toby eventually approached him in Brett’s car. Brett had just arrived at the Ingram’s house to pick up David and Toby. David has a car, but he has always preferred taking a ride with Brett. Makes sense because the family’s house is technically on the way to John Coolwood’s house, where Brett, David, and Toby were planning to go.
“Do you want us to give you a ride?” Brett asked Brody.
“Nope. I’m going to ride my bike over to Candace’s,” Brody remarked.
“Okay. Suit yourself.”
“Besides, where are you going?”
“Coolwood’s,” Brett replied.
“That’s kinda out of the way,” Brody said.
“Maybe a little.”
“And I like riding my bike to Lowell. There’s something relaxing about it.”
“We would walk or ride our bikes, but we have some heavy equipment that we have to bring with us.”
The three boys drove off, and Brody watched the car take a left at 93rd Place from Garfield Court. He took a couple puffs on his inhaler, and then pushed his feet on the bike’s pedals. He then took off toward Candace’s house on Willowbrook Drive in Lowell. He knew that it was going to take about forty-five minutes to get to her house by bike. But he didn’t care. It was too nice of a day not to do something productive.
Brody rode his bike through downtown Crown Point, a very liberating place for him. He could feel the breeze in his face. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. And he could breathe in and out peacefully.
The ride to Candace’s was just what he needed today.
The bike ride, of course, only seemed like a minute to him when it was really about an hour when he had finally reached Candace’s house. Brody might have been a little sweaty from the bike ride from his own house, but he didn’t think he sweated too much. He got off his bike and walked it to Candace’s front door. Brody rang the doorbell, and Candace came out to greet him within seconds.
“Hey, Candace,” Brody greeted his girlfriend.
“Hey, Brody,” Candace answered. “How long did it take you to ride your bike here?”
“Forty-five minutes. Not too bad.”
“That’s good, actually.”
“I brought some video games,” Brody remarked, not quite sure what else to say next.
“We could play video games, but we also just set up our built-in pool,” Candace said, sounding very excited.
“Anything works for me.”
“So, what would you like to do?”
“I’m the wrong person to ask. What would you like to do?”
“We could play your video games!”
Of course, Candace and Brody played video games for about an hour and thirty minutes. Her dad was engaged in a deep conversation with his fiancée, Lora, who has been living with them for a year.
Candace has one brother and one sister, Ryan and Trisha, who are fifteen and twelve respectively. They were currently in St. John, visiting their biological mother and her new husband of five months.
Candace and Brody were soon a little sick and tired of playing video games, and Candace was now starting to wonder about Brody’s older brother’s garage band.
“How are The Hawaiian Geeks?” Candace asked.
“I think they’re doing pretty well,” Brody replied. “In fact, David is actually practicing with them today.”
“Why doesn’t he perform in any gigs with them?”
“I really don’t know. He thinks that time is a huge factor.”
“He’s good at the guitar,” Candace remarked.
“I’ll tell him you said that,” Brody said.
“Any upcoming gigs anytime soon?”
“They had a gig a couple days ago. Don’t know for sure when the next one will be.”
“Keep me posted.”
Candace and Brody then decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. It was a really nice day, so why not? Brody rode his bike from Crown Point to Lowell, and he felt enlightened by doing that. The two young adults walked around Candace’s neighborhood for about thirty minutes until someone trying calling Brody on his phone. Brody, of course, felt compelled to answer his phone and find out who was trying to get ahold of him.
“Hey,” Brody answered on his end.
“Hey,” David repeated.
“Brett was wondering if you and Candace wanted to sit in on our rehearsal. I have no idea when they’re calling it quits for the day.”
“Maybe. I’ll check and see if anyone else wants to go,” Brody remarked as he looked at Candace and smiled. He then put his phone on speaker.
“Do you want to come and listen to us rehearse? Toby and Sav are having the absolute times of their lives,” David offered.
Candace smiled and nodded quickly.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Brody remarked.
“Cool beans. See you in twenty minutes.”
Twenty minutes passed very quickly, and then Brett’s car, driven by David, appeared in the driveway. However, David was not the only one in the car. John Garfield, David’s best friend from Valparaiso, was also in the car with him. David and John helped Brody put his bike in the trunk of the car, and then they were off to John Coolwood’s house, which is right on the corner of McKinley Street and 95th Avenue, so very close to the Ingram’s house. Once everyone got in the car, David and John conversed amongst themselves, and Candace and Brody conversed amongst themselves.
“I can’t believe it!” Candace nearly exclaimed.
“This is really exciting,” Brody remarked, smiling at Candace.
“I’ve never actually sat in on an actual rehearsal.”
“You said one word twice.”
“What word did I say twice?” Candace asked, slightly confused.
“Actual and actually,” Brody answered. He was quite amused.
“When did I say that word twice?”
“Forget it. You’re cute.”
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