NaNo dreams

28 August 2009 at 10:36 pm (Thoughts)


I have a ton of things in my Documents folder. Lots of things I can’t bear to delete. Or have just forgotten to delete. I created a misc folder and a lot of junk went into it. I rooted around in there today, and found an effort of mine from NaNoWriMo 2007. I didn’t complete it (let’s put it this way: I was no where near 50,000 words, and that’s putting it mildly). But I did write something.


It was a Friday morning. As she stumbled groggily out of bed to the shower, she took a look out the window. The sky was bright and it looked like it was going to be a nice day. By the time she got out of the shower and made herself a cup of tea, she was already running late for work. The phone rang and she picked up, knowing full well it was going to be Shayna on the other side.

“Yoyo, you’re still at home?” Shayna shrieked down the line.

“Yeah, I’m just on my way out. Why do you call if you know I’m running late? Never mind, I’m going to be there in 20 minutes, tops.”

“Fine, fine. Hurry, okay? Really need that folder back. I’ll see you at the shop. Bye, now!”

The line went dead. She looked at the receiver, bemused. Shayna had always been that way. Always in a hurry; always hurrying her. She was that way when she was five, and she was that way now. And Shayna never stopped using her childhood nickname, Yoyo. It was something that stuck after a rather unfortunate incident involving a yoyo and the boy who lived next door. Jared was the boy who was always running around the neighbourhood looking for mischief to get up to. The neighbourhood wives would yell at him whenever he came near. They were especially suspicious of him when their fruit trees were in season. He could never resist the luscious fruits hanging temptingly down their branches. He always took more than he could eat, and he always chose the ones most fiercely guarded.

Joanie had just been given a yoyo by her favourite aunt who was visiting. It was a difficult toy for a six-year-old girl with poor coordination. But what she lacked in coordination, she made up for in determination. She tried for hours to get a hang of the yoyo, and she wasn’t getting anywhere with it. Lips pursed, she tried repeatedly. She was getting frustrated, and her arm was starting to tire. Jared was tearing down the lane on his bicycle when he caught sight of her, perched on a swing, staring at the yoyo with a fierce glint in her eye. He stopped in front of her gate, and watched her as she gave the yoyo a go, and failed yet again to get it to roll back up the string.

“Ha ha! You’re doing it all wrong. Girls don’t know how to play with that. You’d better give that to me.” Jared opened the gate, walking purposefully towards her.

“It’s mine,” she said, putting the yoyo behind her back.

“Okay, fine. I can teach you how to do it right,” he said. “Let me show you.”

“You have to give it back to me afterwards,” she said.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” he said, tossing his cloth sack on the floor. It fell with a thud on the ground, and Joanie could tell it was filled with fruits. And from the fragrance, she guessed it was probably booty from Auntie Lian’s prized mango tree, which yielded the sweetest, juiciest mangoes. The tree also produced the fewest fruits amongst all the mango trees in the neighbourhood. Auntie Lian guarded them jealously. If you received a mango from Auntie Lian’s garden, it meant you were in her good books. Everyone liked being in Auntie Lian’s good books, because she also had the sweetest rambutans and papayas in her garden. Auntie Lian also had a durian orchard, and everyone liked to say that the durians from Auntie Lian’s orchard was so delicious, it could bring a dead person back to life.

Joanie passed the yoyo to Jared. When he didn’t quite succeed in getting it going either, Joanie decided she wasn’t learning anything from the fraudster and proceeded to attempt to take the yoyo back. Then Jared decided to run. He ran out the gate, got on his bike and went off like a shot, his bag of mangoes forgotten.

Joanie couldn’t believe her eyes. She went straight for her tricycle and put up a chase. Jared was a bigger boy, older by two years, but his bike wasn’t a particularly fast one. Joanie pedalled furiously, almost managing to catch up with him. “Stop!” she yelled imperiously. Jared went on pedalling. “Stupid boy, you stop now!” she yelled. The anger gave her a sudden burst of speed, and she rode right into Jared, making him teeter violently off his course. He tried his best to stop, but the momentum kept him going, landing him right into Auntie Lian’s rose bush.

That was the last time Jared came anywhere near her, or Auntie Lian’s house. He suffered a fractured ankle, a bruised chin and multiple lacerations from the rose bush. Auntie Lian’s rose bush was, of course, famous for its gigantic blooms, which, of course, came with monster-sized thorns. When Shayna heard the story, she giggled and said, “All because of you, Yoyo Girl.”

When she finally reached her shop half an hour later,  Shayna was already there, sitting in her car and tapping her fingers impatiently on her steering wheel. She wound down the window when she saw Joanie. “Hurry up, will you? I won’t go in, just grab the folder and throw it to me,” she said.

Joanie unlocked the shop and went in, depositing her things on the reception counter. The folder was on the nearest table, where Shayna had been sitting just the day before. She took it and went back out to Shayna.

“What’s the big urgency with this folder?” she asked Shayna.

“It’s my damn tax forms. I should have submitted them yesterday but you know how we were talking and I guess … never mind.” She looked in her rear view mirror, a little distracted. “I have to go. See you later, okay?” With that, she wound up the window and drove off.

Joanie looked as Shayna’s car disappeared out of view. Shayna? Queen Efficiency herself forgetting to submit her tax forms? That’s not like her. What’s up with that?

A voice calling her name shook her out of her thoughts.

“Hey, Joanie, are you going to stand there all day?”

She looks over to Micah, her assistant. Dear old Micah, what would I do without her, she thought. Micah dropped into her life a year ago, out of the blue, and she could not imagine life at the shop without her. Micah was only 17 then, fresh out of school, but she was an old soul, wise beyond her years. She was also exceptionally intelligent, and while she had some curiosity about what university life would be like, her family couldn’t afford it. So she decided to work first before deciding later what she wanted to do with her savings.

How nice to have that kind of freedom, she thought.

Perhaps I’ll give NaNo another shot in November. Maybe.

(Image courtesy of


1 Comment

  1. inkypots said,

    do it! i wanna keep reading 🙂

    haven’t visited your blog in awhile – looks like you’ve been busy indeed. am actually excited to see you’ve started reviewing books… i could do with some new reads, yay! how’s it going with the teaching?

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