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Thanksgiving Special: Childhood Horror

Digging Old Stories Out of the Vault: 1st Edition 

Greetings everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! For a long time I've wanted to have some fun at my own expense by writing an entire post making fun of an old story of mine, and I've finally decided there's no time like the present. Ready your brain because I feel sorry for what it's about to endure.

First of all, there needs to be a tiny bit of explanation. When I was little I had a fantasy world consisting of four major regions. The capital of this weird world was Car City, which was modern and vastly wealthy and full of technology (mid-2000's technology, that is). Car City was ruled by the snobby nobility of the Leida Estate, who also dominated the world's currency system and owned money-printing machines. Then there was Roseland, which I described as an "in between" place. The lifestyle there was roughly like the 1940s or 50s. The main adventures in Roseland came from an evil orphanage worker who kidnapped children and sold them. Then there was Apple Brook, later renamed Broadway for reasons unfathomable. This was a pioneer place where people wore 19th-century clothes, lived in cabins, rode horses, and went to one-room schools. Finally, there was Bear Country, originally birthed into existence when I pretended my stuffed animals lived there. The people there worshiped the Sun Bear and for motives unspecified were constantly engaged in civil war. I actually created a Bear Country alphabet and language that was not only cringe-worthy but monumentally inconsistent. 

Anyway, to those of you still reading this, until I was 11 or 12 every single story I wrote took place in this world, and most of my countless characters knew each other in one way or another. One of my regular characters was named Michael Jhonson. This was not a misspelling of Johnson. I was constantly justifying that it was a completely different last name than Johnson and I pronounced it like it was German. I have no further explanation. He lived in the 19th century world and what you're about to see is one of the stories from his point of view. I wrote three stories total about his completely personality-less family. I think this one was the second. This one in particular was written while I was evidently going through some weird cowboy and horse stage because every.single.thing in the story is cowboy-themed. 

So without further ado....
(My present-day comments are in bold.) 

The Cowboy Mystery
(Written right around my own 10th birthday)
Chapter 1
Something special was happening today. I knew it the moment I woke up. Then I remembered it was my birthday. My older sister Cameron and my little brother Noah were already up, and Cameron had made up her bottom bunk with the pillows neatly propped up on the headboard. Noah’s wooden toys were scattered on the floor. I could smell breakfast cooking. I scrambled out of bed, remembering too late that I was on the top bunk. I tumbled to the floor, landing on Marxie’s tail. Marxie is our puppy. (What kind of name is Marxie? Are they Marxists?) Marxie let out a squeal of pain and skidded across the floor. I flew over to him and patted him intill (original spelling) he stopped trembling. Than (original spelling) I ran out of my room with Marxie playfully nipping at my heels.
From this moment on just assume all misspellings and grammar mistakes are original. This was too hilariously bad to edit. 
I plopped down in a chair. “Happy birthday!” Mom said as she served blueberry muffins.
I rushed through breakfast. “Can I open presents now?!” I asked eagerly.
“Go ahead!” Mom laughed. Dad placed three packages in front of me. The first was a book of astrononts. (This was my brazen attempt to spell astronaut) The book had all the constalattions, glow in the dark planets, and information about astrononts. “Thank you!” I said happily. “It’s my dream to be an astronont!”
 My next present was a pair of roller skates. Dad told me to try them on, and they fit! My last present was a real toolbox. My eyes widened excitedly as I looked at the hammer, the wrench, the pliers, the screwdriver, the clamp, the packet of nails, and the sanding mask. (Just tell us every single thing in there, why don’t you.) “Thank you! These are the best gifts ever!” I hugged Dad. “Can my friends come over?” I asked. “Get dressed first,” Mom said. “Cameron already made up your bed.”
I pulled on some clothes. I placed the gift Cameron and Noah had given me, a fishing kit, on my bedroom table. I put my book and toolbox beside it and hung my skates on the chair.
I didn’t have to go find my friend Phillip. He burst through the house holding a plate. “Happy birthday, Michael!” He cried breathlessly. “I brought you some cupcakes.” “Good!” I said. “Put them on the table.” (This was apparently before I mastered paragraph breaks between new speakers.)
“I’ll help you with your chores,” Phillip said. We fed the pig, chickens, cows, and horses, carried in new hay, and groomed the horses. (I clearly did not realize that all of this would take hours.) “Wait a minuete,” Dad said from the doorway. “It’s your birthday. Go have fun now.”
“Thanks!” I yelled. I gave our horse Betsy a quick pat on the nose before running out to the yard. The sky was blue without a single cloud. The sun shone warm and bright. Phillip and I scrambled up an oak tree. “You see anybody yet?” asked Phillip.
“Not yet,” I said, squinting. “Oh wait, there’s Thomas! And Dylan and Julia!” I pointed and called to our other friends coming up the hill. They all waved back. “Come on over!” I called, sliding down the tree trunk. “Ok!” called Dylan, running.
I showed off all my presents. “Cool!” Julia said. Even though she’s a girl, she’s always coming over to hang out in the treehouse or go fishing with me, unlike some girl's like my dumb sister Cameron.
“What do you want to do?” I asked. We all agreed to play cowboys with my horse Woodsmoke. We spread a blanket over tree stumps to make a teepee. (Pretty sure cowboys didn’t have tepees.) When we got tired of that, we went inside. Mom had decorated the living room with balloons. Pin the tail on the donkey was hanging on a wall. Our older dog, Daisy, was wearing a party hat. “The party starts at 11:00,” I said. (But all the guests are already here??) The other kids stacked their presents in the corner. Dad came in and sat on the couch with Noah in his lap. “Open your presents!” Mom said. (But the party’s not supposed to start till 11. What was even the point of having that sentence in there if I’m immediately disregarding it?) “Mine has the red and white striped paper!” Dylan said. I ripped off the wrapping paper and found myself staring at a kit to build a toy boat. “Thanks!” I said.
Next I opened a baseball from Phillip and a picture frame with a picture of me, Phillip, Thomas, Dylan, and Julia from Julia. (That is such a girl present.) Thomas saved his gift for last. “New boots! Thank you!” I cried.
I put my presents in my room. Then we played pin the tail on the donkey. Dylan got closest, so he got a paint box as a prize. “It’s lunch time!” Mom called.
We sat down at the table while Mom served beans and franks. “Cowboy food!” I said, taking a bite. “Yum!” Noah said, licking his lips and swallowing some milk.
After we ate, mom brought out chocolate cake with ten candles and refilled the milk. Everybody sang Happy Birthday as Mom cut the cake.
After we ate, Dad took us down to the brook (why say creek when you can say brook, am I right) to swim. We swang on the big rope swing and jumped into the water for the rest of the afternoon. Than my friends had to leave.
I walked into the cool house with Dad. (Again, this is a 19th-century world. It’s apparently summer time. These people live in a primitive cabin. And I have the audacity to describe the house as “cool?”) Mom looked up from cleaning up the decorations. “dry off before you sit on the couch,” she said. I did, and came back in dry clothes. I brought my presents into my room and sellted (this is somehow supposed to be the word “settled”) down to build my boat.
“Dinner time! Wash your hands!” Mom said. I washed my hands as Mom served mashed potatoes, chicken, and fried pickels. Dad started to pray. “Bless this food….”
A crash intrupted him.

Chapter 2
“What was that?” Cameron shrieked.
“Shhh,” Dad whispered. He motioned for us to stay put as he walked twords the door. He picked up his gun and tiptoed outside.
Well, this isn’t at all drastic. Don’t these people have a bunch of animals? Don’t they have neighbors? You don’t think one of THEM couldn’t have made the mysterious “crash?”
“Wait!” A voice yelled. “Put the gun down! We won’t hurt you!”
Dad placed his gun in a chair, snapped on a lantern (“snapped”) and ran outside, followed by me, Noah, Cameron, and Mom. I gasped. Two cowboys were standing in our yard. I stopped so suddenly Noah bumped into me.
“We live in Roseland,” The first began. “But we were traviling and need somewhere to stay for the night.”
“You can stay in our barn,” Mom said, “only under the circumstance you tell us your names.”
Yes, because that’s really all you need to know to let a complete and total stranger sleep on your property.
“I’m Jed Owens,” the first said. “And this here is Davey Jones.” (Wow, wonder where I got that.)
“It’s nice to have you,” Dad said. Dad made up a bed in the barn while Cameron and I gatherd up towels, soap, blankets, pillows and water from the house. When we got to the barn, I said, “Mr. Owens? My mom says you and Mr. Jones are invited to dinner.”
Without a word, the cowboys followed us into the house. “I warmed up the food!” Mom called, setting two more places.
Jed and Davey ate huge servings and ate as if they hadn’t seen food in a week. Then they ate GIANT slices of leftover cake.
After we helped clean the kitchen, Jed got his banjo and Davey got his fiddle. They sat outside on log benches with Mom and Dad, oppisite me, Noah, and Cameron. “How about some music?” Noah asked, eagerly eyeing the instroments.
So they started to play, “Rocky Top, Tennessee.” While Noah and I danced. We just made them up and they were crazy! (As if two little boys would do anything but “make up” a dance.) At the end of the song, we stopped, out of breath, in front of Jed and Davey, waiting for more.
So they played a bunch more songs. We enjoyed it and sang along intill 9:30, when we fell into bed. Far off, in the barn, I could here the faint strands of singing.
So those are the first two chapters. There are actually six total, and the story was completed. It all goes downhill from here. The next day, Michael and his friends visit their neighbor, Mrs. Henbroth, who was a recurring but utterly pointless character in many of my stories. Mrs. Henbroth collects equally pointless things. My barely-10-year-old self felt the need to describe every.single.thing this batty woman collects. “49 salt and pepper shakers, 80 wine goblets, 466 stuffed animals, 27 picture frames…” I am not making this up. It covers a WHOLE ENTIRE PAGE. I will spare you the trauma. It is so bad. After this page that never should have been written, the kids discover an old issue of country music magazine that features two singers who look identical to Jed and Davey, but have different names. Hmmmm. So the kids take it upon themselves to solve this “mystery” and after a jumbled series of adventures, discover that Jed and Davey do in fact have different names and were once famous “cowboy singers” (pretty sure the term is country) who “won 18 awards and traveled the world.” But after a sudden demise, which involved stealing money and fighting with a judge on an awards show, their reputation was stained so they changed their names and lived low-key lives. As if changing your name is going to solve all your problems. What the actual heck. And then the story just….ends. I fail to see the point of solving this mystery. It did not better anyone’s life in any way. The only plot resolution is that Jed and Davey decide to move into town and perform locally, and Michael is thrilled because what’s better than cowboy neighbors?


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