On the eve of a new school year, several groups of college students cross paths as they seek out a secret end-of-summer lake party—including Robin and Charlie, two inseparable friends who discover of the course of the twenty-four hours that their relationship is something much deeper than simple friendship.
Charlie was kind enough to stop by today. He’s sharing a list of things he will never do again. So in love with his list and I hope you are as well. Read and enjoy!
5 Things Charlie Will NEVER, EVER, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS EVER DO AGAIN
(And I’m being perfectly serious, Robin. Stop laughing.)
- Eat at the the diner at 2AM. Especially not onion rings and mozzarella sticks and whatever else was in the “everything but the kitchen sink” of finger foods. Not after being convinced that tequila is delicious. Tequila is not delicious. Tequila followed by onion rings is really, really not delicious.
- Caged Ferris Wheels. Or any sort of Ferris Wheel, come to that. There is no reason to be up that high on a spinning wheel of imminent death. The creaking isn’t normal. They take it apart and put it back together and drive it across the country on a truck, Robin. How in the world is that safe? It’s not. And no sane person would ever voluntarily ride the thing. How did you talk me into that again? So I can lock myself in the bathroom the next time you try that technique.
- Taste test my mother’s experimental cooking. Sorry Mom, but it’s one of the reasons I was excited to move out. I’m as terrible a son as you are a cook.
- Try beating Kate Zimmermann in a foot race. My heart nearly exploded. She is a robot or alien or simply ridiculously in shape. Even though every time I see her she is scarfing down pizza. It is not fair.
- Look up at any domed ceiling. Especially if said ceiling is near stairs. Even if someone says, “Oh my God, it’s so pretty. Look!” I know my own weaknesses. I will only get dizzy and fall over. In public. Like an idiot. Again.
Larry holds up the flyer to study the map Florence drew. Barry is leaning to look at it, too, when it’s ripped from between Larry’s fingers.
A greasy man in a campus security uniform stands over them with a pinched expression. His faded nametag reads: Ron Anderchuk. “Another one,” he all but growls. “Where in heck did you get this, boys?”
Barry tries his best to look innocent. Which isn’t all that hard, since he knows nothing.
“Found it on the ground,” Larry lies.
“Uh-huh, uh-huh,” the security guy says. “Extra trouble for littering.” He glares hard at the paper for nearly a minute before looking back at them. “You do know parties like this are illegal, don’t ya, boys? And frowned upon by this here establishment.” He raps his knuckles on the table. “I think it best you stick around here this weekend. That would be best, don’t ya agree?” He widens his beady eyes while he waits for their assent.
Barry looks to Larry. Seeing him nodding, he mimics the gesture.
The security officer’s answering grunt sounds disbelieving. He mutters as he walks away; the flyer with their map is gripped in his fist.
“What are we—”
Larry holds up his hand, stopping Barry’s question in its tracks. “Not to worry; I have a photographic memory. I’ve got the map in here.” He taps a fingertip against his temple.
“Even after all of that? And we do have another problem, if Florence is to be believed.”
Larry hums and strokes his chin. He picks up Barry’s tray and they walk to the windows. The orientation officers are indeed spread across the entire expanse outside, handing out pamphlets and organizing games of lawn bowling and oversized croquet. The entrance to the student parking lot is completely blocked.
Barry should throw in the towel, admit defeat and convince Larry to do the same. And he would, if not for one thing. The one detail that has roped him into the excitement over the lake festivities fully and completely is Kate Zimmermann, captain of the Dicaroon Seadogs field hockey team. Barry was looking through the school’s website while Larry was plotting behind him and he caught sight of her picture. He informed Barry that she was one of the girls who was carrying the van’s bench seat into her dorm room and invited him to the party early that morning.
Barry is in love with Kate Zimmermann. He has been since seeing her on the Dicaroon University website the previous summer. Well, he’s in love with the image of her and her red hair and blue eyes and adorable freckles that are so voluminous that they connect on her face. He has dreamed of red-haired kids calling him Daddy and hitting balls with sticks. Possibly. And she’s throwing the party, so even if Barry will never get up the nerve to speak to her should he live for a thousand years, he has to go. For his future dream-wife.
“Well, then,” Larry says. He sets Barry’s lunch tray down on the bussing station and rubs his hands together. “I guess we are in need of a foolproof plan.”
“A stratagem,” Barry says. He feels immediately foolish for being such a huge dork.
But then Larry grins at him. “Ooh, yes, I like that. A stratagem.”
Naomi MacKenzie is a writer and photographer from the eastern coast of Canada. She considers herself a Maritimer first and a Canadian second, or so she told the standardized testing people in essay form during the eleventh grade. She enjoys vegan baking, walks in the woods and, contrarily, hiding from the sun. Lodestones is her first novel.
Where To Buy:
Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com
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