Writing about writing

Archive for September, 2014

Quite possibly THE greatest American Novel

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I think that even before I was born, I knew about Gone with the Wind.  I seriously do not remember a time in my life when Gone with the Wind was not a part of my understanding.  I cut my teeth on this story, and I’m glad of it!  It’s always been my mom’s favorite book and it is easily in my own personal top five list of favorite books.  And we both love the movie just as much.  I don’t remember the first time I ever watched the movie; it’s simply always been THERE in my memory.  But I do vividly remember the first time I read the book.

I was spending the night with a very good friend of mine, Melissa Corbett (I hope she doesn’t mind if I use her name–I haven’t asked her).  Of course, as usual, I couldn’t help noticing the book shelf in her house.  On that book shelf sat THE  book I had always heard my mom brag about.  Ironically enough, even though it was my mom’s favorite book of all time, she did not own a copy for herself!  I grabbed the copy off Melissa’s shelf and held it with deep reverence.  You may think I’m kidding; I’m not.  Ask Melissa.

I spent the rest of our evening holding that book, sneaking mini-reads when I thought she wasn’t looking.  Finally, in total exasperation, she huffed, “Oh, just take the book home with you!”  I felt as if I had been given a golden treasure.  That treasured book is still on my shelf to this day.  I can still take you immediately in that copy to my favorite passages.  I not only look at that book with awe, I hold it with the awe of a priceless Stradivarius violin.  I seriously wonder sometimes why I have not yet put that copy in a lock box somewhere.

I have read Gone with the Wind several times over the years and I have watched the movie almost as often.  I love them both!  As I have grown older and have fallen in love with writing myself, I am in even deeper awe at the genius of Margaret Mitchell.  Wow.  And to think that this was her only book!  I was excited when I realized that this beloved classic actually won the Pulitzer Prize [for literature]!!!  Say what you will about this novel and/or movie if you don’t like it, it is one that has stood the test of time and, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it will continue to do so!

The best part is that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie, so movie theaters across the country are showing the movie.  I was able to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen over the weekend and I must say that seeing it on the big screen is so much better than watching it on a regular television!!!  It was WONDERFUL!!!!  Now all I want to do is read the book again!!!!!

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Happy Banned Books Week!

Good video going around on Facebook:  Jay Asher and other authors talk about Banned Book Week

Every year, my fellow English Instructors and I attempt to plan something for Banned Book Week and every year, it creeps up on us and we realize that we didn’t plan ahead well enough!  That doesn’t mean that we don’t do what we can at the last minute, though!

This year, we’re making a bulletin board with pictures of us holding/reading banned books.  So of course we need some banned books for the pictures.  When I came in this morning, we started looking to see what we have and we realized that out of the 8 English full-time faculty at our college, I have the most banned books already in my office on campus!  I have books such as:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

and many others!  What makes it so funny (ironic) that I have all these banned books is that as a Christian, I guess you wouldn’t expect to see me with some of these books since they’re banned for religious reasons!  When HARRY POTTER first came out all those years ago, I had three different students GIVE me a copy of the book with the declaration, “You HAVE to read this book, Mrs. Watson!”  I was interested, but before I could begin reading the book, each and every time, my pastor husband found the books and threw them away!!!!  Needless to say, it was not until all seven books had been published before I finally had a chance to sit down and read them–and fall in love with them!

Of course I have been blasted by church-goers and other so-called Bible believers for being a fan of HARRY POTTER and that’s fine.  Since they haven’t read the books, they don’t KNOW….It’s no use arguing with those who do NOT know, know what I mean?!

I find that I don’t read certain books for religious, political, or even necessarily educational reasons.  If I want to read something, I read it.  I feel that I am adult and mature enough to be able to handle certain material in books that others find objectionable.  Some of the books that are on banned books lists are some of the VERY best books you could read!

So don’t let anyone tell you what is good or not!!!!  If you like it and want to read it, Read it!  If you have questions or concerns, talk to someone.  That’s my favorite part about reading anyway–talking to others about what I’ve read!!!!

The following quote is oh, so true!  Remember in The Neverending Story when Bastian takes the book from Mr. Coriander’s?  Mr. Coriander knows the truth of this and Bastian does exactly what he is SUPPOSED to do!!!

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Maybe, just maybe, one day, I will write and publish something that has the incredible honor of being banned….Here’s hoping!!!

Victim #17—Chris—The one Who Texted During his oral Presentation

cell_phone Chris was one of those good-looking, charismatic young men who knew he was attractive.  He lived for the girls noticing him and how drop-dead gorgeous he was.  He played basketball and was proud of his performance on (and off) the court.

Chris was definitely very good-looking.  But he was also too cocky about it.  Nothing is more Unattractive than a man who knows he’s attractive and acts as if he’s God’s gift to the women on the world.

He drove me crazy.  I tried to like him.  I really did.  But at every turn, he did something that demonstrated that he expected even his instructors, especially me, to give him grades he hadn’t earned just because he was so good-looking.  He’d flirt with me just as he did with the female students in the class.  I admit it.  I flirted right back.  Why not?  I never said or did anything that was inappropriate.  Besides, it kept the mood light-hearted and fun within the classroom.

And don’t forget that I was doing my best to try to like him.  If I could have liked him just because we did some harmless flirting back and forth, he would have been my favorite student.

But Chris expected me to let him slide as far as grades were concerned just because he’d smiled at me or paid me some extra-special attention.

He truly was Full.  Of.  It.

Most of the rest of his classmates just took him in stride and didn’t pay him too terribly much attention.  They’d tell me how he wouldn’t do certain group assignments or participate in them until the last possible second, always making up some excuse about how basketball practice had kept him too busy to help before that point.

And he never really did anything, really, to help his group.  I’d hear about how he’d show up and say he was ready to help, but then he’d text on his phone the whole time and then ask when everyone was leaving what they wanted him to do.

I decided quickly to let him hang himself as far as his grades were concerned.  He knew what he needed to do in order to pass the class.  He didn’t need his classmates or me to give him a push to do his work.  The only person who could do it was Chris.

There was a day, though, when I couldn’t help losing control—getting angry—with Chris to a point where there was no longer an option, for me, as to whether or not I would take care of him.  I knew something had to be done.

Chris had an oral presentation with several others.  The object was to do something fun related to the story we were currently reading.  Their group came up with the fun project for the class to complete; I participated with whatever activity the group came up with, so I sat out in the “audience” with the rest of the class.

Chris and the rest of his group were at the front of the room, telling the class about the activity for their presentation.  Whenever Chris wasn’t the one talking to the class, that boy had the unmitigated nerve to text someone while he was supposed to be participating in a group oral presentation—for a class grade!

I looked at the girl sitting beside me and raised my eyebrow.  She knew what I was talking about; she shrugged her shoulder and spread her hands, laughing and saying, “Don’t look at me.  I’m not the one texting him.”

I watched the group at the front of the room for a few minutes longer.  Chris wasn’t doing much talking, but he was doing an awful lot of texting.  I stared straight at him until he finally looked up at me and saw me looking at him and his phone.  He put it away in his pocket.

Class went on.  The group continued their presentation.

A little while later, I looked back at Chris.  Guess what?

Yeah, he was texting.

I propped my elbow up on the desk and held my hand out to him.  He did something to his phone and then he laid it in my hand.

The group continued with their presentation.

I checked the phone.  Chris had turned it off before giving it to me.  Surprisingly, I was able to figure out how to turn it on.  Almost immediately, it vibrated in my hand.  I opened the phone and read the text message, “Hey babe. Whatcha doin’?”

Really?!  Some chick texts a guy during class and that’s the best she’s got?!

I quickly texted her back, “Why r u texting Chris during class?”

“Why r u talking in the 3rd person?”

“bc this is Chris’ teacher.”

“Oh, Im so sorry!  I didn’t know he had class right now.”

While I was texting with this strange young lady, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Chris was no longer even pretending to participate in his group’s presentation; he was focused solely on me, trying to see what I was texting.

Needless to say, anger was a very nice word for what I was.

After class, Chris wanted his cell phone back.  He honestly expected me just to give it back to him without there being a little talk between the two of us.  It was actually quite comical.

“If you want your cell phone back, Chris, I need to speak with you in my office.”
“Now?  I can’t right now, Mrs. Walsky.  I have ball practice.  I’m going to be late as it is.”

“Then your cell phone will be locked in my office until you are able to meet with me,” I said as I got up, got my things together, and walked out of the room.

Chris followed me down the hall.  “Mrs. Walsky, come on,” he flashed me that smile that made most of the girls go weak in the knees.  “I didn’t mean to be rude.  Let me have my phone back.  I promise I won’t ever text during class again.”

“Yeah, right,” I snorted as I continued to my office without breaking stride.

“I mean it.  Come on, I have to have it.”

“If you have to have it, take a few minutes and meet with me privately in my office.”

“Mrs. Walsky, Coach is going to kill me for being late.”

“That’s not my problem, nor is it my fault, so don’t blame me for your actions.  If you really and truly need your phone back right away, you can take five more minutes to speak with me and take the consequences Coach dishes out.  Of course, if you’re more afraid of what Coach will do if you’re late than what failing my class will do to your average, I’m sure our little talk can wait.”

By this point, we’d arrived at my office.  I unlocked my office door and left Chris standing in the hallway.  I could practically feel him debating which was the lesser of the two evils.

It wasn’t long before he came in and sat down.

I closed the door.

Without a word, by this point I was too angry for words, I shoved that cell phone down his throat.  By the time he got over his shock and surprise that I would do such a thing, it was too late for him.

I have to say that he was another one I thoroughly enjoyed watching the life-blood drain out of.unknown-1

The Incredible Power of Words

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First of all, I have to say that I am still in deep mourning over the death of the wonderful, amazing, super-fantastic Robin Williams.  The world truly lost a bright, shining light with his death.  I still can’t believe he won’t be making any more movies.  I must enjoy the ones he made all the more, then.  Dead Poet’s Society has always been one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.  I can’t watch it often, though, because it is so powerfully moving that I sob hard enough to cause a headache!  Robin’s performance in that movie inspired me more than anything else as a teacher.  Every single time I teach poetry, I want to tell my students to rip out the pages that tell them how to interpret/understand poetry and have them all stand on the desk saying, “O Captain, My Captain!”  Of course I don’t do it because I want my teaching to be my own rather than a copy-cat, but I hope I still do SOMETHING to inspire them as to the power of the written word.

Robin’s quote here, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” are words that I live by.  I have always believed in the power of Words.  I love to write.  I love to read.  It is so difficult for me to believe that there are truly people in the world in world who don’t love to read and/or write!  (Of course, there are those who can’t believe that there are people like me who struggle to understand math!)  But I have to say that I have never known math to change the world as Words do.

I have had my whole life change at various times throughout my life through words fitly spoken.  I have realized how wrong I was about ideas or beliefs because of the words spoken to me–often when someone tells his/her own personal story.  I have rediscovered joy in my life because of the power of Words.  I started reading everything I could get my hands on about joy and through all those words, I am finding true joy again and climbing out of depression.

I can’t help but wonder what words must have been spoken to Robin Williams in his last days, hours, moments that lead to him choosing death over life.  I don’t believe that anyone said anything to him on purpose to hurt him or make him do what he did, but I can’t help but believe that someone said something or he read something that sent him into a downward spiral worse than anything he’d ever experienced and he could no longer deal with the pain.  The man who brought so much joy and laughter to our lives through his words may possibly have been brought to his lowest of lows with words.  We may never know, but I can’t help but wonder.

ThirteenReasonsWhyA few short years ago, a student contacted me to tell me about a book she had read that she felt I would love to read, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  The day she contacted me, I went to Barnes and Noble, bought the book, and finished reading it before going to bed for the night!  What a powerful book that reminds us of the power of our words and actions.  Hannah describes in her story 13 reasons why she has chosen to commit suicide.  So much of what motivates her focuses on the words of the people around her.  Jay Asher’s book is an incredibly powerful reminder of how our every word and action affects those around us.  We may never know how they affect others, but the important thing to remember is that our words and actions should be uplifting as much as possible.

I have lived so much of my life in a deeply depressed state.  I hated being there.  I have no idea of the effect I had on others who were around me while I was in such a state of deep depression.  What I do know now, though, is that I want to be a light in the lives of the people around me.  I want to radiate joy and happiness.  I want to be someone who speaks joy and life into the lives of those around me.  I want to make a positive difference in the lives of those who come into contact with me.

In my writings, I desperately want to write something that changes someone’s life.  I think that’s what drives me each and every day to write.  We never know when or what we say will make a difference in the life of SOMEONE.

Why I am choosing to do NaNo again this year

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So I’ve decided that I’m going to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—writing 50K words in 30 days) again this year.  I’ve been involved with NaNo one way or another since about 2004.  I have not won (successfully written 50K words in 30 days) every year, but I have won about five times.  Very few people will ever read the full manuscripts for any of the years I attempted NaNo, whether it be the years I won or otherwise.  They simply are not audience-worthy.

They were fun to write and I did share parts of them with others, but as a whole entity, the manuscripts will stay “hidden” on my laptop.

I have not yet once revised a single manuscript over the years, not even for the novels I really enjoyed writing and feel could possibly one day be publishing-worthy.  My serial-killing-teacher novel from 2012 was more fun to write than I can possibly describe—it’s about a teacher (based loosely on me) who kills (with arsenic, mostly) and buries her students under her desk in her office.

NaNo is a lot of fun for me regardless of whether I have as much fun writing the novel as I did in 2012 simply because I LOVE to write.  When I have something to say, 2k words a day is nothing.

The hardest part about NaNo—beyond Revision and/or preparation for publication—is finding the TIME to do it.  While I try to write every day in my journal, when I am really very busy, my journal, sadly, is the thing that suffers.  I might still write in my journal, but my word count will more than likely be far from my daily quota (750 words).  I just have a LOT going on:

  1. I am a Mom to a 13-year old in 8th grade—Middle School (I don’t think I need to explain!)
  2. I am a wife to a Pastor (21 years!)
  3. I teach English full time at a community college—that’s 6 classes (average) per semester with 125 students (average) per semester—and I’ve had a 7th added that begins in the middle of October—you can do the math when every class writes a 2-3 page essay and I have to grade them. I have two online classes as well as two hybrid classes, both of which bring with them their own challenges.  Plus, I am teaching a class that I have never taught before and even if I had, the State of NC has demanded drastic changes to both our Freshman Composition classes which means a lot of new preps for me.
  4. I am on the board for NC CEI (North Carolina Conference of English Instructors) and we have a conference the last weekend of October (just prior to the start of NaNo). I am presenting.
  5. I am now the Club Advisor for the brand new Dr. Who Club at my community college and we’re planning on meeting every two weeks this semester!
  6. Because I’ve had a lot of health problems, I have various doctors’ appointments every few weeks.

And I hope it goes without saying that there are also all the regular day-to-day activities that must be taken care of as well as attempting at least somewhat of a social life in order to function at any level of intelligibility!

I’ve had many people ask me how I have time to read, let alone half of the other things that I have to do—want to do—need to do.

My answer?

We tend to do whatever it is that we REALLY want to do.

When I don’t REALLY want to do something, I don’t do it—whether that be doing the dishes, grading papers, or just going to imagesschool.  (We all need a “Mental Health Day” every once in a while!)

But when I REALLY do want to do something, I find a way to do it.  I find the TIME to do it.  If my sleep suffers, so be it.  I make it up during my afternoon catnap or with a large soft drink or coffee!

NaNo has not made me a successful, published writer—yet, but I thoroughly enjoy participating in the challenge to write 50K words in one month.  I have yet to do Camp NaNo; once a year is all I can afford at this time.  But I keep signing up for it!  I have no idea if I am going to be able to win NaNo this year or even if I’ll make it to the 50K words, but I am going to give it the old college-try and hope for the best.

I have an idea for a story that I’ve been playing around with almost a year.  I have no idea if it’s going to work or not, but I’m excited to give it a try.  It’s about Christian Zombies.  I do not have a title yet nor do I even have a plot beyond an idea, so this year’s NaNo ought to be one of the most interesting yet!!!

In my heart, in spite of how very busy I am, I feel that this is MY year not only to win, but also to write something that will be worthy of revising and eventually publishing!  How will I know if I don’t at least give it a shot?

Here’s to NaNaWriMo!!!!!

Some thoughts….not part of the story

While this probably isn’t important to you, I still feel a need to share.  First of all, you are more than welcome to come to my office and check under my desk for bodies.  I promise you that there aren’t any!  My floor is concrete with carpet covering it.  I couldn’t dig a hole under there without ripping up more than it’s worth.

Secondly, I am NOT nor have I ever been a pychopath or sociopath.  I know you’re already thinking that only a true psycho/sociopath would say such a thing, but it’s true.  I could never hurt someone as is described in this story…..and live with the consequences.  Besides, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t keep even a little secret which means that I would end up telling people what I was doing.  So no, the teacher in the story is NOT me, but yes, the teacher in the story is based on me and some of the details outside of the killing are actually based on real life.  Almost all of the victims are based on real students who have been in my classes.  Many of them know that they are victims in my story and have laughed with me over their sections.  (Maybe they laughed out of fear; I don’t know…..)

I wrote this story for many reasons, the first of which is that I simply thought it would be funny.  I’d been dealing with a lot of depression in my life at the time I sat down to write it and I needed to laugh.  I realize that much of the story is totally unrealistic and could never possibly happen, but that is the point.  It is not meant to be realistic.  It is not like Dexter where everything in that story really and truly COULD happen and Dexter really and truly COULD get away with serial killing for years at a time.   Besides, that show is not in the slightest funny.  There are a few comical moments, but only because the humor is so twisted.  I wrote Murder Well Out with the full intention of writing it just to be funny and to have fun with it.

One of my very favorite movies is Arsenic and Old Lace.  Yes, that is exactly where I got the idea for the poison in my story from.  I love that there are these two very sweet older ladies who are killing men because the men are all alone in the world–and Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha feel that they are doing these men a service by killing them!  It’s so incredibly crazy, but it works.  I see the teacher in my story as an “Aunt Abby/Aunt Martha” type who is someone NO ONE would believe could ever be a serial killer because she’s just so well liked (loved) by her students and co-workers.

So, yes.  Any connection that you recognize back to Arsenic and Old Lace is very much intended by me, and that includes the title.  Although, I have to admit to a bit of a faux pas there.  I’ve watched AOL more times than I can count (I’ve shown it for a good five or six years, every semester in my literature classes) and every single time we watched it, when Mortimer is asking Aunt Abby where his notes are, he tells her about a murder mystery he saw at the theater called Murder Well Out–well, that’s what I THOUGHT he said.  Then I took the time to read the play and realized that I had misheard Mortimer all these years; he actually says Murder Will Out!  But I like my misunderstanding title, so that’s why my title is what it is!

I am also a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe.  I will read anything that has his name attached to it.  I am fascinated by his style of writing.  Anything you read in my story that makes you think of Poe is very intentional on my part.  I am not trying to steal from Poe in any way.  Anyone who has read Poe’s works knows them well enough to know the references to his stories that I use in mine.  I hope that my story honors Poe, but at the same time, demonstrates my own writing style.

Finally, I wrote this story back in November 2012 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where the writer is challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days–no revisions, just writing for a month to get a good draft written.  As I am posting the chapters to this blog, I am doing A VERY LITTLE bit of revision within each individual chapter.  I know that there are inconsistencies and major changes that need to be made, but at this time, I am simply having fun sharing the original story as it was written (for the most part) with you.  When/if I am ever able to publish my story, the inconsistencies, etc. will be corrected, so I hope you’ll stay with me through to publication!!!

Feel free to share thoughts.  Just remember to couch your negative comments in a positive way!!!!  🙂

Victim #1: Karen

Karen—Victim #1

….and I snapped. I had absolutely no control. I just lost it. When I found out that Karen had been lying to me and had cheated on her major research paper, I grabbed the bookend on my bookshelf and threw it at her head. Amazingly, it was all over very quickly. It didn’t take much more to finish her off. The real problem was all the blood. If I had planned it, I would not have killed her in such a violent way.

I closed my office door—it was late enough in the afternoon that none of the other instructors were in their offices—and got to work cleaning up the bloody mess. It took quite a while. After several trips to the bathroom, I just told our cleaning help that I had a mess in my office I needed to clean up and she gave me a mop, cloth, and mop bucket filled with hot, soapy water.

It was as I was coming out of my office to clean up and put away the bucket that I ran into another student, Phil.”

“Phil?”

“Yeah. He’s a strawberry-blond, green-eyed, red-blooded American male named Phil. Is it any wonder he became a friend after he left my class?”

She laughed. In the midst of all this, she laughed. And, wonder of wonders, I find myself laughing along with her.

“So anyway, I opened my office door to take the bucket back to the cleaning closet and Phil was standing in the hallway. There was no way to hide what was in the bucket, let alone the body in my office.

Believe it or not, I explained the situation to him and he offered to help me dispose of the body!”

“He offered to help you?”

“I know! I was just as shocked as you are now. He didn’t ask for more information, he didn’t try to blackmail me, nothing. He simply offered to help me.

So I had him clean out the mop bucket and put it back in the cleaning closet while I finished putting things away in my office. When he came back in, we shut the door and discussed the best way to dispose of the body. Because of how bloody the original act of killing Karen was, I knew that whatever I did from then on, it couldn’t be messy. It had already taken too much time to clean up the bloody mess. I needed to get rid of the body and get home. Phil said he wasn’t in a big hurry; he was waiting for his girlfriend Lauren who would be in class for at least another hour.

We decided that we would take Karen’s body to the creek that ran across the backside of the campus and dump her body there. No one ever went down there, so we were confident it would be a very long time before her body was found, if it ever was.

So we propped her up between us. You know, like they did to Bernie in Weekend at Bernie’s. Surprisingly, we got her across campus and down to the creek without a single person stopping us to ask questions. We saw several people one of us knew; we just said ‘Hi’ and kept going. We left her body on the side of the creek hidden under a large pile of leaves. For good measure, we pulled a large tree limb over the pile of leaves.

And that was that. I went home and Phil went back to the library to wait for Lauren.”

“So let me get this straight. You killed Karen because she cheated on an essay?”

“Not just because she cheated, Bill. That was only a part of it. Remember, I was upset about the …. and not only had she cheated, but she lied about it. She sat right in the chair across the desk from me, looked me in the eye, and told me that she had written her paper; it was on her computer, but her computer had crashed. Then, when she handed me a flash drive for me to use to access the paper she said she’d written, it had someone else’s name on it when I opened it! She sat there and tried to tell me that she had been talking to her friend with that name and had written her friend’s name by accident!

I took a few minutes and read through as much of the paper as I could. I remembered having read that exact same essay just the previous semester. I confronted her about the cheating and lying to me. Do you know what she said to me?”

She didn’t pause long enough for me to answer so I was sure the question was rhetorical.

“She had the nerve to sit there and tell me that she was leaving for college at the end of the semester and she couldn’t be accused of cheating if she was going to go to East Carolina.

East Carolina! My alma mater! How could I fail a student who was going to the same school I had attended?! But why should something like that keep me from doing what I knew to be right?

What sent me over the edge—mind you, I was on the verge of asking her just to get out of my office and not let me see her again—was when she started to cry. Her tears were so genuine, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was lying to me. That’s when I couldn’t take it anymore and I grabbed the bookend.

How dare she try to make me feel sorry for her just because she was excited about going to the same university I attended? She had no right to prey on my soft side like that. If she hadn’t started crying, though, she would have walked out of that office of her own accord. And more than likely had a very happy, successful life at ECU.

“So ultimately it was her tears that doomed her?”

“I suppose you could say that, but that’s too simplistic. It was everything leading up to that point. The tears were just the last straw; I knew she was faking and I wasn’t going to put up with her crap anymore.”

“I see. And the next one?”

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“Before I get to the second one, I have to explain what happened in between. You have to understand that, originally, I never planned or intended for any of this to happen. I knew I was angry, but I honestly didn’t know I had it in me to do anything like this. But after Karen, something inside me knew that she wouldn’t be the last. So Phil and I started brainstorming what we could do so that the next one wouldn’t be so messy.

We settled on a combination of poisons with arsenic being the main ingredient. We bought a large box of fire balls and a few other types of hard candy, like lollipops and coated them in the mixture Phil had created. When it dried, it was a clear coating. No one who ever ate one questioned their being unwrapped. It was genius. Granted, it took a few minutes to work, but that was ok. Most students who came to visit me stayed long enough to chat while they ate their candy anyway!

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