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Jive Turkey 

M.Sto: Someone has to say grace.
Jessica: Not it! C.Sto!
C.Sto: No.
(all bow their heads)
M.Sto: C.Sto, are you going to do it? (no response) Hello?
C.Sto: No. You do it.
Jessica: C.Sto, do it. I like when you do it.
C.Sto: I don’t know how to do it.
Jessica: Just say our little kid prayer—
M.Sto: I’ll do it. (M.Sto says a prayer. NOTE: I can’t remember the words because I was focused on not laughing.)
Jessica: C.Sto’s prayer is totally better because it rhymes.
C.Sto: We should do that thing where we all say what we are thankful for.
Jessica: That is saccharine and derivative of bad TV shows. We are not doing that.
C.Sto: I’m thankful for…
M.Sto: Are we really doing that?
Jessica: No. We are not on some NBC family drama—
C.Sto: Mom’s thankful that I’m her daughter. (beat) I’m thankful that I’m getting a puppy for Christmas.
M.Sto: Dad’s ignoring that one.
Jessica: Why do you call him Dad? I mean he’s not your Dad. He’s our Dad.
C.Sto: I’m thankful that Pollyanna puked on our car.
Jessica: Yeah that was awesome. We can make fun of her forever for that one. (beat) I’m thankful that I get to live in Hollywood were every time I start to work with someone at an agency or studio they quit their job and most of the parts I’ve wanted I didn’t get and many of the ones I don’t want I do get and—
C.Sto: Wow, sounds like you’re really thankful.
Jessica: OK, I’m thankful that earlier I kicked your ass 5-0 at Gin. And that I dominate all parlor games.
C.Sto: Dammit.
The Gunn: I’m thankful that the new Harry Potter book might be out this summer.
Jessica: Do you think?
The Gunn: Yes, it’s been about two years.
Jessica: Oh, goody!
M.Sto: By the way, The Gunn, we don’t usually behave this way—
Jessica: Mom always does that—she starts making up rules when people come over, like, ”We never do this” or “Girls, you know you aren’t allowed to do that…” Yeah right! We do whatever we want!”
C.Sto: Yeah it’s like Neverland.
Jessica: Totally like Neverland. (beat) Stoverland.
C.Sto: I’m thankful that Jessica is an idiot.
Jessica: I’m thankful that C.Sto has a fat head. Oh! You know what we should do? Go TP Heather and David’s house!
C.Sto: Yeah! Wait, I’ll be too tired.
Jessica: Oh yeah. Turkey.
M.Sto: You’re not going to TP their house—
Jessica: Why? Is a great muggle like yourself going to stop us? I don’t think so, or we’ll… TP your house!
M.Sto: And I’ll make you clean it up.
Jessica: I’m thankful that I can TP my own house and then fly back to LA.
(silence, M.Sto's got nothing)
Jessica: Ha! I win.
The Grizz: What’s a pirate’s favorite vegetable?
Jessica: ARsparagus!
The Grizz: No, ARRRRtichoke.

Hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as the JSDC family did and that your house didn’t get TP-ed. (If it did, I totally didn’t do it. Unless I know you, in which case, yeah, it was probably me. And you probably deserved it.)

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Ode to the Silent 

I know that you are there.
Why do you hide?
I bet you are witty.
I bet you are waiting.
Share your stuff with us
Or die.

Henceforth, thou who lurketh shall be collectively known as “The Shade” for we shall feel your shadow but know not your mind(ith).

This is awesome because JSDC has ghosts. Ghosts haunt things, therefore JSDC is haunted. This means that I can charge for ghost tours (fifteen bucks!).

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And So This is Christmas 

‘Tis the season of holiday parties and C.Sto and I never pass on a chance to get everyone together. Therefore, it occurred that we threw:

Jessica & C.Sto’s Totally Awesome Holiday Fellowship Hang Out Party. Thingie.

Yes, my friend, that was the official title of the holiday party we threw on Thursday. Right now you are wondering: “What sort of party combines ‘Totally Awesome’ and ‘Holiday Fellowship’ with ‘Thingie’?” To you I respond, “A party that involves an extreme viewing of The Return of the King extended edition, foolio.”

Since the Professor was visiting from out of town, we appointed him to greet the party guests. This required him to wear a fancy professorial hat. And a smile.

After crossing the threshold, guests were rewarded with a drink and directed toward the great hall. There they had to take a most solemn oath which, upon completion, causes one’s eyes to turn a fiery red. (Loyalty does that.)

The Oath of the Fellowship

I, _____________, swear upon my life and The One Ring that I shall drink to the downfall of Mordor. Should I choose not to drink on this day, I shall forfeit my life to slavery. I understand that said slavery requires sitting in the back of the hall and fetching ale upon request.

I also swear that should I ask a question about the movie, I shall drink in punishment for my idiocy. Furthermore, should I leave the meeting hall for any reason, I shall fetch ale for all thirsty fellows before returning.

In continuation of my vow, I shall also drink anytime a hobbit gives another hobbit a homosexual glance, makes a homosexual remark or acts in a homosexual manner.

As a fellow I shall observe the sanctity of LOTR where as any fellow who mocks the story must finish their drink, bow to the fellowship and beg pardon.

Should my cell phone ring it will be seized and Lord Tiffany shall determine the amount of ale I must consume.

In celebration of my homeland, anytime that I hear a name or place from Middle Earth I shall raise my goblet and drink to the King of Gondor. Anytime the creature Gollum calls Sam “fat” I shall drink and proclaim “Hail Gandalf!”

I, _____________, hereby bind my life to the oath I have spoken. To the fellowship I have come and to fellowship I now belong. Long live the ring bearer!

No smoking.

Note: When throwing a party it is important to Photoshop your friends' faces into a movie poster. This creates an instant atmosphere of awesomeness and shows people that you truly care.

Awesomely, one of my guests brought me 3D shades. (Thanks, Drezaba!) Said festive shades enable one to see strange effects around Christmas lights and to detect when people are lying. Unfortunately they gave me four paper cuts, including a harsh one that caused me to bleed all over C.Sto’s digital camera. This, however, did not prevent me from wearing them all day and night.

On went the movie, enforced was the oath and worn were the blue-and-red-tinted paper glasses. After the Witch King was totally crushed (“I am no man!”) and the movie over, we feasted on pizza and other extravagances. Then it was back to the fellowship hall for an intense game of Cranium. Larry, (A.K.A. Frodo,) Michelle and I dominated. This did not prevent Lord Tiffy from talking loads of trash. (Envious of my charades skills, I expect.)

It was an amusing day despite the people who RSVP-ed and flaked or who showed up late and left early. (The worst part of having a party: The manner-less.)

Later. Jessica and C.Sto sit in front of the television in twin recliners.
Jessica: I am never having another party. Except Monday, but that one doesn’t count because it’s a simple tea. And because it’s already planned.
C.Sto: I concur, doctor. Except for graduation parties, but those don't count because they are family parties.
Jessica: Agreed. Family parties don’t count. So no more parties. Deal?
C.Sto: Deal.
Jessica and C.Sto seal their solemn oath with a ceremonious handshake.

We decided on the above because, at a deeper level, we strove to gather in fellowship and were disheartened when we discovered that the fellowship among our friends has faded.

Faded, but is not yet dead.

So cheers to fellowship. And cheers to one of the times fellowship shines brightest of all: Christmas!

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There is a special sort of day that occurs during the winter in Virginia. This sort of day does not occur often. This sort of day does not last. It’s not an Indian Summer, for Indian Summers occur in the fall. Those who do not pay close attention and sleep too late are sure to miss it entirely.

The first of these days I can recall was when I was seven. It had snowed considerably throughout the week. I arose one morning to find the normal grey of winter gone and the sun ruling the sky. Outside the steady trickle of snow melting and water flowing along the gutters could be heard. I wore short sleeves: It was warm! I spent all day walking outside among the melting drifts (sometimes hitting them with a walking stick that I had found which, much to my delight, sent slush spraying everywhere,) and wondering at the strange light.

For you see, on these rare, magical days it is warm, 70 degrees usually, which is practically unheard of during the winter in Virginia. Yet, there is something strange. Something about the light is not quite normal. The light is not strong and hot, such as in the case of summer. Nor is it wakeful and bright, such as in the case of spring. It is a cool, waning, winter sunlight: A blade of hope protruding through the concrete cracks. The day ends early. The trees and brush are bare, brown sticks reaching up toward the sky. There are no green things this time of year, but it is still beautiful.

We haven’t yet had snow here this winter (my first snow-less holiday), but yesterday we did have one of these rare winter days. The sort of day where C.Sto and I walked a few miles down the W&OD trail. The sort of day where you do not bother with cell phones or laptops or television. Later that night the Grizz broke out his telescopes and showed us Saturn.

I try, but capturing these days with words seems impossible. For words do not work like nets: You cannot capture nature’s nooks by force. You must, instead, gently paint a picture. Without paint. And one is never actually allowed to use 1,000 words... As I sit in my room struggling with metaphors, the winter light fades back to grey.

Yes, it was that sort of day.

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I am the sort of person who…

Is always working but never gets paid; Covers the wall above her desk with scenic photos torn out of old calendars; Finds Walden applicable to modern life; Puts sliced cucumber in a glass of water; Would trade places with Harry Potter; Drinks one bottled Starbucks frappachino daily (Vanilla!); Takes photos of the sky; Rises with the wind; Overcomes stage fright; Is anal about party manners; Knows every word of the Star Wars Gangsta Rap and the Gettysburg Address; Should have started taking Ninjitsu at birth; Walks in the rain; Hates to get caught up, but does it anyway; Calls her family everyday; Writes so much that her left hand hurts; Is great at many things and master of no thing; Plays LOTR trivial pursuit; Needs to get her throwing arm back into shape; Uses sea salt, string or duct tape to solve everyday problems; Orders pizza online; Confronts those who litter; Goes to bed at two o’clock; Writes the time with words; Talks more than not; Only works on what she cares about; Sees the world as available; Procrastinates on paying bills; Likes to play pretend but is comfortable in her own skin; Burns candles out quicker than she can buy them (Vanilla!); Would rather be a gypsy than sit a cubicle; Never forgets the moments when someone stuck up for her; Fully understands why some people consider “Jedi” a religion; Cannot stop believing...

You are the sort of person who…

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