From the category archives:

Esteemed Guests

We here at The RhodesTer Chronicles are happy as clams to present you with a guest poster to start off the week, and this is without even having been kidnapped by aliens, for once.

Katherine Hardman lives in a tiny Texas town and holds the title of Honorary Goddaughter. She’s 17 and in high school, yet she writes well beyond her years. Her POSTS are funny, cute and clever,  her FACEBOOK UPDATES are cute, clever and funny, while her TWEETS are clever, funny and cute, in that order.

This kid was born to be a writer, so we hope this opportunity gives her a tiny boost. Don’t forget to subscribe to her blog when you’re done.

This Is A Document In Which I Wrote Words

In which Katherine Hardman makes an utter fool of herself: a story.

Katherine and Bernard

Katherine and Bernard

Late this evening, having been successfully lulled into a false sense of security by homemade pizza and delightful British comedy, my mother called upon me to complete a long and gruesome task.

“Katherine,” she said nondescriptly, patting me on the head. “Would you walk Bernard? I walked him this morning.”

I groaned, writhing dramatically on the seat next to her as she continued with, “and your sister walked him yesterday evening.”

“So it’s my turn?”

“It’s your turn.”

At the end of the couch, curled at my feet, was my dog. He’s pretty terrifying. For one, he’s named after the fearsome and utterly dignified Barney Fife. Secondly, despite the fact that he weighs all of ten pounds and currently sports a baby blue bandanna around his neck, he knows his duty.

As soon as the vacuum is within sight, even, he is quite aware of what he needs to do. This being, of course, the act of protecting me from the evils of the vicious vacuum monster. He’ll even cower quite nicely as to make me feel better about the whole situation.

He’s a really great dog.

Pulling myself from the couch and eventually locating his leash, I cracked open the back door with Bernard tailing behind me reluctantly. It was with immense curiosity and glee that he perused the tumbleweeds surrounding our carport, sniffing carefully before deciding that no, he did not wish to relieve himself at this particular juncture, thank you very much.

We circled the driveway in a bit of a haphazard square dance, Bernard requesting I allow him to venture into the great unknown and I insisting we stay within the porch light’s reach.

In an act of desperation, as it had been a ridiculous and unsuccessful three minutes, I pulled him over to the neighbor’s fence. As he snuffled around in the grass with absolutely no intention of marking his territory (what a nice guy), I examined the stars above me.

Wave to the Paan'uriWave to the Paan'uri by JP Stanley on Flickr

photo by JP Stanley on Flickr

I’ve always liked stars. On summer evenings, especially, I tend to get a bit emotional and long to commune with the great beast of nature. I picture myself sitting in fields with some boy or other and talking over plans as the stars twinkle above us, a breeze wafting me into a state of happy delirium. This is especially hilarious if you’re aware of the depths in which I fear all aspects of the outdoors. I dare you to send me that “adorable” link you found pertaining to drunk jellyfish. Once I’m finished with my panic attack you will find yourself very, very dead.

As I say, occasionally I get up the idea that it would be a good idea to stargaze, but I have always talked myself out of it. It isn’t necessary, I tell myself, and you have Things To Do.

But tonight was different. Screw that, I thought. I don’t need a boy to show me the stars. I can take the night off from mindlessly wishing I were being productive, and the stars are right here in my driveway. It is now, two weeks before school is set to commence and I begin my journey as a senior, that I am coming to the realization that I could be spending my free time doing enjoyable things.

Thus, there was no time to waste.

I tugged Bernard away from the gate and returned him to his nightly post (i.e. protecting my mother from demons), and started formulating a plan as I changed shoes and turned on the tap to dispense some water for myself. I disentangled a lawn chair from the innards of a closet and tucked my journal under one arm, valiantly pushed open the back door and regarded the scene.

Our neighborhood is desperately quiet even in daylight. Furthermore, at night, none of the other homes have ever been known to leave lights on. Often I wonder if I live amidst a rare species of mute salamanders. For all I see of my neighbors, they actually could be salamanders. I mean, for all I know.

Our back door leads to a carport and driveway, then the gates on two sides and a tatterdemalion shed in which we store our neglected Christmas paraphernalia. Live oak trees surround everything else, twisting to mask most of the sky but for a few patches here and there. Crickets have been known to chirp.

Setting up my chair at an angle in the driveway as to properly view the stars, I uncap my pen with a flourish, open my journal to an incomplete page and began to muse on the beauty of the summer evening.

“Ahh,” I thought, sighing happily. “The stars are so twinkly and bright, the air is balmy and filled with the noises of the night and here I am amongst it. Look at me, out here being independent and daring! This will make a great story..  I will regale people with its glory and they will legitimately cry and I will RULE THE WORLD!!”

This was obviously a logical progression. I thought it up myself, so it must be true.

I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself, I tell you. Here I was, doing something fun (and cheap! Look at this tap water!) without the coercion of my peers. Of course, in my tiny Texas town, fun can be defined in mighty peculiar ways. As far as I have been able to discern, there is this thing called “hanging out” and also cows. There are lots of cows. This is about as far as I’ve gotten.

It is to be noted that, beyond the great and mighty fence they have erected because they hate the world, my neighbors are also in possession of dogs. And, occasionally, these dogs brutally slaughter the fence as to gain a bit of freedom.

It is also to be noted that, without my knowledge, this had occurred again.

Vicious girl dog by ms tea on Flickr

photo by ms tea on Flickr

The dog in my story is large and brown, having both terrifying yellow eyes and the talent of wriggling under fences despite her size.

So as I grinned to myself under that pretty night sky and crickets chirped in whatever land they live in, I quickly became aware of another element. A soft, interminable growl. Yellow eyes, a form standing sentry. At her side, a Chihuahua.

Let’s not even talk about the Chihuahua.

At first I considered the possibility that the pair might find me harmless and return to their world of captivity. After all, my dog pees on their fence every day, surely they couldn’t think too badly of me!

Tossing this number aside, I then idled over the idea that they might rush me. I might be able to take the Chihuahua, I reasoned, but the first dog was very large and looked to be readying for the attack.

Frozen on the spot and appropriately sporting a t-shirt proclaiming myself “not a damsel in distress,” I considered my options.

I really didn’t want to be eaten, the whole situation being deliciously ironic enough as it was. My journal entry left unfinished in the middle of a sentence about how utterly clever and proud I was of myself, I carefully began to extricate myself from the chair. The dog kept her place, still growling, as I made my decision..

In glorious slow motion, channeling every ninja thought I could muster and dragging the chair behind me as I went, I scrambled back into the safety of the indoors and hid under my desk for five minutes.

I am so good at having fun.

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