Why can’t I keep a schedule?

Usually in my life I have a set schedule: wake up, breakfast, go to the gym, play video games, dinner, write, go to sleep. I’ve had this schedule since May and it’s been very consistent (apart from Comic-Con weekend). But throughout this static schedule one thing is always left behind. I never save time for keeping this blog up-to-date.  There were times when I would have time for it but nothing comes to mind. This category is what I like about the blog (the train of thought category). I don’t need structure or an objective to talk about. Just my thoughts until they stop.

The new school year is coming up and it’s my last year at community college before I transfer. But there is a looming fear that creeps its way into my mind. It’s my last year. Usually I should be happy to transfer out but I spent at least 3 years there. I made new friends, new professors. And within two years I’d leave it behind for a new chapter. It frightens me in a way that’s ineffable. Maybe it’s the thought that I’d soon be finished with college and I have to go into a ruthless world to live the rest of my life. Sure I can go back and start another degree but for the moment I’m stuck with the one I have. A subject that I love with a passion but a fear that I can’t get a job in it or that the industry itself is a warzone. This doubt would then eat away at my schedule, taking away my writing and everything until I’m nothing but a shell of a man that should have died a long time ago.

Becoming a published author was all I ever wanted to become and every single day it becomes farther and farther away and I don’t know if I can ever catch up. All the first drafts of my Impure series were completed within a year except for the third book. It’s been at least a year and half and it’s not even close to being done. Is it just my doubts that are slowing me? Or is it the realization that my book may never reach store shelves? I just hope that one day, a literary agent or an editor sees my books and gives me a chance to make something out of myself. That my work is worth something besides filler. Something that brings people together through the stories I’ve written. Something that has drained my mental health for a while. I don’t know what I want to do with my life but I know what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be someone who sits behind a desk rotting while other people live greater lives.

I want to be greater.


Cliches Anonymous

Hi everyone! Earlier in May, I got the pleasure to produce my short scripts Cliches Anonymous and Louie Louie at my college for a theatre showcase. And I know a lot of people were not able to watch it and I didn’t have time to film it because I was part of the running crew for other pieces. So I thought it’d be nice if I leave the script down below so you can read it for yourselves. Hope you enjoy!

Original Cliches Anonymous Cast:

Ian – Kyle Paguio
Phil – Marlon Campos
Jenny – Destiny Bustos
Vicky – Christina Apreza
Fixer – Dana Hall
Wilson – Joseph Rubio
Jaime – Alissa Padilla

-Andrew 🙂

p.s. If you want to produce the scene in your own theatre or local colleges, please let me know and give me credits as the writer.

Cliches Anonymous

Lights up on an empty room with chairs in a semi-circle facing the audience. PHIL, the head of the clichés anonymous meeting sits in the center while the other members sit around him. There is an empty seat at the end.

PHIL- Alright, everyone. Welcome back to another meeting of clichés anonymous. Remember, everything in this room stays in this room. If anything happened to you this week, now is the time to share it. And no story is stupid or overused. We’re all clichés, this is pretty much our life.

IAN, a member of the group, barges in through the door.

IAN- Sorry I’m late, traffic.

PHIL- Speaking of clichés, why don’t you start us off?

IAN- (Still standing) Um… okay. My name is Ian and I’m a cliché.


IAN- I think most people wouldn’t consider it a cliché, but technically I’m the guy that runs in late and complains about the traffic. And it isn’t like I do it on purpose. I just don’t have a sense of time – sue me.

IAN proceeds to sit down.

PHIL- And no one is blaming you. We all here have been victims of overused stereotypes tropes. For example, my name is Phil and I am a cliché.


PHIL- Most of you know me as the monotone, sleepy, pretty much boring meeting leader here, but in retrospect I can be very energetic and fun. For example, what did the buffalo say to his son when he left for college?

(Utter silence for two seconds.)

PHIL- Bison.

JENNY lets out a groan while the others look down in shame.

PHIL- Jenny? Would you like to share something?

JENNY- (Scoffs) Fine… hi I’m Jenny and I’m a cliché.


JENNY- I’m what like people consider like one of those people who like go shopping with my dog in my purse. And they like call me a valley girl. But like that’s totally not true, okay? I don’t shop with my dog in my purse. She hangs out in my convertible. But I’m not a valley girl. I’m a normal person from the San Fernando Valley and like likes to go shopping in the 90210. All of my girlfriends tell me I’m not a cliché and I like believe it.

IAN- How many friends do you have?

JENNY- Just one, and she is like super cute, super funny, has beautiful hair, and she looks great driving her convertible to the mall.

VICKY- Do you see her in the mirror?

JENNY- Oh my god, yes! How did you know?

VICKY- Well you know… I see her every week and she always so recognizable that she – you know what? I think it’s best just to call you stupid.

PHIL- Vicky, manners. Why don’t you tell us about yourself.

VICKY- (Waving) Hi, Vicky. Cliché.


VICKY- Cut that shit! Here’s the deal. I’m what they call the “tomboy.” Every day people look at me and they think “hey, you don’t act like a lady.” And I’m just standing there like “uh go fuck yourself.” I’ll do whatever I want. If I want to eat a pizza by myself in one sitting and lay down in disgust, I’m gonna do that. What’s the big deal? Sure I can dress ladylike whenever I want but do I want to? No.

PHIL- Good, good. Feel free to let it all out. Was there anything else you want to share?

VICKY- I am quite finished, thank you.

PHIL- Ok then, would anyone else like to share?

Everyone begins to look around until someone with a stormtrooper helmet raises their hand.

FIXER- My name is RX-1738, but people call me Fixer and I’m a cliché. I think people have a common misconception about stormtroopers and that we can’t shoot anything. But for the record I’ve shot a lot stuff and I don’t mean to toot my own horn.

IAN- What did you shoot?

FIXER- A lot of stuff, you know. I shot a wall… a-a ice cave. An anus in the desert. You know I’ve shot a lot of things.

VICKY- Ever shot anything moving? Or alive?

FIXER- Yeah, of course. There was this one time I shot my friend in the butt. Could I count that?

VICKY- I wouldn’t.

FIXER- Look I’m a good shot! I can hit things with a blaster and without one. I break the idea that stormtroopers are shit shots.

VICKY- I’ll believe it when I see it. I mean, didn’t you people lose a fight between bears in the forest?

FIXER- I wasn’t there! But if I was you’d know cause there’d be so many dead bears you’d think it was a Build-a-Bear workshop. Look, I can hit you with my pen.

FIXER throws the pen at VICKY but misses and hits the floor underneath her.

VICKY- (Slow clapping) Wow, if I was sitting on the ground you might have hit me.

FIXER- I’m a good shot! Wilson, tell her.

WILSON- I’m just glad that pen didn’t hit me.

IAN- Hey Wilson, you’ve been sitting here saying nothing since the meeting started. What’s your story?

WILSON- (Sighs) Fine. I’m Wilson and I’m a cliché. And if you didn’t realize it, (pointing at shirt) I’m wearing a red shirt.

JENNY- Um like… yeah you’re wearing a red shirt. You should totes change your color. I see you more like a midnight blue or sunlight orange.

VICKY- What are you, Bob Ross?

WILSON- Yeah I’d like to change my color if my job wasn’t a part of the color. I used to work on starships but then I started hearing things about people in red shirts dying out of nowhere and I just couldn’t deal with it. Now I have a steady job fixing the ships when they’re not in space. And I’m really careful too. But there was this one time I got a paper cut and I almost died.

IAN- From the papercut?

WILSON- No, I slipped on a banana peel and fell out the window. Didn’t get a single scratch.

The entire room is dead silent until VICKY begins to slowly clap.

VICKY- That’s… Fucking… Hilarious.

PHIL- Vicky, please be considerate of Wilson’s stories. (To Wilson) That is a nice story to tell, would anyone else like to share before the meeting ends?

Another member of the meeting, JAIME, quickly raises their hand.

JAIME- Hey, has anyone seen Tyson anywhere?

IAN- Yeah, I saw him when I was on my way up here. He said he heard a noise and wanted to take a look. He’ll be back.

JAIME silently groans.

PHIL- Is something wrong, Jaime?

JAIME- Tyson always does this. He says he’s going to look at something and he’ll “be right back” and ends up dead. I swear he’s always trying to be the heroic guy in horror movies that dies in the most stupid ways. One time I was at a bar with him and he got in a fight with a biker. Do you know what his last words were?

FIXER- What?

JAIME- “What are you gonna do? Stab me?” And guess how he died.

IAN- Stabbing?

JAIME- Yeah, how did you know?

IAN- Lucky guess.

JENNY- That’s horrible! Is he alright?

JAIME- He’s fine. He’ll come back to life after a couple minutes.

PHIL- Now Jaime, we can worry about Tyson later. Why don’t tell us about yourself?

JAIME- Well I talk to the fourth wall. A lot actually. That fourth wall is pretty much my best friend.

JENNY- I don’t think that’s a cliché. You’re just like cray cray.

JAIME- Freeze frame!

Everyone freezes in place except for JAIME. She turns towards the audience.

JAIME- I know what you’re probably thinking, “Jaime, you’re not crazy. You’re just misunderstood.” But actually I haven’t gotten tested. Don’t want to, in fact. But you see this freak show right? It’s like a cookie cutter of some John Hughes movies. Pretty cool, right? Okay, I have to get back. (Turns back to group and claps her hands.)

JENNY- You just have to broaden your horizons, Jaime. Tell you what, let me take you shopping. You’ll feel great.

VICKY- Is it gonna be followed by a montage with “I’m walking on sunshine” playing?

JENNY- Don’t be peanut butter and jealous, you can come to. Oh! I can give you a makeover.

VICKY- Gee, I can hardly wait.

JENNY- See? I know you’re excited.

VICKY- Hey Jenny, guess what?

JENNY- What?

VICKY- Sarcasm.

JENNY- Is that a new shop?

VICKY- Jesus Christ you’re that stupid, aren’t you?

PHIL- Now, Vicky. Please keep the remarks to a minimum please. We’ll have to work on that later.

VICKY- Good luck. The four shrinks I had didn’t fix the problem.

WILSON- Really? Four of them?

VICKY- No it was actually six but that seems like a big number.

WILSON- Yeah… small number. Is this meeting done? I have to get back and fix a starship. I swear every time they leave it keeps getting blasted.

PHIL- If anyone doesn’t have anything left to say, I guess we can end a little early. Now remember, just because we’re clichés doesn’t mean we have to follow them. Right? This was a good meeting, everyone. We’ll continue next week.

IAN is the first to get up out of his seat and goes to the door. Upon exiting, he calls out to the rest.

IAN- I found Tyson!

PHIL- See, Jaime? You don’t have to worry. How is he, Ian?

IAN- I think he’s dead.

PHIL- Are you sure?

JENNY is the second to leave the room.

JENNY- Phil, Tyson is like totally dead. There’s a screwdriver in his head.

PHIL- Well check if he still has a pulse.

VICKY is the third to leave.

VICKY- I don’t think there’s a pulse. There’s a hole where his heart is supposed to be.

PHIL- Well is the killer still out there?

FIXER leaves.

FIXER- I think I see someone running away. Wilson help me catch them.

WILSON- I don’t think that’s a good idea.

FIXER- Wilson! Get the hell out of here and chase them. You’re the fastest. I try and slow him down by throwing stuff at him.

WILSON- Again, that’s not a good idea.

FIXER- Hurry!

WILSON lets out a loud sigh and leaves the room. Clanking sounds can be heard offstage until Wilson shouts.

PHIL- Did you get the killer?

FIXER- No. I think I got Wilson. Hey Wilson, if you’re alive give me a thumbs up… That’s the wrong finger but I’ll take it.

PHIL- Best check on the Tyson. Again. Jaime, do you mind closing the door when you leave?

JAIME- No I got it.

PHIL exits.

JAIME- (To audience) See what I said? They’re a bunch of idiots. But they’re my idiots. I guess this group isn’t bad. So uh… I’ll see you later? (Walks to door) Go on, the piece is over. You can go. Unless there’s another after this. Is there? There is? Oh ok, just stick around then.

JAIME exits. Fade to black.

Thoughts On: Injustice 2

Thoughts On: Injustice 2

Hi to whoever found this. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of video games lately and I want to give my thoughts on them. The first one is Injustice 2.

A New Coat of Paint

So Injustice 2 is the sequel to Netherrealm Studio’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, and it’s a fighting game with characters from the DC Universe. You got Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, they show up in this game to beat the living Jesus out of each other. I played a lot of Injustice: Gods Among Us and I really enjoyed it. How does Injustice 2 stack up with the old?


The story mode is a staple with Netherrealm fighting games starting with Mortal Kombat 9. It revolutionized fighting game stories with a blend of cutscenes and actual gameplay. The trend I’ve seen recently with every iteration of Netherrealm games, is that the story mode gets shorter and shorter with each entry. MK9’s story was extremely long, where one chapter of the game can last an hour and the overall completion can be 12 hours. Injustice: Gods Among Us had a story mode of around 8 hours, while the Mortal Kombat X had a story of about 6. Injustice 2 has a story mode of 4 hours on medium difficulty.

While the story of Injustice 2 is solid, it falls flat to the previous game. It takes place while after the events of Gods Among Us and continues the conflicts between Batman and Superman. When Braniac shows up, they band together to stop them. The cutscenes are expertly crafted while the facial animations can range from fantastic to downright scary.

The biggest problem with Injustice 2’s story is the depth. Out of the 29 character roster, it focuses mainly on 8 eight of them; with the rest being background. One faction of characters, known as the Society, is completely wasted as they show up for their introductions and then disband shortly when Braniac arrives (which is very early on in the game). Characters like Swampthing, Deadshot, Blue Beetle, and Joker have no time to shine in this campaign. Instead it leans on Batman, Superman, and Supergirl to carry the story. There are 29 characters and frankly a majority of them are wasted potential.


The gameplay is very similar to Injustice: Gods Among Us. It’s tight and fastpaced with a hint of when to strike and when to block. It’s a game that is easy to pick up but hard to master. The newest addition to Injustice 2 is the gear system. Where characters can unlock certain pieces of gear (a helmet, a cape, gauntlets, etc.) during fighting or Mother Boxes. Each piece of gear may or may not have stats and have a different appearance. It’s fine and works but there is a level limit and sense of RNG when unlocking gear, where you could be using Green Lantern and end up getting gear for Captain Cold. There is a way to turn of the RNG and I recommend doing so.

The online network has been vastly improved from Mortal Kombat X and every fight is smooth and quick. You get fights very quickly and they don’t disconnect. And if you’ve played Mortal Kombat or Injustice: Gods Among Us, you know that the net code was not good.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Injustice 2 is a fantastic game with a good loot system and awesome characters. The downside is that of a shorter story mode and underwhelming story that doesn’t live up Gods Among Us. I’d say this is a game you should try if you’re into fighting games or DC Comics.

Thanks for reading my thoughts on Injustice 2. Next I’m talking about the sci-fi horror game, Prey.

Have a good day.

-Andrew 🙂

Road to Publication #4: My Novel

FeaturedRoad to Publication #4: My Novel

Finally Time

Hi everyone! After finishing the fifth edit of my novel and finding actual free time, it’s time that I officially unveil (even if it’s not been published yet, still working on that) my novel to the world. Before now, only one person has read a portion of the book. Although I am not releasing a chapter (yet), I will be talking about it in great detail. So if you just so happen to be a literary agent, and I queried you but you still aren’t sure about what this book can be, this entry will clear the air for you.

So without delaying any further, I proudly introduce you to my novel.

The Impure

What is the Impure?

The Impure is a series of books that I am currently writing and in the process of querying to agents for the hope of getting it published one day. It is an urban fantasy novel that can be considered both Adult and New Adult. The Impure follows the stories of a group of people known as the Impure, they are gifted individuals with abilities like teleportation, fire conjuring, super strength, and everything in between.

Although the series is known as “The Impure,” the entire ark of the book follows a person named Oliver. Through events that occur in the book, he discovers that he can control time. With his newfound abilities, he encounters a representative of a group called “the Impure.” On the surface it is a school and sanctuary for people like Oliver to study and learn to control their powers in safety. Oliver eventually joins them and without spoiling the book, his adventure begins.

Over the course of the book, Oliver’s journey takes him around the world, to the war-torn country of Tarnaka to the familiar land of the United States. Over the course of the book, he discovers that an ancient evil has begun to make its return. It is now up to Oliver and the Impure to protect a world he thought to be normal.

History Behind the Book

When I graduated high school back in 2014, I spent some time on my family’s farm over the summer to think about what I wanted to do with my life. And honestly, I had no idea. As I passed the time there, I stumbled on a movie while browsing Netflix. A little movie called Click (yes, the movie with Adam Sandler). As I was watching the movie, it had aspects of controlling time and the movie played it out with a simplistic manner that it was actually believable. By the time the movie ended, an idea popped into my head. “What if I wrote a book that involved time control?” I thought to myself. As seeing I didn’t bring my laptop with me during my visit, I didn’t have a way to write anything properly. I spent about two months there, and when I finally went back home to start college, I immediately went to work on the novel. I wrote a 70,000 word draft in 2015, and as the months passed I added more and more to it. As of now, the novel is around 85,000 words.

When I first started working on it, it started off being called “Project: Hourglass.” It originally began as a memoir of my journey after high school, but the train tracks switched and became what is now known as The Impure. Then the first story concept was that of a young adult novel. Basically a high school student would discover that he could control time would use his newfound power to help himself. But the cost of using that power was that he would soon be unable to control it and eventually fade out of time.

Once that concept didn’t interest me anymore, I turned to the second story concept. And this was the one that became The Impure. It still started off with the main character (now known as Oliver) during his last day of high school and beyond. He would discover his powers and the representative would take him to the Impure. The story then jumps four years into the future and that is where the real story begins.

My Inspirations

For the Impure, I drew a lot of my inspirations from what I grew up with. And what I grew up with was comic books, movies, video games, and Power Rangers. For the aspect of the Impure, I drew inspiration from my first superhero movie, X-Men. The idea of a school that trained people to control their powers really interested me. For the idea of people having powers, that came from a lot of superhero movies I watched. And the reason that Power Rangers was a big inspiration for me, was because of the cast of characters. It was diverse (albeit a little racist at the time) and the messages that Jason, Billy, Zack, Trini, and Kimberly taught me about finding your own person and being your own hero resonated with me my entire life. And that was what inspired that cast of characters in The Impure. The characters are diverse and relatable, coming from all walks of life.

The Plan for The Impure

Even though the book hasn’t been published (or been picked up by a literary agent), I have already written a second book. My commitment to these stories and these characters is beyond comprehension. And in addition to the second book, I am in the process of writing the third.

The Impure is planned to be an eight-part series with a hiatus gap between the fourth and fifth. The future installments have been named and even the end of the series is already written. Whenever I’d have an idea pop into my head, I had to write it down and determine where it would happen in the books. Hell, I’ve even fake-cast some of the characters in the hopes of making it a TV show (it would be film but I feel that I can get more out a long form show). I may be overreaching for a lot of this, but this is because I am passionate in these stories and what it could possibly become in the future.

Why am I writing this post?

I’m writing this because (it’s long overdue) I was done with having this story of adventure, powers, magic, and oddities all to myself. In my heart, I know this is a story that people can read and feel related. That is what the central theme of The Impure really is, to be more than you could possibly imagine. It is a story about being your own hero and doing something meaningful and worthwhile.

There also is another reason to this post. When I query literary agents, I feel that I can’t fully explain what the Impure is in less than a page. I need an outlet like this so that I can express my enthusiasm and love for the stories I’ve written. So if you are one of those literary agents I’ve queries, maybe this could help you decide if the Impure is right for you.

So that is all I have to say (for now) about the unveiling of my novel, The Impure. If there are other questions you may want answered, feel free to leave a comment below. And to catch up on my thoughts on games, my train of thought ramblings, my short stories, or updates on my road to publication, follow me here on WordPress or follow me on Twitter.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and have a good night or good morning.

-Andrew 🙂


I’m not dead.

Hi whoever found this, it’s been a while since my last post but I can assure you that I’m not dead. I’ve been extremely busy with work and a production of Macbeth (which is now finished). Maybe now I can continue to query my book in peace.

And eventually I’ll talk about my book if anyone is interested. I’ve even been thinkworking jog about doing something with the YouTube handle I have.

Either way, have a good day.

-Andrew 🙂

P.S. If you feel like following me on social media, here’s my twitter.


Train of Thought: Build ‘Em Up, Break ‘Em Down


I always forget that I have WordPress on my phone. And I promised myself that I’d build up my platform to get my writing out there. So maybe with this category I could do just that. It’s meant to be just thoughts or things in my head that I want to get out there. It isn’t short stories or road to publication, I’d call it experimental. Hope whoever finds this, enjoys it.

Real Post

I think I’m losing my mind. There is something different about this semester of school that is taking more out of me than ever before. Is it because math has always been my enemy? And now that I’m at the last step for my GED’s that I finally crack? In my entire life, I’ve never failed a test. I do get D’s but never F’s. This semester just takes a toll on not my body but my mind. I usually care for it with video games. Whenever I get overwhelmed I’d go play Overwatch, but the community can be so toxic that it makes me lose hope in all humanity. Usually I’d get out of this mindset of gloom and blue within a week or two. But it’s been almost two months.

Writing entries like this can be soothing for me. This and listening to meaningful songs. All these emotions I kept bottled up for 20 years are slowly seeping out and I don’t know if I can control it. It’s like as if there is a glass bottle and it is beginning to show its age. The bottle is starting to crack and everything I’ve kept inside my head is escaping one by one.

This semester most of my time is spent in the theatre department at my school. Before my class I’d sit in the hallway of my theatre building and read or talk with friends. And since I got cast in the school’s production of Macbeth, I’m there all the way into the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the production. Honestly theatre is the one place that I feel welcomed. Not because of the people or the plays I take part in, but because it’s one of the places that I can leave all my worries behind and become someone else. All my life I’ve been apart of the theatre even though my parents were strongly against it because of that fear that I can’t get any jobs with a degree in theatre. But theatre has never abandoned me, ever. It would welcome me with open arms.

I think this semester is the one that might break me. All these overwhelming thoughts and life are catching up with me and I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it all under control. There’s this song I’m listening to as I write this, Lost Boy by Ruth B. I don’t understand its meaning sometimes but the singer’s emotion when singing hits my heart so much that I can relate to it.

This train of thought might be getting a little too long now. I hope your day is better than the first two months I’ve had this year. Have a good night.

-Andrew 😦

“Away from all of reality. Neverland is a home to lost boys like me. And lost boys like me are free.” – Ruth B

Short Story: Friday Night’s Alright

Simple Introductions

Happy Holidays, everyone! With Christmas coming up around the corner, I thought I’d give you all my third short story. It’s set during the holiday season and as my friend called it, “a coca-cola commercial.” So while I finish my finals and continue to write my books, here is the next short story. Enjoy!

-Andrew 🙂

Friday Night’s Alright

This week has been a complete bore. On Monday, the sun was particularly ambitious; shining into the blue sky and heating up the inside of my car. Tuesday came grey skies and Wednesday too. Thursday was just a bit better. But Friday seemed to be different. My friends Rocky and Isabelle thought it’d be great to go walking around the local outdoor shopping center, just to see the holiday decorations. December was always beautiful this time of year. There was something special about a suburban community in California during the Christmas season.

It all started on a cool Friday afternoon, the three of us sat in our last class of the day. Rocky put his hat over his face and took a nap as the class began. I was behind him, and Isabelle behind me. She would always put her drinks in the hood of my jacket. I leaned back on my chair and paid enough attention to the teacher in case she asked a question… not that I answered them, but hell I paid for the class so I’m gonna get my money’s worth. Rocky took the class because he needed a ride home from me. Isabelle took it because well… she needed a ride too, but also she needed extra units and this class was the only one available. I don’t know what it was about this particular class session, but I felt completely brain dead. I tried to stay awake and not end up like Rocky. He slouched deep into his chair forming a makeshift bed. I could hear his quiet but noticeable snoring. It sounded like the noise of a car starting. Isabelle sat politely in her chair, occasionally leaning forward to take a sip from her drink that stuck out of my hood.

After a grueling hour and a half class time, we made it to the end. I stood up and stretched my neck. Isabelle took her drink from my hood and tossed it in the trash. We walked over to Rocky who still sound asleep.

“Should we wake him?” Isabelle asked, scratching her head.

“I think I have an idea,” I answered, pulling out my phone.

Rocky’s ringtone was, no shocker, the theme song to Rocky. I figured he needed some inspiration to get out of the chair. I called his phone and waited. After a few seconds the loud ringtone burst from his phone and startled him.

“I’m up! I’m up!” he said, snorting and trying to get onto his feet.

“You must have had a good dream. Do you want me to bring a pillow for next time?” Isabelle asked.

“Well Izzy, if you’re offering…”

“I’m joking you idiot.”

“But you are gonna bring a pillow, right?” Rocky asked, rubbing his eyes.

She chuckled and threw her bag at him. He finally stood up and we left the class. The campus looked empty; then again not a lot of people went to class on a Friday. The wind blew gently through the trees as we crossed the parking lot. I unlocked the doors of my car. Thankfully the winter weather started rolling in about Thursday night so the inside of my car was cool. I jumped in and lowered the windows and sunroof. Izzy climbed into the passenger seat and Rocky got in the back. With the key in the engine, the car started up and I turned to Izzy and said, “Sound like someone we know?”

“You guys suck,” Rocky said, buckling his seatbelt.

I plugged in my phone pressed shuffle on my playlist. The first song to come on was “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure. I drove us out of the parking lot and back to our neighborhood. All three of us lived on the same street. Rocky lived to my left and Izzy to my right. It was easy getting to either of them. I’d just open my window and shout at their window. And they’d maybe shout back. I parked in front of my house. Izzy and Rocky got out and walked to their respective houses.

The inside of my house smelled of gingerbread and cinnamon. My mother noticed me walk in and greeted me.

“Hey Robert,” she said. “Have a good day at school?” She was decorating the gingerbread house that stood in the center of the kitchen counter.

“It’s was good enough. I’ll be in my room if you need me.”

I snagged a gingerbread man and walked upstairs to my room. Usually I’d leave my door closed, but the smell was so intoxicating I left it open. I lay on my bed, and turned on the TV. The first thing to come on was a news broadcast about the upcoming holiday opening down by the shopping center. It was looking to be quite the occasion. I could see why Rocky wants to take a look. For some reason I don’t want to go. I didn’t have to buy anything so why should I? Even though the sun was still high in the sky, I felt a bit tired and took a nap.

I awoke to the sound of rocks being thrown at my window accompanied by loud music outside. I got out of bed and check outside. Rocky and Isabelle were outside in Rocky’s car. The two of them got out and walked closer to the window.

“Hey Rob! Come on out. We’re going to see the tree lighting ceremony down at the mall. My mom let me take the car out,” Rocky said.

“Fine, what time is it?” I asked.

“About six o’clock, they’re gonna light it in thirty minutes. Hurry up or we’ll be late.”

I grabbed my jacket and went downstairs. The lingering smell of cinnamon stayed with me up until the front door. I gripped the doorknob and turned it. But something strange happened. The door wouldn’t budge. I asked my mom what happened to the door, but I didn’t get an answer. I assumed that the door had broken. But I remember that the door was fine a few hours ago.  I quickly ran upstairs and back to my room. Rocky and Isabelle still hung around near his car.

“There’s something up with my door. I can’t get out,” I said.

“Oh yeah… your mom said something about the door being like broken or something. I guess the lock on it won’t unlock and it’s stuck like that. Why don’t you go around the back?” Isabelle asked.

The tree lighting ceremony better be worth this hassle. The clock read around ten after six, I had to move fast. I rushed downstairs and to the back door of my house. Luckily the lock was fine and I managed to get out into the cold air. The sun had just set and the street lights began to turn on. I made it to the gate and got out of the backyard. Rocky and Isabelle looked at me and got into his car.

“Wow it took you five minutes to get out,” Rocky said, starting the car. “Let’s just hope that there’s no traffic on the way.”

“I’m sure it’s only if you go on the freeway,” I said, buckling my seatbelt. “Take the local route. We should get there in time.”

We drove out of my driveway and towards the mall. The trip took about ten minutes to get there. And with a few cars in our way, it was a smooth trip. We made it to the outdoor mall just as people gathered around the tree. It was a big turnout actually, I didn’t expect this many people to be around. Rocky led Izzy and I to the tree; it was currently lightless as we walked among the crowds. Everyone seemed excited to see the tree almost as if they’ve never seen a lit Christmas tree before. We waited about another five minutes or so until someone from the mall stood up on the stage. He began to talk about being together as a community before Rocky poked my back, instructing me to follow him and Isabelle. He led us to the back of the crowd.

“What do you think of this ceremony?” he asked.

“It’s fine I guess,” I said, rubbing my eyes. “Do you have a better idea?”

“Now that you mention it Robby, I figured that we go up to the roof and take a better look at the tree. It’ll only be a few minutes before they light it. And my friend said it’s the best view.”

“Wouldn’t we get in trouble with the police?” Isabelle asked.

“Not if we get there fast enough. Come on, guys it’s gonna be great. Don’t you want to see something like this with a great view? If you only see it once a year, wouldn’t you want the best seat in the house?” Rocky asked, jumping around.

Isabelle looked at me with both eyebrows raised and let out a sigh. She knew that she couldn’t let Rocky do stupid things alone. She zipped up her jacket and agreed to go. Rocky then looked at me. Of course I was worried that we would get into bigger trouble than he thinks. But I do want to see if this view was as great as he said it was. Then again he’s been with me whenever I did something stupid, which is rarely. I bet if this was my idea, he’d go with it.

“Alright fine,” I said. “But we better hurry, I’d bet we have about another five minutes before the tree lights up.”

“All I need is three,” he said, pulling his beanie down over his ears. “Follow me.”

Isabelle and I followed him through the crowd and into the local video game shop. Rocky said that his friend wedged the back room of the store so we can get through the confusing halls and to the ladder to the roof. I have to admit, he was keen on keeping his time limit. We made it through the first half of the building in about maybe a minute and a half. It was when we made it to the back room when there was a problem. Rocky’s friend forgot to mention that there would be a security guard walking around the back areas.

We split up and slowly walked around the guard, but Rocky had some trouble getting around. Isabelle was quick on her feet. She came to his rescue while I looked for the ladder.

“Hey are you supposed to be back here?” the security guard said to Rocky.

“Well… are you supposed to be back here? I mean what you’re going to miss the tree lighting ceremony. I’ll tell you what, I will cover your shift and you and go outside,” Rocky said, raising his hands up to his face.

“I am so sorry about this,” Isabelle interrupted. “We were asked to check our stock. We’ll only be here for ten minutes.”

She managed to persuade the security guard to leave us alone. They caught up with me with a minute to spare. I twisted the lock on the ladder and help them up. Isabelle went up first and Rocky second.  He held out his hand and helped me up as I neared the top.

The roof was empty besides the three of us. Rocky checked his watch. We were right on-time. As we approached the roof, the Christmas tree towered above us like a giant. The speaker was just about to finish his speech. I could see the black remote that controlled the lights. As the speaker finished his speech, he pressed the button and the lights of the tree came on. It started at the bottom and made their way to the top of the tree, where a glowing gold star shined the brightest. I have to admit it, Rocky was right. This view was breathtaking. Even though I see this almost every year, this tree was different. Something about sharing a moment like this with friends makes all the difference.

Isabelle wrapped her arms around Rocky and I and said, “Merry Christmas, you guys.”

The three of us stood there basking in the white lights of the tree into the long night.

“Rob?” Rocky asked.


“Did you prop the door open with something?”