Second draft -
Summer at Grammy's House. Oh Joy. Just what every fifteen year old boy wishes for on summer vacation! So this is to be my fate as my parents iron out the divorce - particularly what to do with me. I'm already missing my friends Mikey and Josh. This is gonna suck, I think to myself as the cab squeaks to a halt at the convenience store where I'm supposed to meet Grammy. I get out and the trunk pops open with a dull 'thunk'. Man it's chilly up here. I pull out my bags and my skateboard - what the hell was I thinking? There's no concrete here - and I put my hand in my pocket as I walk around the driver's side to pay the man. Dad gave me money to pay the cab and told me to give the whole thing to the driver, to cover the tip. We'll see. I look up just in time to see a tangle of white hair bump into my chest. Christ it feels like I hit a tree. I fall back and land on my duffel bag. My board rolls under the car. Great. I look up and Grammy is reaching out to help me up. She looks the same as I remember her: short, with long fine pure white hair, blue twinkling eyes and dressed in brown deerskin breeches and jacket, with a brown blanket draped around her shoulders. She looks kind of like an Indian, right down the moccasin boots, except for her blue eyes. She liked that sort of rustic dress. It suited her. I take her hand and she pulls me up without so much as a grunt. Damn she's strong. Probably from chopping wood or something.
She pays the cab for me and ushers me inside. She tells me to go ahead and pick whatever I want from the store. We step up to the counter with an armload of junk food, candy and a few magazines to help me pass the time. The clerk is a lady about mom's age, skinny with feathered back brown hair. Dressed kind of like a lumberjack, with long-sleeved red plaid flannel and blue jeans. She's skinny, but hard looking - like she'd kick *** in a bar fight. "How much, dear?" asked Grammy. "I told you not to be coming in here. We don't want you in here. Take your **** and leave, you old witch!" Whoa. I can't believe this *****, talking to Grammy that way. Grammy Stanczyk was always the nicest lady. Grammy smiled at her and pulled a crisp twenty from her purse and left it on the counter, whispering something under her breath. The lady behind the counter looked at the money like it was a coiled snake, ready to strike.
We leave the store and I asked Grammy what that was all about. "Oh, I don't know dear. We musn't waste our energies on such people." Was her reply. The sun was starting to touch the top of the trees, casting long blue shadows on the ground. We won't be at her place until nightfall. Grammy doesn't drive. We talk a bit as Grammy takes us across the highway and through the trees. Please don't let her have a heart attack or stroke, because I'll never find my way out of the forest. I feel kind of bad as that thought enters my mind, but It's true. Grammy starts talking to me as we enter the forest. I feel all lightheaded and woozy as she keeps rambling on. Doesn't even sound like English. The world spins and the ground rushes up to catch me.
Trees snap into focus like a camera doing a fast zoom. My head spins for a second and the feeling quickly passes. I'm on my feet and Grammy is clutching my arm in an iron grip, her other arm holding the armload of stuff from the store. "Easy dear, you slipped." I remember falling. I can see a log house just through the trees. Those unique octagon windows between the joined yellow pine logs and the bone windchimes (I always thought those were kind of creepy) mean we could only be at one place. Grammy's House. But we were just at that convenience store and that's a forty five minute walk down the trail to Grammy's house. It should be dark. Whatever. Grammy leads me up the porch and opens the screen door. I survey the clearing as I walk inside. The driveway leading up to her house is overgrown and small foot-tall saplings are beginning to sprout in the trail. She doesn't get many visitors these days. Her greenhouse was fifty yards away, at the edge of the clearing, surrounded by dozens of different flowers and plants, all seeming to grow wild and untended. Stacks of fire wood lined the wall. Burglars aren't a problem if your nearest neighbors were over a mile away. Her door is wide open. Try that in the city. Her place smells comforting; the smells I remember as a child: fresh baked cookies, warm wool blankets, fresh herbs and that Grammy smell - like medicated ointment and something sweet and flowery, but not unpleasant.
Grammy's little house had a living room that you stepped into, with a kitchen behind to the right. The kitchen was stocked with so many herb and spice bottles, hanging from racks and shelves that it looked more like an old time pharmacy I had once seen in an old cowboy movie with my dad. There was a central hall with Grammy's room on the left and the guest room - Peter's room now - on the right. Aunt Debbie's son, Cousin Peter, was a few years older. He used to be cool but started listening to death metal and doing drugs. He got shipped here to Grammy's last year. At the end of the hall were the bathroom and laundry room. The laundry room gave access to the back porch. Grammy didn't have a TV or a phone, so it surprised me to see a computer in the corner. Grammy Saw my excitement and rushed to the computer before I could get there. There was pile of papers in front of the monitor and she scooped them up and hurried down the hall to her room. "Oh, Peter insisted on having a computer, and I must admit that I do enjoy it myself. It's amazing! Everythings on the internet!". "Yea Grammy. That's cool." Unbelievable. She came back from her room and went into the kitchen. She opened the oven and pulled out a tray of cookies. Grammy's spiced cookies were the best thing ever. "Now, just because there's a computer doesn't mean you can stay up all night. Peter tried that and I put a stop to it!". "OK Grammy." I replied. She goes back into the kitchen and comes back over with a tray of cookies and a glass of milk. She musses my hair with her cold bony hands "I know you'll have a nice visit here. Peter is staying with friends for a while and you can have his room". Sweet. At least I don't have to deal with him. I take a bite of crisp, sweet, still-warm cookie and take a drink of the cold milk. Everything always tasted better at Grammy's house.
I finish my cookies and sit at the computer while Grammy sits and reads in the corner in her favorite old wooden rocking chair. It seems to swallow her up, there is such a disparity in size between the chair and her small frame. I think it was her husband's chair. There's a picture of Grandpa Stanczyk over the mantle. An old black and white photograph of him standing next to a horse and cart. He was a bear of a man. They met in Poland and came here after they were married. He died after mom and Aunt Debbie were born. A few years ago mom told me that they had a few boy babies, but they died shortly after birth before her and Aunt Debbie were born. Nobody really talks about Grandpa.
The screen saver has some lame death metal band on it. Peter. "Grammy? How long is Peter gonna be gone?" I ask. "For a while. He's staying with friends." she says, not even looking up from her book - some old leather-bound monstrosity. "How long ago did he leave?" I ask. Her book dips down and she's staring at me with steely blue eyes. Silence. "Tuesday." She quips, as the book raises back up, showing only the top of her wispy white head. "Tuesday?" I pry. She lowers the book to her lap and waves a bony hand at me dismissively "Yes, tuesday! Now play on the computer and let Grammy read". Fine. I check the history and see what sort of sick porn Peter has been looking at. I'm always careful to clear the history at home, in case mom and dad think to check. Nothing could be more embarrasing than having your mom look at the same naked chicks you were spanking it to. Its mostly satanic crap. Stuff about demons and spells. The date says today. Peter's been gone since tuesday and today is saturday. Oh well. If Peter and Grammy set this up, then the time and date settings are probably all messed up. At least there aren't any parental locks or restrictions. I download the instant messenger that me and my friends all use. Mikey's not on, so I send him an e-mail and browse for music. She has decent connection speed. Not as fast as in the city, but decent.
Grammy puts a bony hand on my shoulder and kisses my head. I jump, startled. I didn't even see or hear her get out of her chair and come over. "Good night, Josef" She says. "Good night, Grammy" I reply. "Don't stay up too late! I will get you up in the morning. Early." I let out a sigh. "Okay Grammy." The old cuckoo clock in the kitchen that I've never seen cuckoo says it's 9pm. Man this is gonna suck. I stay up until 10:30 and pick up my stuff and make my way to Peter's room. I am kind of tired and there's no telling what time she'll be waking me. I stop at the door. I hear something coming from Grammy's room. I tip-toe over to listen. She's saying something but I can't make out the words. Maybe she's speaking Polish? I can't tell. It sounds wierd. The tone of her voice sounds... different. It sounds like she's into it, like she's praying, but I've never heard her pray. There are no crosses or whatever on the wall here that he's ever seen. Come to think of it we never went to any sort of church or temple. I never thought to ask if our family was Christian or Jewish or whatever. Not that it matters to me.
I open Peter's door and it's not as bad as I expected. Some dirty laundry in the basket in the closet, but not too bad. It still resembles the guest room, minus a few crappy death metal posters. I set my bags and skateboard down at the foot of the bed. His bed looks and smells clean, so thats good. I strip down to my underwear. I like the feel of the cold sheets on my skin. I stare at the red numbers of the digital alarm clock and think about the trip over here as I drift to sleep. I awaken. I felt like I was falling. As I sit up I hear a crunching and soft rustling under the bed and feel a small bump. I see a dark shape slide slowly out from the foot of my bed. I hear a soft grinding sound as the object glides over the wood floor and veers right and heads toward the closet. Theres a soft thud as it stops. My skateboard. I need new bearings. Thats wierd. Must have propped it on my bags and it slipped off. I kick off the sheets and throw my legs over the edge of the bed. I rub my eyes as I stand up.
I walk over to the closet and pick up my board. Its really cold and I feel a slight dizzyness as I pick it up, kind of like when I fell earlier on the walk to Grammy's. I hold it in my hand for a moment and prop it up in the corner fo the closet. Moonlight is casting a long polygon of blue light along the floor, up the bed to the wall behind it. Those octagonal windows. Only at Grammys. I make my way back to the bed and notice something odd on the wall. No, it's not on the wall, really, but the shadow on the wall. A head. I can see a neck, the shape of ears on the side and shaggy tousled hair. I reach my hand up to my head and the shadow does the same. Just jumpy. I walk back to the bed and movement catches my eye to the right. My shadow, gliding along the right wall. I turn around and look back at the window and there is nothing but the outside clearing and the trees to the far side, illuminated in the moonlight. I look back at the far wall above the bed. Nothing. Dude. I'm just tired. I lay back down and snuggle up in the cool sheets. I run my fingers over my hair. My short hair. I stare at the clock for half an hour before sleep finally comes.
A rap at the door rouses me from a dream. It takes me a moment to realize where I am. Then I smell the spiced potatoes cooking. Grammy's House. The rap comes again. "Josef! Josef! Come eat!" Ugh. "Coming Grammy!" I reply. The sunlight has that golden tinge to it that could only mean early morning. The clock on the night table verifies it. 7am. Its been a while but one thing I remember about Grammy was her zero tolerance policy for sleeping in. I sit up. Dammit. I have a chubby. Great. Well there's zero chance of me taking care of it with her banging on the door, and I'm not gonna chance her walking in on me. I hope it's one of those that goes away quickly on its own. I get out of bed and dig out some clothes and bundle them in front of me as I open the door and walk out toward the bathroom for a shower. Grammy's spiced potatoes were the bomb. I ate three plates full and would have gladly ruptured a gut on a fourth. She's out in her greenhouse when I finish up, putting my plate in the sink.
I hop online to see whats up with the guys. Mikey got back to me and I shoot him back an email. He probably won't wake up for three more hours. Lucky. I throw on my shoes and head out the back porch. The screen door squeaks and slams as I step onto the porch. I lean over the rail and breathe in the air. Man it smells good out here. It is pretty. And the wind through the trees. But I couldn't stand this for very long. Not all summer, anyway. I go down the four steps to the ground and walk over to the greenhouse. Grammy is there with a watering can and gloves, gingerly sprinkling some plants. She sees me and smiles, her blue eyes twinkling. "Did you have a good breakfast, dear?" She asks. "Yea. It was bomb". "What is bomb?" she asks, her brow creasing, her smile replaced by a look of doubt. "You know, bomb? The... bomb? Ok, look, it means good. Really good." Man. Old people. Her eyes light back up and the smile returns. "Oh! Thats good. You are bomb too. You are a good bomb" She gushes. "Thanks Grammy". "I was watering some of my flowers. Peter brought some pretty flowers here". She moved on with her sprinkle can to some tomatos suspended in pots by wire threaded through the roof beams and I saw Peter's 'Flowers'.
There was a marijuana bush in an old red pottery bowl on the ground, three feet tall and just starting to bloom small purple flowers. I had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from busting a gut laughing. Oh man. Grammy's growing weed. "Grammy! thats pot you're growing! marijuana?". "Yes I know. Your mother used to plant seeds in my garden when she was younger and I would make her chop them down when they started to crowd my herbs. The flowers are so pretty!" Oh man. This is too much. Mom? The thought of mom harvesting pot was funny as hell. I never really thought of my mom ever being young. Sure there were pictures and stuff of her, but until now I had never really thought of her as ever being anything but my mom. Grammy grew pot for mom. Thats some crazy ****.
The afternoon was spent sprawled on the couch, reading a magazine while Grammy sat in her rocker, pouring over a large leather-bound book. Probably the same one from last night. I remembered hearing her last night as I went to bed. "Grammy, what religion is our family? Are we Jewish or something, since you and Grandpa came from Poland? I saw some old war movies where they rounded up Jews from poland and killed them." The large book dips down, revealing steely blue eyes. "Your Grandpa was a jew. He was a good man. His family got out before the war and returned after. That is where I met him." She said. Was that a hint of sadness I heard in her voice? "So you're not Jewish? So you're Christian?" I asked. "No. Not Christian, not Jew." She quipped. Something in her tone told me to drop it. The book raises up to cover her face. Oh well, thats fine. My friends are always telling me how lame church is anyway. And it looks really boring on TV. I continue to read for a while.
Supper was interesting. It was a delicious chicken stew with vegetables. Grammy could throw down some kickass meals. It was only after I finished my third bowl that she told me it was rabbit. I didn't care. Not like I was a little kid anymore that would be bothered by that sort of thing. I would eat kitten if it tasted that good. Not really, but it was really good.
I wonder how she caught it. There weren't any guns or anything around for her to hunt with. Not even a pellet gun. I should have brought my pellet gun instead of my stupid skateboard. Not like I'm allowed to shoot it in the city anyway, and I never get to leave the city. God forbid I break a neighbors window or something. Grammy got on the computer until bed time and after she kissed the top of my head and told me good night, I got online. Mikey and Josh were online so we chatted for a bit. It felt good to talk to them. I told them about Grammy's pot and they told me I should bring some back. As if. After I exited the chat program I scrolled up to the history to see what Grammy was checking out. Crazy. More satanic stuff. Pentagrams and spells and ****. Probably **** she had seen in Peter's room. Those dumbass death metal posters. They weren't even scary.
I stayed on until 11:30 and went to bed. I could hear Grammy speaking in her room again. I paused a moment to listen to her. There was a rhythmic sing-song quality to the words. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. My head started swimming and my vision blurred. I took a step back and put my hand against the wall to steady myself. Silence. Grammy's room went quiet. I got the sense that I was intruding on something private. There was a heavyness around me. I fumbled for the door handle and ducked into Peter's room. For a brief moment the air in here seemed cold and even more oppressive, but seemed to clear out by the time I closed the door behind me, like a vacuum that suddenly got a rush of fresh air. I could swear that I even exhaled steam, but it was only for the briefest of moments. I had a headache. the cool bed felt good against my skin. I was sweating. Sleep came quickly, like somebody threw a wet heavy blanket over me, smothering out my consciousness.
I awoke to scrabbling noises and a soft, dry scraping coming from below where I lay. Bugs, perhaps? The thought of a giant forest spider under my bed, or some wierd huge bug wandering in off the back porch and nesting in here creeped me out. I peek over the edge of the bed before I swing my feet to the cool wood floor. I hop up and flick on the light. I catch movement out of the corner of my eye at the window. I turn my head and see a quickly dissipating fog clearing from the window. A hand print fades with it. Forgetting about the bugs, I walk over to the window and put my hands too the side of my face to try and block out the light from the room. Nothing. Moonlight and trees. Grass blowing lazily in the mountain air. Man I think I'm seeing things. I remember the sound under the bed and I walk over, making sure to leave enough room to give warning in case some big-*** bug charges out at me. I hate bugs. I put one hand on the bed and get down on my knees and peer under. I hear dry, brittle scrape as I bend down, like leaves being blown across the sidewalk. Under the bed is pretty clean. A bit dusty, but nothing except a few small peices of lint and a sock. As I raise myself back up, something catches my eye. There's something in the spring of the bed. I can just make something out dangling from underneath my bed.
I quickly scan the room for something within arm's reach that I can use to knock it down. There's rosewood incense holder, inlaid with brass decorations on the dresser. Mom has a similar one at home. It's full of delicate ash and there's a small piece of stick left sticking out of it. I walk on my knees to the dresser and pick it up, shaking out the ash and the used up stick. I crawl back to the bed and peer underneath. It's still there. I carefully extend my arm, getting ready to jump if the damn thing decides to crawl or fly toward me. I hate bugs. I snap the incense stick at it and it falls with a soft crunch. I jump back. It's bigger than I thought it was, but it's not moving. It looks like a birds nest or something. After waiting and being assured that nothing bad would come of it, I reached in and using the incense holder, scrape the thing out from under the bed and move it out into the light. It looks like a litte doll, but made out of dried leaves and flowers. There's a small band of red string around a crude head, with a lock of brown hair tied on it, and there's a torn strip of black cloth with a silver design thats on the chest. It's made out of all sorts of different leaves and flowers. there's a strong herbal smell to it.
I reach out to pick it up and as soon as my fingers touch it, it feels wrong. It makes me feel like I'm covered in a dirty oily film. Like I've dirtied myself deeper than just my skin. The air seems to get sucked out of the room. The heavy feeling I thought I felt earlier returns to the room, but this time there's a strong sense of danger and urgency, like knowing something is traveling toward me at incredible speed from an unimaginable distance. And when it finds me, its going to be bad. Very bad. I scramble to stand up, my feet sliding on the wood floor. I clumsily reach for the door and it swings open, nearly taking my face off.
Grammy is standing in the doorway. Her expression is not cool. I have never seen that face on her before. "Are you sleeping okay, dear? I heard noises." She asks, there's a hardness to her voice. "Yea Grammy, I was just getting up to go pee. Uh. I wanted to sleep on the couch tonight. The moon is too bright." I glance over my shoulder to the doll thing on the floor. It's not there. It's gone. Was that thing real? I know it was. Something happened. I still feel...wrong. I ease the door closed as I slip out of Peter's room. Grandma doesn't move a muscle as I squeeze by, and there is a presence to her - something that I've never noticed. She seems....dangerous. That's a wierd thought but right now the air around her seems charged with a 'don't **** with me' attitude - it seems electric, like I can almost feel it crackling around her. She's just standing there, looking into Peter's room. I scurry down the hall and close the door behind me, a little harder than I wanted to. After a little while of pretending to take a dump, I hear one door close and then another. I splash water on my face and wipe it dry with a flowery hanging hand towel and tip-toe over to the door. I try to open it quietly, but it pops and squeaks, sounding loud in the silence. I sneak down the hall, speeding up as I near Grammy and Peter's doors. I peek into the kitchen and scan the living room. What I'm looking for I don't know, but I feel silly after I do it. Like a scared little kid. Ha. I lay on the couch and lie awake for a while before sleep comes.
I jump up to a sound. The bluish-gold light of early morning spills into the living room, casting long shadows on the wall. Light footsteps outside on the porch. Grammy's up. Man last night was wierd. Was I dreaming all that ****? I hope so. The fog of sleep leaves my head as I sit up in my underwear. At least no chubby today. What the hell, I'm already up. I get up and stretch and rub my eyes, letting out a long exhale. I make my way down the hall, to the back porch. Man it's cold this early. As I step out into the crisp early air I see Grammy at the forests edge. She's kneeling down and surrounded by small fuzzy things. Stuffed animals? No. Rabbits. There's a ring of several rabbits sitting down in front of her. She's bent over and I can just make out her voice, but can't hear the words.
Something else is moving toward her, twigs snap and pine needles crunch. Two chickens come flapping out toward her and something else is pushing through the trees behind them. Something Big. With horns. A large buck with a huge rack comes to the tree line and dips its horns from side to side, stamping it's front feet. Man my dad would love to shoot that thing. Grammy waves at the deer and puts her hands to the ground. One of the chickens runs to her and hops up into her arms. She cradles it like a baby, cooing and stroking it's head. She waves her hand at the other animals and they all dash into the forest. It's like they were never there. Grammy reaches into her deerhide jacket and pulls out something silvery. A knife. She tucks the chicken into her arm and brings up the knife, some old looking thing with colored dots in it. Jewels? I don't get a very good look at it. In one swift motion the knife blurs up and something falls to the ground. The chicken's head. she holds it tight as it flaps and kicks, feathers flying off of it. Then it's still.
She holds the chicken by the feet, the blood dribbling onto the ground. She brings the knife up to her lips and kisses it. I run inside. What the hell was that? I'm sitting on the couch, trying to keep my cool as Grammy enters the living room, holding up a chicken. "Look what I caught in my garden! Chicken for breakfast!" She holds the dead chicken up, pleased with herself. I can see a red smudge on her lips as she smiles. Normally I wouldn't eat that after seeing that crazy stuff this morning, or the weird stuff that might have happened last night, but the smell of that fried chicken and fresh vegetables steaming was more than I could resist. It was delicious. Still, I was kind of creeped out by Grammy. She reached out to brush my hair as I put my plate away and I flinched and jumped. There was a brief flash of something in her eyes. Pity? Sadness? I told her I wanted to go check out the forest and she said that was a good idea. It would get me out of the house and I could enjoy the fresh air.
I walked straight back off the porch to where the chicken died. Reddish brown marks in the dirt and a few red dots drizzled over the grasses and weeds. There were a few rabbit pellets there too. I walked back into the trees and smelled the forest. It smelled so clean. I started to walk deeper into the forest, but the further I got from the house, the more foreboding the forest felt, like I wasn't supposed to go any further. As I made my way back to the house, the feeling went away. It was gone by the time I reached the clearing. Grammy was just coming out of the greenhouse with an armful of herbs and flowers. She greeted me with a smile. I followed her into the house and sat down on the couch, opening another magazine.
Supper was pretty un-eventful. Grammy made spiced potatoes and vegetables. Good stuff. I sat on the computer and chatted for a bit with the guys. Grammy stayed up past her bed time, reading in the corner. When I announced the decision to go to bed, she put down her book and stood up. I told her I wanted to sleep on the couch again. She gave me a scolding look."What? You don't like Peter's room? His posters are too scary? You're not a little boy anymore." Damn. That hurt. "Yea, fine. I'll go sleep in there Grammy." She gave a nod of approval and waited for me to close the door behind me before she went into her room.
I stood there, just inside the room. Not wanting to lie down. I mentally kicked myself in the *** as I walked over to the bed and got down on my knees. I lowered myself down to peek under the bed. Something was under there. I smell herbs and flowers. I don't want to touch it. I go to the closet and grab my skateboard. I slide it under the bed and scoot the thing out from under there. It's different. Green and fresh, not dry and shriveled like the other one was. The strip of cloth on the chest is white with a black letter 'S' on it, traced in pink. I know that letter. Where do I know that letter? Then it hits me. I crawl over to my duffel bag and search through it. My Sex Pistols shirt is missing. My favorite shirt, because it says Sex on it and I like the looks I get from people when I wear it. The goddam thing is wearing a piece of my favorite shirt. Then I notice the lock of hair on it. It's more blonde. My shade. I reach up to touch my hair instinctively and there is a rustle behind me.
I turn around and herb doll is standing up, touching its head in a similar fashion to what I was doing. I lower my arm and jump up. The thing mimics my movement. It turns around and starts walking back under my bed. I grab the skateboard and a yell escapes my lips as the board smashes down on it again and again. There is a profound feeling of sadness that stabs my heart as the herb doll thing explodes into a shower of leaves and flowers. Why am I sad? I should be glad that damn thing is smashed to bits. The room goes dark as the light sputters and lets out a soft pop. That feeling I had hoped I imagined the previous night returns with renewed vigor. The feeling of being hunted by something that will find me no matter what. And when it finds me...oh man. Heavyness settles into the room and it grows even darker than it is. My skin feels a frosty chill and my breath steams from my trembling lips. I can't move. My body will not work even as I scream at myself to haul *** out of here from somewhere in the back of my mind. That chill deepens. I feel that terrible oily stain again, this time spreading from inside me instead of outside. There's a crash to the side of me as the door is knocked inward. Grammy is there, hair blowing in some unseen wind, gown fluttering, eyes looking like steely blue death. A candle is in one hand and her book is in another. Something flashes from her hip. A cruel looking, curved silver dagger with small colored jewels and a pentagram worked into the hilt. Grammy's eyes go to my skateboard and the sad pile of broken plant material. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE JOSEF?" She bellows. Her voice is strong, like it's being bolstered by something powerful. "That manakin was supposed to stay there for them to take instead of you! Peter would not leave his manakin alone either! Quickly! We have to..." Her head snaps up and her eyes dart to the window. Whatever was coming for me is here.
Thanks for reading! This took me a few hours. Once I get an idea I like to let it unravel as I type. I let the story tell me where it wants to go. I didn't really edit it, just kind of cleaned it up as I went, so sorry if there are errors. Please feel free to post your comments.