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He smiled, as he always did in times like this. The times when I couldn't, when it was too hard, inappropriate, or any number of things that kept the corners of my lips from turning skyward, he would always grin; that made everything better, somehow. I need all the hope I can get now, and he knows that, so he keeps smiling.

I wish I understood why it was so cold. It never got this cold; I hadn't even seen snow until four days ago, and now I wish it had never come. White was always my favorite colour, it was innocent, pure. All those cliche things that mean something to someone. I don't try to understand it. What I do understand is that I know that white isn't so pure anymore, innocence hides this frigid malice.

I don't trust it anymore. He does, he always will. Even now as he's melting some down so we have something to drink he smiles, knowing we'll make it out of here perfectly fine. I wish I had his faith. This paradise has become so desolate, so empty, so quickly that I just don't have any hope at all. Maybe this is what SAD is like. If so, then I feel so much pain and sorrow for those who have that disorder. I can't imagine living for months feeling so desperate for light and warmth. I'd kill myself.

I should stop writing and help him with getting a fire going. We're trying not to burn anything varnished, but it's hard to get a fire going with wooden spoons and cabinet doors, especially on linoleum. But he keeps working, knowing that in just a few hours we'll be found. He's been saying that since Monday. Wednesday has come and gone and we haven't seen so much as a flashlight out the window. I'm scared we're the only ones alive, but he's convinced someone will find us soon. He just keeps smiling, cracking jokes. I don't know how he can joke in this situation, but he's always been that way.

I wonder if it's natural for two people stuck together to feel strongly about one another. Love or hate, I think one or the other is inevitable. Maybe that's just my justification for my feelings about him. I never thought it'd be him I'd be stuck here with. Parents out of town, home for winter break from college, having my best friend over. I didn't know he could build fires. Hell, I didn't know that this weather, this frigid apocalypse was going to occur, but it did, and here we are, stuck here. The only thing keeping me from going insane is his smile, his determination, and just his presence.

I think... I think that if it comes to it, I'll burn this notebook. If it comes to either freezing or losing my account of this time, well, these words aren't important enough to keep. We do what we have to to survive. Some of my favorite poems are in here, tales of crushes, math lessons; everything is contained in these pages. Now I write to keep myself sane, and maybe, just maybe if we get out, remind me of this icy hell.

He's got the fire going now. The smoke alarms haven't gone off since Tuesday, but I'm pretty sure we just decided to take out the batteries. I can't remember now, really, but it wasn't important. The warmth feels nice. Even wrapped up in four blankets and a winter coat I've never been this cold.

I haven't eaten, so I think I'm going to stop writing, at least for a little. Rick found some old ramen noodles in a closet, and I think we're going to have those. We have enough food for maybe two more days if we ration it well. I hope someone comes. I don't want to die here.



There are not supposed to be any stupid questions. The stupidest smart question I have ever heard asked was to a writer. The question was, "How do you do it?"
To which the writer answered, "Huh?" And then there was silence. One could imagine the writer composing a cogent response mentally, and when the mental gears got fouled, he was thrust into a caustic zen silence that ate through the very fabric of reality.
-Book of Life, iceowl

The phone rang; the pain in my shoulder vanished and reappeared in my heart. Number Two Son was asking—asking questions about the mass murder at Virginia Tech. So many flashbacks, we had to talk about each one.

How do you do it?

Almost five years ago a failing nursing student and Gulf War veteran named Robert Flores shot and killed three nursing instructors before turning the gun on himself.
It's considered the bloodiest day in the U of A's history. -Virginia Tech Massacre rekindles bad memories, Ed Tribble

Number One Son was on campus when that happened. One of my 4th grade students was in the classroom where the teachers were murdered. Joanna dialed 911 on her cell phone but couldn’t find the words to say so she handed it to another classmate under the desk next to her.

How do you do it?

School shooters tend to act impulsively and attack the targets of their rage: students and faculty. But Harris and Klebold planned for a year and dreamed much bigger. The school served as means to a grander end, to terrorize the entire nation by attacking a symbol of American life. Their slaughter was aimed at students and teachers, but it was not motivated by resentment of them in particular. Students and teachers were just convenient quarry, what Timothy McVeigh described as "collateral damage."

The killers, in fact, laughed at petty school shooters. They bragged about dwarfing the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing and originally scheduled their bloody performance for its anniversary. Klebold boasted on video about inflicting "the most deaths in U.S. history." Columbine was intended not primarily as a shooting at all, but as a bombing on a massive scale. If they hadn't been so bad at wiring the timers, the propane bombs they set in the cafeteria would have wiped out 600 people. After those bombs went off, they planned to gun down fleeing survivors. An explosive third act would follow, when their cars, packed with still more bombs, would rip through still more crowds, presumably of survivors, rescue workers, and reporters. The climax would be captured on live television. It wasn't just "fame" they were after—Agent Fuselier bristles at that trivializing term—they were gunning for devastating infamy on the historical scale of an Attila the Hun. Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power.
-The Depressive and the Psychopath, At last we know why the Columbine killers did it., Dave Cullen

Number One Son stayed home from school for three days after Columbine. As an athlete his name had been put on a “hit list” that was circulating the campus. One kid pointed a finger at him and made the motion of pulling a trigger. I still wonder where were the parents when these kids acquired all these guns and weapons.

How do you do it?

Dear Parents,

On Tuesday, October 17, 2000, a student brought a gun to the high school campus. The Assistant Principal was told by two students that they thought a student might have a gun at school. Within 25 minutes, 2 Assistant Principals, three Tucson Police Officers and school security responded to this information. The student was removed from his class quietly, without any disruptions. The gun was recovered, the student was arrested and transported to Pima County Juvenile Court Detention Center. -Student caught with loaded .38,Lometa

When I asked my son why on earth would this wonderful boy bring a loaded gun to school? My son responded, "It was for protection because he had been threatened by someone."

Then Number Two Son asked for more money on his Cat Card so he could go eat lunch on campus with some friends.

"Is this really what you called for?" I teased.
"Yea" he grinned back into the phone.

How do you DO it?



I sat in line at the Shell off Avery, waiting to get gas. The station was packed, and we were already running late for Los Angeles. A spot opened up in front of me, and I reached down to shift into gear right as a black Infiniti darted in ahead of me and snaked my spot.

"Did you just see that?" I asked the two girls in the car with me.


"That motherfucker just punked my spot."

I grabbed my Maglight and started to get out, and then realized that this gas station has a lot of cameras and usually has a lot of police nearby. I did the smart thing and left the Maglight on my seat.

I strode up to the guy's window and glared at him. He got out, and walked right up to my face, staring me down.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing, asshole?" I asked. "That's my spot."

"Is there a problem here?" he asked me. He was easily twice my size.

"Yeah, I think there is. You're not fucking punking my spot, so get the hell out of my way."

"Fuck you, is there a problem here?"

My fingers flirted with the knife in my pocket, and then pulled away, realizing that this wasn't worth it.

"Yeah, there is. Get the fuck out of my way."

"Get back in your car, it's my spot!"

We went on like this for another 5 minutes, until I happened to glance right and notice that his car was parked on the wrong side of the gas pump.

"Okay," I said, and I walked back to my car to watch events unfold.

He glared at me for a second more, grabbed the gas nozzle, and then realized with dismay that his car was parked on the wrong side of the pump. Unfortunately for him, he was boxed in by my car not two feet behind him, and another car right in front of him. He made a twelve point turn to get out of the space, and just as he managed to exit, a silver Nissan swooped in and took his spot. He once again stepped out of his car, yelled at the Nissan, who eventually acquiesced, and then maneuvered his car back into the spot. By this time, I'd already started filling up my tank at another pump, and was watching with amusement. He refused to make eye contact with me, realizing that he had just made an ass of himself. As I reattached my gas cap, I shouted out the window to him, "That's karma, asshole."
It's such a surreal thing, to realise that someone is always worse off than you.

I'm trying to get contact lenses. I've had glasses for seven years and I can't wait to get rid of the damn things. I've had a few fittings, and today I hoped to get them for real. Only thing is, I can't take the damn things out properly.

My optometrist wasn't keen on letting me take them home. So I was feeling pretty awful about the fact I had to wait a whole week.

Then the local vet rang to say that they'd turned down my work experience application because of occupational health and saftey laws.

Needless to say. I felt very depressed for a while.
Then the news came on. Halfway across the world, thirty-three people had died at an American university.

I felt very selfish simply because all I'd been thinking about was my own problems when thirty-three people wouldn't be going home tonight.

It just felt so... lonely.

The day after the Virginia Tech massacre, one of my classmates said something that has to be one of the most stupid and insensitive things I've ever heard. He suggested that the killer's body should be left above ground to rot (we were discussing the killings, prompted by our teacher). I don't know if he meant against the family's wishes, but if so...

What would that accomplish? The killer is dead, so he probably won't/wouldn't be angry/upset by this act. Why would he care, besides possible concerns for his family's anguish over this act. How is not giving him a proper burial going to accomplish anything? What if the family wants him to have a proper burial, even if they believe he doesn't deserve it? Would my classmate be willing to devastate them like that?

Would it satisfy his victims' families and friends (or the victims (injured or dead) themselves, for that matter)? Does my classmate think they are all that cold hearted? Has he never read Antigone (granted, there are considerable differences between the two situations)?

It makes me slightly queasy to think that one day this man (my classmate) might be helping to run this country. Will his ideas of justice and punishment clash with others'? I highly regret that neither I nor any of my classmates spoke against him. Our teacher didn't even reprimand him. The next time you wonder how so many cruel things could be happening in this world...

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