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When Shakika White was a freshmen in college, she met an intriguing young man by the name of Johnny Jackson. Johnny worked in the library and as Shakika was an avid reader, they would often see each other there. At first Shakika didn't notice Johnny much and when she did, she thought he was too dorky for her to consider dating. Johnny, however, fell in love the first time he saw her reading 1984, which was his favorite book. He wanted to tell her that and start up a conversation, but he was too shy. Instead, he spent the next two weeks kicking himself for it.

Johnny didn't know what it was about Shakika, but for some reason, he
couldn't stop thinking about her. Everyday, he'd watch her from the corner of his eye while she sat and studied or read. She usually came by herself, but sometimes she was
with her friend, Utopia. Utopia was loud and obnoxious and usually made herself appear at the most inconvenient moments; just in time to thwart Johnny's plans.

Finally one day, Johnny had come up with the perfect plan to start talking to Shakika. He ran through it a hundred times in his head and he was so sure of himself that his general mood was jolly enough to excuse his friend, Jack for spilling his chocolate milk on him. Nothing could change his mind or sour his mood, and when he finally arrived at the library that evening he jumped every time someone new entered the room. Of course, she was late and he began to wonder if she wasn't coming that
night after all; but at last, she did and she looked as beautiful as ever.

He approached her, then pretended his was only looking for some book at the last crucial moment. He was sick of living his life that way. He peered over at her. She
was reading The Bell Jar. She really had good taste in books. He whimpered almost loud enough for her to hear. He said to himself, 'Johnny, you and me have been at war for long enough.' He had had of himself.

"Hello," he said. "I see you're reading The Bell Jar. One of my favorites."

She looked up. "Mine too. It's my fourth time."

"Wow!" Johnny said and they laughed together. "I've only had two, myself."

She laughed again. "My name's Shakika," she said and held out her delicate

"I know," he said. "I mean, I work here and you come here a lot, so I know."

"Oh, yeah," she said.

"Uhh, look, do you want to get some coffee or something?"

Normally, she would have said no, since he was rather dorky, but she saw now that he was also a sweetie-pants with good taste in books. "I'd love to," she told him.

And so their romance began. They had much in common, but there were also issues they disagreed on. For example, the time they started throwing furniture around because Shakika liked Count Chocula, whereas, Johnny liked Lucky Charms. Don't
ask. Really.

The most interesting part of their courtship though, was perhaps the time when Johnny was introduced to Shakika's mother, Blanche for the first time. Blanche thought she was quite a comediane, a fact which never ceased to get her into trouble.

One incident of this occurred while the three of them were at McGargle's Video Store trying to get some entertainment for the night. Blanche's favorite movie is an obscure (unsuccessful) film released in 1974. It starred a young man who was working at a fish market and one day decided he wasn't getting paid enough, so he attempted to organize a strike. The only problem was, he was the only one who felt that the job didn't pay enough. (Some scenes suggest that it wasn't really about the money for the young man, but rather that he was disgusted by the fact that he had to touch dead fish.) Blanche thought this was the funniest movie ever, and had rented it enough times to buy about two dozen copies (which would of course have to be specially ordered, due to the obscurity factor).

Unfortunately, Blanche White was the only person on the planet who thought it was remotely funny.

Anyway, on this particular night, McGargle's copy of 'Fish Market Strike' had been rented out to some teenagers who had recently taken to making fun of it. This was the first time in all the years Blanche had been coming McGargle's Video Store that 'Fish Market Strike' wasn't there when she wanted it. As, she wasn't equipped to deal with this type of crisis, she threw at humongous fit.

"This is unbelievable!" she screamed as she swung her fist at a stack of videos that were sitting on the counter. The young man at the desk yelled for the manager over the ruckus of videos tumbling to the floor.

The manager was unavailable at the moment (bathroom) so Johnny stepped up and took control of the situation. "It's okay, Blanche," he said reassuringly. "We'll
watch something else tonight and I'll order you your own personal copy of whatever it's called for an early Christmas present, okay? How does that sound?"

Blanche looked doubtful, but she had halted her tantrum at least momentarily.

"Can I get Skittles too?" she asked.

"Sure!" said Johnny. "We'll all get Skittles!"

"Hooray!" cried Blanche and they all pitched in and got the videos back on the counter. (Johnny paid for any and all damages.) But the thing that really made this event special was the look of love and adoration on Shakika's face as she looked at
Johnny talking to her mother.

If you had looked at Shakika’s face, you might have been able to pin point the moment she fell head over heels in love with Johnny.

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The following comments are for "completely ridiculous"
by getmeoutofthisplace

Slice of life
I really liked how most of this was written. The characters were interesting and the story had a "real" quality to it. I also liked that they were dealing with small everyday problems like being nervous about talking to someone and a movie not being rented.

Usually around here, and I'm as guilty of this as anyone, the problems tend to be catastrophic and life threatening. I'll admit it was refreshing to read a story a little more down to earth. Us dreamers need to read stories like this once in a while. It helps to us to keep our feet closer to the ground. ;)


( Posted by: Richard Dani [Member] On: March 9, 2002 )

pretty good
I liked this. Grabbed my attention and kept it for the rest of the story. I agree with Pareteepants, too, this story was not a life-or-death conflict, and some of us need to be reminded how to write that kind of story every now and then. I think I've forgotten along the way... *g*

Tachyon One

( Posted by: TachyonOne [Member] On: March 9, 2002 )

The story did not inspire me to read it all the way through. So, in commenting on what I did read, let me say itreminded me of a porno script. Hey, there she/he is, lets get naked.

Okay, things weren't that swift, but you knew their getting together was inevitable. Life doesn't work that way. We all take two steps forward and then one step back. Nothing usually works on a straight line.

Can say the characters sounded like they could be friends if not lovers. To me, it just seemed the courtship was very limited to permit this.

( Posted by: Ronspinon [Member] On: March 10, 2002 )

Re: ronspinon
God, if us writers were restricted to only writing what is plausible and realistic, fiction would indeed become a very boring business in which to participate!

No, life doesn't produce a perfect romance. It doesn't produce ships that travel at warp speed, either. Neither does it allow beautiful mermaids or horrifying zombies...or destined love. That's fiction. You're gonna have to get used to suspending your disbelief if you want to read anything that's interesting.

You're right, nothing usually works on a straight line. We write about the things that could've been, you got a problem with that?

Tachyon One

( Posted by: TachyonOne [Member] On: March 10, 2002 )

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