“Ian, it’s time to go to your new preschool,” Amy said, picking Ian up and taking off his pajamas.
“Hey!” Mia exclaimed. “You’re in public. Don’t you want to respect others?”
“Oh please,” Amy replied. “Ian’s just four, and besides, you should see what everyone else’s characters are doing. If this offends you, heaven forbid you wander around Wrimonia while everyone else is writing.” She continued undressing Ian and grabbing a pair of pants that had appeared out of nowhere. “Ian,” Amy said. “Come. Here.” She handed him the pants. Ian put them on without complaint. The shirt, however, was another story.
“Ian,” Amy said. “You’re going to put on this shirt.”
Ian looked at it. “I don’t wanna wear this shirt,” he said. “I wanna wear this one.” He walked to a hamper and pulled out a dirty green shirt–the same shirt that he wore the day before.
“You can’t wear that one,” Amy told him, sighing. “You wore that one yesterday, and there’s still a spaghetti stain on it.” She pointed at the front of the shirt where Ian had spilled sauce on it the night before at dinner.
“Yes, I can,” Ian said. “I wanna.”
Amy dug through the dresser. Mia was amazed at how the furniture had magically appeared as her characters called for them, but she had no time to wonder about it; she had to write down their action as they were talking. “Here’s another green shirt, Ian,” Amy said. “See, it looks just like the dirty green shirt. Will that do?”
“No,” Ian said. “I want the green one.” He raised his hands up, and Amy took advantage of this moment and slipped the shirt over his head. Success. Ian looked down at the shirt and saw the lack of spaghetti stain. “It’s not the same one.”
“Well, it’ll have to do,” Amy said. “Now let’s go. We’re going to be late, and I have to go to work.” The furniture disappeared, and new furniture appeared in its place: blocks on the floor, a sink in the corner, an alphabet rug, a bookshelf, a small table surrounded by about ten seats, most of which were occupied with children about Ian’s age, and a smiling teacher with frizzy black hair standing next to Amy.
“Good morning,” the woman with frizzy hair said.
“Hey,” Mia said, poking the woman. “Who are you?”
“Will you let me finish this scene?” the woman said. “I’m trying to register your character’s kid in my class. Chill out.”
“He’s not my character’s kid, he’s my character’s brother, so you chill out. I need a name for you.”
A single red crayon sat in the middle of the table, and two kids sitting on either side of an empty seat spotted it. Both of them reached for it at the same time.
“Mine!” the boy yelled.
“Nuh-uh,” the girl yelled back. “I grabbed it first.”
“I like red more,” the boy said. They kept pulling at the red crayon, each trying to grab it from the other’s grip, and finally the crayon snapped in half, the girl emerging semivictorious with the pointy end of the crayon. The boy burst into tears.
“She took my crayon,” the boy said, pulling on the teacher’s slacks.
“Jack, the crayons are for everyone,” the teacher said, looking at the broken crayon end in Jack’s hand. “Here, you can color with that half, and Moirah can color with that half.”
“But I wanted all of the crayon!” the boy exclaimed. Mia sat with her laptop, typing rapidly. She had no idea where this storyline would take her plot, but she figured it would take her somewhere.
“Wait a minute,” Mia exclaimed, jumping up after another minute of debate over crayons. “You!” She pointed at the frizzy-haired teacher. “You still haven’t told me who you are yet.”
“But I told you,” the teacher replied. “I’ll tell you in a minute. Now be patient. This kid can be vicious when he’s not soothed properly.” The boy was now trying to grab the other half of the red crayon from the girl, and the woman took advantage of this opportunity to separate them before returning to Amy and Ian. “Good morning,” the woman said. “Sorry about that, this is a rather feisty group.”
“Well, good,” Amy said. “That means Ian will fit in just fine.”
“Excellent,” the teacher said. “You called me last week, is that right?”
Amy nodded. “Amy Cramer,” she replied. “And this is Ian,” she added, nodding at Ian, her hand on his head. His hair was messy despite Amy’s attempts to comb it. She ran her fingers through it, trying to straighten it out. It didn’t work.
“Your son?” the frizzy-haired woman asked.
“Brother,” Amy corrected her. The woman looked taken aback.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “Please forgive me.”
Amy shook her head. “I get it all the time,” Amy said. “Really, you don’t have to apologize. And remind me of your name again?”
“Sasha,” the woman replied. “I’m the teacher in the prekindergarten class. We prepare kids for kindergarten next year. Is Ian old enough to be registered for kindergarten next year?” Amy nodded; she had checked on this fact over the summer. Another woman entered the room.
“Whoa, wait,” Mia said. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Really,” the woman replied, looking at Mia. “Do you really expect Sasha to handle a class of ten four-year-olds by herself and give you a tour of the preschool at the same time?” This woman was short but formidable and had her blonde hair up in a tight bun. She also wore jeans and a baggy red shirt. “And since I know you’re going to keep poking me until I give you a name, I’m Kara.”
“Thank you, Kara,” Mia replied. “But really, who are you?”
“I’m the director of this preschool,” she replied. “I’m here to give you a tour of the preschool.”
“Wait a minute,” Mia said. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to meet you first instead of Sasha?”
“Please,” Sasha said. “Don’t you remember the phone call with Amy? She said to come here first. It makes no sense whatsoever, but that’s just how we roll.” Mia shook her head. Clearly she had been defeated.
“Can’t you people just make sense?” Mia asked. “Amy, who did you talk to you when you called the preschool?”
“The director, of course,” Amy replied. “Kara.”
“And what did she say?”
“She said to come here,” Amy replied. “To the classroom. Then she’d come here because she was observing another class with a new teacher and would be running a little late into your presence.”
“But wouldn’t it make sense to, oh I don’t know, make you wait at Kara’s office?” Mia’s head boggled. What was going on with her story?
“Oh,” Kara said. “Yes. Oops. Sorry about that.”
“Stop,” Mia said, pushing Kara out of the scene. “You. Out of the way.” She looked at the crayon. “Is there any way we can repair that crayon?” she asked. “I really need to rewind this scene.”
“Rewind?” Kara asked. “And why did you push me out? I need to be in this scene.”
“You’re not in this scene,” Mia insisted. “You just created a huge plot hole that I need to fix. Now get out.” Kara pouted but still didn’t leave the vicinity.
“And no, you can’t fix it,” Sasha said. “It has already happened.” Mia looked down at her laptop and tried to backspace the entire scene.
The backspace key didn’t work. She tried positioning the cursor at the beginning of the scene and using the delete key. Still nothing. “But there’s a typo right here!” Mia exclaimed. “Teh should be The! Someone let me fix that!” She tried again. That, miraculously, worked, but deleting the entire scene did not. In fact, her characters stood just as they were, Kara still upset that she had been pushed out of the scene. She sneaked back on the stage.
“You’re keeping these words, Mia,” Kara said.
“Why should I?” Mia asked. “They suck. They create a plot hole that anyone can see through.”
“Well, we’ll just scratch it up to faulty logic and move on,” Kara said, shrugging. “Now let’s go on the tour, shall we?” she said to Amy and Ian. Mia looked back to Sasha and the kids. They were now standing on the alphabet rug and singing songs.
“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round,” everyone sang.
“Let’s go,” Amy said. The scene changed as they walked out of the room, and Mia gave up and continued to write.
“Final word count for day one: one thousand, seven hundred two words,” the robot said as Mia entered her word count into the now repaired robot. A graph popped up on the robot’s display panel, and Mia saw that she was on track to finish fifty thousand words. She jumped in the air. She had done it! Well, for day one, anyway.
Mia looked around Wrimonia. Most of the robots were in working order now, and Dan was still tweaking with one that was lying on the ground. The forums were no longer boarded up, and traffic flowed in and out of the forums quite nicely, despite there being many more people in Wrimonia than the day before. Somehow, though, Wrimonia felt bigger than it did before, not just in number of people but in size as well. The buildings were bigger and in better shape. The paths from forum to forum were bigger and freshly paved, something Mia only noticed when she saw more people but a similar crowd in getting from popular forum to popular forum. There were more eraser benches and writing spaces, all of which were newly designed and nicer-looking than ever. More robots wheeled around Wrimonia, now chipper and glad to help people with their word count requests. The signs that had been knocked over that day now stood up proudly, and the one nearest Mia reminded her that she could contact the NaNo staff at Wrimo Hall if she had any questions about NaNoWriMo.
All was well. She reached her goal, her characters were in good shape, and her characters were getting started on the adventure of a lifetime. She looked up and saw that her own blue bar was beginning to fill up. It wasn’t as full as the bars of others, but it was something. Right?
Happy new year! I’m currently fixing some ham and bean soup to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Mia has some interesting characters on her hands. We’ll see if they stay around.
Feel free to link this on your blog, Twitter, whatever. Just don’t pass this off as your own, and we’re cool.
I highly encourage you to donate to the Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that runs NaNoWriMo, if you enjoy this tale of noveling madness. If you donate in the new year, your donor goodies will appear in the month before the event you donate to (NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy).
If for some strange reason you’re really into giving money to Internet strangers who write somewhat humorous things, I won’t complain. You can do that at the link below.