The Days of Our Pandemic: episode &

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Outside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, a formerly cranberry red Sun Chips bag brushed its way along the street. The bag used to be vibrant, presumably when it was opened and its contents consumed, but that had been long ago. Too long ago to carbon date just when. Back in the time before the pandemic. When children walked to school and ran about the neighborhood, sharing snacks with one another. When adults pulled cars out of driveways of homes and into parking structures of offices and sat next to other adults from a household other than their own. The world no longer operated so carelessly, and the reflection of the sun on the silver foil of the pink-striped Sun Chips bag reminded anyone who could see it that the world was a dangerous place. 

Inside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, K sat backwards on a couch, gazing out the bay window at the sun’s shimmer on the aforementioned Sun Chips bag. She sighed a mournful, longing sigh. As the sigh left her lungs, it took with it the energy that held her upright, and her head descended onto the back of the sofa. Her eyes blinked with the weight of isolation.

K breathed deeply, several times in succession, inflating herself like a birthday party balloon until she stood and walked into the bathroom.

“Good morning, Z,” said K.

“Good morning, K,” said Z.

The bathroom wall groaned.

“And good morning to you, Rochelle,” Z said.

“Z,” said K, “I have a plan.”

You have a plan?” asked Z. “It’s my job to create with my enormous brain while you, you, you –”

“I have a plan.”

Z settled then smirked with the thought of forthcoming entertainment at K’s expense.

“What kind of plan do you have, K? For what purpose?” asked Z.

“I’m going to bust us out of this joint,” said K.

Z looked out from the vanity mirror bemused, as though entertaining a toddler’s notions to fly to the moon.

“Is that so?” said Z.

K searched her surroundings as though a spy were trailing her. “No, Z. There’s no sewing involved. It’s a busting plan,” said K.

“Mmmmm, a busting plan as in the replication of the human form from approximately the torso up.” Z was being purposely difficult. “Will you compose this bust of stone? Of wood?”

K’s eyes were wide with the thought that perhaps she did not know what her own plan was. “Ummm. The bust is — it would be — it’s not stone.” Then a thought occurred to her. “Is it stone? What are the walls made of? Because I’m planning to bust us out of these walls.”

“I see,” said Z. “And how might you plan to accomplish this feat that I have been unable, thus far, to effect?” 

“I won’t use my feet, Z. I’ll use my arms. Actually, is a shoulder a part of the arm?”

“How will your shoulder conduct itself to free us?” asked Z.

“The shoulder is the most important part, Z. See? No sewing.”

“Unless with have to sew your shoulder back on after this impending disaster,” muttered Z to herself.

What is K up to? Can she succeed where Z has only failed? And if so, how will Z take it? Find out next time in The Days of Our Pandemic

Days of Our Pandemic: episode p

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Wonky Way Lane was home to innumerable creatures. Some were constantly fighting over territory and food, like the pair of peregrine falcons who flew ominously into frame. Or the family of rabbits on the east side of the street that engaged in a bitter, broiling battle for rule of the road, until the night one east-sider fell in love at first sight with one west-sider so that the two eloped the next morning and might have never lived happily ever after if it weren’t for Tybalt. But, I digress. For we concern ourselves not with the falcons or the rabbits, the foxes or the fairies. No, our scene takes place inside one home in particular. One house on Wonky Way Lane that housed some wonky ways. That house was the lavender house with blue violet trim, the one that waved a purple COVID flag, where inside, lived K and Z, with whom we are concerned. Or, at least, for whom we are concerned. Observe, Reader, from your safe distance on the far side of the screen lest you spiral into what you discover…

The sun was sunning through the slight window high above K’s head as she brushed her teeth with her eyes closed because the sun was sunning right into her eyes and she didn’t realize it would not if she only stepped one step over to the right or the left. 

“Whmf wef ui boehee, Pee?” asked K over the buzz of the electronic toothbrush inside her mouth.

“What did you call me!?” said Z, enraged by K’s name-calling so early in the morning.

K spoke again. “I faed whmf wef ui suigg boehee?”

“Would you take that blasted thing out of your mouth ere you emit another word in my presence?” demanded Z.  

K pulled the toothbrush from her mouth and cleared her throat to speak. Before she said a word, Z was yelling at her.

“Turn off the toothbrush! Turn off the toothbrush!” Z’s forearm covered her face as toothpaste splattered against the vanity mirror out from which Z looked.

K pressed the button that turned off the toothbrush. 

“Oopsies.” K grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, Z.”

Z removed her forearm as protection and looked at the spotted glass. 

“Well,” said Z with barely veiled disgust, “you’re going to have to clean this up before we get to the plan for the day.”

“The plan?” said K. “Oh boy! Oh boy! I love the plan!” K clapped her hands together and jumped up and down, forgetting the bath towel hanging across a clothesline in the bathroom. She jumped up into it, panicked, flailed, got caught up in it, and pulled the entire thing down on herself.

“Help! Help, Z! Help! Something’s got me! And it’s stolen the sun! Help!” 

Z looked straight out her mirror at Rochelle. “Can you believe this nonsense?”

A low rumble came from the walls themselves.

K’s foot kicked itself out from under the bath sheet.

“Light! I see light!”

Z rolled her eyes.

K continued her fight with the towel. Rolling, cursing, and finally, emerging, she pinned the towel beneath her knee. She shot her hands into the air. “Victory!”

“Yes, hardly won,” said Z.

“Yes! Hard won victory!” said K. K stood and grabbed the towel from the floor. She rubbed the defeated towel against Z’s face until all the spots were gone.

“I’ve healed you, Z,” said K.

“Thank you, K,” said Z, choosing which battles of language to fight with K.

“Now,” said K, dropping the towel back on the floor, “what are we going to do today, Z?”

“The same thing we do every day, K. Escape the enclosure of these four walls.”

“Mwuah ha ha ha ha ha,” rumbled from the walls and ricocheted through the room. 

“Stop! Stop! Stop, Rochelle!” K stomped. She covered her ears. She stepped on the towel with one foot. And got caught under the towel with her other foot before finding her face on the floor not far from where her feet should have been.

A high-pitched squeal akin to giggling fell over and through the room.

K bounced to her feet. “I will not be mocked, Rochelle!” K shouted.

“Enough!” Z’s martinet tone draped over K and Rochelle and even the east and west side rabbits heard. “We shan’t waste the day with such shenanigans. We have plans to enact.”

“What will we be acting in today?” asked K.

“I’ll show you. Take me to the dining room!” ordered Z.

You, Reader, may want to avert your eyes to what you are about to see. But Z had no such warning. Discover what Z sees in the dining room, if you can stomach it, which you can, because you stomach K regularly already (and no this does not mean you eat or digest her….please do not do that because that would be an undesirable end to this series…but I think I was trying to tell you something relatively important to this story….Oh yes! You’ll stand strong in the dining room with K and Z) in the next installment of Days of Our Pandemic!

Vlog Book Review: The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother)

Hit Play on the video above.

Premise: Lucas’s brother Aidan disappeared. For a week, he was nowhere to be found. When he reappears as mysteriously as he disappeared, the entire community is thrilled, but Aidan’s story about where he’s been alters how people react.

Rating: 2.5/5
Target: 4-7

Motifs: truth, camaraderie, belief, friendship, brothers, public opinion, perception, rejection vs. support, LGBQTIA+

Title: not much significance here, other than the potential misconception that the bulk of the narrative will be in Aidan’s words. Lucas tells this narrative. It’s about him and his conflict given Aidan’s disappearance and reappearance.

Main Characters: Aidan (12 y.o. he/him), Lucas (11 y.o. he/him)

Great for…* (readers): who appreciate a story without a lot of action or are looking for positive LGBTIA+ adult role models

Great for…* (teachers): theme/motif development, small groups/reading circles, words of the wiser (Notice&Note)

Shop local bookstores.
Shop Amazon.
Add on Goodreads.

*The “Great for” category is not exhaustive and does not intend to neglect the multitude of readers/teachers who could learn from this book in any number of ways.

RATINGS GUIDE

٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend

Days of our Pandemic: episode m4

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what happened in the previous episode (i) of The Days of Our PandemicOr start from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode m, part 3, K and Z discovered a present on the porch. What’s it it and whose it from? Read on! It’s time to begin the end of episode m.

K grabbed the box from the porch with greed, as though grabbing at freedom and fresh air itself. She brought it inside, showing Z. She tore into it. 

“It has a note,” said K.

“Show it to me,” said Z.

K held the note up to the mirror for Z to see.

“Open it first!” said Z.

“Well you didn’t say that,” said a peeved K.

K opened the note and showed Z the message on the note.

Z read aloud. 

Dear KZ Rochelle,
We figured those boys of yours must be eating you through house and home now that they’re there at home all the time, so we’re sending you these supplies.
With Love, Your Parents

Z looked up from the message into K’s eyes. “There are boys here?” Z asked far too calmly.

“Yes, Z. My boys,” said K.

“Your sons?” asked Z.

“Of course, Z.” K laughed. “You are so silly sometimes.”

“You have sons!?” Z yelled. “And just what have they been doing this whole time!?”

“I don’t know, Z. Playing video games?”

Just then, K’s phone beeped.

“Oooooh!” said K. “A message.”

K pulled out her phone and opened it up. 

K read the message. “Although your milk flag was noted by our system, you will not receive a delivery today as you are not permitted to receive more than one grocery delivery in a single day. We look forward to serving you in the future.”

“Damn it, K!”

“What is it, Z?”

“Don’t you understand?”

“Yes. I understand that you understand and I understand the chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy norma—”

Z interrupted K. “I know! I know! You understand the chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy normalized to the amount of substance.”

“I do,” said K.

“But what you don’t seem to comprehend is that our plan has been foiled!” said Z.

“Shall I put foil on this food?” asked K.

“Oh, goodness,” said Z.

“Good, yes,” said K and she closed up the box to begin wrapping its exterior in tin foil.

With one side foiled, a door squeaked open.

“Hey, Mom,” said a tweenage boy from underneath a cap. “Do you want to play video games with us?”

“I surely do,” said K and ran off to play video games, leaving Z alone on the floor of the foyer next to a large foil-covered box where she sat cogitating how they would certainly escape the confines of these four walls with tomorrow’s plan.….

Will K and Z escape their four walls with tomorrow’s plan? Find out in the next installments in The Days of Our Pandemic

Days of Our Pandemic: episode m3

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what happened in the previous episode (i) of The Days of Our PandemicOr start from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode m, part 2, they were considering all the wonderful national forests they could visit after a successful escape via their grocery delivery steal away scheme.

“But you get the idea. We will visit a myriad of national forests and document our excursions via photography.”

K pulled her phone from her back pocket.

A flash went off in Z’s eyes.

“What was that for?” Z asked through spotted vision.

“To document the beginning of the excuses for photography.”

“Excursions,” corrected Z.

“Exactly,” said K.

“Oh, forget about it,” said Z, extremely exasperated with K and her lacking exactitude yet again. 

“Can we play a game now, Z?” asked K.

“What game?” asked Z.

“Simon Says,” said K.

“Sure, K,” said Z, too annoyed to bother redirecting K. 

“I do love Simon Says,” said K.

“So you say,” said Z.

“Not me, Z. Simon. Simon Says,” said K.

“As you wish,” said Z.

“As you wish for what?” asked K.

“Must we do this again?” asked Z, recalling a similar conversation from yesterday’s attempted escape from the enclosure of these four walls.

“What again?” asked K.

“The same thing as yesterday,” said Z.

“I thought we did the same thing every day,” said K.

“We do,” said Z. “But not that.”

“I don’t understand,” said K.

“I know,” said Z.

“But you know what I do understand, Z?” asked K.

“You’ve already said,” said Z. 

“Yes, The chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy normalized to the amount of substance. But also,” said K, “what you said reminds me of a game I like. It’s called Simon Says.”

“Perhaps we should play it then,” said Z.

“Oh can we?” asked K, clapping her hands together. “I’ll be Simon.”

K put her hands on her hips. 

“Simon says…”

So K and Z played Simon Says while they waited for the groceries to be delivered. But they did not play very long. Afterall, Z hated Simon Says. She was not all that interested in Simon or his commands. He was an altogether bossy figure.

“You’re losing, Z,” K said. “You have to do what Simon Says.”

“I think Z says it’s time to position ourselves by the front door.”

K, forgetting they were playing Simon Says rather than the normal Z Says, grabbed the vanity mirror and rushed toward the front door. 

“See if you can open it, K,” said Z.

K struggled with the door. She grabbed the knob with both hands. She turned. She twisted. Then she turned and twisted her wrists so that the doorknob turned and twisted too.

“Ouch,” said K.

“What?” said Z.

“It seems I have a bruised wrist,” said K. “I wonder how that happened.”

“Oh my,” said Z.

“Yes. Oh, my wrist,” said K.

“Okay. Just open the door with your other hand only,” said Z.

K turned the knob with her left hand. She pulled. The door didn’t move.

“It won’t move, Z.”

“I can see that, K. Did you unlock it?” asked Z.

K flushed. She giggled at herself. “Oopsies,” she said.

K unlocked the door. She turned the knob with her left hand. She pulled. The door swung inward.

“Oh, look!” delighted K. “A box for us! It’s a present!”

Is it a present? And if so, what’s inside? Who’s it from? Or is K just confused again? Find out in the final installment of episode m tomorrow in The Days of Our Pandemic.

The Days of Our Pandemic: episode m

a pinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Outside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, two male rabbits strode nonchalantly down the middle of the road, a road rarely ridden by cars or bikes or even scooters. The inhabitants of the homes on Wonky Way Lane lived, breathed, exercised, baked banana bread, and did not dance much, all inside their homes since the great big and powerful (yet small and slight) Corona Virus began to conquer the world and establish its reign by reining the world in. Each and every home waved the COVID flag in a color designated by the governor and mandated by the virus itself. 

So, inside the lavender home waving a purple flag on Wonky Way Lane, K and Z prepared for the day. Observe, Reader, from your safe distance on the far side of the screen lest you spiral into what you discover…

K brushed powder onto her face, a habit that used to be reserved for days she left the house, but was now an everyday occurrence despite the fact she never left.

“What shall we do today, Z?” K asked the reflection in the mirror. “I’m powdered for the process.”

“The same thing we do every day, K,” Z responded. “Escape the world enclosed by these four walls.”

At the mention of such a plan, Rochelle’s cackling filled the walls themselves and pulsed into the boringly beige bathroom. 

Z covered her ears.

“Stop, Rochelle!” K hit the wall with the outside of her fist. 

The cackling continued.

“RO-Chelle!” K pounded hard enough to bruise the outside of her wrist. In fact, she did bruise the outside of her wrist. K cradled her own hand and Rochelle ceased her cackle with a moan of regret.

“Oh, K,” Z said, “when will you learn?”

“Me?” said K. “It’s Rochelle’s fault.”

The walls creaked.

“Was too!” K yelled.

The walls creaked.

“Too!”

Creak.

“Too!”

Creak.

“Too!”

“ENOUGH, you flibbity gibbets! Rochelle, you know better than to egg K on. She’s not insulated, to insults or anything else, as you are,” said Z.

Rochelle moaned a response.

“I know, I know,” Z told her. “You didn’t insult K, but she’s very tender in this time of isolation. That’s why we must accomplish our goal today.”

“What goal is that, Z?” asked K who had already forgotten Z’s words from a minute before.

“To escape the world enclosed by these four walls.”

“That sounds lovely, Z.” K’s eyelids fluttered like the wings of the butterflies she imagined herself cavorting with in the forest beyond Wonky Way Lane. “How will we do that?”

“That’s what I’ve been working on since yesterday’s Transportationonometeration Machine disaster.”

“Yeah, a disaster,” said K.

“Don’t remind me!” Z exclaimed before muttering to herself something about the feel of paper between her fingers, though K could not compute.

Z tapped her fingertips together as K watched, transfixed. K tried to mirror Z’s motions from the mirror, but she kept missing and grazing the budding bruise on her wrist.

“Ouch.” …. “Ouch.”

“Oh, just leave that to me, would you?” Z said. K stopped trying. “I will tell you the plan for today.”

K looked eagerly to Z.

“We will use the flag system to our advantage.”

How can the flag system work to K & Z’s advantage? And will they find success? Continue next time with The Days of Our Pandemic.

Vlog Book Review: Amari and the Night Brothers

Check out the book trailer referred to in today’s vlog.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 —- 4/5 for adventure enthusiasts

RATINGS GUIDE

٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend