<![CDATA[Plot Brownies - Blog]]>Mon, 21 Dec 2015 14:28:24 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Update From Matt and Elysia]]>Mon, 21 Dec 2015 21:58:29 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/update-from-matt-and-elysiaHey PlotHeads!
You may be wondering why there hasn’t been any new content in a while. We have an explanation for you. Elysia recently got representation for her novel, and has been working through the process of approaching publishers in the near future. Matt has just finished the first draft of his latest novel, and is currently editing the manuscript, so that he can begin seeking representation.

Fear not! We’re also working on outlining and planning a new story, so keep your eyes open for updates. Expect something even better than We Keep On. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
​​
P.S. See you soon!



-Matt & Elysia

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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapters XI & XII]]>Sat, 10 Oct 2015 02:42:59 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapters-xi-xiiWe've come to the end of our story! Tonight's post features Chapters Eleven (written by Matt) and Twelve (written by Elysia), which also happen to be the last chapters of We Keep On. Hopefully you've enjoyed this story, and enjoy the ending accompanied with it. If you haven't read the previous chapters, check them out here:

Chapter Ten
Chapter Nine
Chapter Eight
Chapter Seven
Chapter Six
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two

These may be the last two chapters of We Keep On, but fear not! Elysia and Matt are working on a new story. Keep up with them on Twitter for updates, and keep checking in here for more stories. 

​Thanks again for tuning in this whole time -- it means the world to us to have your readership!

Chapter XI: TOby

     Why must all good things come to an end? I think to myself, staring at the very last box in the newly spacious living room. I check the box for something precious or extraordinary, dramatically unfolding the cardboard with anticipation, only to find a box of doilies. How anticlimactic.
    I close the box and sigh with disappointment. “Doilies!” I call to Milly in the kitchen. “Basement or Goodwill?”
    “Goodwill,” Milly says. “Only old people use doilies.” Silly me. “But put that on pause and come in here for just a minute.” Quizzically, I set down the box and join them in the kitchen. Millicent and Marley are seated at the small round table across from each other with mugs of lemonade. I know, lemonade in a mug? Weird. “Have a seat,” Milly requests.
    “What is it?” Marley asks.
    “Listen,” Milly starts. “I know you kids didn’t want to come here. You probably rolled your eyes at the thought of starting your summer with a kooky old widow. But I’m impressed with your character. You two are great kids.” Marley grins gratefully.
     “Thanks, you’re not that bad,” I tease. “Sure, you’re a little weird, admittedly, but you’re cool, too,” I say.
    Milly lets out a laugh. “I commend you for your honesty. Now, I know you didn’t come here under the best circumstances, and I know that things are seemingly falling apart at home...” She got so serious so fast. “Don’t worry, I swear to you I will not lie to your face and tell you how ‘things will get better’ and ‘change isn’t always what we want.’ Truth is, life is a pain in the ass, a constant fight between happiness and survival. Just remember you are who you choose to be, and no matter what choices your parents make, you aren’t bound by their choices. Forgiveness is the hardest thing in the world, but the sooner you discover it, the faster you heal. Also, here’s fifty bucks for each of you.” She reaches her hand across the table with two crisp bills folded in half.
    Damn.


Chapter XII: Marley

​     Fifty bucks. I hold the bill in my hand, while the other rests on my mug of lemonade. I know, weird, but Milly insisted that everything’s better in a mug. I don’t know that she owns regular water glasses.
​     Almost as if on cue, there’s a knock on the front door. I glance at Milly’s retro clock in the kitchen and see that it’s five of five. Mom’s just on time. Although I had never anticipated the feeling today, I start to feel sad when I realize that we’ll have to go home.
​     “Alright, kiddos,” Milly says, standing up. “I think that’s your ride.”
​     Toby stretches his arms above his head. “Can’t believe it’s five already,” he says.
​     “Me neither,” I agree, gulping down the rest of my lemonade. My stomach gurgles, and I can’t help but think about what we’re going to have for dinner tonight.
​     “Come in!” Milly yells. It’s almost like we’re replaying this morning. I half-expect Mom to respond with a it’s just me, Lori!, but Toby’s opening the door before Milly has the chance. I’m not far behind him.
​     The look on Mom’s face when Toby opens the door is priceless. It’s almost as if she’s expecting to see us skinned alive and hanging from the ceiling. Her eyes are wide, and her fist is raised to knock on the door again. Her shoulders noticeably relax when she sees that we are, indeed, still in one piece. Her eyes drop to the bills in our hands, and she smiles.
​     “Good day?” she asks. Milly brings up the rear of our little trio.
​     “Wonderful,” Milly says.
​     “I see that you’ve made some progress,” Mom says, pointing to the stacks of boxes outside Milly’s front steps. Her eyes are still a little wide as if she’s expecting us to, at any moment, run screaming from the house and into the van.
​     “They were like lovely little elves,” Milly says, smiling with her hands on her hips. Back to fruitcake status.
​     “I’m sure they were,” Mom says, frowning slightly. She’s not yet used to Milly’s eccentric language. “We better get going,” she says.
​     “Thank you for having us, Milly,” I say. I mean it, too.
​     “You’ll both have to come back soon,” Milly says. “And we’ll have make those plans that we talked about.” She winks at Toby and I, and I can’t help but smile. I know that Mom will pester us about what exactly she’s referring to, but for now it’s our secret.
​     By the time we’re in the van, Milly has already disappeared into her not-quite-a-mansion. I’m in the back, because due to our small age difference, Toby’s got dibs on the front seat.
​     The line of questions begins rolling in.
​     “How did it go? Did you guys have fun? It wasn’t that bad, was it?” Toby and I answer in one word remarks.
​     “Good. Yeah. Nope.”
​     Mom sighs. “Fine. Don’t give me details.”
​     “Okay,” I say. Toby snickers and Mom grins, shaking her head.
​     I feel like I should--or at least one of us should--ask about how it went with Mom and Dad today. We should ask if there were any problems, or if the deed had been done, but I don’t want to ask. I don’t want to think about what’s to come, or what we’re leaving behind. I want to think about the happy old lady in the house with the raccoon, and the things that she said. I want to think about forever lasting today, and about necklaces and old books, and love that’s to come. I want to think of how things can go right, and how casseroles are much better with Ritz cracker topping. ​  
​     So I don’t ask Mom about the divorce. And, okay, we finally cave and give details. We laugh about Cheerio, and about underwear hanging from the ceiling, and about Toby being all superhero-ish and coming through a wall.

     We don’t talk about divorce papers and painful memories, and how there’s no clear view of this trail we’re on. But sometimes that’s how life is. Sometimes you have to enjoy the view. Sometimes it’s as simple as unboxing old memories and giving them a new place. And sometimes it can get a little nutty.



The End


Elysia Twitter: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Twitter: @MattCrazy_
Elysia Instagram: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Instagram: @Crazy_Cato
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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter X]]>Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:29:09 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-xChapter Ten of We Keep On is here! Chapter Ten is written by Elysia Regina. Friday will be the last posting of We Keep On, and will include the last two chapters of this contemporary short. Matt and Elysia are working on a new story, so stay tuned after We Keep On is over!

Catch up with We Keep On here:

Chapter Nine
Chapter Eight
Chapter Seven
Chapter Six
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two

Marley

     Toby’s hair is sticking up in all sorts of unnatural ways, and he’s covered in dust.
     I laugh. “What? Forget where the door was?”
    Toby frowns at me. “Actually,” he says, pointing at Cheerio, “that dumb racoon shut the door on me.”
     Milly giggles and scoops up Cheerio, who then turns onto his back in her arms as if pleading for a belly rub. “Cheerio? Why that’s not dumb at all. He probably assumed you were an intruder and wanted to keep it that way. But you get a gooold star for ingenuity, young man!”
     Toby’s still brushing his arms off. “Yeah, sure.” Millicent sets Cheerio down. He scurries away from her, his little nails making scratchy sounds on the floor, and disappears upstairs. The villain escapes. I realize when he’s leaving that he no longer has to weave around dozens of items, because the amount of boxes has dwindled to only a few.
     Millicent puts her hands on her hips. “You kids start on these last few boxes while I run to the ladies room, okay?” Toby and I both mutter agreements as Milly shuffles to the bathroom.
     “So what do you think?” Toby asks. “Completely crazy?”
     “Well, I mean, you did fall through a wall, so…”
     Toby elbows my arm. “You know who I’m talking about.” I pull a metronome out of a box. I didn't see any instruments around the room, so I wonder what she could have needed it for.
     I laugh. “Okay. I think she’s just...Millicent. You know? I don’t know... I kind of like her in a way. She’s real.”
     Toby nods his head, then takes in a breath. “Well let’s try to convince her to take us shooting, though. For real.”
     “Right. As long as she doesn’t have us use the guns that misfire. And as long as she doesn’t bring Cheerio along.” We both laugh together, and I honestly can’t remember the last time we got along this well. Since Mom and Dad splitting up, things have been different. Tense. I don’t know, but I feel like this afternoon with a crazy old lady has made me forget about what else is going on. Made me feel like maybe I should try to find more happiness in the little things. That’s what Milly would want us to do, I think, even if she doesn’t know what’s going on with Mom and Dad.
     “Who knows,” Toby says in a whisper. “Maybe Milly is like a millionaire and we’ll be written into her will.” The words haven’t left his mouth before he pulls out a jar of pickled eggs from a hatbox.
     “Or not,” I say, laughing. Milly walks in the next moment.
     “Ah! You found my pickling things!” Because every regular person keeps pickling jars in a hatbox. Okay, not everyone. Only Millicent Vaughn Nutters.



TO BE CONTINUED...

Thanks so much for reading, and tune in on Friday for the last installment of We Keep On.

In the meantime, keep up with Elysia and Matt on Twitter and Instagram:

Elysia Twitter: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Twitter: @MattCrazy_
Elysia Instagram: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Instagram: @Crazy_Cato
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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter IX]]>Fri, 02 Oct 2015 22:57:55 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-ixWelcome to Chapter Nine, and thanks SO much for tuning in! Today's chapter is written by Matt Keenan.

Catch up with We Keep On at these links:

Chapter Eight
Chapter Seven
Chapter Six
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two

Toby

     After learning Millicent’s lineage comes from the circus, her psychosis makes so much more sense now.
    “Toby!” she calls from the other room.
    “Yes, ma’am?” I shove the circus journal in the back of my pants.
    “Would you please take this box to the basement?” As she places the box in my arms, she pauses, staring me in the face with seriousness in her eyes. “Remember, dear, never get rid of old, important newspapers. I have papers after papers headlining monumental tragedies and triumphs dating back to the forties. If you don’t preserve the truth, the next generation will be fed lies.” I find it funny that she refers to what the press publishes as ‘truth.’ 
    “Right, okay,” I say.
    “And be mindful of the basement door, it locks behind you, so use the doorstopper.”
    “Got it.”
    I decide not to convince her to toss the newspapers, since they seem so important to her. Most of them are probably ruined and illegible but nonetheless, I take the box down to the basement, making sure to prop up the doorstopper, so as not to lock myself in the creepy ancient basement with who knows how many haunted items. Like the porch steps, the stairway to the basement releases a melody of squeaks and squawks with every step I take.
    I flip the light on with my elbow, and critters scurry back into hiding. The first thing I notice is the strong scent of mothballs, then the two-inch layer of dust on everything. And I mean everything. I quickly find a place to put the newspaper box and hurry back towards upstairs, but I’m too late. At the top of the staircase, the door begins to close. Someone’s disabled the doorstopper. A fury someone.
    Cheerio.
    As the last few inches between the door and the frame close, I swear I see a sneer on that blasted raccoon’s pointy face. Clack. The door closes.
    I wish I could say I’m chill as a popsicle because--that I’m fearless and being thwarted by a raccoon doesn’t bother me. But I can’t, because I’m not, and it does bother me. Friggin rodent.
​    I check for small windows, but there are none. Why can’t it be like the movies? Ugh!
    Well, there’s always another way out. I hope that maybe this house has one of those pulley system things in the wall that carries up laundry and stuff. I think it’s called a dumbwaiter. I scan the walls for evidence of one in the basement. Sure enough, I spot a small pair of double doors waist-height. Thank God.
    On my first step in that direction, I trip over a container by my feet and crash to the floor, showering myself in gray pellets. But not just any old pellets; cat litter pellets. So not only am I stuck in the basement because of a diabolical vermin, but I also manage to cover myself in its fecal secretions. This is literally the opposite of karma.
    Without bothering with the spilled litter, I storm over to the dumbwaiter and fling open the doors. A cloud of dust spills out and cobwebs float past my face. I use a fire stoker to clear the small space of webbing and toss it to the side.
    I am so ready to get out of here.
    I position my hands on the rope and pull until the compartment I’m crammed inside begins to rise. Before long, I feel something tingly on my neck, like something’s crawling--
    Oh hell no!
    I smack the back of my neck relentlessly until I no longer feel the tingling. Then something moves on my left leg, and then on my right knee. Oh sweet Jesus, they’re everywhere! Instead of trying to smack around my whole body, I focus on pulling myself up the shaft as fast as I can, while also resounding my battle cry.
    Yaaaaaahhhhhh!”
    Thud. The dumbwaiter hits the first floor. I burst through the doors, ripping through a layer of wallpaper, and breaking out into my emergency flail dance protocol in the event of a bug attack. I swing my arms and thrash my head, violently shaking my body until no unwanted creature could possibly still be clinging to it.
    Out of breath, I realize I’ve broken into the living room, where Milly and Marley just witnessed everything. Cheerio’s on the mantel, grinning.
    “Wonderful!” Millicent exclaims. “You’ve found the dumbwaiter!”
    I feign a smile. “Whoop-dee-doo,” I deadpan.
    Whoop-dee-frickin-doo.


TO BE CONTINUED...

Thanks so much for reading, and tune in on Tuesday for the next installment of We Keep On.

In the meantime, keep up with Elysia and Matt on Twitter and Instagram:

Elysia Twitter: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Twitter: @MattCrazy_
Elysia Instagram: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Instagram: @Crazy_Cato
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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter VIII]]>Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:03 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-viiiA new chapter of We Keep On is here! This chapter's written by Elysia Regina. 

Catch up with the story at these links:

Chapter Seven
Chapter Six
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two

ALSO, as a Tuesday surprise, here are some portraits of the authors, Matt and Elysia! Matt drew Elysia's portrait, and Elysia drew Matt's Portrait.

Marley

     Millicent leads Toby and I out of the living room, past her hanging underwear, and to a staircase in the back of the house. She climbs the stairs with substantially more vigor than I had expected from a lady her age, and soon we’re at the top of the landing and looking into a square room lined with shelves covered in knick-knacks. It’s just neat enough not to be pack-ratish.
     Millicent goes to a shelf in the back of the room that seems primarily to hold old teapots, books and small figurines. Toby and I curiously follow close behind her.
     Millicent runs her fingers across some of her things, and then picks up something with each hand and spins one hundred and eighty degrees around to us.
     “I know that we’re supposed to sort my things into either Goodwill or ‘keep’, but I think that you kids might appreciate a thing or two from my collection--one thing for now. Marley, this is for you.” Milly deposits a silver chain with a little golden heart dangling from it into the palm of my hand. It’s beautiful. “And Toby, you keep this.” She passes Toby a dog-eared book with black ink covering the title, rendering it illegible. "I know that I may seem a bit off my rocker, but that’s just what a lot of years of drugs will do to you.” Toby and I exchange a startled look, and Millicent laughs. “Just kidding.” I’m not sure whether or not she really is. “That’s what a lot of fun, happy years will do to you. Marley, that necklace you have there is the one that my first boyfriend gave to me, some sixty years ago. I hope it’s good luck to you.” I smile.
     “Oh, Millicent, you shouldn’t--”
     Milly waves her hand at me. “Now don’t argue, just take it. He was also the first boy to break my heart, so I’m happy to get it off my hands. What’s my bad luck will hopefully be your good luck.” I laugh and shake my head, looking down at the necklace.
     I see Toby flipping the book over in his hands and staring down at it. He opens it.
     “And that, Toby, is the journal from my great, great grandfather. He worked in the circus as a stablehand, and had many stories that I think you may enjoy.” Toby shakes his head, staring down at the book in awe. He’s always loved things like that, and I have no idea how Milly would know it.
     “I can’t take this, Milly,” Toby says, though I know that he’d like to go home right now and read the whole thing from front to back.
     “Of course you can. I’ve read it too many times to count, so I have no use for it now. It’s just taking up shelf space, and when I’m dead they’ll throw it in the trash anyway.”
     Toby smiles gratefully. “Thanks.”
     Milly leads us back downstairs to the designated sorting boxes. I clip the necklace around my neck, and Toby sets his book on the kitchen counter.
     Even the worst circumstances can sprout hidden blessings, Mrs. Nutters told us. I’m beginning to think that’s exactly what she is. A hidden blessing.


TO BE CONTINUED...

Thanks so much for reading, and tune in on Friday for the next installment of We Keep On.

In the meantime, keep up with Elysia and Matt on Twitter and Instagram:

Elysia Twitter: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Twitter: @MattCrazy_
Elysia Instagram: @Elysia_Regina
Matt Instagram: @Crazy_Cato
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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter VII]]>Fri, 25 Sep 2015 18:31:30 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-viiTGIF! What's the best part about Fridays? A new chapter of We Keep On, obviously. This one's written by Matt Keenan
Catch up with the story through these links:

Chapter Six
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two


Thank you all SO MUCH for reading our story. We would love to hear from you in the comments, or catch up with you on Twitter!

Twitter links: Elysia, Matt 

Toby

     ‘So tell us more about your sex scandal,’ is a solid icebreaker for lunch talk. You should try it. Or maybe you shouldn’t.
     “What makes you think it was necessarily a sex scandal?” she inquires.
     I shrug. “More exciting?” I offer.
     “Fair enough. And you’re correct anyway,” she admits. Milly pauses chewing her sandwich, then seems to gulp everything down at once. “There’s not much to tell. I simply accidentally picked up a male prostitute. It was an honest mistake.”
     My mouth practically goes into shotgun mode with my half-chewed deli sandwich. “You did what?!” But Marley asks the question I’m really thinking.
     “How in the actual hell do you accidentally pick up a hooker dude?”
     Milly holds her hands up defensively. “Now, before you go off thinking I’m a full blown idiot, hear me out. It was a series of miscommunications that could’ve only happened to me.” I don’t doubt that for a second. “When I came across him, we had a terribly awkward conversation in which I was only half invested. I thought he needed help for some reason, so I took him to my apartment. That’s when I very quickly realized my mistake. There’s really no right way to throw an angry naked man out of your apartment with clothes and cab fare.” I still don’t understand how she even got herself into that situation in the first place.
     “And he went to the press for revenge?” I inquire.
     “Oh, did he ever! The whole country soon knew all the gritty details of my hoaxed sexual escapade.” She shrugs. “But I didn’t care much. It showed me who my real friends were and weeded out the bad apples.”
     I collect our used dishes and place them in the sink under running water.
     “Remember, even the worst circumstances can sprout unexpected blessings. You just have to keep your heart open wide enough to see them.” I automatically think of my dad leaving us, and I can’t possibly come up with anything good that may come out of it. But I’m willing to wait as long as it takes to see it happen.
     Millicent scoots her chair away from the round table in the center of the quaint kitchen and stands up. “Come with me,” she says warmly. “I have something to show you.”


TO BE CONTINUED...


TUNE IN ON TUESDAY FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF WE KEEP ON


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<![CDATA[We Keep on - Chapter VI]]>Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:00:04 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-viFirst of all, thank you for tuning in tonight! This next installment of the contemporary short, We Keep On, is written by Elysia Regina. Check out the last installments here:
Chapter Five
Chapter Four
Chapter Three
Chapter One & Two

ALSO, huge shoutout to YOU awesome people, who within Plot Brownies' first two weeks in existence, have brought this page to over 3,000 views and over 130 shares! We can't thank you enough for your readership, and hope that you continue to read on!

Without further ado, scroll down for the next chapter of We Keep On.

Marley

     Toby’s laughing, but I’m pretty sure my face has gone fifty shades of red. I elbow Toby and shake my head, holding back a grin. Maybe this old lady isn’t so bad after all.
     As if on cue, my hand meets something metal in the box. I lift the object up and hold it out in front of me, dangling it from between my fingers. It’s a rusty pistol.
     “Um…” I say, not sure what to do about it.
     “Don’t aim it at my face, dummy!” Toby says, pushing it away. This is only the second time in my life that I’ve held a gun. The first time was at Lindsay Garrett’s seventh birthday party, and it sprayed water.
     “I don’t think Goodwill’s gonna take this,” I say.
     Millicent is giggling. Like not laughing. Giggling. “I forgot about that.”
     “How do you forget about a gun,” I ask, not fully believing her.
     “Because she misfires,” Milly explains. “I keep my good ones in the bedroom.” Toby and I exchange a glance.
     “How many do you have?” Toby asks. There’s a laugh between his words.
     “Oh, several,” she says, nodding heartily.
     “Have you ever used them?” I ask.
     “I’ve only really used one for defense.,” she says. “And that was only once.” I look around the room for the quickest exit. It’d be easier if we were in a public place, because there would be neon EXIT signs directing us to the best avenue of escape. Millicent’s house has everything but. “Martin was away, and in the middle of the night, I heard what could be none other than a burglar. I grabbed Nelly from the drawer in my nightstand and took her downstairs, and in the middle of the room was a man.” Toby and I stare wide-eyed at Milly. “Now I firmly believe that we should think the best of people, but sometimes they aren’t the best and they break into your house. But the fellow didn’t come to steal my things.” I try to think of what exactly would be worthy of being stolen here. “He was taking a nap right in the middle of this rug.” She points directly in front of where I’m standing, and I half-expect to see him lying there now.
     “So you shot him?” I ask.
     She shakes her head. “Oh, no. I missed and shot the floor next to him. He was up and out of here in no time. The next morning I found that an entire box of Ritz crackers was missing, and I had to completely rearrange Martin’s coming home meal. Casserole was on the menu, and you know that you can’t make a good casserole without Ritz cracker topping.” She wags her finger at us like this is a well known fact. She closes her eyes dramatically. “It was disastrous.”
     I shake my head. Out of that entire story, Milly was most concerned about losing her crackers. I suppose that’s the epitome of seeing the glass half full.
     “Maybe I can take you two shooting some day,” she says, a sparkle in her eye. “You know what they say, if you can do it, you can teach it.” I don’t really know if anyone says that.
     Toby’s replying almost before the sentence is out of Milly’s mouth. “Yeah, that’d be awesome!” All I can think about is how on earth we’re going to convince our mother to let us see this lady again.




TO BE CONTINUED...


TUNE IN ON FRIDAY FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF WE KEEP ON

Keep up with Matt and Elysia on their Twitter accounts, MattCrazy_ and Elysia_Regina


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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter V]]>Fri, 18 Sep 2015 21:59:11 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-vHappy Friday! Why is it happy? Because here's a new chapter of We Keep On! Welcome Chapter Five, written by Matt Keenan. If you missed out on the other chapters, here are some links: Chapter One & Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four. Feel free to leave comments, and we would love for you to share the story with your friends! Have a great day and enjoy. 

Toby

     We’re making slow progress in the living room. I’m currently rolling a rug that smells like it was woven with the arm pit hairs of King Kong. I can practically feel the sensitive hairs in my nose shriveling up one by one.
     I make a few executive decisions to take one or two boxes outside without Milly’s permission, because something tells me if I would’ve asked if she wanted to keep the box of bachelorette party favors, she would’ve clutched it tight.
     The next box I open is smaller, and contains one item: an ugly birdhouse, clearly hand-painted. I hold it up to show Milly. “Toss?”
     Her sentimental eyes glow with appreciation. “Oh, no, my Martin made it for me. I’ll hang it up right now, give it here.” She motions with her arms to hand it over.
     “Is Martin--”
     “My late husband?” she interrupts. “Yes.” Her tone doesn’t reflect sorrow or pain, it carries the same tune as this morning.
     “If you don’t mind me asking,” Marley inquires, “how did you two meet?”
     She laughs. “Oh, that’s a short story. I hit him with my car,” she deadpans. “It was his fault, obviously. His hat blew off his head in the wind and that idiot ran into the busy street to fetch it, when thud!” She claps her hands together. “Turned out he was fine. Fine enough to flirt his way into getting a date with me. Don’t ask me how that happened, he was such a charmer. He could convince a bird it was a fish and that bird would happily drown.” Milly scrunches up her face. “That was a rather morbid analogy, I guess.” So, Martin could make people kill themselves. That’s just swell.
     “Did he sweep you off your feet?” Marley asks.
     “Like dirt under a rug,” she replies. Another strange visual. “He could be such an awkward young man, let me tell you. I made him so nervous sometimes, he couldn’t think straight. When we’d go out to dinner, he’d often poor salt in his drink, but I loved him for it. He was always so afraid I’d someday fall out of love with him, but let me tell you something; love is more than a feeling, it’s a choice.”
     Marley huffs. “Well I’ve made my choice to stay away from the losers in this town. They’ve only got their minds on one thing.”
     “Ahhh, they want to churn your butter, so to speak. They’d like to do a little mattress jig,” she says with a wink. Marley stands in shock, while I laugh heartily.
     Since when do grandmas readily offer euphemisms for sex? Respect, Milly. Respect.


TO BE CONTINUED...


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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter IV]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 18:13:16 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-ivHello, everyone! It's Tuesday, and that means a new chapter of We Keep On. If you missed the last installments of this contemporary short story, check out the first two chapters HERE, and the third chapter HERE. Today's chapter is written by Elysia Regina. Let us know your thoughts, and catch up with Matt and Elysia on their Twitter accounts!

MARLEY


     I would be more freaked out if not for the fact that the racoon looks totally at home in the cabinet, and doesn’t seem to be the least bit bothered by me. It’s sitting in Millicent’s cupboard in a blue bowl, and has a peanut butter cracker between its little black fingers. Once the surprise wears off, I see how cute the thing is. The black around his eyes makes him look like he’s wearing a mask. But that still doesn’t explain why on earth he’s IN THE CUPBOARD.
     Millicent walks into the kitchen behind me, clicking her tongue as she steps into the room. It’s like she’s a magnet, because as soon as it spots her, the racoon leaps out of the cabinet, little black fingers spread like a superhero’s, and lands in Millicent’s arms. The peanut butter cracker sticks out of its tiny mouth.
     “Who’s a good nugget? You are, you’re a good nugget.” Millicent whispers to the creature in a baby voice. She looks back up at me, and Toby rushes up behind her, no longer holding the photo of youthful Millicent. “This is Cheerio.”
     Of course she can’t just be a normal old lady--I suppose that was already out of the question--and own twelve cats. Instead she owns a feral animal named Cheerio.
     “Is that, ah, safe?” I ask.
     Millicent laughs. “Of course. Little Cheerio’s been with me for two years. He’s just little because he was the runt of the litter.” Millicent then sets Cheerio on the ground, and he waddles off into the living room; his hind end swings back and forth like a streetwalker as he disappears amongst the cardboard boxes.
     Millicent swings open the pale pink, fifties-style fridge, complete with well-endowed bikini girl and yellow smiley face magnets. “While we’re in the kitchen, would either of you like a drink?”
     Toby and I exchange a glance, and I’m about to tell her that we’re not exactly of age--hence our mother giving us a ride here--when she pulls out a pitcher of a somewhat toxic but fruity-looking liquid.
     “It’s my famous punch.” She snaps her fingers in the air. “It’ll snap you right into style.” She smiles, the blue on her eyelids batting up and down as she blinks.
     "Yeah, sure,” Toby answers first. “We’d love some.”
     It takes Millicent approximately five minutes to gather three matching cups and exactly four ice cubes for each one, and by that time, Toby and I are sitting cross-legged on the plush brown carpet, each digging into a cardboard box. Millicent passes us each a cup, and the condensation is cold on my hand. I take a sip of the punch, and it’s sour and sweet--the kind of stuff that will dye your tongue red for a whole day.
     I pull out a fish tank from a slightly soggy box, and immediately plug my nose when the bowl is in the air. It’s empty, but at the bottom of the tank, amongst algae-covered red pebbles, is the corpse of a sad, sad goldfish.
     “Oh my gosh,” I say.
     Toby bursts into laughter. “Marley. Your hands are all up in that fish goop.” And he’s totally right. I’m holding the tank by the top of it, and my fingers are pressed up against greenish-brown slime. Gross. Gross. Grosssss.
     Millicent sets down her glass and scurries over. “Oh, that’s got a great story. I’m keeping that one.” I discreetly wipe my fingers off on the carpet and stare up at Millicent, expectant of an explanation. “It was my husband’s favorite fish.” She smiles, reminiscent of the stinky creature--whether her husband or the fish, I’m not sure. “Cheerio got the best of his tank, but Martin said that if I got to keep my Cheerio, he got to keep his fish. I didn’t break my promise then, and I won’t break it now.”
     I’m not looking forward to seeing what’s in the box by the underwear.


TO BE CONTINUED...



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<![CDATA[We Keep On - Chapter iii]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2015 21:04:39 GMThttp://www.plotbrownies.com/blog/we-keep-on-chapter-iiiHappy Friday! If you're tuning in to today's post, it's probably because you read Tuesday's first two chapters and wanted to read more. If not, welcome to Plot Brownies, where the stories are short and sweet and are written by Elysia Regina and Matt Keenan.

Read the first installment of We Keep On HERE.

Today's post includes the next chapter (written by Matt Keenan) in We Keep On, a contemporary comedy. Let us know what you think in the comments, and share the story so your cool friends can read it, too! The next chapter will be posted on Tuesday.


TOBY

     I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t hang their wet undergarments to dry in the East side windows of the house.
     The drying underwear leads me to a living area cluttered with cardboard boxes. Honestly, the room resembles an attic more than a living room. Marley follows me into the room while Millicent tends to something in the kitchen. She walks around the boxes and furniture with her eyebrows raised, no doubt judging Mrs. Nutters so hard. The house isn’t messy, per say. Everything is neatly crammed somewhere, like a used book store.
     When Mrs. Nutters--or Millicent--returns, she catches me staring at the laundry in the window. “That side of the house gets the perfect amount of sun,” she explains, as if that suddenly makes it sound normal. I look over my shoulder and nod with a weak smile, assuring her I understand. Except I really don't.
     “Alright,” I say, turning around to face Millicent and my sister. “Where should we get started?” I say in my let's-get-this-over-with tone.
     “And what exactly do you want us to do?” asks Marley.
     “Well, you see,” begins Millicent, “my late husband was in the process of sorting through all the things we’ve collected throughout our travels over the years when he passed. I need you to help me get rid of this stuff so my sons don’t have to dig through it when I finally kick the bucket. But that won’t be for another thirty years at least,” she says, way too confidently. “I take supplements.” She gives us a wink.
     That doesn’t quite give us a clear answer. “So, should we start in here?” I ask.
     “Yes, that’d be grand!” she throws her hands up, flinging her silky scarf off one shoulder. “Just put the boxes we decide to get rid of outside on the driveway. Goodwill picks up tomorrow.”
     “Aye aye, captain,” Marley says, though Millicent doesn’t catch her sarcasm. Is it unfair to use sarcasm on an old woman? I wonder. Nah, she’s probably gained countless witty quips from her centuries on earth.
     I return my attention to the boxes, some open and overflowing, some taped shut. The first thing that catches my eye is a framed black and white photograph sticking out of a high-stacked box. The eyes of a beautiful woman peek over the cardboard flap, inviting me to come in for a closer look. I retrieve it from the stack and set it on the floor to examine it, carefully pulling out the frame to reveal the whole picture. The girl in the picture is stunning; fair-skinned with dark lips and bobbed hair. She’s posing elegantly in a sleek dress adorned with pearls on a hand-crafted bench. Painted in white calligraphy at the bottom of the photograph is a name; Millicent Vaughn. Hot damn.
     “I see you’ve found the box from my performing days,” Millicent tells me.
     Marley whips her head to the old woman with sudden intrigue. “You were an actress?”
     “Of sorts,” Milly replies.
     My right eyebrow peaks. “What do you mean?”
     “I only starred in one movie, you see. It was a big hit, a real blockbuster! But that was the peak of my acting career. The tail end was tainted with scandal, but I won’t get into that.” Millicent? In a sex scandal? I mean, it’s gotta be a sex scandal, right? Those are the best kind“I decided to retire early when the only parts I would be offered were for vitamin commercials. And that was the lowest of the low in the industry, so I would not have it. Dreams don’t last forever. The trick is to find the next one before you lose yourself.”
     Hm. Surprisingly deep.
     “Wow, you look so beautiful,” Marley compliments.
     “Thanks, hun, that was before the doughnuts went straight to my butt and my face deflated,” she says, cackling until she coughs. “Put it outside, I’m leaving those days behind me.”
     Just as I get up to take the box outside, Marley releases a loud shriek.
     “Why is there a fat racoon in the cabinet?!” she demands.
     This woman has officially wrecked the boundaries of normality. Lord, have mercy. 


TO BE CONTINUED...

TUNE IN ON TUESDAY FOR A NEW INSTALLMENT OF WE KEEP ON



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