I’m NEVER Going There Again and She Can’t Make Me! – by Brian Whiddon

I’m NEVER Going There Again and She Can’t Make Me! – by Brian Whiddon

THE  FALL 24-HOUR SHORT STORY CONTEST IS THIS SATURDAY, 09/09/23! Only 500 participants permitted so DON’T DELAY IF YOU WANT TO PLAY!! Our Fall contests are always the most popular!

Howdy Folks!

It’s Brian here, taking over the Home Office feature this week while Angela is busy doing both her own job, and covering for a sick employee.

Here’s a fun fact. I recently found out that we live just 20 minutes away from a spot where there have been not one, but TWO Bigfoot sightings! I’m a Bigfoot nut, and was thrilled to discover that we just might live in an active area. To be accurate, the whole of North Georgia is kind of a Sasquatch hotbed. Georgia, as a state, comes in at #10 in the country for reported Bigfoot sightings. We left Florida, unfortunately, which is #3. But, I never saw one there.

Anyway, what makes the sightings here so unique is the fact that, according to the Bigfoot Researchers Organization website, they were both near the exact same intersection – Highway 11 and Cloverdale Road in Rising Fawn. One happened back in 1987, and the latest in 2020. I took a little drive through there just this morning. I didn’t see any strange creatures but I found some pretty good-looking fishing spots! Maybe I can have a Bigfoot encounter while reeling in a nice bass.

Max is just about to celebrate his 22nd birthday and we’re going to do a family trip to the Expedition Bigfoot Museum in Elijay. Stay tuned for some highlights and fun photos of our outing.

Last week, I had to forego the woods (and opening day of dove hunting season) to go celebrate Jack’s birthday party, which Angela and I were excited about! If we’d only known what our eardrums were in for…

We had a nice, leisurely drive through the mountains. We chose to add 45 minutes to our trip, and drive the mountain back roads rather than the main highways. There is just something about cruising through the curvy, winding, wooded roads, and passing through towns even smaller than Trenton that gives us a lot of joy and comfort that the interstates just cannot deliver.

We got to the location of the party, a place called “Stars and Strikes.” Angela had told me that the party was at a bowling alley. I was good for it. I like bowling. However, I wasn’t prepared for what “Stars and Strikes” truly is. Picture a 35-lane bowling alley, inside a Chuck-E-Cheese, with a hundred different “sit inside” video games stationed in the middle of the place, and music blaring above all the other noise. It was pure chaos. Let me put it this way: About 20 years ago I went to a Metallica concert in West Palm Beach, and sat only 4 rows removed from the giant amplifiers. That was a tranquil experience compared to the mayhem of this place.

And, they had robots! Frigging ROBOTS running around the place. Every time I tried to walk to the bathroom, or go watch the video games, or go out to the parking lot to collect my thoughts – I had to dodge a cotton-pickin’ robot delivering food to a table. And, these silly things had big digital screen faces that would wink at me as they tried to barrel over my feet. Well, I’ll be honest. They had sensors that would stop the robot when they got near a person. But, it darn sure seemed to me that all these cockamamie contraptions knew where I was going, and were hell-bent to find their way into my path!

Check out THIS LINK to see what these grinning mechanical beasts look like.

Even being the old fuddy-duddies that we are, we agreed to a game of Laser Tag with a thousand screaming kids and some other chaperones. (Come to think about it, I’m pretty sure Angela and I were the oldest folks in there.) They had a two-story Laser Tag arena, and it was a free-for-all game. Basically, that means there are no teams. It’s just everyone running around trying to shoot everyone else.

Now, Laser Tag may be a kid’s game, but Gram (Angela) and Papa B (me) developed a pretty good strategy. We went straight upstairs to a ledge that overlooked the downstairs area. We backed up into a corner, and stood back-to-back, covering each other’s “six.” Then, we just kept taking pot shots at all the little kiddies running around below, who never seemed to look up. These munchkins just couldn’t figure out why their sensor harnesses kept going off and telling them they’d been hit! So, the Old Folks Sniper Team had the highest score by the time the game was over. Not that it meant anything to anyone. While we were busy congratulating ourselves, all the kids just ran out, took off their harnesses and guns, and raced off to the next distraction. Oh well.

We left the Laser Tag arena, and went back into the sensory overload floor. I noticed that they also had a full liquor bar at the other end of the place. I thought I might have found my salvation in this place. But, when I tapped Angela on the shoulder, and pointed excitedly at the bar with a big, childish grin on my face, she shook her head with a frown. I don’t know if it was because she didn’t want me drinking at a 6-year-old’s party, or because I was jumping up and down like a five-year-old at a carnival, pointing out the next ride he wants to go on… but I got the message.

Then it was time for cake and presents. Jack’s aunt, the well-known owner of Baby Cakes by Stephanie, made him a very special cake fashioned after the video game “Minecraft.” As you can see, he was a very happy birthday boy!

Although the noise, flashing lights, and video screens were all a bit much for Angela and me, the experience wasn’t all bad. Angela got to cuddle little Charly, who I wish could give me some advice on how to sleep through anything.

I was getting a headache and I didn’t know how much more noise and mayhem I could take. While we loved seeing the grand kids, we were both extremely relieved when 5 o’clock rolled around and it was time to get back in the truck, and head back to the calm and quiet of our little mountain home. Walking out the door, with the bells, whistles, zings, pops, and loud music still audible, I told Angela, “I’m never setting foot in a place like that again, and you can’t make me.”


Brian Whiddon is the Managing Editor of WritersWeekly.com and the Operations Manager at BookLocker.com. An Army vet and former police officer, Brian is the author of Blue Lives Matter: The Heart behind the Badge. He's an avid sailor, having lived and worked aboard his 36-foot sailboat, the “Floggin’ Molly” for 9 years after finding her abandoned in a boat yard and re-building her himself. Now, in northern Georgia, when not working on WritersWeekly and BookLocker, he divides his off-time between hiking, hunting, and farming.


Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.


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