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Life is Awesome: Mnevermind Trilogy Book 3

Life is AwesomeLife is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: Mnevermind Trilogy Book 3
Length: Novel - 61,000 words
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-72-4

See also Persistence of Memory: Mnevermind Trilogy 1
Forget Me Not: Mnevermind Trilogy 2

Release date February 24, 2015

$4.99
Purchase Life is Awesome at the following places:

Amazon - iTunes - Kobo - B&N - Smashwords (ePub format)

 

 

 

Summary

Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.

A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.

What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.

 

Excerpt

Memory is the diary that chronicles things that never happened or couldn’t possibly have happened.

-Oscar Wilde


Chapter 1


Most people have morning routines that involve a shower, a shave, and maybe a pit stop at Starbucks. Most people don’t realize how lucky they have it. I know I never fully appreciated my mornings, back before I had to answer the question “where’s your mother?” every single day.

I knocked around the dining room for a while, waiting for Big Dan to come downstairs so I could break the news before work. I’d allotted fifteen minutes. That seemed like enough time to say what we had to say. Then he could process the big, ugly surprise while I unlocked Adventuretech and got the place ready for our first shift of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed customers…or desperate guys who’d heard they would definitely bust a nut in our Love Connection.

“Dad?” I called. Hopefully he wasn’t lingering in the bathroom over a half-finished novel. “You up?”

“I’m up.”

I listened for footsteps. And waited. And watched the stairs. Nothing. “Wanna come down here for a minute before I head out?”

The upstairs floorboards creaked as Big Dan made his way downstairs without any particular sense of urgency. He’s not what you’d call an early riser, and it takes him longer to get going than it does me. Then again, I was the one waking up fueled by the sick sense of dread. He was always fine though, at least until he had his morning chat with me.

“What’s so important it can’t wait until after my first cup of coffee?” Big Dan shuffled past me, scratching his scalp.

I followed him into the kitchen, wishing I’d rehearsed something, knowing that even if I had, it wouldn’t have helped. “It’s about a mnem.”

“You want to brainstorm? Now?” He glanced at the clock. “Don’t you have to go open?”

“Life is Awesome.”

“About time you dusted it off and started working on it again.”

“Dad….”

“Those four-bit mnems you’ve been running lately just don’t cut it.”

“Dad, let me finish.”

He sighed and poured himself a massive cup of coffee. He spiked it with creamer, turned to face me holding the cup just below his nose so the caffeine could waft up his nostrils on a cloud of steam, then said, “Okay, Daniel. I’m all ears.”

“A year ago…more than a year ago, we were testing Life is Awesome. You and me.” I could tell he wanted to add that he didn’t understand why I hadn’t looked at it since, but he held his tongue. “And the last time we ran the mnem, it went persistent.”

Big Dan’s eyebrows screwed up, but he said nothing.

“It went persistent on you,” I explained. And it damn near killed me, even now. Some pain dulls with age. But every time I tore off this particular scab, the wound underneath it only got bigger. “Something happened. Only you don’t remember.”

His eyes cut to the clock again. “Did we sell? Is that why you’re not going in?”

“I’m going in, Dad, just as soon as we—”

“Tell me we didn’t sell out to Recollections.”

I sighed. “Adventuretech is still ours.” For whatever it was worth. “But Mom is gone.”

Big Dan looked at me like I was nuts—this was the one part of our daily discussion that never seemed to vary—but then he started looking around. Over the years, plenty of details had changed in his ex-wife’s absence. His eyes fell on three blenders herded together on the counter. One was for smoothies, one was for…well, I had no idea. If Big Dan said he needed three different blenders, what difference did it make to me? But in Mom’s household, he would’ve been forced to pick one. Not because there wasn’t enough space for him to have what he wanted. Just for the sake of proving who was boss.

The evidence of Mom’s absence was everywhere, from the forbidden ash tray on the countertop to the dirty dishes piled in the sink, but Big Dan was collecting evidence to support his reality, not mine. “If Jeannie’s gone, then why was she at your aunt’s birthday party?”

“Because she left her second husband and she’s back in Wisconsin now.”

“Second husband,” he chortled. “Daniel, do you realize how you sound? Would she have fawned over that mai tai I made her if we were divorced?”

Even as I drew breath to argue, the ramifications of his last encounter with my mother struck home, and those ramifications hit hard. Back at the party, he’d been primed with the knowledge of the persistent mnem. He’d spent the day observing changes in our home that never would have occurred had his wife been present. And maybe he’d even been reminiscing about some of the better memories he’d had with me, memories that were so much better with her out of the picture. When my mother had marched into my aunt’s party and Dad suspected something was up, she didn’t deny it. No, Jeannie Schroeder (or whatever her last name was nowadays) didn’t stoop to lying. Not when she was an expert at forcing the truth to suit her purposes. She hadn’t tried to weasel out of admitting what she’d done. But she minimized it and swept it under the rug, and everyone else was content to play along with that version of events. Because God forbid we have a confrontation. Heaven help us if we actually let my mother know we were all onto her games.

At the time, Big Dan accepted that she’d been gone. But he’d also been too damn intrigued by the thought that she was back. And now his erroneous brain had decided to forget the most important part of the evening, the part where he semi-believed he had a persistent memory and she verified that she’d been gone. All he remembered was their chemistry.

“Let’s try this again.” Somehow, I’d forced my voice to stay calm, even though what I really wanted was to scream, and scream, and scream. “We’ll work backwards this time. You woke up alone this morning. You went to bed alone last night. You woke up alone yesterday, and yesterday we had this same conversation. Only yesterday you let me convince you about the persistent mnem.”

“Whose persistent mnem?”

“Yours, Dad. Yours.” I took a breath to stop my voice from shaking. “Six years ago, when we got our bank loan, you and Mom had a huge blowout.”

“How could I forget? She was so pissed off she actually slapped me.”

This was new information. For all the arguments those two used to have, I’d never known anything to be raised other than voices. The blows they fought with were verbal, not physical. Unless you count the time my father kicked a hole in the dining room paneling, which he never lived down.

“We fight, Daniel. We make up. That’s how it is.”

How it was. “Christmas. Do you remember her at Christmas?”

“Well, sure. She was wearing a burgandy sweater and her hair was in a twist.”

“No, that wasn’t Christmas. That was Pipsie’s birthday, the day before yesterday.”

Dad’s good humor began running low. His tone took on an edge. “I can hardly be expected to memorize your mother’s wardrobe.”

“Think about it. Christmas day, she wasn’t even at the dinner table. You sat between Ken and Harry and talked about football half the night.”

“Then your mother must’ve been working….”

“On Christmas?” I was yelling now—damn it, after trying so hard to keep it together, I was yelling. “She’s a bank officer. Since when are banks open on Christmas? Damn it, Dad, think. Just think. She wasn’t there on Christmas, she wasn’t there on Thanksgiving, and she wasn’t there on your birthday, either. She’s gone. Not just this year, but every year since we opened the business. She’s been gone since we signed our business loan.” My mother’s career, and the fact that we’d signed the loan without her input or approval…suddenly it all clicked.

Why we’d gone about things that way, I couldn’t even say. Dad and I never planned it or had a specific conversation about going behind her back. It wasn’t so much to purposely exclude her, it was that we had to avoid her negativity. She’d been so busy spouting predictions of doom, about how most businesses fail and mnemography was just a flash in the pan, that we needed to cut her out of the loop to preserve our momentum.

I turned away and pinched the bridge of my nose. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled, not knowing who the hell I was even apologizing to anymore, or for what.

“She wasn’t there on Christmas?”

I sighed.

 

 

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