The 45th Parallel

Author’s Note: This may not be my best work, as I am very tired at the moment.

   It’s only been about a week and a half since I published a post, but I made a promise to a certain person (You know I’m talking about you, T) that I would make a post about the trip while I was actually on the trip, so here goes. . .

I’m not really in the mood (at this moment) to write a really long post about my many happy exclamations at seeing familiar faces, the 2 people who cracked my code, the long (yet fun) train ride to Michigan, and the 5 hour drive to the cabin with the friends we would be staying there with. . . Nope. I’m just going to give a small scene from after dinner when everyone just kind of went crazy. Here it is:

Mom 1: You see that sign going past? That marks the 45th parallel.

V: What’s the 45th parallel?

Mom 2 (Both family’s moms were here) :Guess, and see if you get it.

(Long Silence)

Mom 2: Okay, here’s a hint. The 45th parallel marks the middle of something.

V: The middle of the 44th and the 46th parallel!

(The moms laugh)

Mom 1: Nope. Try again.

V: What? It’s not physically possible for that to be wrong!

Mom 2: Okay, that’s true, but it’s not the answer that we’re looking for.

V: No, I guessed it. I got it correct-

Mom 2: Nope, try again.

V: Fine. Umm. . .

Me: The middle of the United States?

Mom 1: (Growing exasperated) Okay, its between the North Pole and:


Mom 2: Nope.

V: (Halfheartedly) Quebec!

(Everyone busts out laughing)

Mom 1: V, are we even between Quebec and The North Pole right now?

V: No, but I had Quebec on my mind because-

Mom 2: Okay, I’ll give you another hint. What’s between the North and The South Poles?

Me and V: THE EQUATOR!!!

Mom 2: And so, what’s the 45th parallel between?


Mom 1: Really? Okay, just for that, you two are going to bring the trash can back into the house.

Me: Fine.

(I leave the car and start dragging the trash bin toward the cabin)

Mom 2: You too, V.

V: Aww. . .




                                      Isaiah Calderon, The Roving Bison

Lights Out (Day 2)

Jolted awake by the persistent beeping of my alarm clocks (I had to have 2 so that my room would be perfectly symmetrical), I awake in a cold sweat. Judging by my tingly, anxious feeling, I’ve been having a nightmare. Strange, I don’t remember what it was about. I normally remember my dreams.

An image suddenly appears in my mind; a dark road, somehow conveying hope, and, at the same time, fear. Weird.

Slapping the “Alarm Off” buttons on my alarm clocks, I get out of bed, making sure not to rumple the sheets too much. Unmade beds bother me.

A few minutes later, when I am fully dressed, I remember: it’s Friday. For “budget reasons,” Forest Glen Healing and Rehabilitation Center, the place I go to receive treatment for my OCD, is only open Monday-Thursday. Darn it! I forgot to turn off my alarm clock for the weekend!

Well, I’m up, so I’d better make the most of it. Walking back towards the bed to make it, I catch a glimpse of the road outside. An extreme feeling of Deja-vu  overtakes me, and I feel like something’s missing here, something big. . .

Hmm. That’s weird. I can’t seem to remember anything. Maybe it’ll come back later. But it’s too late to feel calm. My OCD brain is taking this tiny thing, and turning it into a huge deal. I NEED to find out what it is!

Questions, variables, and possible answers spin around and around in my head until I physically fell dizzy. I hate unsolved things, or rather, my  OCD hates unsolved things, because they feel broken, uneven, unhinged.

Unhinged. Is that a word that could be used to describe me? Am I. . . broken?

So many thoughts are going through my head at once that I don’t hear the footsteps behind me. . . Not, at least, until it’s too late.

“Hey, neat-freak, snap out of it!”, a voice commands. Brian.

He said that we’d settle this later, and I guess that means right now.

I turn around and nearly fall over. He’s holding Dad’s baseball bat 2 inches from my head! He sees my expression, and sneers. “I’m not gonna hit you, Richie. Not yet, at least. It all depends on the decisions you make.”

I can barely muster the courage to stutter, “What d-decisions?” His smile widens. His smile widens, and I can see the ugly gap in his teeth.

“The decisions you make about whether or not you tell me how you pulled that little stunt yesterday.”, he says, grinding his teeth. “We’re going to play a little game. I’m going to ask you some questions, and if I hear an answer that I don’t like, then you get a new bump on your head.” He brandishes the bat threateningly.

I nod, too scared to do anything else. “Good. First question: Why did you pull that on me? Why not mom , dad, or one of your stupid friends?”

Trying at all costs to avoid saying “Because you’re an idiot,” I reply, “B-because mom and dad where out to get lunch.”

He nods, still glaring at me. “Second question: HOW did you do it?” He waits for my response, but I have none. I just threw away the ability to say that it was a medical thing, and I don’t even know WHAT I did, let alone how I did it. “I’m waiting.”, he says, tapping the bat against his thigh menacingly.

Deciding to act stupid, the way he thinks I am, I mumble uncertainly, “Uh, what did I do again? I forgot.”

Instead of hitting me with the heavy-duty wooden bat, he does something worse. “What did you do?”, he asks, maintaining an image of calm, though I can tell he’s extremely angry under the surface. “Let me see. . . What did you do. . . ?” He begins to pace around the room, slowly circling me. “Wait. . .”, he says, his anger slowly coming out. “I know. You rolled your eyes back into your head, you wouldn’t respond to anything I did, and you somehow had blood coming out of your mouth!” He’s started to shout.

“That’s what you did!” He holds the bat with shaking hands, his knuckles white. He raises it over his head, and sharp cracking sounds arrive a few moments later, each hit scoring true. “OW!”, I yell, scrambling away over the green carpet, my arms bleeding in perfect symmetry.

“Brian, Richard, what’s going on?”, comes a voice from our parent’s bedroom. Brian looks toward the noise, and then at the bat in his hand. With the look of a deer caught in a car’s headlights, he says to me, “If you utter one word of what happened toda-”

He’s cut short by darkness. A great expanse of darkness like what happened yesterday, the void of darkness that halted my ability to breathe and lasted for what felt like an eternity.

Am I making the face that he described, or did I just collapse, a victim of yet another blackout?

Suddenly, my arms strain, as if I’m lifting something heavy, and then release the tension, as if I just dropped it. Muscle spasms? That’s new. Is my condition getting worse? The feeling repeats itself again and again, this time faster, escalating in frequency and strength. Faintly, somewhere, I hear laughter.

Then, I’m back in my room, and there’s blood on the floor. Why is there blood on the floor? And then I see dad’s bat in my hand, raised as if about to strike. What happened? Brian is huddled in the corner, staring at me and whimpering. And then I realize why.

There are wounds on his arms, back, stomach, head, everywhere.

Wounds from a baseball bat.

What have I done? Was that my laughing that I heard, while I beat him bloody with a bat, somehow, impossibly, while I was in a blackout?

Mom and dad burst into the room and go on full paramedic mode.

While mom consoles Brian (“Honey, it’s all right, they’re just surface wounds. . .”), dad scolds me about using a baseball bat on my brother “without a reason”.

As I look over at Brian, I see him staring, no, glaring at me with hatred in his eyes. This is nothing new, but I get a feeling of dread while looking straight at him, almost as if I’m staring a t a time bomb about to hit 00:00.

The rest of the day holds nothing but minor occurrences.

Brian is allowed to stay home from school due to his injuries, which my parents deem not serious enough for him to be taken to the  ER. I, however, receive nothing good. My parents are “disappointed” and “very surprised”, that I would use “such violence” against my brother, who apparently “did nothing at all” to warrant such behavior, and that we will discuss this further tomorrow. In addition to that, I am grounded for 3 weeks. Happy Friday to me.



I’m Sorry!!!



I’m REALLY not good at this whole “keeping up” thing. Didn’t I promise, a few posts ago, that I would write frequently? Didn’t I say something like “I want to try to generally stay in contact with everyone a bit more”? Didn’t I?

Well, darn. I guess I did. I’ve tried! Honestly! It’s just that every time I tell my brain, “Okay, brain, we’re going to write a blog post today!”, my brain is like: “No. I want chocolate.” , and goes to sulk in the corner of my skull. I finally managed to convince it today with a major guilt trip (self inflicted) , and here I am! With no idea what to write!    So. . . That’s a thing!

. . .

. . .

. . .

Oh, right! I do have something that I was going to write that I didn’t just make up this second. . . Heh, heh. . .

Anyway, I have an announcement. (The following paragraph is concerned in some way with the code)

For those of you who have been waiting so long for the next chapter of my book, I’m sorry about how long it has been. I PROMISE (everyone has permission to slap me if I break this promise) that the next part will be out very soon. Meanwhile, I have something for you to work on. The following CODE is very difficult to crack and has something to do with my book. I am giving it to you now, because of how difficult it is, even though it is only applicable after Night 8. Even if you solve it before Night 8 is published, it will give you a kind of chilling hint into the deeper lore of the book. Here it is:

  W:2 L:1 | W:2 L:3 | W:18 L:3 | W:2 L:3 | W:14 L:7 (x2) | W:2 L:3 | W:5 L:1 | W:8 L:3 | W:2 L:4 | W:6 L:2 | W:13 L:1 | W:2 L:3 | W:2 L:1 | W:6 L:1 | W:2 L:5 | W:14 L:7 | D | W:6 L:2 | W:4 L:1 | W:7 L:1 | W:4 L:1 | W:2 L:4 | W:2 L:1 | W:6 L:2 | W:10 L:4 (x2) | W:2 L:5 | D | 1:56 | W:16 L:1 | W:6 L:2 | W:14 L:7 | K |

   Yeah. That’s why I gave you plenty of time. Bye!

-Isaiah Calderon, The Roving Bison



The Bid List! (Part 2)

So. . . Last post, I talked about the bid list. Before I go any further, I’m going to announce what my three preferences were:

Accra, Ghana, as the one in Africa.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as the Asian post.

And Toronto, Canada, as the western post.

Some pretty good choices, at least in my eyes, but at the end, we can only go to one. . .

And that one post was revealed earlier today. The place that my family will be visiting after we leave Ciudad Juarez in less than a year. . . And that place is. . . (Cue Drumroll. . .)


   Finally, after months of wondering, we finally know where we will be going! I have almost no information on this post, as I discovered where we were going a mere hour ago, so there is really nothing else for me to write here. I feel kind of bad having another short, sudden ending, but what can you do when your writing really has no way to stop properly? Adios!

                                                             -Isaiah Calderon, The Roving Bison

The Bid List!

In the foreign service life, there are many crazy things. But none are crazier (or more exciting) than a 7 or 8 page document that you receive about one year before you leave to go somewhere else. . . The bid list!

The bid list is a list of at least 350 (no, I’m not kidding) places that it would be possible for you to go after you leave the post that you’re currently stationed in. It is categorized as “sensitive information,” so I can’t put it in here (I couldn’t anyway, it’s 350 lines long), even though my mom shortened it down from 350 to the most possible 30 or 40 (which took her nearly all day. Awesome job, mom!) . The most I can say without violating government policies (which is apparently bad) is that I am interested in:

A): A highly developed English-speaking city in North America. (Not in the U.S.)

B): One specific post in southeast Asia.

And finally, C) A particular post in West Africa. . .

Sorry to be all mysterious, but it’s all I can say about something that excites me without revealing too much. Maybe after the bidding is over, I can tell you what the three posts were, but it might still be “sensitive.” If you want, you can guess in the comments and see if you get it right. In fact, I challenge every one of you to guess three cities in the comments section that fit the descriptions that I put! Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find out later that you got it right. That’s basically all for now! Bye!

-Isaiah Calderon, The Roving Bison

Our Anniversary

Yesterday (as of the day this post was published) was a big day for our family. You may be seeing the title and thinking that it was our parent’s anniversary, but that’s not the case. It was an anniversary, all right-the anniversary of our coming to Juarez! That’s right: exactly one year from yesterday, my family drove into our garage, walked up the spiral staircase (which I still think is too fancy), unpacked, chose rooms, and began to explore the neighborhood. In some way or another, I wanted to celebrate that. So, I did whatever I do when something interesting happens: I think for about an hour, contemplating things like telling all the random strangers I meet and making a banner to hang on our front door, and, finally, I think of making a blog post.

But what, physically, should I write about? Should I transcribe the next chapter of my book? Should I put up a bunch of photos of me making goofy faces? How about this: A post where I tell everyone who’s reading this – everyone from Dallas, Lubbock, Falls Church, and maybe even some people from the future when I leave Ciudad Juarez, and wherever else I go next: Thank you. Thank you for supporting me when I’m down. Thank you for lifting me higher when I need it. Thank you for remembering me. Thank you for everything, and I want all of you to remember, no matter where I go – I will always remember you.

There’s really no good way to end this now, so I guess I’m just going to do it suddenly and surprisingly. Bye!

-Isaiah Calderon, The Roving Bison

Lights Out (Night One)

So, I was sitting in my room today thinking about how I could repay all of you guys for all the great support and comments, and I thought, “What about chapter 2 of my horror book? You know, the one with all the horror?” And I decided I’d put it off long enough. Part of me was saying, “No, do something else”, but I told that part of me, “Dude, it’s time. People are waiting.” So here you go:



The passage you have can be fragmented at times, and it is not always clear what is going on. It is mysterious, as I intended, but a bit more mysterious than I wanted. I will edit it later, but keep in mind, this IS the first draft.

   It’s dark. Everything’s dark. Not in the way that it was this afternoon, but normal dark. And it still scares me. Ever since that time my brother locked me in out broom closet, which is filled with things that seem like monsters with the lights out, I have had an irrational fear of the dark. Irrational it may be, but to this day, the dark is still my worst fear.

   Slowly, gradually, the blackness around me begins to fade into something viewable. I know that I’m dreaming, but, waiting for the scene around me to become clear, I desperately want to wake up.

   Then I’m seized with a feeling of glee. Not mine, I know that for sure. The part of me inside is scared to death. The setting around me has finally clarified. I’m standing in the road outside my house. Everything’s dark  and no one’s around, so I decide it must be night.

   Before I can have another thought, I begin to glide uncontrollably to the left. Apparently, the dream has ideas of its own about where I am to go.

   I go past the Brown’s, with the pink color scheme and perfectly ordered rosebeds, the Jones’ house with their dog sleeping in the front yard, and finally the Colette’s, with their odd modern house and a “Family” rock out front, and out of the neighborhood.

   I glide left, right, right again, and at the crossing between Windomere and Jefferson,, I hear a peculiar noise. It sounds like crying – many voices crying, echoey and from far away.

   As the feeling of glee intensifies, and the noises grow louder, I begin to glide faster, and at the same time, my vision begins to fade in a reverse version of how the dream started. The glee turns into anger as my view darkens. I begin to glide faster, and faster still, and as my vision disappears altogether, the crying turns subtly into an incomprehensible, yet sad song. . .


   See? told you things with this chapter went a little wrong. Well, that’s what first drafts are for.