Main Genre: General, Philosophizing, posts, Reality, Retro Fiction, Truth

“Stranger Things Have Happened”: A Story Title to Regret After 2020

Image: Comfreak/

I had completely forgotten about this until recently going through some old stories — but apparently, at the beginning of 2017, it seemed things in the world were the most perplexing they had ever been.

That was 2017.

I had done a flash fiction piece called “Stranger Things Have Happened” with an alternate title of “2016: The Year of Death,” which is below.

The story actually took place at the end of 2019, with the characters looking at a retrospective on t.v., as the countdown to 2020 continued. When recounting 2016, it showed unexpected election results and a look back at 2016 when it seemed, for a while, that one celebrity after another had perished.

A few years later — and having passed 2020 — revisiting this was actually really strange.

Because let’s face it: The title of “The Year of Death” could now belong to 2020. And as for the election results….Well, take that part as you will. Either way, there were unexpected issues.

If it were possible to relate to the future while writing about a retrospective that has yet to come, this story fits.

And I know that last sentence hardly makes sense, but then again, neither did 2020.

So what would I now tell Will’s dad in the story below? “You have absolutely no idea what you’re in for.”

P.S. The image is a reference to the whale spotted in the Hudson River in 2020 — just like Captain America mentions in “Endgame” after Thanos wrecks his havoc.


“Stranger Things Have Happened” (Flash Fiction)

Will’s dad never allowed him at the bar, never brought him there — after all, he was only 6 years old. This, however, was New Year’s Eve. And this year was different. Will did not understand why, but his dad decided to not open the bar that night — though New Year’s Eve, he remembered from his past few young years, was one of the busiest nights of the year.

This time, Will sat at one of the old-looking wooden tables on a chair made for adults — much too big for him. He watched his dad pour some kind of drink bottles (the kind he wasn’t allowed to drink from at home) behind a big bar counter. The bar was full of empty tables, empty tall seats at the counter. The entire place was quiet — except for the t.v. images projected on the wall. Will looked back at the digital projector, sending its beam to the only bare spot on the wall with no crazy pictures of dogs playing poker, and felt more at home. The projector reminded him of the same model they had in their living room.

Will’s dad brought over two glass cups, one with his drink and one with Will’s, and set them both down on the table as he sat himself down with Will. “Here’s your soda, kid,” he said.

The t.v. projections showed flashes of images that Will remembered to be called “important,” though half of them were unfamiliar to him. His dad glanced at the huge touch screen display hanging front and center behind the counter: 11:45 p.m., December 31, 2019.

“Yep,” he said, “glad I didn’t open tonight — this New Year’s Eve’s gonna be a wild one.”

Then he turned back to the t.v. show again, showing “2016.” It started saying something about “retrospect countdown to 2020 continues….2016 was one of the weirdest. Some later called it ‘The Year of Death.'”

Then it showed a bunch of t.v. and music people — some he had heard of, some he hadn’t — who passed away the year they were talking about. There seemed to be a lot of people from what they called “the ’70s” and “the ’80s.'” Six-year-old Will didn’t know those numbers.

His dad, however, chimed in, “Yeah, you were only 2 at the time.” Will kind of felt better hearing this. He was younger then, so that’s why he didn’t know what was going on.

Then they started talking about “surprise election results” and “stunned the country,” ending with “stranger things have happened.”

At that, Will’s dad questioned the t.v. projections. “Have they?” he asked. He then turned to Will. “You know,” he said with a sigh, “you’ll be happier if you stay 6 years old all your life…or wait.” He swished his drink around while he thought. “Maybe 10 or 11. Just stay 11 forever, and you’ll be the happiest guy on earth — especially in the ’80s, like they were talkin’ about. Take it from an old bartender.”

At that, Will smiled.








Quote from blog post "'Stranger Things Have Happened': A Story Title to Regret After 2020" by Brenna Vancheyson (

Main Genre: Retro, posts, Retro Fiction

1980’s Characters in Fiction…for Reals*

What if someone from the 80’s time-traveled to the present day and discovered the nostalgic mood of our time? How would they compare the 80’s characters we see or write about today to the real thing?

Well, here’s what an 80’s valley girl might say on various 80’s topics and how we can accurately reflect them in today’s stories and movies.

From an 80’s Valley Girl

So like…yeah, I’m totally going to talk about some different things today. Because it’s just not cool to show us 80’s people wrong…so gnarly! I’ll break it down into different categories, so you get us for sure.

80’s vocabulary. Yeah, I guess we do say “like” a lot. And the guys say “dude” a lot — but that’s so typical, you know? I mean, people now seem to say that stuff a lot, too. It’s just, like, we say that stuff more.

80’s fashion. So I heard that several years back, people were, like, totally into 80’s styles again. Rad! But then, I heard, like, there were clothes with a fake second top sewn in (so it looked like you were wearing two tops or whatever).

Not to bag on you, but…no way. When we wear two shirts, we really wear two shirts. When we wear two tank tops, we really wear two. Even if it’s like 100 degrees — I mean, you can wear one, but we don’t wear, like, a fake one.

Plus, you need to wear, like, two pairs of socks and scrunch them together if you’re a girl. Boys, you need to pin your pants at the bottom (they kind of’ll look like your “skinny jeans” today).

There’s different kinds of tops, so you can take your choice. You can be awesome in a “Flashdance” top or a crop top, or something baggy.

Leggings are awesome — and I’m so stoked you guys totally wear them today! But you don’t wear stirrup pants, and we totally do.

Accessories. So like, people need to be able to see your jewelry! I only wear big hoop earrings and other totally huge earrings — even if they pull down my earlobes. Then for bracelets, like wear a whole bunch of jelly bracelets — and then jelly shoes.

For necklaces, we totally wear long bead necklaces, or a short and long one together. Like…Okay, sometimes just a short one.

Oh…And don’t forget the two Swatch watches. Or you can wear more. You have like a whole arm to put stuff on.

80’s hair. This is a BIG one — I mean, like really big. We always have big hair. It takes a hour for me to do my hair, but it’s totally worth it. First, I pull it out with a comb, then hold the comb. Then, like, I take the hairspray and spray it for…like forever. Sometimes, I try to wave my free hand to make it dry faster, but like, does that work? I totally don’t know. But it’s awesome, anyway, because when that’s done and I take out the comb, I just have to tease it a little.

Some people do perm their hair, but they still “wing out” about, like, an inch of hair at their temple and put hairspray to make it stick out, just like I said just now.

Boys have a wave at the front of their hair sometimes, and it looks so awesome. I totally don’t know how they do it!

Colors and patterns. Okay, so this is totally important. For sure wear neon sometimes. Then switch to pastel. Those are the two main color schemes. Plus, lots of patterns. Baggy tops with patterns rule.

Music. And this is so totally important: We have all kinds of music! Like synthesizers rule! But then there’s love ballads and rock ballads that are so rad, and we listen to those over and over. And there’s heavy metal and pop that’s like on the “top 40” lists.

Our music totally rules! There’s just so much you don’t even know what to choose, you know?

Books. Oh…my…God. Another important one! I mean, there’s Choose Your Own Adventure, which like, you can read over and over. Then there’s Sweet Valley High (I totally don’t read those, really, but all my friends do). Oh, and I totally order from Scholastic all the time to get books — there are so many good ones! So yeah, like, half the time, I don’t even know how to choose.

So like, now that you know what it’s really like for us in the 80’s, remember us well when you read stories about our time — and especially when you’re writing about us…for sure!


*Source: Author’s life in the 80’s (if she was alive in the 80’s, or maybe it was just an awesome dream. 😉)