*blows dust off blog*
Why hello there! It’s been a minute but I can’t complain about spending a week in superawesomeamazeballs Seattle, WA. Traveling for work is usually more fun than business because I’d talk about museums for free ALL DAY. It was crazy hectic, keeping me away from writing for fun for days. I know! I think I went into some kind of shock. But I’m back home with a long weekend stretching ahead of me and plenty of time for ALL THE WORDS.
Last night, I started working again on my short story (title TBD). I have no idea about the length requirements on these things. Every short story I’ve ever attempted has morphed into a novel. But I think this one has what it takes to stay true to format. As usual, I’m pantsing but it’s starting to feel like it’s coming to a natural conclusion and I love that. I hope to have it ready for the next round of Sucker Literary submissions. Speaking of which, you should just go ahead and buy all the volumes right now. [Full disclosure: I’m a staff reader but I’d rec the hell out of them anyway because AMAZING and who doesn’t love supporting emerging YA contemporary writers?]
And since I failed at YA Buccaneer Spring Writing Bootcamp BINGO and I’m sure Team Defiance is ready to keelhaul me, I offer penance in the way of a short story excerpt for Walk the Plank.
Sam is a larger-than-life girl living in a postage-stamp-sized town, perfectly content with her oddity. Popular girl Genn’s attempt to befriend her justifiably gets the side-eye but it’s not long before Sam’s wondering if she’s ready for a new normal.
When Genn asked me to hang out the last day of school, I thought she was joking. Before the Senior girls departed for college or beauty school or shotgun weddings, she was crowned the new queen bee. It smelled like a setup to establish her hierarchy.
“You do like movies, right?” she asked. Her warm smile and bright blue eyes sucked me in. I’d watched her in the halls forever but had rarely been this close. Model-tall with pale skin and silky-straight brown hair to her shoulders. Genn McDaniel, of those McDaniels. The ones who were the kind of rich I couldn’t comprehend. The ones who owned land in Bucklin for generations without living on it, but everybody still knew them for the banks and brokerages that controlled their lives.
They finally built on their land three years ago. The house was so impressive it became a tourist attraction, the finale on the Holiday Home Tour. Of course, Mom dragged me and Leigh on it. The first thing I noticed when we got to the McDaniels’ was Genn on a balcony in a sparkling white gown with matching fur coat and hat, waving pageant-style, welcoming us to her paradise.
So I said yes to the movies, thinking she’d ditch me. But she showed up, slinging her arm around my shoulders as we entered the Granada’s lobby. She bought tickets and anything I wanted from the snack bar. We went into the dingy theater reserved for old movies and laughed ourselves sick through Spaceballs.
When we came out, still giggling, Brady was in the parking lot. He sat on his pickup’s flatbed giving us the kind of grin only confident people possessed. My skin, chilled from the hyperactive movie air conditioning, prickled in the heat as he jumped down, wrapped his muscled arms around Genn’s tiny waist, and kissed her like they’d been apart for days instead of hours.
“You know Sam,” Genn said when they came up for air. Brady nodded at me. “She’s hanging with us now.”
“Cool.” He said it with a smile, like he was used to Genn dictating his fate. He let go of her and walked to his truck’s driver’s side.
“Hang here a sec, okay?” Genn asked me before following him. Now she wanted privacy? I looked at the ground. I heard the truck door open. A few beats of silence, then Genn said, “I’ll see you later.” Brady drove away with a honk. She turned to me. “Your bike should fit in my car. I’ll carry you home.”
Just like that, I was their friend. No one questioned it, at least not to my face. Who cares if they did? The kind of normalcy Genn and Brady brought to my life was addicting. It’s like being on an amazing vacation you never want to go home from. But the closer we get to the start of school, I can’t help but wonder if the trip’s about to end.