Saturday, May 14, 2011

8 1st Five Pages Workshop - May Rev 1: Entry #3

Young Adult--Margie Seneschal--Bix For Short

“Simon,” Mom calls down the hall to me. “If you make us any later…” There’s a definite threat in there somewhere. You’d think we were having lunch with someone more important than her latest boyfriend. But seeing as she’s reached the critical get-to-know-my-son juncture in this relationship, she’s a little on edge or ready to jump off one.

“I’m ready.” I head her off before she can get creative and vindictive. Yes, in our home, they sometimes go hand in hand.

From my desk, I glance outside. Across the street, MAX—being Portland’s light rail system--is pulling out of the station. I have about a twenty minute window before the next one arrives.

Lunch at Melting Pot with Omar. Rather stay home than break bread (and dip it) with Mom’s florist/terrorist boyfriend.

I wonder how many slashes I can attach to his name. The longer she dates him, the more I seem to come up with. Jury’s still out whether Omar is actually a terrorist but it does make good blogging and tweeting. It’s not like anyone takes me seriously anyway. That’s kind of the problem when you’re sixteen and look like you’re twelve.

“Simon,” Mom’s yell borders on hysteria. Sounds like she got the tweet. “You’ve got to stop calling him a terrorist.”

I walk to the bathroom doorway and duck under a mist cloud of hairspray. I hold my breath as I pass. Don’t want to die of cancer before I reach seventeen. “I can’t help it if I think he’s a terrorist.” Although last week, after I heard him talking Russian, I was pretty sure he was KGB. Turns out he’s a Croation-Arab hybrid who speaks four languages fluently.

“What if he reads it? What’s he going to think?” Mom watches me in the mirror as she applies her eye gook.

“Mom,” I lift a quote from last week’s blog post. “That’s assuming he reads more English than plutonium rich.”

Mom bites back a laugh. “He is not a terrorist.”

Notice she didn’t say he could read.

The doorbell rings and Mom flicks me away. “Get that.”

Even though it’s been drilled into me, I don’t check the peephole. Number one, I’d need a stool. Number two, it just looks out into a dark hall toward the elevator. And number three, my best bud, Raj, is probably covering the hole with his finger.

I open the door and immediately wish I’d taken the couple of minutes to pull over a chair. Two men in dark suits with dark glasses and even darker expressions stare down at me. Standing like twin sentries they block any view behind them.

“Hey,” I say, trying for casual. How fast can I shut the door if this goes bad?

In unison, they look down, way down, at me.

Okay, let’s just get it over with and deal with the mouse in the room. Me. At four-nine and 93 pounds on a good, sopping wet day, I am not intimidating.

“Simon Rook?” Man-in-black 1 lowers his glasses, peering over the rim at me. “Are you Simon Rook?”

Never admit to anything. “Who wants to know?”

MIB 2 flips through this small, wire-bound notebook. “Are you Simon Rook, age…” He scans the page with a frown. “Sixteen?”

This is my chance. I can say I’m someone else. Nobody ever believes I’m sixteen, so maybe it’s time to let the eternal youth gene do me a solid.

MIB 2 decides not to wait for confirmation. He head signals his partner and they brush past me with an air of authority. He flips a badge at me. “Federal Marshals, kid. Get your mother.”

Feds? What do they want? I rack my brain trying to figure out what exactly the Marshals do? All I come up with is The Fugitive. And since I didn’t kill anyone, one-armed or two, I think I’m in the clear.

Mom’s heels click down the hall as she leaves her bedroom. I can track her by the sound of her heels. I’ve done it before, especially when I’ve been expecting trouble. She passes my room. “Hey, Si,” she says, unaware that we have unwanted visitors who are probably armed. “I can’t reach Omar so he must be in a dead zone.”

I slide my hand in my pocket and send off a quick tweet.

Good news: Looks like I’m getting out of an awkward lunch.
Bad news: We’ve been invaded by Men in Black.

MIB nudges me further into the background as he takes a step toward the hallway. “Lily?” he removes his Ray-Bans and hangs them between the buttons of his shirt. “Lily Rook?”

Mom rounds the corner, her hand flying up to her mouth. “Frank?”

Wait! Mom knows him? What the frak? Since when is Mom on a first name basis with a Federal Marshal?


  1. This is fantastic! There's a few places where Simon's thoughts/voice distract from the present action (especially the line about slashes to Omar's name. I felt it would've been snappier going from the florist/terrorist straight to the jury's out on the terrorist bit), but he is completely compelling. This time, I had no doubt he was a teenage boy (despite his height deficit). I love his voice and I'd definitely want to spend a whole book with him.

    It's completely convenient that his mom started talking about his blog about Omar right after he thought about it. Unless you were going for a strange interplay between his thoughts and his conversations, maybe you could have her worried he'll bring it up at lunch?

    Also would've loved a quick, snappy description of his mom :)

    Great job!

  2. This is quite sharp, Margie.
    I think the other poster has som relevant points.

  3. LOL - Jessica pointed out the two main things I was going to say. 1. You no longer need to mention the slashes because the rest of that joke/line was taken out. and 2. Why did the mother bring up his calling Omar a terrorist when she was doing her hair? He needs to say it verbally for her to catch. Unless I missed that which is always possible. :D

    STILL love the voice. Absolutely. Positively. Awesome. I would read this book in a heartbeat. And oh - that tweet he slipped in under the fed's noses? I can see all sorts of trouble coming... :D

  4. I think I need to make a clarification. He tweeted "Lunch at Melting Pot with Omar..." and his mom gets the tweet and that's when she says "Stop calling him a terrorist." In the manuscript all tweets are done in italics, but they don't come through here and I think that's adding to the confusion.

    thank you for your comments. This process is so helpful ;)

  5. Hi Margie!

    I like the changes that you made. My only suggestions are really tiny:

    I would take out the sentence: "There's a definite threat in there" because it makes sense to me without it and reads more smoothly I think.

    In the sentence about MAX, I would take out the "being."

    Also, I really like the line you added in about being sixteen but looking twelve. It really helps to make things clear from the start. After that, though, the comment about him not wanting to get cancer before he's seventeen seems like too much stuff about age. I really like the line, so I don't know I would get rid of it, but I'd think about it.

    I like that his mom got his tweet. That says a lot about her. Also, I love the phrase: "eye gook."

    After the MIB come in, I'm a little confused about where they are. It sounds like he's in his room when he sends off the tweet, but I don't think he is.

    I love the thing about the Fugitive. That's all I would come up with if Federal Marshalls came to my door, too!

    So, just tiny edits. It's awesome.

  6. I just love this. Like Jessica said, I'd like to spend a whole book with him.

  7. I like the revisions!
    I'm wondering what the mom looks like, does he take after her with being short? And how is it that the mib guy, Frank, doesn't know her, but she knows him?

  8. Lisa and Jessica covered the only points, I've got. This rocks. Just read it aloud and make sure you've hit all the mechanics of what we need to know without going into info that would detract. There really isn't much. This is pretty darn close to perfect. The VOICE? Awesome. Can't wait to read this book. Seriously. I'm in awe. Great job.



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