It has been a bit exhilarating ...
finally pouring this story out onto paper and emptying my head of details,
discovering my characters' quirks and strengths,
watching my plot develop and thicken, and
being surprised at where my story is headed!
I have already changed my main character's name (Marcus and Marcus's has too many s's) and I've rethought my villain, but for the most part, I'm sticking with my current plan. At least, for today.
Here is a little snippet from one of the first chapters. I think it gives you a good idea of the kids I've been hanging out with for the past six days. They are a curious bunch!
The next several hours passed quickly and soon Peter found himself standing outside the cafeteria, clutching his brown bag lunch. His last class of the morning had been a long and lonely hour spent in the computer lab. The teacher assigned the front computer to Peter and then proceeded to forget that he was there.
Peter spent most of the class time trying to log into his computer using the login name and password that the teacher had scribbled on an index card. Unfortunately his handwriting was so poor that the information was a mystery. Each time Peter tried to get the instructor’s attention, all he got was a scowl and a request to “wait a minute”. Sixty minutes later, Peter had managed to open the desktop, but he had missed out completely on the assignment.
“Maybe tomorrow will be better,” the teacher said, walking the students out to the hall. Peter wasn’t optimistic. Now waiting in line for the cafeteria, Peter tucked the index card, with his re-written information, in his back pocket and tried to shake off the frustrations of the last hour.
Stepping into the lunchroom, he scanned the room.
4 teachers patrolling the room.
2 tables filled with Flitch and his goons.
1 seat next to X.
Peter waved and walked toward the empty seat, skirting around the full tables. X was busy pulling his meal out of his lunch bag and reached out a protective hand toward the seat as Peter pulled it out from the table. “This sair is chaved," he stuttered. He looked up with relief. “Oh. It’s you. Good. I hoped you would sit with me.”
Peter laughed, scanning the room, “Who else would I sit with?”
X shrugged and smiled weakly. Peter slid into his seat and pulled out his sandwich. They ate in silence, Peter trying to think of something to break the ice. Lucky for them, Espi appeared. She flounced into her seat across from X, setting her cafeteria tray down dramatically. “Ay, ay, ay. Would you look at this lunch? You call this enchiladas? Mi abuela would be mortified to know I was eating this.” She poked her lunch with her fork, lips pursed, inspecting the layers of cheese and tortillas. Espi dove into the salad instead and sipped her chocolate milk. “So? How was the rest of your morning?”
X shrugged again and made a move to say so-so with his hand. He chewed his sandwich thoughtfully, swallowed and said, “I had algebra with Mr. Daniels. Since I’ve already finished the homework for this quarter, he let me work on my biography of Isaac Newton.”
Peter was impressed. “So you just bring in your research and work in the back?”
X was chewing again, he held up his hand, telling Peter to wait. “Um, sorta.” He pointed to his head, “It’s all up here.” The confused look on Peter’s face brought out a boisterous laugh from Espi.
“Our amigo, X here, has what you might call a photographic memory. If he’s read it or seen it, that information is stored in his head, waiting to be used. Comes in handy when I have a report to write, too.” She smiled, teasing X good-naturedly. The color flooding X’s face made her laugh even harder. “Are you going to eat that?” She asked indicating X’s apple. As X shook his head, she scooped it up, polished it on her sequined top and took a noisy bite.
“Good job asking, Espi,” X said, swallowing his mouthful of milk. “Any trouble today?”
Espi’s smile slipped, wavered, and she looked at her tray. “Uhm ... just one itsy bitsy problema ... I gave them back, of course.” She looked up at Peter and rejuvenated her smile, “It’s not like Mr. Hink needs 14 pencils on his desk. But I put them back before I left the room, so it’s not like I actually took them. It’s more like I borrowed them. Right? Anyway ... I have to run. I’m off to the office to help with some copies for Mr. Wiseman. I’ll see you both later. Adiós!” She blew them both a noisy kiss, grabbed her tray and headed for the door.
X shook his head and watched her go. “What was that all about?” Peter questioned.
X sat silently for a few moments before answering. “Espi is great, but she’s a bit of a kleptomaniac. She’s one of my best friends, and she’s the first to jump in and help anyone in trouble. Just keep an eye on your stuff around her.”
Peter nodded. So far his new friends were full of surprises. And that made him very happy. Maybe he’d fit in after all.
“Hey. Where’s my candy bar?”
X raised his eyebrows and looked toward the door, gesturing toward Espi with his chin. As she left the cafeteria, Peter watched as she licked the chocolate off her slender fingers.