Excerpt from Groothtown View: Ben + Jim

This chapter of the book is titled Ben + Jim (tentative). Within the chapter there are sub-chapters. Here is a sampling of sub-chapters 2+3. I’ve been working hard on this story lately, and am hoping to get Book I (it will be a trilogy, at least) published by next year. If anyone knows who I could talk to about getting published, I would really appreciate the help. I hope you like it:

2

Ben Grandsworth thought he had a pretty fortunate life. He lived in a big red house with a wide green yard the size of a football field. In the back, an olympic sized swimming pool complete with a diving board, a bubbling stream, and a water slide.

Ben had all of the cutting edge gaming systems and all of their predecessors in his finished basement, including the original Nintendo, which still worked as long as he blew into the cartridges before inserting them.

It wasn’t out of the ordinary for the gang to spend entire weekends there, as long as their parents allowed it, which they usually did. Mr. and Mrs. Grandsworth were delightfully charming, and over the years they earned the trust of the Groothtown community. This was, of course, with the exception of Mrs. Leary, Jim’s mother.

3

“I just don’t want you going. The Grandsworths let you kids do anything you please with no supervision! One of you boys is going to get hurt, and I’ll be damned if it’s going to be my little baby!” Mrs. Leary shouted.

“But Mom, everyone else is going!” Jim hated being called her ‘little baby.’ It was a shaming degradation, and made him feel like a legless man on a soccer field. Eighth grade was a little old to be referred to as an infant.

“Oh really, Jim? That sounds like a fib if I ever heard one. There’s no way that everyone is going to Ben’s house. Although, their house surely could fit everyone.”

“What am I supposed to do this weekend?” Jim wined. “All my friends are going to be there, all weekend!”

“It looks like you’ll just have to think of something else, won’t you? Why don’t you hang out with Alfie?”

Alfie was the new kid in town, he just moved in next door to the Learys. He was an odder than a purple-spotted rhinoceros, and the last thing Jim wanted was to hang out with him, but it wasn’t up to him. Mom was in control.

“Please, Ma! Please let me go! I’ll do anything if you just let me go!”

Mrs. Leary scratched the tip of her stubbly, pointy chin with her long cherry red nails, clicking her tongue against her dentures, producing a sound similar to an obese baby sucking a bottle filled with mayonnaise. The hideous sucking came to an abrupt halt, meaning one of two things:

1.) Mrs. Leary had arrived at a decision

or

2.) Her dentures had dislodged.

Lucky for Jim, it was the former. “Okay, you can go to Ben’s,” she said. Jim hopped and clapped his hands, then saw she wasn’t finished. Her sneaky glare told him there would be some kind of condition. There was always a damn condition.

If, you let Alfie go with you,” spittle spurted from her fat maroon lips.

“Oh come on, Mom! There’s something wrong with him, and he makes me uncomfortable.”

“Well then,” Mrs. Leary placed her chubby, chapped hands on her plump hippo hips. “You can be nice and comfortable spending the weekend here, without your friends.”

“That’s not fair!”

“Fair? No…I don’t suppose it is very fair, is it?”

Oh boy, Jim thought, here comes the moral lesson.

“But,” Mrs. Leary continued, “how fair do you think it is that you won’t invite Alfie to hang out with you and your friends, just because you think he’s different.”

“He is different!” Jim wined.

He is different!” Mrs. Leary mocked, swaying her squarish pumpkin-head like a rusty pendulum. “Everyone’s different, Jim! If we were all the same -”

Life would be awfully boring,” Jim mocked. “Never heard you say that before.”

“It doesn’t matter how many times I say it, because it’s true. Real as reality itself.”

“I don’t even think reality is real anymore.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

The doorbell rang before Jim had time to explain himself, which was good, because he had no idea what that meant. It had jumped out of his mouth on its own, like it wasn’t his own thought.

“There he is now,” Mrs. Leary said.

“There who is?”

“Alfie. I called his house and told him to come by. I figured you’d put up a fuss about it, and as always, I was right.” Mrs. Leary was always right, because she set herself up in situations where she couldn’t be wrong.

“You can’t tell me who to hang out with!”

“Didn’t I just do precisely that?”

“This isn’t fair!”

“Let’s not talk in loops, dear. Go and get the door, your new friend is waiting.”

“This is such bull-”

“Don’t even think about uttering that word in this house, mister.”

“I wasn’t going to say it.”

“I said not to even think about it. Are you going to lie to me in the face, and tell me that word didn’t cross your mind?”

“Honest, Ma, it didn’t.”

“Great!” Mrs. Leary threw her hands in the air like a tired marathon runner splitting yellow tape. “My boy’s a liar. I’ve spawned the devil’s son.”

“This is ridiculous. I’m out of here.” Jim stormed out.

“Have fun with your new friend, sweetie,” Mrs. Leary hissed and grinned as the door slammed shut, her eyes shifted and began glowing like giant neon green fireflies.

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