Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Beginning 311

“There’s no science lab?” Trevor repeated.

Trevor had told his father that moving to this backwater would ruin his life. Here was the first evidence that he was right. He always was. Why did people doubt him?

Mr. Johnson flipped through the file on his desk. “What? No, no science lab.” Trevor watched as he wrote the number 28 next to Trevor’s name on a list. “Here, sign here.”

“Is 28 my student number?” Trevor asked, as he signed the form. When he looked back up, Mr. Johnson had disappeared. “Mr. Johnson?”

The man’s head popped back up from behind his desk. “Here you go. You’re all set now.” He thrust something into Trevor’s hands.

“What’s this?” Trevor stared at the numbered shirt and red trimmed shorts.

“Your basketball uniform.” Mr. Johnson stood, picked up his clipboard, and moved toward the door.

"Basketball?" Trevor said to the now empty room. "Basketball?"

Trevor couldn't believe it. He was a geek, a science nerd. Always had been. Over the years, he'd demonstrated his geekiness by worshiping Gil Grissom on CSI, Garcia and Reid on Criminal Minds, the Professor on Gilligan's Island. But secretly, when he was lying in bed in the dark, he worshiped Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson.

He pulled out his mini-chemistry set and threw it into the trash. He wouldn't be needing that anymore.

Then he pulled out something else, something he'd been yearning to wear for a long, long time . . . His bling.

Opening: Stephanie.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Geez, thought Trevor, they must be really desperate for basketball players. He carefully turned his wheelchair and began manouvering through the office toward the door.


"What?" shouted trevor. "I can't play basketball!"

Mr Johnson stopped. "Why not?"

"I'm a dwarf!"


Moving blindly, Mr. Johnson's body missed the doorway and smashed into a bookcase. A trophy toppled off the top shelf and bounced off his shoulder.

Trevor winced. "That's gonna leave a mark."

Mr. Johnson's head again popped up from behind the desk. "Little help," he said before his head dropped behind the desk again.

Using his ears as handles, Trevor balanced Mr. Johnson's head on the stub of his neck. "Maybe you should rethink the science lab. So last semester's science students got a little carried away after Young Frankenstein played at the dollar cinema. We're not all so easily influenced. Great flick, though, right?"

Mr. Johnson reluctantly smiled and in a poor imitation of Gene Wilder said, "What knockers!"

"Sank you, Doctor," Trevor said in falsetto.

They both laughed. Trevor slapped Mr. Johnson on the back. His head fell off and landed in an over-sized cigar box on his desk. The lid bounced shut.

"Oh, sorry Mr. Johnson. You all right?" Trevor opened the wooden box.

"'S all right."

--Bump in the Night

“But wait, you don’t understand, Mr. Johnson,” Trevor said. “I’m a geek. I have an IQ of a 195, I’ve won the Science Fair six years in a row. I mismatch my socks!”

Mr. Johnson turned toward the boy. “What we have here, Trevor, is failure to communicate. Now you've got two choices: round ball with the boys, or a little backwater welcoming party in the shower, courtesy of Bobby Ray Slink and Jimmie Keith Randall.”

“Do you want me at forward or guard, coach?”


"B... basketball?" Trevor stammered, turning red with rage.

"Everyone has to play a sport. Now if you'll excuse me . . ."

Trevor reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic contraption covered in diodes and warning labels. One pull of the trigger, and Mr. Johnson shrunk to the size of an ant. Trevor leaned over him and grinned wickedly.

"No science lab, you say? No, I think this office will make a *great* science lab."


Mr. Johnson paused in the doorway. "You better suit up now, kid," he said. "Practice starts in ten minutes."

Trevor stood in stunned silence. No science lab? Okay, ten minutes was more than enough time. These backwater rubes wouldn't know what hit them.

Trevor grinned as he pulled out his special shoes. Hook 'em first, he thought, then refuse to play again until the new science lab is finished.

He had a momentary flashback of his previous school and the trouble his shoes had caused, his father being forced to move. But this time it would be different.

This time the flubber would really work.

--Kate Thornton

"I can't play basketball!"

"Nonsense." Mr Johnson paused by the door. "Look. We have thirty-seven students here in all grades. Half are girls. As soon as you're old enough, you play on a team. That's the rule."

"But I don't want to play!"

"You don't get a choice, son. Besides," he smiled, "you look like you could use the exercise. "It'll be good for you."

Trevor slumped against the desk. "I knew moving here was going to suck.

"Why do you think your father picked this town? He knew we'd be able to whip you into shape. Now--get dressed. Parctice is in five minutes."


Trevor just stared after him a moment, trying not to cry.

"Come on, Mr. Taylor." The principal gestured impatiently. "We have to get you to the Home Ec. class. Ms. Kowalski will need to issue you your apron and sewing kit."

Hell, I'm in Hell, Trevor thought. But the principal's jaw was still moving. Trevor made himself focus lest he cry.

"...and then the music class, where we'll assign you your accordion--"

Definitely Hell.


Trevor examined the shorts. "But Mr Johnson--they've got no crotch."

Mr. Johnson turned bright red and turned back from the door. He dove under the desk again and produced another set of shorts.

"Sorry," he mumbled, handing them to Trevor and taking the first pair back. "These are for members of the wrestling team."


Robin S. said...

Well-written opening- I'm guessing written for a younger audience than my demographic (boomer).

A younger version of me would read on.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is a really nice opening. I liked it, liked Trevor, and I'd have read on. I was reminded of Judy Blume and how easily she sucked me into her books when I was a kid.

Another great continuation.

Anonymous said...

Bumpin the Night and Writtenword were very good also rans! The chosen contin was funny too.

I thought this was ok. I almost wrote a cont. for it. It moved along and I felt kinda bad for Trev being forced onto the team.

But then I had a brillent idea. I asked sonny boy to read it. Just read it, ok? Here's a buck, read it, already, it's only 150 words.

So he read. I asked him what he thought. (first he asked if I wrote it!) It's confusing, he said. First it's about a kid (who likes science) who had to move, then he gets a number and then he's on the basketball team. Too much info too quickly.

Author, you decide.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. I'll take a look at whether I tried to put too much in too soon. Interest is good. Confusion is probably bad. Didn't we just see an author take a beating for a slow start? Hard to get it right. This is intended for a middle grade audience, so maybe I need to give out the info a little more slowly. Thank you again.

Robin S. said...

Hi Stephanie,

I wouldn't change your opening because of the reaction of one male child, honey.

Your opening is nice and smooth.
If you change it every time one person doesn't like or get it, you'll be rewriting the opening forever and a day.

Putting it another way - Your votes on these comments are running two to one in favor of your work as it stands.

Anonymous said...


I like it fine as is. You show skill by putting so much information in a short space, while making it feel natural. I read (and write) middle grade, and so far it's not confusing at all. I think the reason your opening hasn't gotten that many comments is that people can't find much to criticize.

I have to say, I also loved the continuation.


Bernita said...

Stephanie,Robin is right.
And some of us haven't commented because it is not our genre and we don't know beans about what flies with that readership.
Please take that caveat into consideration, when I say I wonder only about one line "Why did people doubt him?"
To me, the protag would be more likely to think "But they never listened" or "why didn't they listen?"