It will all work out, but I am going to have to put my family time on hold for a couple weeks and get serious about getting it done.
Today at school was a blast! My class did pumpkin math. We used the pumpkins we went and picked and estimated their weight and then actually weighed them. Then we looked at the circumference, height, and length of stem. We ran out of time before we finished so we made sure we had all the measurements we needed from the pumpkins (they took them home today- FINALLY! :) ) and we will finish out math lesson another day.
I think what is even MORE crazy, is that next week is Halloween. It will be a LONG day, however- with Bountiful Baskets that morning at 5:00am! B-L-A-H! But, it will be good. Trick-or-Treating with the kids (my LEAST favorite part- actually carving pumpkins is my absolute least favorite part), town carnival, watching White Christmas- (Don't criticize me- it is a family tradition in my family growing up- so just leave it be!) and handing out whatever it is we decide to buy to give out. Maybe we will just go to my parents house and "help" them hand out their candy. Then I can hide like I used to do growing up and scare little kids so bad they would drop their candy and run! Man, those were GOOD TIMES! (I know mom, I know- I shouldn't have done it!).
This last week I finished reading the story I wrote to my class. I think they rather enjoyed it. I am in the process of making some major editing and revision changes to it, but I hope to have it ready to be printed sometime this school year. I plan to use Create Space. I hope it works out. More on that someday when I get closer.
Here is the Prologue and Chapter One- what do you think?
I guess I should tell you about my dream. Now, don’t think I’m crazy. Remember that all four of us had the same dream. In the dream we follow Mr. Linden to his house. He has a really big house on the edge of town. It is one of those Victorian mansions. It has a huge yard and swimming pool and everything. It also has creepy statues everywhere. In the dream we sneak into his yard and around to a lighted window on the ground floor. Every time we get close to the window, I wake up. I am pretty sure this is the same thing that happened with the others. I still haven’t asked them.
I will never forget the day it started. It was a Tuesday morning and I was on my way to school just like every other Tuesday morning. Somehow I knew this day was going to be different; I couldn’t say how, I just felt it inside.
“Hurry or you’ll be late!” my mother called after me.
“I know, I know,” I mumbled. I hated having my mother always telling me to hurry. It was as if she had a built in stopwatch. It was annoying.
Once I was out of her sight, I slowed my pace. I kept having the feeling that something big was going to happen. Really big.
“What is it? What’s bugging me?” I thought aloud to myself.
The noise scared me half to death. I didn’t want Tom to know he’d scared me though. He really liked it when he did, and I wasn’t going to have him laugh at me.
“What’s up dude?” I asked, keeping my eyes on the sidewalk.
“Not much. Just thought you’d like someone to walk with ya to school.”
“Sure, why not. Hey Tom, do you feel…well, do you feel like something is going to happen? Something big?” Tom thought for a minute before answering. His face took on a serious look, something I had rarely seen before.
“Yeah, I’ve had this feeling all week, but today it’s really strong.”
I wasn’t sure how to take this news. Was he joking with me? Was he serious? It was always hard to tell with Tom.
“Like what?” I asked, trying to feel him out.
“I dunno, just weird. How about for you?”
This was the moment of do or die. Do I tell him? “Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s because the sun is out for the first time this month.” This answer wasn’t exactly great, but Tom didn’t ask any more questions.
We arrived at school to find that everything was humming along as always; kids on the playground, teachers keeping a watchful eye on them, and cars dropping kids off by the dozen.
“Well, here goes another day of Mr. Linden’s Torture Chamber.”
Tom, stopped to tie his shoe. He rose, smiled and then laughed his easy laugh. It was contagious and soon we were both laughing. It felt good.
We made our way through the kids, bikes, scooters, teachers, and cars, to the hall doors. We entered the school and went right to our class, room 137. Mr. Linden was at the whiteboard writing the day’s schedule. He turned when we entered.
“Good morning Mr. Scott and Mr. Wilson, ready to work?” We both nodded and continued to put our coats and backpacks away. We quickly ducked back out the door before he talked to us again.
Let me explain about Mr. Linden. He is old, creepy, and weird. Yes, there is a difference between creepy and weird. Ever since I found out I was in his class, I have dreaded coming to school. He is mean. He’ll make you do your work over and over until it is perfect. He also won’t allow you to chew gum, write notes, or get a drink during class. In fact, you almost have to beg to use the bathroom. Another odd feature is that he likes to call you by your last name, which to me is weird, and he seems to have eyes in the back of his head because he always knows when you are about to throw a spit wad. He’ll say, “Mr. Wilson, I don’t believe that would be a good idea. Why don’t we talk about it at recess?” Those times are the worst. On top of everything else he stares at you until you can’t stand it any more. Then he asks what you plan to do to fix the problem. I always manage to mutter some acceptable answer and then I am allowed to escape his presence.
Tom and I wandered outside in the cool air. We knew it wouldn’t be long before the bell rang, but we wanted to enjoy our freedom for as long as possible. We met up with our two best friends- Kami Turner and Billy Lanier. Kami and Billy were the two that completed our group of four. We did everything together. Kami, the only girl, was taller with brown hair. It was about the same color as my own. Billy however had bright red hair. Tom’s was a brilliant blond.
“You guys been in ‘the chamber’ yet?” I asked.
“No, I don’t know why you two do that every day. Why go in there before you have too?”
“Well, I don’t like to fight the crowd to put my backpack away. Besides, I can take my seat without Mr. Weirdo watching me.” I had a good point and Kami knew it. We all felt the same about creepy Mr. Linden.
“So, what…” Billy’s question was lost in the sudden ringing of the bell and eight-hundredscreaming children as they rushed the doors.We hung back to avoid the stampede and laughed at the kids who were trying to squeeze in the doors ten at a time. After the noise subsided a little, Billy tried again. “What I was about to say is, what are we doing after school?”
“What do you want to do?” I asked as we headed for the doors.
“I dunno.” He hesitated a moment and then continued. “Maybe we can follow Mr. Linden home. See where he lives…” His voice trailed off.
We all stopped dead still and looked at him. We were all thinking the same thing, He knows. Quickly. our eyes all found other places to look. We made it through the doors and into the classroom. Kami and Billy fought the crowds at the cubbies to hang up their coat and deposit their backpacks.. Tom and I milled around before taking our seats. This was the only time we had to visit inside this classroom. Mr. Linden had from day one kept us separated in the class. Man I hated Mr. Linden.
“Good morning class,” Mr. Linden said in his melancholy voice. There was immediate silence. The rest of the class quickly took their seats. “It is nice to have you here today.”
“Yeah, right!” I whispered under my breath.
“Today is going to be a fun-filled day. We are going to be exploring fractions, frogs, and fantasy.”
No one moved a muscle. We had heard the “fun” speech before. It usually meant hard work, frustration, and lots and lots of homework. I sighed and slid into my “I’m not listening” position. I found it easier to survive the day if I was in that mode.
“And how about you Mr. Wilson?”
Dang, he had done it again. He waits to pounce on me like a cat on a mouse. “I couldn’t hear the question.” I lied. Well, actually it wasn’t a lie, after all I didn’t hear the question.
“I see. We shall have a talk at recess then.”
I don’t really remember the rest of the morning. I was too busy dreading the rest of the day until recess. Man I really didn’t like his “little talks.”
Lunch was okay. People were acting like I had just lost everything that was dear to me.
“Sorry about that Joey. Wished I coulda’ helped.”
“Hope to see you before the bell next recess.”
“Man, you going to be okay?”
“Man, you going to be okay?”
Finally Tom stepped in. “Leave him alone. Can’t you see he’s stressed out enough?” With this, everyone left me alone.
“So, do we have a deal?” This was Billy. He had returned to his crazy talk about shadowing Mr. Linden home. All of us were trying to avoid what was unavoidable.
“Billy, why…?” I stammered, “ How…? What I mean is…”
“What he’s trying to say is,” Tom cut me off, and looked at all of us, his face serious, “did you have a strange feeling? A dream even?”
The four of us stopped breathing. It was as if someone had pressed the pause button on life. Only the bell ringing brought us back to reality. There wasn’t any time to continue this discussion. There was only one solution. “Recess. The secret hideout.”
“But, you have…”
“I know that Kami, but I’ll hurry. You guys get the basics figured out. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
The afternoon flew by as we were all anxious to discuss what was to happen after school. When the recess bell rang, Mr. Linden put his hand on my shoulder. “Mr. Wilson, please stay seated.”
This is it, I thought. I gotta make this quick.
Mr. Linden was doing the staring thing. I looked him right in the eyes, which actually threw him a bit. I could tell. “Look Mr. Linden, I’m sorry that I wasn’t listening. I have a lot on my mind today.”
“I know Mr. Wilson. That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
I froze. What did he mean by he knew? This was getting creepier than normal and that was REALLY creepy.
“Your work hasn’t been your best work…”
He went on and on about how I could do better. At least he doesn’t know what we are planning, I thought.
“So what are you going to do to fix the problem?”
Finally, the question that would set me free. “I’ll try harder Mr. Linden. Thanks for the encouragement.” I don’t know why I said the last part. But it worked like magic.
“No problem, Mr. Wilson. Glad I could help.” He released his hand from my shoulder and I was free.
I ran all the way to the hideout. They were waiting.
“Took you long enough,” Kami hissed.
“Dude, that was a record speech in there,” Tom added.
“At least you didn’t have to be in there,” I almost shouted. We had to be quiet because our hideout was an old coal bin right outsidethe principal’s window. It hadn’t been used for years and we had adopted it and cleaned it up.
“So, what’s the plan?” I asked looking at each of them in the dim light.
“We’re going to meet on the corner of 4th and Elm. He walks home that way every day, as we all know. If we hide behind Mrs. Murphy’s shrubs, we should be able to follow him easily.”
The bell rang.
“Dang. Well, I guess that’s what we’ll do then.”
We all climbed out of the coal bin and made our way back to class. The rest of the afternoon passed with fractions and lots and lots of homework.
I should stop the story here and say that we weren’t really crazy. I mean, I know what you are thinking. “Those guys are loony.” But let me tell you, we’re just as normal as anyone else in this school. Sure we all have our moments of craziness, but this wasn’t one of ours.
When school finally ended we headed for Elm. The group was silent. We were all scared to death. We had all had the same feeling, or dream.
Anyways, on a whole new topic, we are going to my parent's house tonight for dinner. They are having everyone (my brother and I with our families) over for pizza! Yum! It will be nice to just visit and relax. Tomorrow is a work day with Ms. Durrant. We have a school project that we need to complete and then I plan to focus on getting my papers started (hopefully in both classes). Not much of a lazy weekend, but it IS a change of pace. So that is great.
Well, since we are heading out any minute, I best be off!