Thursday, January 28, 2010


Jenna is from my recently-completed novel, Spun.  She formerly appeared in OGW 10/15/09 and 11/26.  In this scene, she is at a new school after being removed from her home.  Jenna is a crystal meth addict, who just quit a few days earlier.


     The boy’s name is Josh.  Hmmm.  He’s way cute.  In a damaged sort of way, cute.  I like damaged-cute, with stringy black hair, overly-long bangs tucked behind his ears and flopping forward as he sits down next to me.  Me!  As if he chose me, as if he thinks I am cute, surely damaged, but maybe cute. 
     I suck in air fast through my teeth when he leans over me, looking at my notebook.  When he puts his splayed hand on the open page and drags my notebook toward him my whole body freezes, but then suddenly I melt, and my heart gushes open, and I know at that moment, the moment he boldly takes my notebook and starts reading, that he is the One.  The one for me.  Me!  Someone for me.
     While he flips through the pages of my writing notebook, reading here and there, grunting and oohing and aahing, I am spellbound.  Please let him love me.  Please let him love what he reads.
     Totally crazy!  I just sat down.  He just sat down.  We’ve never even seen each other before, and it’s by accident that I’m even here.
     Except it’s not.  It wasn’t the moment he took my notebook that bound me to him.  This sounds weird, but I’m thinking of all the moments before now, that made “now”, you know?  Like, the moment I abandoned my mother at the liquor store and went and got high -- from that moment, I was running toward Josh, because he would take control of me.  From the moment I called 911 from Paige’s house and she was arrested with Kevin and called me bitch – Josh was going to fill a void.  From the time I woke up in Sheltering Arms, and my roommate didn’t understand me, and no one understood me, and I was alone, and scared – Josh was going to take care of me. 
     Look at him!  He takes charge!  He cares what I have to say (or at least write)!  Josh, Josh, Josh,

I write when he passes my notebook back.  He smiles.  His teeth are bad.  Drugs.  I know that about him already, and he doesn’t even know my name yet.
+ jenna

     “My mother shoots Oxy.  My father’s dead,” he says, and it’s like he’s read my mind, which I guess he has since he read my notebook. He knows just the right things to say, and maybe I should be wary, maybe I should be creeped out, or just like, “You lie,” but instead I put my hand over my heart like a total loser, only he doesn’t mind.  He takes my hand and squeezes it reassuringly, and I’m all,

which he reads, and I was hoping he would, and I say, “I’m Jenna,” and he just says, “I figured,” and laughs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grimelda (aka Stacy)

Grimelda (aka Stacy) is a friend of Meghan (OGW, 12/3/09).  Stacy is what’s known as an unreliable narrator – if you can make sense at all out of what she’s saying, she rambles so much.  It may be that she smokes too much pot.  It may be that she’s reluctant to expose her true feelings about losing her best friend.

Grimelda (aka Stacy):  Do you look at your toilet paper after you wipe, even when it’s pee?  You at least look after you poop, everyone does, or else how would you know that you were done wiping?  Well, it’s true, you know you do it too!  Truly, I’m not trying to be gross, I just have a hard time getting to the point sometimes.  Sometimes… LOL! More like all the time okay?  I admit it. 
What’s my point?  Oh yeah…
I glanced at the toilet paper wad in my hand, and I mean glanced, so it’s not that gross or that weird, I know what you’re thinking… oh yeah, I know, get to the point.  So I looked down at the toilet paper in my hand, and saw it tinted reddish-brown.  I’m getting my period, I thought, that explains everything.  OMG, I can’t tell you how happy I am.  It’s like I’ve been given this little glimpse that everything might turn out okay eventually, even though my life actually really sucks, plus I won’t be able to have sex – well, I could, it’s not against the law, but anyway Mark is definitely going to expect me to give him head for at least a week because the whole period thing freaks him out.  He’s so immature, why don’t I have at least a college boyfriend, I never should’ve gotten involved with a boy in my own grade, but he is hella cute and I should, I guess, consider myself lucky because he is also a pot dealer, and I love my weed, true dat...  What was my point?
Right.  I’m getting my period, and that’s why I’ve been bursting into tears and feeling like my life is starting to suck worse than ever.  It has nothing to do with my life falling apart, ripping at the seams, a hole in my life that I’ve been picking at all week making it bigger.  The hole is my friend Meg getting taken out of public school as if that will help, and it’s not her parents who are making her do stupid things like get high and steal her Dad’s coke and throw up after a few of us were just over there hanging out but Meg got out of control again…
Jesus fucking Christ, even I don’t know what my point was anymore.  Too much coffee!  Too much Red Bull!
Oh yeah, and my period.  I’ve been PMS’ing, and that’s why I can’t keep a smile on lately-seems-like-forever-but-it’s-not-really.  My heart has literally felt heavy, like a rock in my chest I’ve been dragging around.  No more Meg to share a locker with!  No more Meg to show up at school in a bumblebee-striped black and yellow, sparkling, I kid you not, leotard and matching yellow tutu with black tights and knee-high combat boots to cheer me up.  Or to piss off Miss Gotham.  Or to add color to our usual black on black combo.  Or just because her mother was wasted all weekend and didn’t do the laundry and her Dad’s girlfriend is too young to even know how to do laundry and I am definitely losing my mind, can you tell here?
But it’s just PMS. 
I’m a nice kid, and I don’t usually go all mental and want to kick some parent ass.  Meg’s parents are Aholes and I don’t want to go all mental on them, I just want my friend back here with me, making the insanity more you know real or something.  Making it okay.
I will not kill her parents.  I will get through this.  We will get through this.  Although I’m going to their house today, and I think I’ll make use of my PMS and go ahead and be weepy and screamy and crazy because they deserve it.  Then later, I’ll be all, “Oh!  I just got my period!  No wonder I was behaving so badly!”  Yeah, that’ll work. 
See?  I feel better already.  

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It’s the night of the big party, and Casey still has to convince her mother (Nancy from CROSSES) that she’ll be “good”.  Of course, Casey has other plans.  No one, however, expects how wild the party will really be…  If you’re following this thread, re-read OGW 10/1, 11/5, 11/12, 12/10, 12/31.

Casey:  “Mom, you look fine.  Mom you’re beautiful!  Leave your hair alone!  You’re fine!  It’s not like you’re going in—“
“Is that a threat Casey?  Because you should just be glad you have a mother who will jump up on a mement’s notice—“
“Can we go now?”
     “Where’s the fire, Casey, huh?”
     “Mommy, please—“
     “What’s really going on?”
     “There’s nothing going on Mom, let’s just go.  Please!”
     To tell you the truth, I don’t know if something’s going on or not, I just know that Rain called me and said she wasn’t going to the party if Kayla wasn’t going, and Kayla was crying when I called.  She wasn’t going to the party on her bike, ‘that’s for sure’is what she said. ‘I’m never riding that piece of junk again’  I asked did she mean the mountain bike she got for Christmas because—and she just said, ‘You wouldn’t understand Casey.  You’re only fifteen.’  I was like, ‘Thanks Kayla, why do you have to say that to me?  You said age was just a number—‘  She goes, “I was talking about Brian and me, Sweetie,’ and I thought I’m not your sweetie and you’re only sixteen anyway, but then I said okay, and I called Rain back then because she usually drives us all around, but she said no way was she driving tonight because she was going to have fun for once.  I was like, ‘I can’t do any drugs, my mother made me promise,’which was almost true.  Rain was all yellin’ and shit then about ‘who said anything about drugs, don’t be such a baby Casey, tell Kayla to get her Mom to drive us’so I was like, ‘Whatever,’ but only to myself and after I hung up, while I was calling Kayla back, who only started crying and saying maybe she shouldn’t go to the party at all but then she said she was getting a text, and it was Rain, and whatever it said calmed Kayla down so she said to me, “Casey, could your mother drive us?” I sighed, and I really really didn’t want my mother to drive us because she was going to act the way she was now—
     “Okay, I’m ready.  Is there anything between my teeth—“
     “Mom, you’re just driving, you’re not going in, please please pretty please?”
     She sighed.  She rubbed toothpaste on her teeth, and I did the same, and we saw each other in the mirror and grinned.  “I love you Mommy,” I said.
     “I love you too Casey.  Let’s go.  Does my hair really look okay?  Do you think I should grow it out?”
     “You’re beautiful.  You’re the best, Mom.”  I pretended to ruffle her spiked hair, which of course you couldn’t really do because it would probably bite your hand, that’s just what I thought because it was so stiff with mousse, and also because it belonged to my Mom and she got really mad if you touched her hair and plus she would bite you herself if you rubbed her the wrong way. 
     “Do you need help?” she asked me when we were in her car, a red Mustang convertible with fangs for sure.
     “Mom, I think I can buckle my own seatbelt.”
     She leaned over me anyway.  I rolled my eyes and gently pushed her away.  “Remember what I told you,” she said. 
     “I know Mom, I’ll never ever no matter who offers it to me or how old I am, I’ll never take a pill.  I promised you that already!”
     “Just checking.  Maybe I should check in with Michelle, see how she’s doing.”
     “Please Mom!  Kayla will have a cow.  Please, just drive and be quiet please.”
     I was thinking, as we drove in the warm night air, how good it felt to be driving with my mother, and going out with my best friends, and going to my first kegger.  I was also, I admit it, thinking, if someone offers me an Oxy, I’ll probably take it. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Maree:  Appearing first in OGW 10/8 and 11/19, Maree is becoming increasingly frustrated with her adoptive family. 

Maree:  A sort of clanging knocking -- the sound of metal being hammered into place – rises from the basement through the heating vent in the kitchen.  Assuming that sound goes both ways, I realize that Bill – my adoptive father, down in the basement working on the furnace – can probably hear everything I say.  I’m in a hurry to finish this conversation anyway, and it’s not just because I don’t want to upset him. 
But I also really, really don’t want to upset him.
“Let’s just forget it,” I say, almost whispering.
“First you tell me what I ever did to you,” Renee says.
“Nothing!  I mean nothing bad.”
“You come home and you call me Renee instead of Mom, and I’m supposed to forget it?  Honestly, I don’t know who you are anymore.”
“I just want to forget it,” I say at first, but ‘Mom’ sticks in my throat, and I can’t get it out and call Renee that anymore, even though I guess I should.  She wants me to. 
“I mean, what’s wrong with calling you Renee, it’s your name.”
“I mean, I only raised you.  Why should you call me Mom.  I’m only your mother.”
“But you’re not my mother!”  The banging in the basement stops suddenly, and I inhale sharply.  Not fear, not fear, I won’t be afraid… but I am afraid.  I’m quiet.  Waiting for Bill to charge up the stairs, pulling his belt off as he comes.  When that doesn’t happen, and the hammering resumes, I exhale.  I didn’t even know I was holding my breath.  I never know when I’m holding my breath, and that’s part of the problem.  I’m always afraid.  If Renee were my real mother, she would protect me.
My mother will protect me.
I want to – have to – believe that.  My friend Aimee tells me I shouldn’t get my hopes up.  She says she’s afraid for me.  But my hopes aren’t up, I’m just being realistic.  A mother, a real mother, protects.  Renee is just Renee, and that’s why I can’t always go swimming with the other kids in summer and sometimes I don’t shower after gym at school so everyone calls me -- or at least thinks that -- I’m gross.  At least they don’t call me – well, I don’t know what they’d call me, because I’ve never shown my bruises, strips of raised flesh from Bill’s belt.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I say, defeated.  I give Renee a hug.  She doesn’t hug back at first, but then she does, and once again I haven’t been breathing because now I exhale. 
Everything’s okay.  But she’s not my mother.  Now, more than ever, I’m determined that no matter what Aimee says to warn me, I don’t care.  I’m going to find my birth mother, my real mother, and then, then everything will really be okay.  I will be loved for real.
“I love you,” Renee says as if she read my mind.  She kisses my forehead.
I step back, smiling, not breathing, and then I hurry upstairs just as Bill is coming up from the basement.