Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Friends "Forever"

So, remember when I said these were all "chapter books"? I kind of lied. This one is utterly chapterless—but on the plus side, it has an actual ending! Woo hoo! Just don't get used to it...

Friends Forever

Should we keep a running tally of how many books have the word "friend" or some variation in the title? This is #2.

Mandy woke up early, fixed herself breakfast, (which was only cereal because that's all there was to eat) and rushed out of the door to meet Teresa. Over to the big oak tree. "Right, turn. Left, turn." she mumbled. Halfway there she remembered it was a Saturday. "Darn! All the way up here for nothing." She stumbled along the dirt road, kicking up dust.

If this were a normal book, we could be like, "Oh, Mandy lives in a rural area, has inattentive parents, and a life that is so hectic—at age nine—that she forgets what day it is." Here? These details mean nothing. Don't waste your time.

Then, "Hey!" It was Teresa.
"Hi Resa!"
"Why do you have your school stuff?"
She looked down. "Oh no."
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"It's a long story."
Teresa looked at her watch. "I've got plenty of time, Mand."
[Oh, the wit. THE WIT.]
"Okay, I thought it was a school day . . . . "
Teresa giggled.
"Quit it, Resa. I forgot, okay?"
"Okay." she answered holding back another giggle, trying to escape.
"So I got up, ate cereal as usual, and went out. Halfway there I realized it was Saturday. Why are you up and out?"
"I called you, woke your mom up. She said you were out, so I figured you'd be out here somewhere."

Okay, she might have inattentive parents. That's kind of a theme in my books.

"Okay, wanna come to my place?"
"Okay, my mom won't mind."
They ran to Mandy's and went in. They scampered
[what are they, puppies?] up to her room.
"Let's listen to music!" she said.
"No." said Teresa. "First dress up."
"All right!"
They put on mini skirts and long sweaters and lace tights.
[Of COURSE they did!]
"Now music!" Teresa screamed.
"Right on!" Mandy turned it on.
"Papa don't Preach" was on. They lip sanc. They danced and fell and did somersaults
[in miniskirts, I'd like to point out].

Lip syncing was one of my top five favorite activities as an elementary schooler. My sister and I had a well-practiced routine for "Runaround Sue," one of the songs on the Rockin' Classics tape that we bought from McDonald's. We mainly performed for unsuspecting dinner guests.

When it was over, Mandy turned it off.
She bounced down on the bed. "Let's talk." she said.
Teresa crawled onto the bed.
"Who do you like?" Mandy questioned.
"As a boyfriend?"
"You go first."

The worst case scenario in these heart-to-hearts was that you both liked the SAME BOY (as a boyfriend), which happened to me on several occasions and tended to result in varying degrees of disaster. Fortunately, Mandy and Teresa have different taste in the mens.

"Okay, I think Patrick's cute."
"Does that mean you like him?"
Teresa giggled. "The boys call him Patty."
"He has a crush on Sally Crawford."
"I'm sorry."
"That's okay, who do you like."
"Timmy. Timmy Blake."
It was Mandy's turn to laugh. Mandy giggled.
Mandy giggled again.
"It's not funny. He doesn't know I exist."
Mandy burst out laughing.
"What's soo funny!" demanded Teresa.
"He likes you" answered Mandy between giggles.
"Go on." said Teresa.
"He was looking at you the other day.
Staring at you." she said. "Like this." Mandy looked like a zombie.
They started giggling again.

Actually, I remember having conversations like this in elementary school. In fact, if you liked a boy you would ask your best friend to watch him (covertly, of course) to see if he was looking at you and, preferably, to keep a running tally of all such looks on a sheet of paper. At the end of the day, she would present you with the evidence.

"Teresa, honey, Teresa!" It was Mandy's mother. "Sweetie, your mom called. She said you have to come home for lunch. I would have you stay, but . . . . " [" . . . but I'm just giving Mandy cereal again anyway."]
Mandy slammed her door shut. They changed, went downstairs, and said goodbye.

Meanwhile, at Timmy's house, he and Patrick were talking too. "I like Teresa."
"She's nothing like Sally. Sally's beautiful. She has a . . . . . ."
"You've said it a million times! I don't want to hear it again!"
"Okay, but, she still does."

Don't you guys want to know what she has? A hot nine-year-old bod? A sweet collection of vintage Hot Wheels? A really professional phone manner? WHAT???

"Hey," said Timmy changing the subject. "What about Mandy, Teresa's best friend. She's in style and pretty cute. So."

I'm sure fashion sense was at the top of every nine-year-old boy's list of traits he desired in the opposite sex.

"So, I have a girlfriend!"
"Well I don't like 'little Sally Crawford.'"
"What about her?"
"She's a snob."
"So much for best friends!"
"Well, I don't like you either!"
"Bye, wimp!"
"So long crocodile brain!"
"SLAM!" went the door. Patrick was gone.

Um, you guys? I should have had way more boy POV in my stories. "Little Sally Crawford"? Wimp? CROCODILE BRAIN? This is awesome!

Back at Mandy's house, "BRRRIINGG!"
"Who dere?" asked Tommy.
[I'm pretty sure this is Mandy's little brother and not a member of the Lightning Bolts, even though their speech is disturbingly similar.]
"It's not the doorbell. It's the phone."
"Oh. Who on de phon?"
Mandy giggled.
"Mandy, dear, it's Teresa!"
"Tomin'! Ha ha."
"Hi, Resa! Mom you can hang up."
"Hi Mandy."

So Teresa's phone dialogue is all written in mysterious shaky handwriting, which is either meant to denote her (spoiler!) impending illness or just the fact that she's on the other end of the phone, I'm not sure which. Reading it, though, makes me feel like "Teresa" is using a voice encoder and will at any minute start asking Mandy whether she likes scary movies.

"Are you O.K.? You sound sick."
"I'll be O.K."
"Meet me at the bench at recess."
"O.K. Bye!"

The next day Mandy did meet Teresa at recess. She had a note for her. [This part is kind of confusing. The note is actually to TERESA, and she's just showing to Mandy.]
"Resa!" Mandy helped her to the bench. "You, O.K."
"Yes. Here."
"Who's it from?"
"He loves me."
[I'm really enjoying how inanimate objects get their own dialogue in this story.]
"Bye Resa."

Timmy, just an FYI: If you sign your name, you kind of negate the whole "secret" part of secret admiration. Also, what nine-year-old boy dots his i's with hearts? (I was not the recipient of many secret admirer notes, if you couldn't tell.)

Back in school Theresa [whose name is suddenly spelled with an H] felt sick, but, wouldn't show it.
"Resa, you okay?"
"Yeah (yawn) fine."

Is that a yawn of extreme fatigue or extremely playing it cool? I can't tell.

"You, sure?"
Mandy jumped.
"Uh-huh." She answered. "Fine."
But she wasn't. Screaming had made her weak, tired, and she shook. She was trying to get a drink not being strong enough she fell and fainted!
Timmy saw and rushed over calling to Mandy, "Mandy! Theresa fainted!!!"
"What???!!!" she screamed back. She was there in a second.

Yeah, I completely romanticized illness at this age. I thought that if you were horribly sick or fainted or something, this would make everyone (namely, boys) realize how wonderful you were and how desperately they loved you. Also, at some point in elementary school, my sister came down with pneumonia and missed a week or two of school, and her teacher had each of her classmates write her a get well card. Naturally, I was insanely jealous (yes, of her PNEUMONIA) and dreamed of someday contracting a disease of my own (preferably nonfatal) that would require everyone I knew to write me a card.

Mandy got a cold paper towel and put it on her hot forehead.
Timmy was going to carry her to the nurses' office
[where the hell are their TEACHERS?], but, she was too heavy for one. Mandy was too scared to help and was comforted by Maria [???] who was very helpful.

She's cool with getting a paper towel but is too freaked out to help carry her? The hell?

"What's their problem?" asked [little] Sally [Crawford].
Mandy rolled her eyes.
[Not so scared that she can't give a good eye roll, I see.]
"What a snob!" exclaimed Timmy.

Maybe, but she has a . . . . . . totally rad foosball table in her basement???

"Hey," called Patrick. "what's going on?"
"Teresa passed out! I can't get her to the Nurses' Office."
"I'll help you!" Patrick yelled. "Sally, you wait here."
"What? Don't tell me what to do. Don't tell me you're actually going to help THEM. That's really sick! GOSH!"
"Yes, Sally, I AM."
"So long, PATTY!"

These fights are amazing. Let's cross our fingers for more fights in the upcoming books!

So they carried her there.
They all stayed and waited for her parents.

She's still unconscious and the nurse hasn't called 911? I smell a lawsuit.

Teresa did wake up. And, before she left she told Mandy, "Remember, no matter what happens, we'll always be friends forever."

Whoa, is she going to DIE? Teresa, you're not allowed to say shit like that in a book unless you're going to die. Please adhere to the rules.

Pat, Mand, and Tim all visited her in the hospital.
They were ALL friends forever.


Uh, what? WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED? What was wrong with Teresa? Did she ever get out of the hospital? Was "forever" like two weeks or what? Way to get all Lurlene McDaniels and then not follow through. Man! Even the ones with endings don't really have endings!

NEXT TIME: I experiment with playwriting in the riveting Gymnastics Camp. All on the gymnastics bus! (That's a quote, by the way.)


Kathryn said...

I just discovered your blog yesterday: following a link, a link, a link, etc. and I wish I hadn't destroyed all my childhood writings, though I wasn't quite as prolific as you. I officially love your blog. You make me smile :)

Anonymous said...

Is "lip sanc" the past tense of "lip sync"? If so, that would be AWESOME!
I love it!

Zanne said...

I love it! I think this is my new favorite blog. I really wish I had saved all the stuff I wrote when I was younger! Names were a big thing for me--my characters all had to have cool names. I was a huge fan of Lurlene McDaniel when I was younger, but I never wrote any stories about characters getting sick or dying, because I was worried what my mom would think!

Anonymous said...

Ahahahahahaha. This reminds me so much of all of the stories I wrote at age 11. My favorite plot device was the foreign exchange student who all the guys wanted and all the girls wanted to be. I can't wait to read Gymnnastics Camp!

Sada said...

"Lip sanc" is indeed the past tense of "lip sync"! It was years before I learned that it would really be lip synced.

I never really got into Lurlene (although I LOVE that blog), but I had read enough Louisa May Alcott at this point to appreciate a good terminal illness.

Hot foreign exchange student, ha! I don't think I exploited that one, but I will eventually take you with me to boarding school...

BadKat said...

I totally did the boy-tally thing!!!

Sada said...

Oh my god! I was hoping we weren't the only ones!

Ceinwyn said...

This is the best blog idea EVER. I share your pain -- I spent most of my childhood (and teenage years) writing countless stories that, when I look back on them now, make me BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Actually, my forte was the series, a la Sweet Valley High. I would develop the summaries,the outlines, the spinoff series (secrets! super specials! the second generation!)... but I never wrote more than 5 pages of the books themselves. Why would I when I was perfectly happy creating NEVER-ENDING DRAMA?!?!?!

Anyway, can't wait for the next post! :)

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Have just discovered this blog, and seriously, I've read a lot of funny stuff online but *nothing* has made me laugh so hard as this story. Can't wait to read more. Oh, and I was an indoor, serially novel-writing kid too :)

gollygee said...

I totally wanted a terminal illness after reading Little Women. Then EVERYONE would love me! :D Ah, the lunatic mind of a preteen. Oh and Timmy's love note is a MASTERPIECE!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I had the same idea of fainting linked with romance. I was better at drawing when I was younger and told my romantic faintings like a comic book.