This next book deals with familial relations, specifically between sisters. A whole mess of sisters. (At least I was honest with myself about one thing: I did not know crap about boys.) The sisterly bonds are a subject I would return to many, many, many times in my writing, but this book about the McCormick girls seems to be my first effort. What it lacks in plot I think you'll agree it makes up for in pictures. Plus, it has maybe the best character EVER in eldest sister Daphne. Oh, just you wait . . .
The McCormick Girls
Chapter 1: Daphne's Gang
"Whoa. Hey, Moni, I was like totally excepted."
"What's the motorcycle gang called again, anyway? 'The Pea Brains'?" said Monica, laughing.
ANOTHER motorcycle gang? What was wrong with me???
"Ha, ha, ha. Really, sure, like we're called 'The Fried Worms'." said Daphne, acting hurt.
"That's a good one. No, now, be serious." answered Monica.
"Oh, man, totally. Now, I WAS SERIOUS."
"Ooooops, Daffy, I'm REAL sorry."
"I'll bet, dude, gosh, really."
"Who's in it?" asked Monica.
"Matt, Joyce, Barb, Candy, Jim, Bob, Helen, uh, that's it." Daphne smiled, glad her sister was taking an interest in her life.
Who do you guys think would win in a rumble: the Light(e)ning Bolts or the Fried Worms?
Chapter 2: Meet the girls
The four McCormick sisters had never really gotten along . . . . . . . one year everything changed.
Don't worry, we won't find out why. (And to be honest, it seems like they actually get along pretty well.)
Daphne, sometimes called Daffy, was the oldest, 18. She was a valley girl and a punk, not caring about life, and doing anything against her parent's will.
I have to gloss over "not caring about life" because, uh, a Valley girl AND a punk? It's very obvious that I had not seen Valley Girl yet, or Nicolas Cage would have already schooled me that there's NO SUCH THING. I do remember that my friend Katie had a Valley girl dictionary and we would read through it to learn, like, totally tubular new phrases. And of course, it was 1987, so I really wanted to be punk. Except I thought that being punk meant being like Cyndi Lauper or Boy George or—dear God—even Punky Brewster. In other words, you had crazy hair and wore a lot of brightly colored, mismatched clothing. TOTALLY PUNK!
My sister and I LOVED to have punk dress-up days, and I was even punk for Halloween one year, either in third grade or fourth. Since I didn't have the foresight to mine my family photo albums for blog-relevant pics, I'll just have to describe to you what I can remember of my überpunk costume: a neon (and I mean NEON) orange v-neck sweater; a hot pink leather miniskirt; a pair of light blue tights with multicolored polka dots, the feet cut off and many runs painstakingly applied; white jelly shoes; scads of jewelry. When we were stay-at-home punks, my sister and I would get crazy with the ribbons in our hair, but for this special occasion I purchased spray-on red hair dye, which I applied in several large streaks. (Why do I remember this outfit so vividly??? Please, everyone, leave a comment describing your most memorable preteen punk ensemble!)
That said, my artistic rendering of Daphne the punk Valley girl is surprisingly on the mark (punk-wise, I mean; I had no effing clue what Valley girls looked like):
The hair is just . . . WOW. And I like how she has a little junk in the trunk.
Monica, called Moni, was 16. A pretty and dainty young lady everyone called her. Daphne envied her with her life and still loved her. [Daphne, no need for the petty jealousy. You are so much cooler than Monica!]
Dainty! Please note that her lipstick matches her dress.
Ashley, 13, had no nickname and liked it that way. She loved to read and model make-up and clothing. She used older sister, Monica, as a role model.
You see what I mean about the excessive eye makeup?
Courtney, or Tootsie, named for her love of Tootsie Rolls [the hell?], was 8. She thought Daphne was the best and grew up following her and all she did.
Tootsie's hair is kind of awesome. (By the way, she's never referred to as Tootsie again.)
Chapter 3: Courtney's Friend
"Hi!" called Courtney, walking in. "Am I interrupting anything? Huh, Daffsie?" Daffsie was Courtney's nickname for Daphne. "Lookit what I found."
A dog walked in and Monica screamed. Courtney knew how scared of dogs Monica was.
I suppose it comes with being dainty.
That made Monica mad.
"Mimi!" yelled Courtney. "Please leave Bo-Bo outside. Monica isn't very, uh, confident about dogs."
"O.K." Then a fair-haired and green-eyed girl about Courtney's age walked in. "Hi."
"This is Mimi." said Courtney proudly. "She's the new kid AND my new friend. We're gonna eat some cookies, okay."
"O.K. If you insist. I have some homework ANYWAY. Come on, Daffy."
"Like, okay, man. 'Bye, Mimi, dude."
"Bye!" called Mimi, cheerfully.
So, by "lookit what I found" she meant the new kid. That's weird, right?
Chapter 4: Monica's big chance
"Moni!" called Ashley. "MAIL!"
"Male WHAT?" Monica called back. [HiLARious!]
Monica ran over. "Thanks Ash." she said.
"Call me Ashley, all right?"
Ashley is fiercely anti-nickname.
"Omigod!" she shrieked, opening the envelope. "I'm gonna be on 'Wheel of Fortune'!"
"You'll miss school, though." said Ashley.
"Me too because I'm gonna stay home and tape it. I'll call in sick." said Daphne happily.
Was Wheel of Fortune ever on during the day or was I smoking crack? And is Daphne still in high school? I'm assuming she wouldn't be going to college because of the whole "not caring about life" thing.
A week later
"What a bummer." said Courtney.
"You bet." said Monica. "All I won was a walkman and an electric curler. Not that I need it." She pulled on her long black curls. "I'm sooooo mad."
Do you remember the days when you solved a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune and instead of getting cash you'd get an amount to spend in their prize room, which was always filled with hideous bedroom sets and giant ceramic dogs? Man, I always wanted people to buy the ceramic dogs!
"Oh, Monica!" cried Ashley, hugging her.
"Gee, Moni, like, uh, better luck next time, man. Like, sorry, dude." said [Spicoli, er,] Daphne.
Chapter 5: Ashley's loss
"Remember," said Ashley. "When I said Justine was my best friend? Forget I ever said that."
"Uh-oh, dudes." cried Daphne.
I'm kind of embarrassed to admit how much of Daphne's vernacular I use on a daily basis.
"What happened?" Courtney asked coolly.
"She joined a club and said Beth Larson was her best friend. She told me she hated Beth Larson. She said Beth Larson was a stuck-up, spoiled, dirty, rat of a brat."
"THAT JERK!" shreiked Monica.
"Wait till I tell Kristin, Mimi, and Candice. They BETTER not do that to ME." said Courtney.
"Heavy." said Daphne.
"TRAITOR!" screamed Monica.
"PHONE ASHLEY!" yelled mom.
"Got it. Mom, you can hang up now."
"Hi, Ashley. This is Justine. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I wanted to join that club real bad. But, I dropped out. It was really dumb. Will you still be my friend?"
Well, hey, that conflict was resolved right quick!
Chapter 5: Trouble on the loose
"O.K. Monica, hang up!" said Courtney.
"This is Mimi. I can't find Bo-Bo. He's been gone for two days and I'm worried."
Mimi, I know you're eight and all, but you probably shouldn't wait TWO DAYS to start looking for a lost dog.
"I'll be right over."
"That's what Kristin and Candice said. They still aren't here."
Don't get your panties in bunch, Mimi. This story was written by a fourth grader, so I'm sure Bo-Bo is fine.
"Well, I'll be there! 'Bye."
"You all got here at the same time. Good. I made some signs to tack up around here and all. Let's go searching!" called Mimi.
"Bo-Bo. Come here, boy. Come to Kristin. Come on Bo-Bo."
"Bo-Bo. Candice wants you to come here. Come here, Bo-Bo. Come on, boy."
Mimi whistled. No answer.
"Bo-Bo. Courtney loves you. Come on, Bo-Bo, come on."
Why do they all refer to themselves in the third person when calling the dog? Is that something Bo-Bo's into?
"Young lady," said an old woman. "Is this your dog?"
"No." said Mimi, glancing down.
"Bo-Bo!" yelled Kristin, running over to him.
"This dog's name is Violet." said a man.
"This dog's name is Bo-Bo." said Candice, pulling a frightening dog out of the bushes.
. . . And that's all she wrote. Literally. (See, Sada can refer to herself in the third person too, Bo-Bo.) At least you can all sleep tonight knowing that Bo-Bo is safe.
So, how did this year change everything? I'm thinking maybe the Wheel of Fortune curling iron burns the house down, killing Mr. and Mrs. McCormick—but sparing the girls, of course—making 18-year-old Daphne, like, totally the guardian of the other sister-dudes. Heavy! Being not only parentless but also homeless, they will then have to move in with the rest of the Fried Worms and wackiness will ensue. Discrete bits of wackiness that will have their entire story arc in a single chapter. Oy.
NEXT TIME: We know what I was writing in fourth grade, but what was I reading? Let's take a look at some old book reports and find out!
9 months ago