It’s been a long time since I’ve read Veronica the Show-Off by Nancy K. Robinson [Sada says: That links to a book review by a 5th grader, FYI], but I’m pretty sure this story is an exact copy of that book, except with more product placement. It’s also one of my many chapter books about a girl who gets inappropriately jealous when her best friend makes friends with another girl. And yet it took me until I was 20 to realize that I was bisexual. Huh.
Katie The Great
Chapter 1: The Pain in the Neck
Originally, this chapter was called “The Swiss Cake Roll Ban,” though when I tried to decipher the erased title just now, I read it as “The Swiss Cake Roll Band,” and if my actual band did not already have a name, I think I would have to suggest that.
The day Katie became a student of Michaels Elementary in Mrs. Ennis’ class will always be vivid in my mind. My name is Cassie, and I’m about to tell you about Katie Amanda Delane.
Katie A. Delane was considered, at first, by us girls, a real pain in the neck. The first day she ate lunch in the cafeteria she had two Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls for dessert!
Lesson #1: People who eat snack cakes are mean!
Now let me get one thing straight. In Michaels Elementary’s 4th grade classes, you’re considered a heroine if you have something as totally yummy as Little Debbie snack cakes.
Hang on… Lesson #1 revised: People who eat snack cakes are awesome!
Well, anyway, that girl shoved those Little Debbies down her mouth as if they were about to disappear. She just ignored our pleading.
Lesson #1 revised again: People who eat snack cakes and don’t share them are mean.
Then IT started! “Did you know I have a full-sized color T.V. in my bedroom?” she asked. You poor dears probably don’t. Anyway, I also have a VCR, and oh…”
I rolled my eyes and managed an exasperated sigh, but that stupid girl kept on babbling about her TV and VCR.
The worst was yet to come. [The author had just discovered foreshadowing.]
When I got home, I put in a tape of Disney’s Robin Hood. Now I love Disney’s Robin Hood [still true today], I even know every word by heart [also still true, although I no longer feel the need to act out every scene along with my DVD… most of the time], but today all I could think about was Miss Katie Amanda Delane!
The next day was horrible. Katie became the girls’ heroine, idol, and ugh! Even Maggie, my best friend, worshiped her. It was as if she was a rock singer, like “Tiffany.”
Ugh! Even the S.D.G.L., a club I’m in [fun reader activity: figure out what the hell that acronym stands for!] wanted Katie for the new president. “Why?” I asked.
“Because she has the new ‘Tiffany’ tape,” replied Maggie.
I groaned. I didn’t think I would ever want to hear about Katie or “Tiffany” again.
Clearly, Cassie is not a fan of Claudia Kishi or Stacey McGill, either.
Mabye I was an outcast. Mabye Katie was taking Maggie away from me. Mabye. Maybe. That word kept ringing in my ears. [But only occasionally spelled correctly.] I wasn’t sure of any thing anymore.
Chapter 2: VCRS?
Originally, this chapter was called “White Castles,” though I’m not sure if this referred to a later-abandoned plot point or to another planned product placement. The entire point of this chapter is to introduce/reference characters from every single story I had previously written.
Ugh! Katie’s seat was of course next to me. At Math I was writing a note to Maggie that said:
Then Katie saw the note. “I’m her lunch partner!” she said. Katie was taking Maggie away from me. It wasn’t possible.
At lunch I sat with Jennifer and Trish from Ms. Wayne’s class. Trish was reading The Diary of Ann Frank, as usual.
Fun trivia: Originally, Trish was reading The Diary of Brenda Watson, another story I was writing at the time. Because as long as I was peppering the book with product placements, it only made sense that I should advertise my own products as well.
At the next table Katie was bragging to Brenda Watson [the famous diarist herself] and Anna Pervis about her V.C.R. and balcony.
Trish overheard her. “Who is that girl?” she asked.
I shrugged. “She’s Katie Delane."
Jennifer cried, “You mean Jon Delane’s younger sister?”
The other kids around us giggled. Jon Delane was a 6th grader who was always causing trouble.
This explanation was superfluous, of course, because my readers would no doubt remember Jon Delane from his own novel, Clown of the Sixth Grade.
Tara Estes [who apparently appeared out of nowhere] said “Mabye she’s making this stuff up. My brother Mike knows Jon, he’s even been to his house! Mike never said anything about TVs and VCRs in bedrooms.”
And lord knows that would be the first thing anyone would share after coming home from a friend’s house… or something.
“Yes, Cassie,” spoke Trish [who was a Serious Person, as evidenced by the fact that she said “yes” instead of “yeah"]. “She could have made those things up just so that you’d like her.”
“Kind of like Meredith?” I asked, looking towards the blond girl talking to Jenny Northrup. Meredith had lied to us about her lovely white horse, really a dusty old mare.
As featured in another exciting novel I hadn’t written yet. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that all nine-year-old girls who like to write will at some point try their hand at a horse story, even if it’s a really lame one where the climax is just that a girl has told everyone that her horse is clean, and then it turns out that her horse needs a bath.
“I believe her,” Alexis Whiting, also in my class, and Laura’s best friend, [and one of the stars of the famous novel A Special Friend] remarked. "A snob like her would probably get any thing she wanted. Laura, I love your shirt.” Laura’s shirt was one she made herself: In glitter “Davy Jones” was written all over it.
Alexis and Laura apparently popped up from the same hole as
And here I have to talk a little about A Special Friend. I’ve long since lost the original story, which sucks, because it was hilarious. Laura is sad because her old best friend ditched her for some other girl. Sound familiar? Anyway, then a new girl moves in across the street: Alexis Whiting, who has curly red hair and ice-blue eyes. It turns out they both love the Monkees and have a crush on Davy Jones, even though it’s 1988 and Davy is 42 and has a mullet. They enter a contest on MTV called “Dream Date With Your Favorite Monkee,” and they win! Then Alexis—wait for it—makes another friend, and Laura—wait for it—gets jealous. There’s an amazing dream sequence where Laura drowns in a swimming pool while Alexis and Davy laugh at her. Then Laura and Alexis make up, and they meet Davy and salivate over his eyebrows together, and all is right with the world. The end!
Sada says: This blog, and indeed the WORLD, is truly a sadder place without that story. And I also loved (circa 1966, mop top) Davy Jones! I think it was when he guest starred on My Two Dads that I finally realized how elderly and mulleted he had become.
Maggie and Katie were at the far table. They were lauging and talking like they were best friends. Mabye they were.
“Looks like Katie found a new friend,” remarked Jennifer. “You don’t look too happy about it.”
“Nope. I guess Katie’s not my type.”
Oh, the ho!yay!, you can cut it with a knife. A pink knife covered in glitter and a picture of a pelican.
“This is like what happened to me awhile ago,” Laura said. [Which shouldn’t be surprising, as Laura’s creator only had ONE PLOTLINE.] “I guess you and Maggie won’t go back to each other, though.”
I groand. “Darn!” [Language, Cassie!]
“Mabye you won’t need to be the “ex-friend” of Maggie,” said
“Huh?” I said blankly.
“Mabye we can come up with a plan that’ll show Maggie that Katie’s a big bore.”
“Oh! And maybe Katie can help us!”
“How?” Trish asked.
“By giving her best braggy speech tomorrow at lunch!” Jennifer cried.
The next day our big plan would start. I could hardly wait!
So… before we move onto the next chapter, let’s get this straight. Maggie is fascinated by Katie and loves to hear her talk. So Cassie and co. are going to convince Maggie not to be friends with Katie by… encouraging Katie to talk to her? Yup, this is definitely going to work.
Chapter 3: The Against Katie Plan
On Thursday we put our plan into action. Elenor [who?] went over to Katie’s desk and said, “Katie, at lunch please tell us about your fabulous room.”
“Sure!” said Katie. Elenor winked at me. I knew what to do.
“Maggie!” I called. “Lunch partners?”
“If you wanna sit by Katie!” she replied.
“All right,” I said. I smiled at
Again, I’m not sure how this plan is supposed to work.
It didn’t go that way. [Raise your hand if you are surprised.] Maggie listened intensely [or possibly intently] as Katie described her French maid, Nanetta. “Oh, she’s a doll!” she said in her braggy, off-hand way.
“Now what do we do, Ms. Ingenious?” I whispered to
“Beats me!” she said, shrugging. Mabye make another plan?” [It’s worth noting that fourth-grade me could throw out words like “ingenious” and actually spell and use them correctly, but the word “maybe” was entirely too difficult to master. I don’t know.]
Apparently, that’s what Jennifer and Merideth were thinking, because they pulled Tara, Trish, and me aside. Elenor followed.
“What are we gonna do?” asked Meredith. “That girl Katie will never lay off of Maggie!”
“Yeah!” I said. My eyes started to gleam mischeivously. “I have an idea…”
Well, our plan began after lunch. All the girls involved: Tara, Trish, Jennifer, Elenor, Meredith, and me, ignored Maggie and Katie. If we saw them, we would give them a cold stare, turn to each other, pretend to whisper, and nod at them.
Maybe it’s too long since I’ve been in fourth grade, but I’m not sure how relational aggression is going to win Maggie back. If I were Maggie, I would probably say, “Screw those losers” and keep hanging out with Katie. I mean, Katie has a TV, a VCR, a French maid, and an endless supply of snack cakes. What do the other girls have? A copy of a crappy Disney movie? A dirty horse? A disturbing obsession with an aging teen idol? No, thanks.
I could see those girls looking uncomfortable already.
Well, not for long. Katie, the next day, brought a pitch black book to school. She and Maggie kept it with them all day.
“What’s in that book?” asked Trish.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “But I’ll soon find out!”
That day when Katie went to the Girls Bathroom, she left her book on her desk. I snatched it off, and read it fast. [But if you think Cassie is going to tell us what’s actually in the book, you are wrong.]
Then, taking a pencil, in the book I scrawled ‘Yo!’ on the first page.
And this accomplished… what, exactly?
I showed it to Elenor who sat across from me. She snickered and nodded at Katie, who was staring coldly at me. She had seen what I had written!
Lesson #2: Writing ’80s slang on other people’s property will seriously piss them off. Duly noted.
Chapter 4: My Write-A-Book [and one more bit of product placement before we go!]
Next week I found out that what Katie had was called a Write-A-Book. I got one on Monday. It was sea green [my favorite Crayola color]. In school I noticed that every one in 4th grade had a Write-A-Book.
Elenor, Merideth, Jennifer, Trish, Tara, and I brought ours to lunch. Everyone knew [somehow] that you should only show your Write-A-Book to your best friend. So Trish and Jennifer read each others, Tara and Elenor exchanged, and Merideth and Amy Reubens [wait, wait—who?] exchanged. I was upset when Katie and Maggie exchanged books. That meant that Katie and Maggie were best friends! Angrily I crossed out the part of my Write-A-Book that said: I like Maggie [repeated 10 times, for Pete’s sake!].
And… that’s it. Except for a note at the bottom of the page that says, “If you enjoyed this book, don’t miss the others in this great series: #1, A Special Friend, #3, Eggs in Slime Sauce. #1 we’ve already covered, of course, but #3 was the exciting story of a girl who decided to try new food. In chapter one, she went to a party, sang songs from Flower Drum Song, and ate some chocolate-covered strawberries. In chapter two, I died of boredom and threw the whole thing away.
I rewrote Katie the Great a bunch of times in middle and high school, and it always ended with everyone finding out that Katie had been lying. Surprise. In one version, her bedroom was covered with Strawberry Shortcake decorations. Oh, the humiliation.
Sada says: She made that up about Nanette? No way! If you too are itching for the fame and glory that come with being a guest author (ahem, Bridget Locke and her werewolves), e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Definitely let me know the grade you were in when you composed your master work, as I'm still trying to maintain some semblance of a timeline; the year it was written; and any insider info. Bonus points if you send a photo of yourself at the age of authorship! (I am still kicking myself that I didn't have the foresight to snag all of my school photos from my folks' house...)
NEXT TIME: By popular demand, the sequel to We Can Live Without Boys... Can't We?, in which Sherry's vacation plans are ruined by her dying grandfather. Seriously, that's the plot.