Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sabrina Story

The sequel to Gossip Central really functions much more like a television spin-off: One of the club members moves away, and we get to follow along and observe her new, way crappier life. Unfortunately, that means no Barbara Nelson. I know! I can't apologize enough! In a perfect world, Barbara would get the spin-off. All of our days would be spent watching her wreak havoc at the mall by walking like an Egyptian in the middle of "Burger's" and acting out the infamous Top Gun tongue-kissing scene with a pair of men's underwear in "Luxury." (Or wherever it is that one can buy men's undies at this mall. "Machismo" maybe?)


Instead, which Gossip clubber did I choose to write about? Our old pal Kim, with her fluffy side ponytail and knack for creating highly illegal surveillance equipment? "Weird" Andrea with her gorgeous green eyes and ear for gossip? Odd-looking but determined Denise with her half-baked revenge schemes? Stubby-legged Tracy, with her detective novels and peer pressure–induced eating disorder? Nope. Instead we get the character who had by far the least amount of "page time" in the last book: loud, tall, bossy Sabrina. Can't wait!

Lucky for us, this one features a back-of-the-book synopsis, so we know what was supposed to happen:


Sabrina just moved here and all the kids call her Loudmouth. What happened to her nice life she used to have with all her old friends? They don't even write. All her parents can think about is having another baby. Don't they love Sabrina? Sabrina's teacher keeps picking on her and nobody tries to stop her. Sabrina feels all alone with the popular kids looking down on her. So she thinks up a plan to ruin those popular girls lives forever. When the time comes, can Sabrina make it happen the way she planned?

Um, ruin their lives FOREVER? In the fifth grade? Kinda harsh, Sabs. Were they even the ones who instigated the name-calling? Who knows! It sounds to me like Sabrina is a little depressed and angry about a whole mess of crap—and decides to take her frustration out on the in crowd. Did I know how to craft a sympathetic character or what?

First, let's take a glimpse at the manuscript:

Yes, this story is typed on assembler coding forms (???) poached from my grandparents' massive paper supply. If the dates referenced in the stories are accurate (and I think they are), I wrote this about five months after Gossip Central. I just had to listen in on more phone calls! I had a fever, and the only prescription was more phone bug.

Also, you may have noticed that it's all written as one enormous paragraph. But because no one likes staring at a wall of words on the computer, I'm going to break it up into smaller sections. You're welcome! Now let's get to it:

This is the only paper I could find for a rough draft [because everyone has assembler coding forms lying around] so Miss Crainon better be satisfied. I am not good at writing stories, but I can type so maybe I can make this all work.

Sure, typing is almost as good as writing.

I can't believe she gave us homework
[it's dated 1/1/89, so she's on winter break], but you never know what to expect from Miss Crainon. I just wish I didn't have her for reading.

Remember how the preadolescent promo material claimed that Miss Crainon picks on Sabrina? That's not actually shown in the story, so Sabs just seems like a whiner.

This paper is due in 8 days. I'm awful with words so how can I possibly write a story. And of all things it has to be a fairy tale or fantasy. YECH. That's gross. I have no fantasies. I don't know what I want to be when I'm grown up. I don't fantasize about boys. I don't like any boys. I don't like Kirk Cameron or Chad Allen or any of them. I don't put posters up.

Do you like how in my hormone-addled little brain, fantasy automatically led to BOYS? ...Which led to posters of Chad Allen, natch.

I have no friends except for my cat and my cousin Candice. My cat's name is Tabby which isn't original. We just moved here this summer.

Where did she move from? Where is she living now? Pshaw, useless details.

I used to be real loud. I was when we moved here too. Then all the kids at my new school made fun of me. They called me Loud Mouth and Motor Mouth and Big Mouth and nosey.

Hi, you belonged to a club dedicated to gossip! You go to the mall and take notes! You listen in on people's private phone conversations like the freakin' Stasi! I think you're just going to have to live with "nosey," Sabrina.

I'm real quiet now. I used to be in this club called Gossip Central with my friends, Kim, Tracy, Denise, and Andrea. We knew all the gossip first. We had special ways of knowing it, too. We used phone bugs. You stick them on phones and can hear other peoples conversations. I only used one once.

Kim was awfully stingy with the phone bugs, wasn't she? Hey, wouldn't it be cute if the phone bugs looked like little spiders or ladybugs? (Let's work something out, Kim. Call me. Phone bug me even.)

I dialed Kathy Simon, this stuck-up, popular, 0ver-developed girl.
[Wow, I really had it out for Kathy Simon's breasts, didn't I?] The phone rang so I had to hang up. If I didn't someone would answer and I'd be in trouble. I'd have to talk to Kathy or hang up. If I hung up they'd think it was a prank call and trace it. Someone might get in trouble. Her family consists of rich buttheads.

A) I like how she's worried about a prank call being traced (correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think that was even possible for a hang-up call in 1989), but she has no qualms whatsoever about listening in on other people's conversations, which is infinitely more illegal.

B) The word "butthead" really needs to make a comeback. Who's with me?

Back then my last name was Long. That was before mom remarried. I'm glad she married Steve. He's real nice. The problem was he had broken his leg and was saying with his Aunt Ida, our neighbor. This summer he went back to work. Not before he married mom.... or "adopted" me. So that's why I have a different last name. Mom and Steve want to have a baby. I'm not sure that's such a hot idea.

Once again, in my elementary-school mind, life COMPLETELY STOPS when you break a leg. You can't go to work, you can't do anything. You're so incapacitated, you have to spend the entire summer in the care of your maiden aunt. Actually, doesn't this sound like some kind of tween twist on Rear Window (sans Shia LeBeouf, please God)? A guy breaks his leg and spends the whole summer as an invalid—only to fall in love, have a whirlwind romance, and end up with a stepdaughter who's spying on everyone? Man, I wish Sabrina would witness a murder! Maybe someone will garrote Barbara Nelson with a bra at "Luxury"!!!

Well, when I left my friends gave me various items. From Andrea I got a hand-painted bandana. I got a shell necklace from Denise. Tracy gave me two mysteries she really liked. From Kim I got a notebook I really wanted and a sheet with 20 phone bugs on it.

Nothing says "besties" like a hand-painted bandana and a notebook! And of course, illegal phone taps.

So far I haven't gotten up the nerve to use even one. I'm not sure they work anyway.
[Kim's electronics skillz really come under attack, don't they?] I think I'll use one after dinner on this snob, Terese McLaine. She is so popular I really want to ruin her reputation. Not that anyone would believe Loud Mouth Sabrina. Knowing something bad that everyone else didn't was still pretty good. It would be more fun to ruin her.

Soooo, yeah, she seems to hate them just because they're popular. But they are snobs, so I say RUIN 'EM!!!

Steve just called me to dinner. I can smell it. BBQ Chicken. Steve's favorite. Well I'm at the end of page 2 so I'll start page 3 after I phone bug Terese.

Back in the day, my mom read this story and told me she liked it... until the phone bugging began.

I phone bugged Terese's house. I didn't get Terese. I got her older sister, Monika. What a bore. She was talking to her friend about her date tomorrow. It was stupid. She was so fired up cause he only dated the prettiest, most popular girls. And oh it was an exception that she was in a grade lower even. Whoop-dee-doo. So I thought, I'm not going to waste the phone bug. If mom or Steve found it I'd be in trouble. You have to take them off when your done. Once you take it off it stops working. So I called Lawrence Tread. He is a nerd but it was worth a try. The phone rang. I next

I wish I knew what was going to happen in this aborted plot thread involving the nerdy Lawrence Tread. Phone sex with Miss Crainon? Just kidding, I had absolutely no inkling of phone sex at age 11.

So, I called Trixie Laston. B#I#N#G#O. [Old habits die hard, guys.] She is popular and she was crying to her mother about how scared she was being home alone. Her mom said they'd only be gone an hour more and not to worry. She hung up and so did I. I called back 5 minutes later. J$A$C$K$P$O$T. This time she was talking to Terese and Diane. I guess one of them has 3-way.

Oh man, three-way. It was a staple of my young existence. Had a crush on a boy but didn't know if he liked you? Your friend would call and ask him—with you secretly on the third line! However, beware! A friend could also call you up and get you to start talking trash about some other friend—and then you'd find out she was on the phone too. W
ith three-way came great power, but great responsibility.

Trixie sounded fine now. She was saying what a ball she was having and how she was snooping in her parents' room until Diane called. What a phony. Then she said how she found all her mom's hidden jewelry and she was trying on some of it. She was she was even wearing a diamond necklace and matching earrings at the time.

Rich butthead.

The funny thing was, I could picture Trixie with the jewelry on. I could see her snooping in other people's room. I hated her so there was no way her friends would doubt her. I still knew something they didn't. And I'm proud of it, too.

I like how she wants to ruin Trixie by outing her phobia. So likable, that Sabrina!

I have the perfect idea for my fantasy story. Last night, Steve rented the movie, Date With An Angel. My story will be about an Angel named Angela who comes down to earth to help a sick little boy. They become good friends. Then there is a tradgedy. The boy's mother is killed by a bear. The angel becomes his mother and they live happily ever after. Great idea, huh? Well, I owe it all to my parents. They're the best.

Date with an Angel? Sabrina, sweetie, you should not take literary inspiration from subpar '80s films. We all know Date with an Angel is the poor man's
Splash. And by "poor" I mean destitute, begging for spare change outside 7-Eleven poor. Really, why in God's name would a grown man like Steve rent that movie? But whatever—I guess all that matters is that Sabrina has come up with her brilliant fantasy story, which is somehow going to involve the divine, a life-threatening illness, and a bear attack. Thanks, Date with an Angel!

I have been thinking. I've been thinking about what to do about Trixie and Terese and Diane. Right now I'm going to phone bug them in this order:

1. Diane-because I didn't yesterday.
2. Trixie-cause she's lucky
3. Terese-last and least
When I called Diane her father was on the phone talking to a buisness client. No one answered at Trixie's. L*U*C*K*Y at Terese's. Terese was talking to Kathy peterson.

...And that's it for The Sabrina Story. Well, except for Sabrina's story itself, which you'll be pleased to know follows in full. The bad news: The bear attack got cut. The good news: It is still unbelievably craptastic!

Angelic Angela
by Sabrina Martin

Once there was a little boy named Timothy. He had a disease called pnemonia and was very, very sick.

PLAGIARISM ALERT! I am so ripping off The Secret of NIMH here. Not only does Mrs. Brisby's sickly mouse son have pneumonia, his name is frigging Timothy. Shameless!

God called on the good angel, Angela to help the boy through his troublesome time.

Disguised as a doctor, Angela did just that.

Dude! I am so suing Lurlene McDaniels!

Soon she was spending all of her time with Timothy. With Angela's love he grew stronger and stronger. Angela became his best friend. The cottage was there shelter and love was their food.

What the...? The COTTAGE? I guess undercover angels heal sickly children in cottages as opposed to hospitals??? Actually, that makes sense, as hospitals tend toward using treatments like antibiotics, saline, nutrients, etc., rather than LOVE.

It was then that something terrible happened.

Timothy's parents were killed at sea. They drowned during a storm.

Serves them right for going on some sort of joy-sail and leaving their ailing son in the care of a highly suspect physician! Cottage therapy?! Who would buy that?

Timothy's world began to collapse. He became very ill again. The only help was Angela.

God called Angela back to Heaven.

"Is the boy's time over now?" asked Angela. "Do you want me to bring him up now? I shall go straight away then."

"No, Angela."


Yeah, hold your horses, Grim Reaper.

"I want you to go back to Earth and be the boy's new mother. Give him the love he needs to be strong and healthy again. You're the best I've got, Angela. I know you can do it."

I think this is similar to what happens at the end of Date with an Angel. Except the angel, like, bones the guy instead of becoming his mom. Right? It's been nearly two decades since I've seen it.

So Angela went back to Earth.

"Timothy," asked Angela. "Would you like to be my son?"

"Then you would be my Mama?"

"Yes, Timothy." replied Angela.

"I would love to have you for my Mama." squealed Timothy.

And that's the end. Apparently you don't need social services when you've got God on your team. Timmy sure got over the tragic (tradgic?) death of his parents real quick though, didn't he? All thanks to that wacky disguised angel!

I'm still not sure if this story was supposed to be bad because Sabrina is a shitty writer (as she claimed), or if "Angelic Angela" was really the best I could come up with. I'm so hoping it was the former.

NEXT TIME: Get ready to meet the fifth grade class of Friendship Elementary School, because I finally start writing my own series. Oh, hells yes.


zanne said...

Almost as good as Gossip Central! L*O*V*E*D I*T!

You should try to invent some real-life phone bugs. haha. Nevermind that it's illegal. I would have loved to have those when I was younger!

BadKat said...

I like how you mixed it up with the ≠

LongWinter said...

"Really, why in God's name would a grown man like Steve rent that movie?"

"Rich butthead(s)"

I almost needed oxygen to get through this post. Too, too funny.

AnnewithanE said...

"The cottage was there shelter and love was their food."

Oh holy goodness. So much laughter.

Anonymous said...

What! I wanted to know what happens. I like this one better than Gossip Central.

tctill said...

Love it! All of it! Yes, you should totally sue Lurlene.