I’m not going to point fingers or anything, but some of us (ahem, me), tend to get a smidge wordy in our stories. I mean, who can blame us for overwriting? As authors, we have a nerdy love affair with words. Problem is, many of these words don’t quite eke their way past the firestorm of revisions, and in the end, they end up crammed into some dusty file in our laptops and never see the light of day.
Today we—the wordiest of the Fall Fifteeners—are sharing them:
Marci Lyn Curtis from The One Thing
When I was in the third grade, Trevor Wilson dared me to eat a fish eye. Well, it wasn’t technically a dare, but he submitted to me that there was “no way in hell” I’d be able to eat it, so it had felt like a dare. If he were a normal eight-year-old boy, I probably would have just ignored him. But, in fact, he was not. Trevor was the very same tumbleweed-headed douchebag who had repeatedly tripped Sophie during soccer practice, so there was no question as to whether or not I’d accept his dare.
Anyway, it happened at school, during recess, where all great dares take place. I was sitting on a swing, chatting with a classmate, when Trevor Von Douchebag stuck his obnoxious, fish-eye-holding hand in my face and said, “Sanders, there’s no way in hell you could eat this fish eye,” and without even fully considering it, I said, “Oh yes, I can,” and he said, “Prove it,” and so I plucked the thing off his hand, tossed it into the back of my mouth, and swallowed. Just like that. My stubbornness, I discovered that day, was superior to my circumstances.
Mackenzie Lee This Monstrous Thing
I had never played billiards before. Oliver was rather good at it, though I didn’t have a clue where he’d learned—probably something he’d picked up from his mad friends in Paris. Mary outdid us both though. She won the first two games, Oliver the next, and I was so bad it was embarrassing. By the fourth I was growing weary of being beaten and announced I was going to sit it out, but Oliver wouldn’t hear it. “Don’t be sore just because you aren’t good.”
“Thanks for that. Now I’m really keen to stay in.”
“Come on, Ally, don’t quit.” He scrubbed chalk over the top of his cue and grinned at me across the table. “You might make a shot yet.”
“You aren’t helping.”
“Come on, Alasdair.” Mary stepped around the table so we were side by side and put her hands on the table. “Don’t sit out, it won’t be fun without you.”
I put my hands next to hers, flat with my fingers splayed. “I’m awful.”
“It’s your first time. You’ll get better.”
“Get your fingers off the table,” Oliver called from the other end. “You’re putting me off.”
Diana Gallagher Lessons in Falling
I have never lost a game of Manhunt.
Cassie isn’t patient enough for hide-and-seek in the dark. She would rather be found, squealing and laughing. She’s always been the best at pulling people near her, people who want to hear her stories or kiss her.
I’m the best at hiding. Slipping into small spaces, knees and elbows covered in dirt. We gave up Manhunt three summers ago. But I am still that girl with her back pressed against the tree, listening to receding footsteps.
Ann Jacabus Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
(In a dodgy part of Paris)
Greasy Mardi Gras masks and beads dangle above the entrance; ratty soccer pennants, musty stuffed birds and other detritus are nailed to the smudged walls and ceiling. It’s the kind of place that probably still sports a Turkish toilet—a porcelain hole in the floor. As if to confirm her suspicion, the smell of urine hits her. The only other patron is an older woman in a bedraggled fur cape who slumps at the far end of the wooden bar. She gives them the evil eye and mumbles what sounds like “ne me parles pas, Justine,”—don’t talk to me, Justine.
Don’t worry, Summer thinks.
Kurt is chucking. He’s taken one of the few cramped tables.
“Can I have some whiskey?” Summer asks at the bar. The wizened, brown-skinned guy squints at her through his glasses. He doesn’t respond. “Du whisky? S’il vous plait.” Without taking his eyes off her, he shoves a stained carte at Summer, the list of wines and a few snacks.
He pours a single glass. “Two,” she says. “Deux.” She holds up two fingers then points to Kurt at the table. The man squints, then pours more in the same glass. “Deux verres. Two glasses.” Clearly a card-carrying idiot.
She takes the glasses to the dusty table. Kurt says, “Remember, they hold up one finger and the thumb, for ‘two’ here.” He demonstrates, making the “L” for loser.
Marci Lyn Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion. Learn more about her at Marcilyncurtis.com.