Feb 082013
 

I keep thinking I’m done writing flash featuring the extended cast of the Trevolution, but then something like this comes out.

It was a joke. It was supposed to be an easy joke, the kind that didn’t backfire and embarrass the mastermind. But a joke. Nothing more.

The idea of stealing the other school’s mascot had been done to death back in the 1950s. Back in the days when the school mascot was an actual animal and not a fuzzy suit worn by the guy who thought being a cheerleader was the best way to get girls. Besides, they’d have to pay for any destruction done to the mascot, and making amends like that wasn’t Kerri’s style.

Kerri didn’t know how her planning had overlooked him. She had grabbed her usual accomplices, and even snared the head lunch lady into helping out. Soon, the entire cafeteria staff was involved. They should have thought to work together to make sure this didn’t happen.

The plan was simple: take the day’s allotment of mashed potatoes and, once they were cooked or stirred or whatever the lunch ladies did to make them that perfectly paste-textured mess, Deke would turn it into a sculpture of the rival school’s mascot. He was always bragging he was a better artist than Kerri. This would be his chance to show the entire school. Until their classmates got set loose.

Deke didn’t know it, but those individually-wrapped pats of butter, set on cardboard and with the wax paper over top, were in position to be fired at the sculpture rather than the ceiling. Total destruction.

Deke might not have forgiven her, but at least the matter would be settled. No matter how bad the entire high school hated the Vikings, they’d never fire the butter pats at a sculpture Kerri had made.

It should have been perfect. It started out that way. The lunch ladies cooked. Deke sculpted. Kerri snuck out of class on a bathroom pass and gave it a thumbs up, especially when she stuck a finger in the butter pats and found them the exact right temperature for sticking to what they were thrown at.

And then Fat Douglas walked into the cafeteria.

Kerri got lucky; she was there to see it. To stare in horror as Fat Douglas—who’d earned his name because he ate so much, by rights, he ought to be the fattest person on the planet—took a spoon and dug in.

He started with the Viking’s right horn.

Three spoonfuls in, Deke finally noticed him. “That’s art, you motherfucking loser!” He launched himself at Fat Douglas, who was the skinniest kid in the school, except for maybe Amy the gymnast, who was determined to not-eat herself to death.

Fat Douglas’s spoon went flying. So did Deke and Fatty, right under the table nearest the stage. A dull thud told Kerri they’d just rolled into the edge of the stage.

From her vantage point, it looked like Deke and Fat Douglas both gave as good as they were getting. That surprised Kerri; she hadn’t expected either of them to have the first clue how to throw a punch.

The bell rang, and students entered the cafeteria. People paused when they saw the statue. They cheered when they saw Kerri—and then they ran over to Deke and Fat Douglas and egged them on.

Kerri wasn’t sure how long it went on or who ran for the principal, but he waded in and broke up the fight.

“You’re coming, too, Broadhurst,” he said as he escorted Deke and Fat Douglas out of the cafeteria to a very loud Bronx cheer. “Don’t think I don’t know any better.”

Kerri shrugged and followed them to the principal’s office. It wasn’t the first time she’d been summoned.

The principal sat Fat Douglas and Deke in opposite corners, then pulled out a chair for Kerri. He set it perfectly in the middle of the two boys—and directly across from his seat. Which he sat in and pulled up more closely to his desk. Leaning his forearms on the top surface, he leaned forward and fixed Kerri with a glare.

“I have one question,” he said in a deadly voice.

Kerri licked her lips, not sure where this was going.

The principal turned to Fat Douglas. Out of the corner of her eye, Kerri watched the color drain out of the kid’s face. She almost fell sorry for him. Almost. Taking a bite out of Deke’s sculpture hadn’t been particularly smart.

“How’d it taste?”

Fat Douglas broke into a smile, even though the look on the principal’s face was enough to melt the mashed potato sculpture. “It needed salt.”

This was a Three Word Wednesday post. Be sure to stop in and see what other cool stuff was created this week.

Oct 292012
 

Another of the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror author is Carole Shmurak. Let’s give her a warm welcome and see what song makes her think of her book. It’s a good one!

“Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees is the song that comes to mind, for two reasons.

First, it is set at a high school reunion, and after a certain age, that’s what reunions are all about, aren’t they? Who’s still staying alive? Of course my book, Most Likely to Murder, is a mystery, so at least one member of the class doesn’t achieve that goal!

Second, it is the class of 1980 that is having their 32 year reunion, and “Stayin’ Alive” was one of the songs they danced to when they were in high school. It was funny that when I looked up the songs that might be played at the reunion, there were several titles that were appropriate: “Stayin’ Alive” from 1977-78, “I Will Survive” from 1978, and “Another One Bites the Dust” from 1980. So I got to use all three songs during the course of the evening.

When I started writing Most Likely to Murder, I had just come from my own high school reunion, and I’d been the editor of the reunion book, so I had the faces and the lives of nearly 200 people in my mind. But to quote Sue Grafton, my detective, Susan Lombardi, is “younger, smarter and thinner” than I am. That meant that all the music we had played at our reunion would be all wrong for Susan’s class, and so it was necessary to research the songs. It also meant that the names of my classmates were wrong for the era too, so I had to look up the popular names for people born in1962; all the Carols and Barbaras had to become Sharons and Lisas.

The version of “Stayin’ Alive” that I’ve chosen is the one with the BeeGees singing but with images that come from the 1940s and feature the gorgeous Rita Hayworth. I’m not that old, but I am a film lover and she is just such a glorious dancer to watch!

The class of 1980? I don’t talk about things that make me feel young often, but this is one of them. However, I’d like to point out the excellent name the detective has. Notice that? I sure did!

Ready for the blurb? I am!

What high school class has a thirty-two year reunion? A class whose president has left the country, whose vice president is dead, and whose treasurer is in the Witness Protection program — in fact, Professor Susan Lombardi’s class from Count Basie High School. Susan has misgivings about revisiting her hometown: she’s leery of seeing her former high school sweetheart, now a high tech millionaire, and reluctant to get involved in a battle between her squabbling brothers. But when she does go, one of her “old gang” ends up dead, and Susan and her friends team up to find the classmate Most Likely to Murder.

I may need to buy this one. How about you?
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