Short Story

July 1st, 2005

Hi. Like many of you, I am going away for the weekend (unlike many of you, I am going to Ohio, to a wedding). But I didn't want to leave you with nothing to read while I was gone.

So here is a short story I wrote for a thing called Storyquest that I did in England. Storyquest is this program to raise literacy awareness. I had to read this piece on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in front of 4,000 eleven year olds. It was kind of intimidating, especially since some of the eleven year olds I was reading to weren't too excited to be there. In fact, a few of them yelled, “F*** off,” every time an author came onstage. It was very charming, not to mention welcoming.

But they didn't yell it when I came on stage. Because I wore my hot pink sequined jean jacket, and they were hypnotized by the sparkles into silence. Authors who are reading this: get one of these jackets. It works.

So this is actually more of a performance piece or monologue, but you can get the gist of it if you read it out loud. Perhaps if you're bored between setting off fire crackers and eating hot dogs this weekend, you can perform this piece out loud for your relatives. I'm sure they'd love it, particularly if you dressed up in costume.

The assignment was that we had to write 1,000 words from the point of view one of the characters in the cartoon below. I chose the girl in the white dress with the blonde hair, holding the list, with the dragon flying over her head. I felt really sorry for her because she is standing in line with all of those weirdos. Here's the illustration, with the story I wrote beneath it. Enjoy.

Oh my God, I can't believe this is even happening. I am so going to kill Stephanie, she SWORE she and Drew would meet me here. It is so TYPICAL of her not to show up. I KNEW she'd ditch me. She is ALWAYS ditching me. I mean, just because she has a boyfriend now, she thinks she can treat her old friends like dirt. And when I complain, she's all, “Oh, Julia, you're just jealous because I have a boyfriend and you don't.”

As if! I wouldn't date Drew if you PAID me. Stephanie says I don't have realistic expectations where boys are concerned.

But I know someday my prince will come. I KNOW IT.

Still, of all the times for Steph to ditch me. I mean, seriously, what is up with the dude with the tuba back at the end of the line? Why does he keep STARING at me? What is he even supposed to BE? A guy playing the tuba? What kind of Halloween costume is THAT?

Maybe that isn't his costume. Maybe he's, like, in the school band. He looks kind of familiar.

Oh my God, if anyone I know sees me here I am seriously going to DIE. These people are so WEIRD. I mean, some of them have put their costumes on and they haven't even PAID for them yet.

And, no offense, but the pirate suit on the guy in front of me? It is SO not convincing. I'm sorry, but I saw Pirates of the Caribbean five times and, um, hello, Orlando didn't look ANYTHING like THAT.

And what is with the kid at the head of the line with the sword? I can't believe his parents would even let him buy that, he is WAY too young to be playing with sharp objects. Maybe that's why the line's taking so long–he's trying to talk them into letting him buy it? I don't know. But if this line doesn't start moving soon, I am seriously leaving and going over to Costumes R Us, because THIS is ridiculous.

Speaking of which, I don't recognize ANYONE here. Am I the ONLY person from Washington Irving High who understands that you are supposed to wear a COSTUME to a HALLOWEEN DANCE? It's bad enough I don't even have a date. But if I am the only one in the whole school who shows up in costume, I am going to DIE.

And it will all be Stephanie's fault. WHERE IS SHE? She SWORE she'd buy a costume, too. Even though Drew says dressing up is immature.

I'm surprised he can pronounce such a long word.

Oh my God, the band geek is STILL STARING at me. I am so glad Stephanie isn't here to witness this. She says all the guys in Band are losers.

Although, seriously, if you think about it, at least guys who are in Band do SOMETHING. You know, besides play video games all day, like SOME PEOPLE.
NAMED DREW.

OK, be cool. Don't look at Tuba Guy. I'll just keep my eyes on my shopping list here. Do I have everything I need? Tiara. Check. Ball gown. Check. I can't BELIEVE Stephanie said it wasn't very ORIGINAL of me to dress up as a princess. She had the nerve to say it was no wonder no boy had asked me to the Halloween dance, since I actually planned going as a princess.

But I totally could have gotten a date if I wanted to. I mean, I could have asked someone myself…if there were anyone even worth going with at Washington Irving. Which there isn't. I mean, if I wanted a boring jerk like Drew who thinks everything fun is immature, maybe. But is it MY fault I would like a boyfriend who, I don't know, actually has INTERESTS?

Is Tuba Guy still looking at me? Oh my God, he IS. Oh my God. He just SMILED!!! Okay, Tuba Guy just smiled at me. I am dying. I am TOTALLY dying.

He has a seriously cute smile.

You know, I don't get why Stephanie is so convinced that all guys in Band are losers. I mean, at least they know how to play an instrument. What does DREW know how to do? Get high score on Doom 3. And that's it.

Maybe I should smile back at Tuba Guy. Just a quick smile. Like this.

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! My mobile's going off!!!!

“Hello? Stephanie? Where ARE you? Yes, I'm still at Costumes Galore, you should see the line—What do you mean you aren't going? Yes, I know Drew thinks Halloween Dances are stupid, but– Well, just come to the dance without him. What do you mean, only losers go to dances alone? I AM GOING TO THE DANCE ALONE. DOES THAT MAKE ME A LOSER, STEPHANIE? IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?”

Oh my God. Tuba Guy is coming over. HE IS COMING OVER HERE. TO ME. Okay, be cool.

“Um, hold on a minute, Stephanie.”

Okay. Smile at Tuba Guy. Oh my God, he's even CUTER up close!!!!

“Hi. Why, yes, I DO go to Washington Irving High. Oh, you do, too? I thought I recognized you from somewhere. You're in the band, right? Well, yeah, the tuba DOES kind of give it away. What? Yes, I AM going to the dance tonight. Oh? You ARE???

“What? Well, I guess that would be–Um. Could you just hang on a sec?”

OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE HE ASKED ME TO THE DANCE!!!! TUBA GUY ASKED ME TO THE DANCE!!!!

“Hello, Stephanie? I've got to go. I've got a date. No, you don't know him. He's in Band.

“Oh, really? Well, you know what, Stephanie? I don't really care what you think, anyway. Bye.

“Um, sorry about that. Now. Where were we? Me? Oh, I'm going as a—well, it's kind of dumb, but as a princess. What are you going as?

“Oh, you are? Wow. What a coincidence!”

I KNEW someday my prince would come!

The End

Happy 4th of July!

More later.

Much love,

Meg