Archive for November, 2011

Chapter 3


Squirrel was riding in the passenger seat of the car being driven by Hank.  Squirrel was short, and fast.  He had brownish-red hair and hazel eyes.  His face had gentle features that were not plain, but they were not remarkable either.  He was also graceful and a gifted athlete.  Squirrel was not looking forward to today.  Starting at a new high school was not his idea of fun, even if he might meet a pretty girl.  Still, he knew better than to complain.  He would do as he was told.  As the car came to a stop, he got out, opened the back door and reached for his backpack.  He slung it over one shoulder.  He and Hank walked into the school and then the office.  The bell had rung about an hour earlier, so the lobby and hallway were empty.  After meeting the principal, they walked to the guidance office to get Squirrel’s schedule.

“Hello, Mr. Smith.  I’m Jill Hill, the 11th grade guidance counselor.  This must be your son, Benjamin.  Please come into my office.”  She turned and they followed.

The talk about the schedule was fairly fast.  They had gotten Squirrel’s records the week before and were told the date that he would start classes.  Squirrel had let it be known that he preferred to be called “Ben” and that was that…more or less.  He left Hank talking with the counselor in the hallway as he found his way to class with a note for the teacher.  It was toward the middle of first period.  He looked at the paper to remind himself what the room number was even though he did not need to look.  He was very good with numbers and directions.  He looked at the map once.  Upstairs and on the left, second classroom.  Chemistry.  Again.

As Squirrel walked in, everyone looked at him.  He handed the note to the teacher.  “Hello, Ben, welcome to chemistry.  Here’s a copy of the textbook.  Please put your name in the front. That seat is available,” the teacher said as he pointed to the empty seat toward the middle of the classroom.  “Your lab partner will be Mike Quesenberry to your left.”  He turned back to the board, “Okay, let’s continue with the explanation of…”

Squirrel took his seat and let the teacher’s voice fade to the background.  He was glad the teacher had not made a big deal out of his arrival.  Some teachers asked him questions or had him introduce himself to the other students.  Squirrel did not like that kind of attention.  Actually, he did not like any attention.  He wanted to be in the popular crowd, but he did not want people to be too interested in him.  He wanted to be noticed but not be in the spotlight.  He was interested in the other students.  He looked around as he got out a notebook and opened the book.  He discovered that the class had a nice mix of males and females.  Even as he settled down, he was observing everyone around him.  Listening to voices.  Watching mannerisms.  It was all-important to his work.  He knew he would be questioned about it once he got back to the house they had been moved into yesterday.

Once the bell rang, he left with the crowd.  His next class was English downstairs.  He had yet to go to his locker, but that was not important.  The teacher, a middle-aged woman with almost white hair, read and signed the note he handed her upon entering.  A girl from the chemistry class quickly moved to the back of the room where her friends waited.  She looked at him and started talking.  The girls giggled and looked away.  “Girls,” he thought.  He felt their eyes upon him.  He got his books and sat where the teacher had pointed.  Observation time began as soon as the teacher started talking.

Lunch was next.  Squirrel took his lunch out of his backpack and was about to sit by himself when Mike from chemistry invited him to sit with his friends.  The company was welcome.  It helped him hide.  He was careful to join in the conversation that mostly was about him, his old school and such.  Squirrel didn’t mind the questions.  He had rehearsed the answers with Hank.  He was to say that he had come from River Falls, Wisconsin and that his parents had divorced, which was why they had moved.  The rest of the talk was about sports and, of course, girls.  Squirrel was interested in everything they said.  He was going to try out for wrestling and baseball.  He also wanted to go to the football game this Friday, provided Hank would let him.

The bell rang and Squirrel headed to trigonometry class.  He was glad to see that the class had lots of girls.  The teacher gave him a book and pointed to a seat.  He was pleased to see the girl from his other classes seated right beside him.  Once settled, the process of observation began again.  The teacher called on him to answer a problem on the board, which he did with ease.  After answering, he looked to the girl who smiled at him.  She had a good smile and was obviously smart.  That might be a problem, but he did not want some silly girl at his side.  He continued to watch her.  She was quick to answer the teacher when called upon.  She glanced at him, too.  She might be the right one.  He would have to be certain.  He could not afford to make any mistakes.  He watched her as subtly as possible.  By the end of class, he had decided to get to know her better.

Last class, he found that the girl was not there.  This class was U.S. History.  His got his book and his seat after meeting the teacher.  The open seat was two behind Mike.  Once settled, he started to observe.  Then he discovered that today would be taken up with group work.  He went to the group the teacher had indicated.  Mike was in a different group, not that it mattered.  Squirrel wanted to get to know more people…he needed to know as many students as possible.  He hoped that the girl and Mike were popular, but not too stuck up.

After the bell rang, Squirrel went to his locker, which was expected of every student.  He found out that he need not have hurried.  His bus was in the second set of buses to pull up to the school.  Neither Mike nor the girl was on his bus.  He did, however, meet someone who was very interesting to him.  A girl who sat in front of him had caught his eye.  She had a very special birthmark on her neck just above her collar.  Squirrel paid attention to the address of this girl’s home.  He would tell Hank of her as soon as he arrived at the rented house.



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I’m not writing here much lately because I’ve been busy with my novel writing as part of NaNoWriMo.  Never heard of it.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is the month of November.  In November, thousands of people around the earth agree to try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  This works out to about 1,667 words per day, or about 3 Microsoft Word pages.  It’s quite a task,…I know because I did it last November.  Actually, I wrote a bit more than 80,ooo words in 30 days.  I added to those words to finish my first novel.

This year, I’m working on the sequel.  Many family and friends will be happy to have the sequel.  They’ve told me that that is the only problem with the first one,…that it was a cliffhanger.   Well, dear Family and Friends, the sequel is on its way.


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