Sunday, July 19, 2015
1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Wheeler Rev 2
Name: Eric Wheeler
Genre: Middle Grade
Title: Olivia Boogieman
My stomach turns summersaults as the cursive letters on the white board taunt me. As I read the words “Family Day,” my lips move. My family tends to be scatterbrained at times so I hope they forgot about today even though I saw it at home this morning on our calendar, written clearly in red ink, circled, underlined, and in hieroglyphics.
Ms. Santiago sits at her desk, dangling from the ceiling above her are paper mache planets circling an orange Sun. Our desks, with tiny chairs are in neat rows. I sit in my desk just as the other kids file into the room laughing and pushing each other playfully. They wander to their desks, chatting with each other and ignoring me. Gordon slips into his seat, his long legs push against the top of his desk. The desks are becoming too small for all us now that we are in the fifth grade but Gordon looks like a giant in the elementary school sized desk.
Ms. Santiago directs Gordon with her hand, “Just sit at the art supply table.”
Gordon squeezes out of the seat hitting his knee on the bar. Wincing, he limps to the art supply table where he sits in an adult chair among the paintbrushes and crayons.
“Quiet down, students,” Ms. Santiago says once everyone takes their seats. She opens the door and the parents parade in. Most of the students brought their mothers but a few single dads shuffle into the room. Gordon’s parents are the last to come through the door and I sigh with relief when my parents don’t come through the door. Hopefully they forgot, maybe Dad is still sleeping.
A woman pulls a chair next to me. She has short brown hair that matches her eyes. “Hello, I’m Tessa’s mother. Who are you?” She pushes her chair so uncomfortably close I smell the coffee on her breath. Her tongue stained white from the excessive cream. Scooting back in my chair, I give myself room. “I’m Olivia Boogieman,”
Her eyes widen and she looks at her daughter with a question in her eyes. Tessa nods and looks away from me. Of course, Tattletale Tessa Thompson told her about me; she can’t keep her big mouth shut.
“What a peculiar surname you have.” Mrs. Thompson lifts her nose in the air as if she’s sniffing out my pedigree. If she wants to see peculiar, she should meet my family.
She leans in closer with each word she speaks. “I’m a social worker. What do your parents do?”
“Um,” I stammer. What do I say? Mom is a stay-at-home mummy and Dad works nights?
“Why don’t we get started?” Miss Santiago says as she leans against her desk. The words “Family Day,” appear to dance behind her on the whiteboard. Mrs. Thompson scoots her chair back towards Tessa.
“Olivia, are you with us,” Ms. Santiago snaps her fingers in front of my face. My cheeks warm; I hate being the center of attention. Ms. Santiago isn’t all-bad. This is her first year at the school. She’s young, fun and best of all; she’s never had my brother in any of her classes.
Tessa’s mom leans into her daughter, brushes back the hair away from her ear, and whispers loudly. “It’s a shame when a child’s parents don’t care enough to come to family day.” Our eyes meet and she uncomfortably shifts in her chair. I can tell she knows I heard her.
As the door opens, Dad’s hairy frame takes up most of the doorway, which is not surprising considering most werewolves are huge. Hulking and hairy from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, he looks scarier than he really is. Mom pops her head in the little space between Dad and the doorframe. She’s covered in dingy wrappings with eyeholes so she can see. Her wrappings haven’t been changed since she was first mummified in ancient Egypt. Dad holds my skeletal little sister’s boney hand. The only person not here is my shapeshifter brother, Vinnie. Unless he’s posing as Ms. Santiago. Or her red Apple. It’s for the best that he is not here because he’s a troublemaker.
Sometimes being part of the Boogieman family is too big of a burden for a normal girl like me.
“It is very nice that you could join us.” Miss Santiago’s eyes dart from my parents to me probably wondering how a family of monsters is raising a normal girl like me. “If you’d like to stand next to your student we can begin again.”
A paper mache moon dangling from the ceiling and catches Dad’s eye. He turns up his nose towards the moon, closes his eyes, and howls. Daisy covers her lip glossed stained mouth and giggles while I cringe. Mom quickly taps Dad lightly in the ribs with her elbow. Mom stands behind me while my dad flops on the ground and scratches the fur on his neck with his rear leg. “Fleas.” He looks up at a frowning Mrs. Thompson.
“Dad, please stop.” I cover my face with my hands.
He climbs back on two feet; his claws scrape across the floor causing goose bumps on my arm.
“I’m pleased so many parents could be here today.” Ms. Santiago says. “You will follow your student throughout the day so you can get a sense of what a typical day at Middlebury Middle School is like.”
My school has a panther for a mascot, and is home to a large population of feral cats. As my father raises his nose and sniffs the air, a low growl escapes his throat. I grasp at his collar as an orange, black, and white calico passes the doorway. Dad jerks against my hold, drops to all four paws, and gives chase. Desks crash together, Tessa screams, and Gordon’s father covers his son as Dad bolts towards the door.
“No bad boy,” Mom scolds Dad as he shoots out the door that leads to the blacktop. I’m attached to his collar and jerk forward with his momentum causing pain in my arm. I let go before he drags me across the playground. The cat jumps onto a picnic table and my dad runs under the bench chasing it across the playground.
I sprint behind him, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me.”
The cat stretches its claws and digs into the bark of a nearby tree, climbing with little effort. Dad stands at the trunk howling as I yank his collar. He digs his feet into the bark as he tries to climb. The cat smiles down at Dad with a big, white toothy grin, like that cat from Alice in Wonderland. “Cats don’t smile,” I mutter. The cat turns into a blob and then into my brother, Vinnie, who is laughing.
“Not funny, Vinnie,” I say.
After a tug on Dad’s collar, he slumps on all four paws and reluctantly follows me back to the classroom.
“You’re not supposed to do that in public,” Mom scolds. She grabs a newspaper from our current events pile, rolls it up, and smacks Dad on the nose.