Sunday, October 4, 2015
1st 5 Pages October Workshop - Cushing
Name: Emily Cushing
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Title: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD
Whenever Mom and Dad point to the couch and say, “Sit down, we need to talk,” I’m like, Please, no. Because I know when I hear those six little words something terrible is coming.
Bad Things I’ve Learned at Sit Downs:
1. Grandma June died.
2. We weren’t going to Graceland over Christmas break to visit the house of Elvis Presley—the King of Swoon, Elvis the Pelvis, and one of only two rock stars on my list of “Top 50 Incredible Historical Figures I Would Have Loved to Meet.”
3. I wasn’t getting a metal detector for my birthday. How cool would that have been to explore the gully with Bandit (the stray dog we’ve adopted) searching for hidden treasures? Mom and Dad said it just wasn’t in the budget.
4. Aunt Lori and Uncle Rick were getting divorced. Super sad for my cousin Jake.
So tonight when my parents pointed to the couch and told me to sit down I was like, “I don’t think so.” I knew what they were up to and I refused to play that game. I figured if we weren’t sitting then we couldn’t have a Sit Down.
I was wrong.
You don’t have to actually be sitting to hear bad news. Even if you’re standing (and even if it’s in the kitchen—super far from the couch), they still tell you. And what they told me tonight was the worst news ever.
We are moving!
As in leaving Mrs. Thacker (the greatest art teacher ever), Bandit (our landlord in the city doesn’t allow pets), and all the new friends I’ve made this year.
This is hands-down the worst thing to ever happen to me (besides when Grandma June died, of course.) Let me illustrate with a best to worst list:
BEST: Inheriting Grandma June’s Famous Americans book. Especially since I also inherited her obsession with historical figures. I completely flipped out when Grandpa Jim gave me the binder Grandma had made of facts, pictures, and stories of great Americans.
GOOD: Yesterday, Mom and Dad gave me this new Snap Book journal for sixth grade graduation. On each page there’s room for me to create something amazing with stickers, journaling, and pictures from my brand new Snap Cam.
• Snap Cam: a camera like those old fashioned-y ones that give you the picture right after you take it.
PLEASANT: When I won the 5th grade drawing contest. It was fun to win, but not so fun to stand in front of the whole class and hold up my drawing for everyone to see.
BAD: Getting the measles and missing my own 5th birthday party.
TERRIBLE: Mrs. Anderson calling me Marge on the first day of 3rd grade and me not correcting her. I was Marge instead of Maggie that entire year.
HORRIFYING: The time I wet the bed at Taylor Nikolaus’s slumber party. Except I was sleeping on a couch, not a bed. Wetting your friend’s couch=NOT COOL!
WORST THING EVER: Moving.
Grandpa Jim just hung a tire swing in our backyard, Jake and I have summer passes to Wild Waves Waterpark, and I have drama class with my two BFF’s in the fall. We can’t leave! Plus, I don’t want to return to my old school in the city with bullies like Harriet Nerdin. Every time I got on the bus in fifth grade she’d say, “Morning, moron.”
One of the greatest days ever was last summer when we moved to Hollister—the best small town this side of the Mississippi—and Mom and Dad started the whole one-year experiment to see if they could get a commission for their sculpting.
• Commission: when an artist gets paid to sculpt.
Super big deal for them. Super good move for me. But they still haven’t gotten a commission, which is cray-zy because their sculptures are cuh-razy good. So tonight during our Sit Down, they told me Dad had talked to his old boss at the accounting firm and they have a position opening up, but Dad would have to start on. Less than three weeks away.
I needed to think, so I went to my room. That’s where I found Grandma’s Famous Americans binder sitting on my desk, opened to her famous quotes page. This quote by Maya Angelou caught my eye: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
I will never change my attitude about moving. So, instead of changing my attitude, I’m going to change the thing I don’t like—moving.
I flipped through Grandma’s binder to see if I could find any more good ideas. That’s when I found him. The person who’s going to solve all of my problems:
The 411 on Butch:
• Famous outlaw of the Wild West.
• Went to prison for a year and a half for stealing a five-dollar horse.
• Held up banks and trains all over Utah, Idaho, and Colorado with his gang the Wild Bunch.
• Never killed a man.
• Like Robin Hood—stole from the rich to give to the poor (better fact check this one).
• Hid gold coins somewhere in Utah.
• Gave clues to his family leading them to where the coins might be, but they’ve never been found.
I’m going to find Butch Cassidy’s hidden gold coins! They’ve got to be worth millions, which means we’ll never have to leave Hollister. Ever.
Each summer my awesome, Hungarian, circus-performing Grandpa Jim takes my cousin Jake and me on a weeklong road trip in Blue Bessie, his beat-up old motorhome. We were supposed to leave in two days while Mom and Dad go to one final sculpting show in Cincinnati.
This year Grandpa thought it would be fun to let fate decide where we go. He told me to write the names of all fifty states on slip of paper, we’ll put them in his hat, and pick one.
Little does he know, fate isn’t going to decide where we go.
But first, I needed to enlist Jake to help me search for the gold and steer Grandpa in the right direction. I thought it might be a little tricky since Jake and I got in a little fight last Sunday when he freaked out over a stupid board game. He rolled the dice and one fell off the table. He said the number counted (which happened to be the exact number he needed to win.) Riiiight. That should totally count.
But before the game started, we had decided the number only counted if both dice landed on the table. We argued and he got super mad and tipped over the whole board. I feel bad he’s started having “anger bursts” (that’s what Mom calls them), but it’s not my fault his parents divorced and his dad moved to Florida.
So I was nervous about letting him in on my plan. I didn’t want him freaking out again for no reason. But I need him.
With his photographic memory, he’ll be able to remember important details that I might miss or forget. Plus, he’s not afraid to ask a stranger a question or stand up for himself or somebody else.
Me? I’ve never once stood up for someone else. Or myself, for that matter.