Danny thinks I’m nuts talking to strangers like I do, but what does he know, right?
And it’s not like strangers on the street that you see and meet. It’s total strangers online. I mean, everyone seems to be doing it these days—what with Facebook and all. And it’s not like I’m ever going to meet them in person anyway.
As I stare into the dizzy white screen of the computer, trying to type some **** up, I think of what Danny always says, you’re needy, Mel, you crave attention. And so his words bother me, yeah, so what? Maybe it’s because he talks out of the two sides of his mouth? Why, cause he’s a boy and thinks he can get away with it, but a girl can’t? He’s such a hypocrite, I swear! And stupid too.
Why oh, why can’t you see Danny boy that I’m in love with you? I peck onto the screen and then press backspace to the beginning. But seriously though, why doesn’t he see that I am madly in love, as they say it?
But since I signed into Woohoo.com I’ve been trying not to think about him at all. I stare at my green online button, showing that I am available to chat, but not a soul has messaged me, except for Becca. And other than her short five-minute rant about why she hates her parents, I haven’t chatted with anyone else since the two hours I’ve been online.
I guess shouldn’t have my chat box open in the first place. I mean, I should be working on my essay for the Catcher in the Rye. I just can’t think though. Actually I don’t want to, really. I want to talk to some God-only-knows-who and escape what’s truly on my mind—Danny, as always.
Okay, so I’m half way through my essay and finally after I get to the third paragraph an I.M. pops up.
Just4laughs: Oh, hey! How are you? I saw your file and was hoping we could chat a bit, you on?
His information says he’s seventeen (supposedly that is) showing only pictures of a lake or ocean somewhere. Normally I don’t bother with people not showing photos of themselves, but something in his file piques my interest.
“Ever wonder if the true test of living, is dying every day?” He quotes in his profile. And since I’m now about two-thirds done with my essay, I reply.
Summergirl: Yeah, what’s up?
Just4laughs: So whatcha doin’?
Summergirl: Oh, just doing some homework…trying to at least.
Just4laughs: Cool. So, could you tell me about yourself?
I take it he already knows what I look like—typical teenage girl with freshly iron-flat hair, slightly highlighted from the sun and big blue eyes, which everybody says is my best feature. Yet I have this really small frame that I am super self-conscious about—4’11” to be exact. But luckily you can’t necessarily tell that in the pictures I have posted. So I don’t bother going into detail about how I look. Instead, I write him a lame little paragraph, bio’ing myself to him, like I’m applying for a job or something. I write: Well, my name is Melanie, but people just call me Mel. I’m seventeen and yeah, well I love to write to pen pals around the world. So what are you looking for on this site?
Just4laughs: I came to Woohoo for the same thing.
He’s from San Diego, clear across the friggin’ U.S.A. Nowhere near Michigan. I assume the beach picture is actually off the coast of California somewhere. We get to talking about it and hit it off from there. He seems okay to me. But then again, Danny would definitely say something that would make him not okay. And I’m sure Becca would agree since her holy-roller parents forbid her to use Facebook, and just about every site imaginable. I’m surprised she can use the computer at all.
But that’s beside the point. So Just4laughs and I chat. And chat for a good hour or so. If he’s some sixty-year-old weirdo living in the same state, I wouldn’t know. He sounds and acts like a typical teen, but then again, he could be like this psycho serial killer or something. But for some reason the less I know, the more I’m interested.
Finally, I get a name—Kyle. And I get this familiar feeling too, like I’ve known him for a while. That’s how I can tell I like him, there’s no doubt about that. So we exchange emails and settle with a few “c-ya’s” and some smiley-face good-byes.
After that, I sign off the computer, save my essay and head downstairs, where the real fun begins.
Greg, my step-dad, is probably outside on the patio smoking and drinking the piss out of himself, who gives a crap anyway. And Mom’s probably out in la la land with one of her books or feverishly writing something down so she won’t forget.
My real dad passed away in a car accident from a drunk driver when I was five. And here my mom marries a drunk. I just don’t get it.
For a while my mom and I lived alone, until she met Greg and got pregnant with Zoe. They married right away and it was okay for a while, till Greg lost his job at the factory two years ago. Now my poor mother has to work extra hours at the hospital. It really sucks too since I’m the one that gets stuck with Bug.
It’s just hard to see my half sister go through it. Zoe bugs me, (hence the nickname) and sometimes to the brink of insanity. But God, though, she’s only seven; she doesn’t deserve a drunk dad and a flaky mom. Neither do I.
I walk into the family-room where Bug is watching cartoons. Water’s boiling over on the kitchen stove so I run to shut the burners off.
“Where’s Mom?” I shout out to Greg who’s of course outside smoking and gulping down a cold one.
“She ran to the store for me real quick,” he shouts back through the screen door.
“What for? More beer?” I mumble under my breath.
“What was that, Mel?”
“Oh, nothing…nothing at all,” I repeat. “So did you know she had the stove on while she left? Coulda burned the house down, Greg. We coulda all been sizzled to death.”
“Will you knock it off, Mel. You’re gonna put nightmares in Zoe’s head. Just stop.”
“Whatever. I’m going back upstairs. And I’m not watching this food either.”
“Fine. I got it,” he says through the screen again, leaning on it is more like it. But then he turns back around, just as he was, staring straight out into the sky, like always.
“Bug, you hungry too?”
“Yeah, Ma was gonna make hot dogs, but forgot the buns, so she ran to Foodies.”
“I got ya, Bug. If you need me, I’ll be up in my room.”
As I run upstairs, I can feel my phone buzz in my pocket. I squeeze it out of my jeans, noticing just who it is—Danny.
I answer on the third buzz.
“What’s up, Danny boy?”
“Listen, Mel. We need to talk. There’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“Not over the phone, can I meet you later tonight?”
“Yeah…is everything okay, Dan?”
“Just promise to meet me later, got it?”
“Yeah, yeah…I got it.”
I flip the phone shut as I can feel the nerves rising. The only other time Danny ever did this was when his mom died. What could he possibly want to tell me that’s so urgent, yet he has to tell me in person?
You might ask people to read and comment, if that's what you want.
Last edited by leslee; 06-03-2011 at 06:50 AM.
It seems this reads well, yes! It feels modern... but what can I say?
It’s chick stuff and would have to move on to something more dramatic pretty quickly, though it’s already fast paced.
Perhaps it’s just not my thing?
You can write
Yes, please comment, thanks!
It's well over 1,000 words, which means that most of us won't finish it and some of us won't even start. Try posting a shorter extract in a new thread.
Lisa. To me, there isn't enough conflict or action at the beginning. I like the last part where Danny calls Mel--that's where the first real tension comes in. Could some of the beginning before that possibly be moved to later in the story or chapter?
I think it's much improved from your first try, and I like the voice.
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate!
I'm not very good on the critique (I can only pick up on the obvious). Just a few questions, What age group are you aiming at? Is it in Mel's narrative all the way through?
Just asking because I'm twenty six and although it is well written and engaging, after a few chapters she's going to drive me crazy. She's very in your face, but I think that you've done a really good job at creating a typical teen.
Just my opinion.