In our ongoing lessons on story development, I give you part 11 of “Wanted, A Superhero to Save the World.”
I don’t have much to write about this short excerpt other than we get to see this brother/sister duo interact with the world and with each other in ways that continue building their character qualities.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them.
She nodded and focused on the closed door. “Jack asked his boss how his wife is doing. … She’s fine. Her arthritis is acting up, though. … Jack is talking about your helmet. He says they can easily get more than a thousand bucks for it from a research guy he knows. … His boss says great. They’ll buy it. … Throw the kid a bone and offer two hundred and the other stuff he wants. That should make him happy.”
The door opened. Jack walked out with a wad of cash clutched in his fist. The helmet sat on the boss’s desk. With a wide grin on his face, Jack counted out two hundred in twenties into my hand.” I’ll get the computer and cable.”
“But you and your boss agreed that it’s worth more than a thousand, not two hundred.”
He blinked. “What? How could you possibly—”
“And when you go back to get the rest of the money, please tell your boss that I’m sorry about his wife’s arthritis. I hear it can be very painful.”
His face reddened. “Then you heard every word.”
“I guess since you’re no cheat, you’ll get the rest of the money.”
He whipped around, hurried back to the office, and closed the door.
Sam was already craning her neck to listen. Smart girl.
“I just hear scratching noises.”
I nodded. “They’re writing messages.”
Soon, the boss stormed out, stopped in front of us, and stared at Sam. Her ponytails seemed to wilt under his glare. Then he shifted his bloodshot eyes toward me. “I’ve got six fifty in the safe. With the computer, that adds up to eight fifty. Take it or leave it.”
His breath smelled like coffee and cigar smoke. I hid a swallow and tried to keep from squeaking. “I’ll take it.”
He cursed under his breath. “Jack will get your stuff.”
Within five minutes, Sam and I walked out of the store with the computer, the adapter, and six fifty in cash.
Sam’s smile stretched wide enough to break her face. “We could get a bunch of snow cones with that much money.”
“Shhh.” I stuffed the bills into my pocket. “We’ll get snow cones, but most of this money is going to pay our rent.”
After buying snow cones—strawberry for me and blue raspberry for Sam—we rode the bus home. When we arrived at our corner, Sam slurped the last bits of ice and dripped blue liquid down her chin. Then we walked toward our building, this time skipping the hand holding since her fingers were covered with sticky syrup.
Along the way, I compared our arms again. Hers were still bulked but not flexed. Mine? Skinny as ropes.
I stopped at a first-floor apartment where our landlord lived—Mrs. Abercrombie. At first, she growled like a pit bull, but when I paid our late rent, gave her an advance for the next payment, and added an extra twenty as an apology, her frown spread to a thin line.
“Where did you get that money?” she asked, one painted eyebrow lifting. “Your mother’s been begging for more time like a pathetic little lapdog.”
I rolled my hand into a fist. I had to stay calm. “I sold one of my inventions.”
She snorted. “Don’t lie to me, Eddie. You’re just like your father. Probably stealing gadgets and fencing them with Milligan.”
“Look. You got your money. If you think I’m a thief, then call the cops. I’ll be glad to tell them what you’re growing in your window planter.”
“Rabble!” She slammed the door in my face. I backed away a step, wishing I had the strength to kick it open. And I didn’t get a chance to ask who reported the broken window.
“I don’t like her,” Sam said.
“No one does. I don’t think she even likes herself.”
“And she smells like burnt popcorn.”
Sam nodded. “With butter.”
I took a whiff of the air. Just the usual mildew. No popcorn. Either Sam’s inferno of an appetite was making her imagine food, or she had a super-sensitive nose to go along with her other powers.
I gestured with my head. “Let’s check on Mom.”
Categories: Story Development