I’ve been working on a Novella off and on for some time.
There’s been a lot things preventing me from finishing it: fear of failure, imposter syndrome, publishers hating it, less than 10 people coming to a signing, wondering if I’m better off focusing on more fruitful endeavors.
Maybe I’m just looking for encouragement, or criticism, but I wanted to release a snippet of it and see what the feedback would be.
If nothing else, at least a small part of it will be released into the atmosphere. Hope you enjoy.
Another bell sounds and it’s off to lunch. “By the way if anyone is interested in trying out for football,” Mr. Flores shouted out, “We’ll be having summer workouts mid-July.” With Priest catching an earful from Coach, I went to lunch on my own.
I thought back to Mrs. Williams lecture as I entered our dining hall. Just as there was a ruling class outside these school walls, there definitely was a hierarchy within. The athletes and beauty queens congregated in the tables near the open double doors, leading outside where the warm breeze would blow through. Prime real estate for the elites of the school. How fitting, there was just a certain air they walked around with; a regal aura unmatched by anyone else. You had tables for those in clubs, the class marshals, bullies, nerds, and a little table in the corner tucked away for the loners. That’s where Priest and I sit: The men without a country. I got my box of fries, county-issued juice and sat down, when I saw Lena and Courtney being spoon-fed free samples of attention from the jocks. I let the whole year go by without so much uttering a word to her. Was I really going to head into this summer letting another opportunity pass me by? Lena only stayed one neighborhood down from me; this could lead to. . . “One thing at time Tone,” I muttered to myself while a fellow loner gave me a side-eye. I took a swig of juice for liquid courage and loosely screwed the cap back on. I stood up from my corner and made my way to the royal court; a jester approaching the throne. With every step I could hear my heart climbing up my chest, I could feel my pulse in my ears. The light that illuminated from the double doors was so bright, blinding as if to suggest I was not worthy. I HAD to go through with it. Maybe this will be the story we tell our kids. I thought to myself.
I suddenly felt my feet leave from underneath me, and my field of vision go from throne to ceiling.
I gather myself to the sound of laughter and Free and Vick hovering over me. Theater for the royal court ensues. “You spilled juice all over my Forces,” Free said pointing to the juice blots on his shoes. Vick pulls a washcloth from one of buckets they use to wipe down tables and tosses it my way, “Here ya go.” I roll my eyes pleading for decency, “Free, Vick c’mon ma—” but I stop. Free seemed to swell up the very thought of my hesitation. Vick reading the vibe replied, “Go on, before he breaks ya face.” The atmosphere changes from comical to downright pathetic. I crouch down slowly, rag in hand, and survey the room of shocked ‘is he really going to do it?’ faces. Lena and jocks staring as well, no emotion from them though, just awaiting the direction of the show. I clean Free’s shoe, praying I don’t breakdown from the humiliation. Vick puts his hand on my neck and exacerbates the situation, “Make sure you get it all.”
“HEY! What’s going on over there!” Free and Vick shake like toddlers when a mother bellows, even me and I was the victim here. Mrs. Williams marches over to scold us, but the bell rings. Everyone scatters to the next period.
As I leave the café, I cross paths with Priest. “Coach wants me to attend camp over the summer,” he said ecstatically, “If I do then he won’t call my mom about me cutting up.” Sensing the aroma of trauma around me he asks, “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to talk about it man.”
Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign -E.