Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Writing Fiction

A while back we met Boudou Fontana, a character from Deep in the Shade of Paradise. He helped the kids write poems giving human traits to colors and numbers. Recently Boudou's creator and our friend John Dufresne sent us the beginning of a short story called "Riddles" and the kids wrote their own ending. Here's John's portion of the story.

Sometimes I cry when I’m happy. Sometimes I smile when I’m sad. It’s a puzzle to me.

Right now, I’m scared to death, and that’s why I’m talking so calmly. I’m going to tell you how I got into this mess, but first maybe you could answer me this riddle: What holds two people together, but only touches one?

Hint: It has to do with parents mostly. New riddle, same answer: It has no top or bottom, but holds flesh and blood and bones.

Hint: My father doesn’t wear his anymore.

If you said wedding ring, then you are right.

How I got into this mess: There I was hiding in Mom’s closet with my dog Spot who isn’t used to being so still. Even when he’s sleeping, his legs jerk like he’s chasing a Frisbee or a cat. I held his tail so it wouldn’t thump against the floor. He licked my face. That’s how dogs kiss. Why can’t parents be more like dogs? That’s not a riddle; it’s a wish. Why can’t they love you no matter what, follow you wherever you go, be always happy to see you, sleep snuggled up against your legs?

Anyway, Spot and I were spying on my parents through a crack in the door. The one who was talking had nothing new to say. The one who was silent–it was like she was screaming. This was Friday, Exchange Day, when Dad comes to take me–but not Spot–to his condo for the weekend. What they didn’t know was that this time I wasn’t going.

When Dad moved away six months ago he said he needed space, which is stupid because space is all around you. Unless he meant like outer space–but then he didn’t move to Mars; he moved to Collins Avenue. He says he loves me, says it every time he says goodbye. I told him love means being around. He said, You’re too young to understand. I said, How can you leave me week after week? He stared at the ceiling. I said, It’s not a riddle, Dad. He said, Your mother and I aren’t sure we can live with each other anymore. These things happen.

I figured they’d just keep doing this every week forever unless I stopped them. My friend Morgan told me I could run away. Now, there are two ways to run away. You can run away in your head or on your feet. I tried the first way for a while–it’s like living in a dream, like sleeping when you’re awake. You pretend you’re somewhere else, like in a story book with a perfect, happy family–only you can’t pretend that Friday doesn’t come.I saw Dad look at his watch, say, Where is that kid? I shushed Spot. Dad could call me all day and I wouldn’t come out. Which meant he’d have to stay.

Dad said, Here, Spot! Come here, boy! and old Spot woofed, and leaped from my arms and blasted through the door into the bedroom, and we were busted. That’s the thing about dogs. They have short memories, not like kids. Spot forgot that Dad in the house meant I’d have to leave, and we couldn’t play for two days.

Mom kissed me on the forehead, told me to call before bed and said, Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Dad told me to wait in the car. But instead I got Spot’s leash off the hook in the kitchen. I snapped it to his collar. Spot took the leash in his mouth–he likes to think he’s walking me. It was time to try the other kind of running away. And that’s when our adventure began that ends up right here with me scared or sad, I’m not sure which. The first place we went was . .

By Jameka:

The first place we went was to where I thought was an amusement park but was just Treaty Park where crickets look like roaches and as Spot saw them he snatched the collar like he was running for his life and when he pulled I fell face first into the mulch. I may want to change his name from Spot to Scaredy Cat. I lifted my face up. Spot came and licked the mud off my face as if he was staying he was sorry.

I got up and we got on the slides and played tag for almost an hour. Spot started barking and I said, "Why are you barking?" and he looked up and barked again and I looked up and saw my dad in his Monster truck and it looked like he was looking for us so me and Spot ran behind the tree so fast we looked like we were in a roaring horse race. As he road by we tiptoed from behind the tree. Spot barked as if something was wrong so I asked him, "What's wrong?" He saw a Petco across the road, so we went there. On the door, I saw a sign and it said "pet food, pet wash and pet water and pet collars." We went in and I also saw, "Hiring," so I went up to the counter and it said "Ring the bell for service," so I rang it and when I did a tall man said "How may I help you?" and I said, "Well my dog Spot here needs food, water and a bath and I need a job to pay for it."

The man said hold on one second and he went in the back and grabbed some papers and then he asked me how old was I and I said I was twelve and he said OK all you have to do is fill out some papers and after that that as my new job. After that day I worked there until I was 25 years old. Me and Spot saw my parents later on in life and I forgave them for all they had done.

By Jontae:

She went to the bank and emptied out her savings. Then she committed bike theft. Then she went to the store and stocked up on snacks. Then she went to the old forgotten road through Flagler Estates and went to the old St. Mary's house. She walked through the front door. All of a sudden kids from all over the world just jumped out and one kid asked, "Are you a runaway?"
"Yes," she said.

"Then you can stay here."There was an older man taking care of them and she was no longer alone. Now she is not alone but one more thing, "What is your name?"

"Sandra," she said.

"OK, my young one," the man said.

Later on back in Hastings, Sandra's mom and father is going nuts. She thinks they are having a blast. Sandra thought to herself that she missed her mom and papa. But I am having fun, no school and no work. This is fun. She says to herself I am staying here and no one is changing my mind. It is final. Goodbye mom. Goodbye dad.

By Bryanna:

The first place we went was to Petco to get my dog Spot some pet food. We went to this mystery house where we thought nobody lived but when we looked around in the big house a man popped out of nowhere. I almost jumped out of my skins and Spot almost peed on his self. He said my name is Professor King and who are you?

"I'm Kayla and this is my dog Spot. I'm here because my parents are getting a divorce and me and my dog are upset so we both decided that we will run away. I only had five dollars in my pocket, Mr. Professor King and I saw this empty house so I just decided to walk on in so me and my dog Spot can take a little nap."

Professor King said sure, let me show you the way. Finally we we went up to the room that I was going to stay in. It wasn't a big bed but it was something for me and Spot to sleep in. It was a rough night because I was thinking about my mom and dad. When I woke up the next morning, I saw Spot stretch out across. I almost didn't have any room to lay in. I went downstairs to talk to Professor King. He told me that I should go back home. I said, "Okay." Me and Spot walked home. It was a long way. When we got home my mom yelled, "Where were you?" I said, at a man's house. He's named Professor King. I'm sorry, mom. Dad. I will never do that again."
They said, "You are grounded but we love you."

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