Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chapter X. Port In a Storm

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
The Scribblers were busy putting the finishing touches on their clubhouse. It was a cool November day. Terry hardly noticed how Mary's hair blew in the breeze as she helped put the last of the tiles on the roof. He saw Butch zip his jacket, look around at the whole scene and say, "This is so great. Look at it. Ain't she a beauty?"
Terry's mind was not on the club house or Mary or Butch. It was very much on his dad who had been sick again. Terry's eyes were red and puffy from lack of sleep. Dad's coughing had kept the whole house up, with Mom running around trying to help him. He was glad Dad was going to a doctor today. Maybe there was something the doctor could do to help.
Jimmy sat on a large rock in Butch's yard. He dangled his feet and observed, "Just like home. Now the Scribblers have a base. Let's give it a name. Something clever. We're writers. We should be up to it."
Butch walked around the clubhouse. "Great idea. Take five everybody and think of a good name."
Terry sat on the ground and Mary and Butch stood. "Why don't we go inside and get the feel of the place," Terry said. "That might help us." His mind was going back and forth, now on Dad, now on a name for the place. The group took his idea and all four crowded in and sat on the floor which was covered by a large area rug cut down and fitted. The clubhouse would be dry inside, even when it rained. Right now it was empty, but there was enough room for chairs, a small desk, and bookcases, the most desirable item. Terry felt the comfort of his friends and he, with effort, took his mind off Dad and put it on the job at hand. "How about 'Comfort Corner'," he suggested.
"Not bad," Jimmy said, brushing dirt off his leg. "I was thinking of 'Scribblers Settlement'. What do you think?"
Butch had his head down deep in thought. He came up out of a seeming coma and said, 'Writer's Block'". They all looked at him. Mary started to laugh. "As a name for the clubhouse, I mean," he said.
"That's bad luck, don't you think?" Terry said. "Mary how about you? We need a fourth choice. Then we'll vote."
"So far, I like 'Comfort Corner,' though it doesn't have anything to do with writing. How about 'Writer's Haven.' I got the word "haven" from a book. It's like a port in a storm. Or we could be artsy and call it 'Havenword,' a place where our words are safe."
"O.K., let's vote. I forgot paper, so we'll have a show of hands. 'Havenword'," Butch said. Four hands went up. "All right then. Tomorrow, we'll get a bottle of pop and Christen the place like a ship. I now declare this first meeting of The Scribbler's society at Havenword officially closed."
(Next time - more of Terry's problem and the play they are writing gets a new twist. See you on Friday. Nancy)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chapter IX. A Place Of Our Own

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(In the last chapter, we took an interlude while Mary got to know her boys a little better. We return to Butch's problems.)
Butch sat in his room on the twin bed. He had pennants up on the wall from major baseball teams. He didn't have a favorite team and he didn't listen to games much, but he liked to get into sports talk once in awhile. Other boys had sports decorations on their wall. He didn't want to be different. He didn't consciously think about all this. The pennants were just there. They didn't speak to him. His heart was in reading and writing. He was running out of ways of telling his mom and dad what he liked and why.
"How embarrassing," he said to himself. "Mom has to be right there when the club comes over. Terry has the basement, Jimmy has a den, Mary, I don't know yet, but I bet her mom isn't there doing ironing." He pondered the problem. "What I need is a clubhouse. Dad and Mom always want me to go outside. Well I would like to live outside, to get away from them." He felt guilty for that last remark. His parents were old, older than Terry's even. He was sure they were much older than Mary's or Jimmy's. And as he was an only child, they babied him too much. "A clubhouse is just what I need. I even have money saved from when I delivered those phone books. I'll see if Terry and Jimmy will help me. Then we can do our club outside and please everyone."
Butch went downstairs and looked around for his mom. She was in the kitchen, making salads for dinner. "Mom, I have a project, for outdoors, that I'd like to try. Can I do it?"
"Butch, you know that depends on what it is."
"Let me make a clubhouse on the back of our property. We've got lots of room. Dad can help if he wants, but I can figure it out. It doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to be a place where I, where we can be alone."
"Well I don't know. You'll have to ask Dad. You and your friends will still be sitting around reading and all. You need exercise."
"The last time you said I needed to be outside. The clubhouse will be outside. There won't be any electricity. Just whatever battery stuff we can bring in. If you like, we can run around the house every hour or so, just to stay fit."
"Don't you get that attitude with me, young man." Her carrot cutting became faster and more vicious.
Butch grabber his jacket. "It's just, Roy's mom is always on him because he never reads books. He's always playing baseball. You get on me because I read and don't play baseball. How is a guy supposed to be a kid in this day and age?" He slammed the door and went outside.
As Butch ran down to Jimmy's house, he noticed what a beautiful day it was. "Look at that sun!" The very last of the red and yellow leaves fell gently in the wind. When Butch called, Jimmy came out at once. "I have a great idea for the Scribblers. Do you think you and Terry can help me make a clubhouse out back in our yard? That way, we can always have a place to meet. Won't that be cool?"
A pensive mood framed Jimmy's face as the boys took seats in the green metal chairs on Jimmy's porch. "It's just what we need. Then we can get boxes and store our stuff and we'll really be in business. Besides, we won't have to keep calling to see where to meet. It will always be at the clubhouse. Will your parents let you? Do you have money for the materials? Do you know what you, we, are doing?"
"Yes to all the questions. Mom and Dad haven't agreed yet, but they will. They pretty much let me do whatever I want, as long as it isn't something bad. They are fair I have to admit. Don't tell them I said that. I don't want them to think I'm an easy kid to handle."
"Why not? I am. Easy, that is."
"It just works better to have leverage."
Butch and Jimmy looked over the trees in the yard and breathed deeply. After awhile, Butch said, "Let's call Terry and Mary and tell them the good news."
"Shouldn't you wait for official confirmation from the parents?"
"Butch squeaked the chair against the rough wood on Jimmy's porch. "Nah," he said. "It's a done deal."
(Next time: More news on the clubhouse. See you then. Nancy)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter VIII. The Waltz


C 2004 By Gracie Prior


It was an exciting time at Elsbeth Wilson Elementary School. The gym teacher was going to start dances at noon because there was nothing else to do with all the kids after their lunch, and it was too cold to go outside, winds and snow whipping around the corners of the school. Mary put on her black and white checked jumper, her white blouse with the ruffles, and her black patent leather shoes. Mom said she could wear them to school once in awhile. She also pulled her long hair into a ponytail. It was the style and she wanted to try it. She topped this all off with a scarlet bow around her hair.

In the morning class, Mary busied herself with her studies. Behind her was Butch with Jimmy to the back right. Terry was still behind Butch. They talked together whenever there was talking time. At lunchtime, the bell rang loudly and Mary went to the cloakroom and got her lunch money from her pocket. She went on ahead of the boys to the lunchroom. Wanting to get to the gym early, she quickly ate her sandwich and finished her graham crackers with leftover chocolate icing. Then she walked alone to the gym. She was eager to see what this dancing was all about.

When she got to the gym, there were already kids dancing. Mary sat on the bleachers and watched them. There were girls standing around on the floor, giggling and visiting, but Mary wasn't ready fort that yet. Roy, a boy in her class, came over to her.

"May I have this dance?" he asked. The sixth grade had been taught in gym class how to ask a lady for a dance, how to place your hands properly, and how to escort them back to where you found them when the dance was finished. Mary got up and smiled. She didn't like Roy very much. He made out-of-place remarks in class, but Mary was eager to dance. The record player was playing "Tennessee Waltz," her favorite, and she couldn't resist.

They started to dance and Mary realized that Roy was all feet. She tried to help him without actually taking the lead. It was useless. She concentrated on the lonely, beautiful words and melody of the song. Someone had tapped Roy on the shoulder while she was looking away and she saw with delight that Terry was now her partner.

"May I cut in?" he asked as he whirled her over the floor. The dance ended.

Mary realized that Terry didn't know where she was before the dance so she walked slowly back to the bleachers. Terry followed her. "This is where I was ...before," Mary said.

"See you later then ," he said.

A fast song came on and the kids who knew how to do the Jitterbug began holding hands, hopping around, twirling and moving in and out. There were girls with girls and girls with boys. Mary loved to dance fast, too. The music made her feet move. At home, she liked to practice her moves in front of the tall mirror on the door. She got up bravely and moved around the floor. She nearly bumped into Jimmy who would be game for anything. "Jimmy," she smiled, holding out her hands. Girls weren't supposed to ask boys to dance, but they could certainly look interested.
Jimmy turned and said. "Oh, Mary, isn't this fun?" He raised his eyebrow up and then down. He had that adorable smile. "I'd ask you to dance, but I don't know how."
Good enough, Mary thought. "I'll show you." They were playing "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces." She took Jimmy's hand and stepped back away from him . "Like this," she said. She danced in to touch his other hand and then back out. Back and forth they went. Jimmy looked unsure, but he smiled. Mary wanted to go under his arm and twirl and do a few other moves, but Jimmy was obviously not ready. The song ended. Jimmy escorted Mary to where they started.
"You're a good dancer," Jimmy said. "Thank you for the dance, My Lady."
Mary giggled and nodded. She looked around to see what other fun was to be had when she saw two boys approaching her. Butch and Terry came over and looked like eager puppies. "We want you to choose. Which one of us would you like to dance with?"
Mary was surprised and delighted. Her heart right now went out to Terry but Butch was very cute, and she hadn't danced with him. "Butch," she said, smiling sweetly at Terry so as not to discourage him.
Butch gave Terry a superior victory smile. He took Mary's hand and started moving to another song that pulled at her heart. The voice on the record was so low and yearning. Butch was by far the best dancer of the day. He moved her around as if he knew what he was doing. He smiled at her. She just enjoyed the moment. Never before. Never once before had boys paid this much attention to her. Not like this. Was it the new school, her friendship with the Scribblers, the ponytail? What was different?
(Join me next Friday when the Scribblers get involved in a wonderful new project.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chapter VII. The Beginning Of Terry's Troubles

C 2004 By Gracie Prior

Terry's dad hadn’t been feeling too well again and Terry wanted to make sure he wasn’t needed at home. As he came in from the side door, he saw that his older brother Philip was home. Philip lived alone a few blocks away. Terry became concerned. He looked at Philip and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Dad was coughing pretty bad again last night and Mom wanted me to come and check on him. He seems rested now. She had to go to the store and didn’t want to leave him alone.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Terry looked closely at his brother. He didn’t sense any alarm in his face.

“Just relax. I’ve got things under control here. What are you doing today?”

“Butch, Mary, and I were going to ride bikes, but not if you need help.”

Philip smiled and ruffled Terry’s hair. “Go on and do what you want. I’ll be here when Mom comes home, and I’ll tell her you checked in. You won’t be in any trouble.”

Terry felt bad that Philip thought he only cared about whether he was O.K. with Mom. He was very upset about Dad and wasn’t sure he should go and play. He sat down and rested in a chair, thinking it over.

Mom came home then, bringing her groceries in the back door. Terry and Philip ran to help her. They all put the food away together. “How is Dad doing?” Terry asked.
Mom looked at him and smiled. “He’s resting fine, isn’t he Philip?”

“Sure is,” Philip said. “I told the squirt he was fine, but he didn’t believe me, I guess.”

Things weren’t going the way Terry liked. “If he is fine, I’m going riding with Butch. Is that alright?”

Mom looked at him and nodded. “Get some sunshine. This nice November weather can't last forever. See you at dinner.”

Terry rounded up his Blue Racer bicycle and peddled over to Butch’s house. Butch pulled out of his driveway and they decided to go and get slowpoke Mary. The boys were surprised to see the strange car in Mary’s drive. When she came out, Terry asked, “Who is that?”

“Oh, that car belongs to a friend of my dad’s. He’s going to be coming to town for a special event later,” Mary said.

“What event?” Butch asked.

“Oh, nothing,” Mary said. “Where's Jimmy?"
"He's not much of a rider," Terry said. "Ready?"
Mary nodded. "Let's ride."
The three of them rode around the neighborhood for a long while. Their street was mostly deserted with only a few cars coming and going. There was just a little snow left from an earlier snowfall. Terry remembered that it wasn't unusual for the street to be empty for a whole day. They regathered at the bottom of their street near Mary's house. Butch said, Race you all to the top of the hill.

“You can’t get all the way up that hill, Butch.” Mary said. “It’s too steep.”

“Sure I can," Butch said. “Let’s try it. Ready set go!”

Terry was ready and shot off like a rocket. Butch was right behind. Mary had a late start. Terry looked back briefly and realized Mary didn’t know their game yet. Get the other person distracted, then go. He was pumping heavily and there was only a little more street to go but his energy was going fast. Butch was by his back wheel. Mary was just coming to the steep part. Terry gripped the handlebars, made one last effort, and pushed up to the top of the hill. He straddled the bike waving his hands in the air. Butch crossed the imaginary line next. Mary was nearly to the top, but got off and walked her bike up the rest of the hill. “Awe, Mary, you could have made it,” Terry said.

Mary wiped her face on her sleeve, “Sure I could, but why? You are the winner. Let’s go try it again.”

Butch looked at Terry. “You up for it?

“I have to get home. Next time we’ll make sure you’re ready, Mary,” Terry said.

“Next time I’ll beat you,” Mary said.

“Bet she will, too, Butchie Boy,” Terry shouted as he flew down the hill.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chapter VI. Watering the Seeds

By Gracie Prior
(In our last story, Jimmy had just come up with a great new story idea for the Scribblers writing group.)
In her pink gingham bedroom with a matching bedspread and canopy, Mary sat on a Chintz covered chair and picked up her diary. She had kept one since about third grade when her teacher, Mrs. Wright, taught the class how to put thoughts and everyday occurrences on paper.
September 1958
Dear Louisa,
I am supposed to meet with Butch, Terry, and Jimmy today for our meeting of the Scribblers Society. When they asked me to join, it was so sudden, so unexpected. Here in front of me are three boys and they want me or at the very least something about me. Jimmy has written a one-act play about a heroine named Congruent, who is wild and free. She lives in the desert and has a secret mission. I think I'm going to like playing her. Her helper is a little Silly and not very smart. Jimmy will probably play the part. It seems like Jimmy. We are going over the script today and blocking our the action. This will be our fall play and then Jimmy wants to see if we can turn the play into a book. I like that idea. We're all getting along so far. Butch McNeil is cute. I think he has a thing for me. Terry Raymond is the cool one, and I don't think he likes girls yet. Too bad. Well, the boys are all friendly and they all love to write, so I am content. I'll sign off now. Your loving Mary.
* * *
Mary entered Butch's house from the back porch. The group sat around the couch. There was one spot left for Mary. Sitting in the corner was a chair and a television console, the only other furniture. Butch's Mom was irioning in the adjoining room. She had a huge pile of laundry and showed no signs of leaving.
Mary, always the bold one, noticed the lack of privacy and asked, "Can't we work in the basement?"
"It's a mess down there. Mom doesn't want us to go down. This is fine."
Mrs. McNeil smiled at them over a huge shirt she was holding up.
Terry began, "Jimmy, it's obvious that you and Mary are the leads in this play. I have typed the scripts for you on Dad's Royal, and you can read them over. I'll coach you, Mary, and Butch can coach Jimmy."
Terry passed out the scripts and Mary and Jimmy looked them over. "What's this about a yummy?" Mary asked. "I don't understand about that."
"I think it is pretty well explained," Jimmy said. "It is simply a fruit of which you are unfamiliar my dear Mary."
"Let's start." Terry said. "Jimmy, you are talking to the horse about your quest when he loses a shoe and you are forced to stop in the desert. Start with 'Aaron sits down and ponders what to do.'"
Jimmy sat down and started, "The sun is getting higher in the sky and we are stuck. (Jimmy started to cry as the script indicated.) "Why, oh why, was I ever chosen?" Jimmy lay against a pretend rock and slept.
Mary strode confidently over to Jimmy, looked down at him, put her hands on her hips and said, "Humph, what have we here?"
Mary and Jimmy read through the entire play, which was quite short, blocking out the movements as they went along.
"Good read through," Terry said. "I think there is real grit between you two. You guys did good."
"I like the idea of making this into a book," Mary said.
"What? Whose idea was that?" asked Terry.
"Jimmy's," Mary said. "I thought you all knew."
"Well, we didn't all knew." Butch said. "Jimmy, you're holding out on us."
Jimmy blushed and said, "I only just thought of it, really. Ideas kept coming to me and I wanted to do more with it. What do you think?"
"I think you're getting a little too big for your britches. That's what I think. You have so many ideas (Butch rolled his eyes and blinked his lashes.) This is a writing club. We all have ideas. That's what we're here for."
Terry caught Butch's eye and nodded at his mom. "Let's do the play the best we can," Terry said. "Then, if the crowd loves it, we'll put off plays for a bit and all try writing the book. O.K?"
Butch's Mom looked up from her ironing, wiped her brow and said, "Butchie, you need to go outside and play ball or ride your bike. I don't like to see you spend all your time indoors."
"Yeah, O.K., Mom. The group is leaving and then I'll ride my bike." He looked around. "You guys want to join me?"
"I do," Mary said. "Wait here and I'll go and get my bike." She left and ran down to her house at the end of the street. When she got there, an unknown car was in Mary Brewster's driveway and she went inside to investigate.
(Whose car is in Mary's driveway? Next time, here on Friday.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chapter V. Seeds Of a Story

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(In our last installment, the Scribblers had just finished a dramatic scene from their new play.)
Jimmy sat in his bedroom, which was decorated with Earnest Shepherd's drawings of Winnie the Pooh on the walls. He meant to redecorate now that he was older, but Mom said he would have to get his own things. She certainly didn't have the money right now. His mom, Mrs. Falcon,was a freelance artist. She painted watercolors for magazines and sent them in. He could get some new ideas from her at least.
He went over and lay back on his bed on this lazy Saturday, and thought how well the play "Terry, the Pirates, and Ponce Virle De Polo," had gone. Mary was indeed needed in the group as she turned out to be an excellent salesperson. Her mom, Mrs. Brewster, had gotten some excitement going at the library where she worked. The staff there felt they should encourage budding playwrights. Also, Mary had walked up and down her street, getting to know the neighbors better in the process.
The big rescue scene had gone well and Terry (Ponce) remembered to drop the scarf, fight off all of the pirates, and escape their treachery. The proceeds were actually bigger than expenses. The group used old costumes, some worn scenery, and very little poster board. The audience laughed at some of the wrong places but that is show biz. At least there was a large measure of applause at the end.
He grabbed an old "Time" magazine with a desert picture and swirls of circles of sand getting ever bigger. That intrigued him. Into his mind came a beautiful girl on a white horse and as she rode across the sand, a funny idea popped into the scene. Why not put a little fraidycat guy with heart in there with her and take them on an adventure? We've done ships with water. Let's get into sand.
The phone rang and Jimmy answered. "Jimmy here." As he recognized the voice of Terry, Jimmy interrupted and added, "Head Scribbler at your service." Jimmy wrote a few notes on a paper and said, "Sure, Terry, we can get together. Get Butch and Mary, especially Mary. I want to talk to her about something. See you in a few minutes."
Jimmy scribbled down all the great ideas flowing in his head about the desert adventure. Often, the seeds of an idea came like a gift, right away in a flood. He just needed to catch them on paper. He knew the next phase, after the flood, would be hard going. It was still a gift, but one he had to work for. He grabbed his notes, his zipper jacket, and his thinking cap that looked very much like a fisherman's cap and hurried down the stairs and out the door.
Butch, Mary, and Terry were waiting for him on Terry's porch. He hadn't realized how long the flood had lasted.
"You're late, Martin," Butch said. "Better have a good excuse."
Jimmy smiled at the mention of his middle name, but said nothing. Butch often used silly nicknames.
We got here on time, Mary said."
Terry, who had known Jimmy the longest, looked at the fistful of notes in his hand and announced, "The man's been busy. Anybody can see that."
"God our next story?" Butch asked.
"Do I have a part," Mary asked, "or are you boys going back to your brother thing?"
"What I have," said Jimmy, "is the great American play. It has scenery and a hero (written just for me, he thought,) vicious villains, and of course, a damsel."
"In distress I suppose," Mary said.
"That's the great part," Jimmy said. "When I first saw her, she was not in distress. I really saw her, Mary. I don't think you have to worry."
(What's this new play Jimmy is working on? Will the others like it or will it cause trouble? Come back here next Friday and we'll continue. Nancy)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter IV. The Rescue

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(In our last installment, the Scribblers has just gotten Mary as a new member. We'll see how that plays out.)
At Terry's house, Terry, Butch, Mary, and Billy sat in an unfinished basement around a long rectangle table with papers spread all over. Rusty shelves with glass jars holding summer produce provided diversion to the drone of Jimmy's voice. He was reciting the outline of the latest play of the Scribbler's Society. Terry was very interested at first, when Jimmy talked about the pirates and how they would be collecting gold and jewels off ships on the high seas. Then Jimmy started reading about the prisoner and how he or she would be kidnapped, taken aboard and treated roughly if the report of treasure didn't come forth. Terry's mind drifted to his dad who had been sick the night before. He and his mom had been up all night nursing him so he could get some sleep, an occurrence that had been happening too frequently lately.
"'So you'll have to walk the plank,' Redbeard yelled, 'unless you tell us what we need to know.'" Jimmy's voice was threatening, as threatening as Jimmy could make it that is. "Um, right here, Terry. What do you think?"
"Huh?" Terry said.
"I mean, could Mary be the victim and walk the plank? Then, in a scene or two, just when all is lost, Ponce Virle will run from offstage, grab her and take her to the other side. The scene will end. The curtain will come down. There will be intermission. Only nobody will be able to eat, or talk. They will be so excited to see what happens. What do you think, Terry?"
Terry yanked his head away from the fruit jars and looked at Jimmy. "What? Oh, read that last line again for me, so I can get its full effect."
"I'm not asking about the line. I was telling you about the dramatic rescue of the victim and wondering if you think Mary can pull it off?"
Terry's mind had re-engaged. "Of course she can. Well, there's only one way to find out. Scribblers, take ten and let's all write the rescue scene where Mary walks the plank. Don't hold back guys. Put it all in the first time, as they say. O.K. It's 9:50. At l0:00, we'll see what everyone has down. Ready, you have paper and pencils; that's good. Start."
They all began writing. At ten o'clock, each Scribbler read their dialog. Butch had Mary yelling and screaming and fighting to the end, just before the rescue. Jimmy had Mary recite a sterling soliloquy about not forsaking her parents or her inheritance. Mary had her character walking bravely to the end of the plank and diving in, the cowards. Her hero would have to splash in to rescue her. Terry had Mary walk gloomily to the end of the plank, look at the sun coming up in the East and calling out, "O God, send a deliverer."
"At this point," Terry reads "Ponce rushes in from stage left, runs up the plank, grabs Mary, and throws down her scarf, a signal for the pirates to come in. Then, holding her in one arm, and swashbuckling with the other, he fights off two or three pirates at a time. He runs off stage yelling, "Deliverance!" Terry felt Mary's eyes on him as he delivered the lines.
Everyone agreed on Terry's script (though Jimmy was verbal about the merits of his.) "Everybody up," he said. "Jimmy, you and Butch are pirates. Mary, you stand here." He directed her up on a chair. "Now Ponce, (that's me) is coming. Mary, you look that way as if you were walking the plank. Say your line, the one I wrote and let's see how it works." Terry ran off stage, which was into a side room of the basement.
He pulled a blue tablecloth over his shoulders and tied it. He found some black chalk on a tray by a chalkboard and gave himself a moustache "Now, Mary, be bold and say your lines. Pirates, be ready to fight, over on the right. Now!"
"O God, send a deliverer!" Mary called with just the right stress in her voice. Terry ran into the room pulling Mary off the chair. He paused only a second, looking at her startled face (for she was looking away from him,) gave a hoist, and ran over to the left side of the room.
Terry put Mary down and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and looking directly at him. He felt some unknown emotion, but it didn't last. He heard a ruckus. Jimmy and Butch came at him like maniacs, swishing their arms back and forth, back and forth.
"What's gotten into you guys. That was great."
Butch glared at Terry. His hand gave one last thrust directly at Terry's midsection. "You didn't grab the scarf. You forgot the pirates. Take that and die, Ponce Virle De Polo."
(How will this play turn out? Will the Scribblers get it all together? Come back next Friday and we'll have a great time together. Nancy)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter III. (Cont.) The Heroine

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Chapter 3 (cont.) THE HEROINE
(When we left, Mary had just pulled Jimmy out of a jam at school.)
"Can you believe that? She's pushy, she doesn't even know us, but she stuck up for you, Jimmy. Imagine that."
"I told you I met her before. Her name is Mary. I don't need defending, do I?" Jimmy asked.
Terry looked at him askance. "It was getting a little warm in here with your 'slippery bottoms.'"
"What? I don't even know what happened."
Butch looked at Jimmy and said, "Let's just say, Mary saved your skin this morning. I, for one, think she's super. We do need a new member in our group. What do you say, guys?"
"What can I say?" Jimmy asked. "The damsel saved me. I shall be eternally grateful."
"Terry," Butch said. "What do you think?"
"Well, I do need a girl for my plank scene. She's prettier than you, Butch."
"O.K. guys," Butch said, "lets go tell "Lorna" she's in the club."
"Um, I think we better ask her, Jimmy said. I don't think she'd like being told what to do."
The boys found Mary sitting under a tree at the back of the playground, all alone, reading a book, Little Women to be exact.
"Excuse me."
Mary looked up.
"Hey, I'm Butch. I live on your street. I saw you move in the other day. I was sort of wondering, why did you come all the way over to the last row to sit down when you must be new, and not know anybody and all."
Mary gazed at the three boys in front of her. She didn't look surprised.
"I wanted to be by the window. Is there a problem with that?"
Butch looked sheepish. "No, not really."
"I like to hear the birds and see the trees, look outside if things get boring," Mary finished.
"Well, we have a club, a writing club. We do plays mostly. I do poems and songs," Butch said.
"I do outlines and plots," Jimmy said.
"And I'm the details man," Terry added.
"We need another member to help write and act in our plays," Butch tried to explain.
Butch saw Jimmy look all around slowly and then get down on one knee and nod to him and Terry. He was confused, but he and Terry followed Jimmy's lead.
"Mary, would you please consent to join our struggling writer's group, the Scribblers, and enjoy all the privileges thereof?" Jimmy asked with a flourish of his arm.
"He means the profits," Terry said.
"He means the applause and recognition," Butch said.
Mary looked from one to the other. She looked shocked. "Sure," she said. "Opposite poles attract. Right, Jimmy? By the way, I don't have any brothers." She looked right at Jimmy and then the others. "You sure?"
The boys got up and saw her fingering her book lovingly. "We know," Jimmy said.
"We're sure," Butch said. He noticed as Terry gave Mary a bit of a wink and said, "Welcome aboard, Lorna."
(What play will these Scribblers think of first? Come and see next Friday.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chapter III. The Heroine

C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Chapter III. The Heroine
On the first day of school Butch looked around the room for his buddies. He knew Terry and Jimmy were in his class. He hoped they'd be here in time to claim the seats in front and back of him. As he sat idly twirling his new yellow no. 2 pencil, he looked at the door to Miss Grace's sixth grade class and in walked a vision in green and blue plaid. Being part Scottish, Butch loved plaids of every type, but that wasn't all. This vision was the very same girl he'd seen on the pogo stick two days ago. Only this time, her hair was all in one place and it moved fluidly as she walked way over to where he was sitting by the window. He tried to mentally think "safe" for the seats he was saving, but the girl bravely moved closer and closer to the choice spots.
He was frantic. The girl was approaching his aisle. She may be pretty, he thought, but she better stay off my turf. At that moment he heard a commotion and turned. Terry and Jimmy were racing to his row, their notebooks and pencil cases out front. It all came toegther in one mad push and shove. The girl sat down in front of Butch just as Terry, always the fastest runner, broke free and landed behind him. Butch saved the day by tapping the seat in the front row next to him and Jimmy sat down and caught his breath.
Butch glared at the girl and welcomed his friends. "About time, you guys. I tried to save seats, but you know." He nodded his chin at the girl, who was turning the back edges of her hair under and arranging her books in the desk.
"Yeah, tough break," Terry said looking at Jimmy who was still settling down. "You'll have to fight your own battles here, I guess." Butch noticed am impish grin on Terry's face as he said this.
Miss Grace arrived in a tailored navy suit, stood in front of the class, and cut the discussion short. "Class, we must get started by taking out our science books. We'll leave your seats as is for now. If there is any trouble, you will be moved. Otherwise, consider yourselves seated for the semester.
Butch glanced at Terry and frowned at Jimmy. He was truly upset that his perfect plan was foiled. It was the first year they were all in the same class. Oh, well, he thought you can't have everything.
The students began reading at the front of their science books, about the concept of polarization in magnets. The teacher was trying to explain by holding up two metal bars. Putting them together they attached and stuck in place. Miss Grace explained about how positive attracts negative. She turned one magnet around and tried to stick them together. When they wouldn't stick, she asked the class what the problem was.
Jimmy, who loved science, raised his hand and exclaimed, "Those poles don't attract each other."
Miss Grace asked him to explain.
"Well, for example," Jimmy said rather timidly, "if you put the same poles together, the bottoms will be slippery." Here the class snickered a bit. Jimmy went on, "I mean, you know, the bottoms will sort of fight each other and slip away sort of. The poles have to be opposite to stick together."
"So what you're saying, Jimmy, is that the two poles need to be opposite to attract and the same to repel."
A loud voice called out, "slippery bottoms, that's a new one."
The girl in front of Butch looked around at the rude person and since he was still grinning, Butch secretly took to heart the piercing glare the boy received. She raised her hand. "Miss Grace, Jimmy's answer helped a lot. I was always wondering about that funny slippery thing magnets do sometimes."
The class all looked at the girl, Mary, and settled down.
Miss Grace went on with another section in the science book. They were about to discover how electricity could affect metal when the bell rang for first recess.
Butch headed Jimmy and Terry off at Jimmy's desk as Mary slipped out the door. "Can you believe that? She's pushy, she doesn't even know us, but she stuck up for you, Jimmy. Imagine that."
(Will Jimmy be grateful for his rescue? Is there any hope for the club? Come back next Friday and we will enjoy a new installment together.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chapter II. (Cont.) Terry and the Pirates

Chapater II cont. Terry and the Pirates
C 2004 By Gracie Prior
(Terry and Butch were heading to Jimmy's house to check on the outline of their play when Terry saw something exciting.)
"Look at that!" Terry exclaimed.
"Someone's moving in across the street. Look at those stilts and that pogo stick. Maybe there's some guy our age moving in," Butch answered.
"Can you beat the luck? We can use another partner in our er 'firm'," Terry said.
The boys turned and hurried over to Jimmy's back door. "Jimmy," Butch called.
After several calls, the door opened and the tousle-haired boy appeared.
"Hey, Scribblers. Hail, and all that," Jimmy greeted his friends. "Cool, I see that Terry has his manuscript. What did you and Butch get down?"
"Wait till you hear it," Butch said. "Let's get comfy."
The boys sat down on the bumpy cement stoop and spread the papers out. "Read what you have, Terry," Jimmy said. "Then I'll let you in on my outline. It will be our biggest moneymaker yet. We can go door to door and sell tickets and offer drinks at the show. With my action scenes, it will be a sell out."
"Awe, Jimmy, you always get so excited" Butch wailed. "We had exactly ten people for our play last time. And the costumes and posterboard cost us more than what we brought in."
"Hold up on the outline, guys. Say Jimmy, do you know who's moving on over across the way? Maybe a new member, you think?" Terry's voice rising higher at the hopeful thought.
"I made a point of investigating that situation, and there is someone about our age, but he's a girl, and doesn't have any brothers," Jimmy said.
"Too bad, we really need one more Scribbler, don't you think?" Terry replied.
"Why does it need to be a brother?" Butch wondered out loud.
Terry looked at him. Did you ever hear of one of The Three Muskateers being a girl, or Tom and Huck or Terry and the Pirates?" he asked.
"No, but I've heard of a group of brothers and a girl named Lorna Doone. Think about that," Butch argued.
Terry, Jimmy, and Butch walked around to the front of the house and looked across the street. "The girl" was out front, jumping on a pogo stick, her long hair flopping up and down to the bounces. The boys laughed. "Naw, no way," Terry said. The others just shook their heads.
(Will the Scribblers ever get a new member? Will the boys get their act together and come up with a script? Stay tuned and see when next Friday rolls around.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chapater II. Terry and the Pirates


Several days later, Terry Raymond put down his writing pad and pulled on his jacket. The morning air was cool for early September. "Mom, I'm going over to see Butch. Catch you later." he called. With that, Terry slammed the screen door, let it snap and hurried next door. He stood on the back porch and hollered ,"Butchie." Soon, a red curly head popped around the door and the boy followed.
"Did you write it?" Butch asked, a perfect smile forming on his face.
"I did Butchie boy. Wait till you and Jimmy get a load of this scene I've set up. It's between the gypsy princess and the pirates. She's just about to walk the plank, and my new hero, Ponce
Virle De Polo comes swashbuckling over, grabs her, and they swing over the ship on a rope, a lanyard, I think it's called."
"Ponce Virle? Where did yo get that?"
Terry wrinkled his high forehead and scratched his dark straight hair. He wiped his hands on his jeans. "Names are tough. I like explorers but didn't want to be too obvious. So my uncle Virle hepled me out, sort of unbeknownst to him."
And the other pirates? What do they do?"
"For now, they go back to robbing the Spanish Main."
"That's so cool." Butch agreed. "But we have to be able to act it out, remember? Don't get so acrobatic you can't act it out on stage."
"Sorry, I do get carried away," Terry said.
"Let's go over to Jimmy's and see if he has anything. He was supposed to work on the outline. Maybe he knows what these pirates are up to. Let me get my hat and we'll go bother James Martin a bit." Butch said.
Butch followed as Terry, holding onto their notebook, walked backwards all the way to the end of the street where he turned and almost fell over in his excitement.
"Look at that," he exclaimed."
(What did Terry see? Will Jimmy come through? Tune in next Friday and have a great week.)
(The picture was poster on Wed., but the story on Friday, so this is really a Friday post.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chapter I. The Little Prince

By Gracie Prior C 2004
Chapater 1. The Little Prince
Mary peeked out the window of her new home to see the moving van shudder and shake down the road and into the driveway of her white wooden house. Across the street, she saw a pair of eyes peeping around a curtain and out the window at her. She quickly ran into the empty room and twinkled here and there feeling silly. Perhaps a new friend lingered behind those eyes.
Ths noise of a dolly laden with furniture caused Mary to come to her senses. She scooted out the door to see what else would be coming out of the van.
Mom marched out from the kitchen and directed the movers to put this here and that there. While sitting on the cement stoop, Mary saw a child wearing a brimmed hat with a large plumy feather dash out of the house across from her. He was brandishing a sword.
Mary's heart lurched. She would have a friend. The hat blew off and she saw for certain that it was a boy. A wee bit disappointed, Mary just sat on the stoop and stared. The sun beat down on her auburn hair so she pulled it all to one side.
The boy put the hat back on and began coming her way. He sashayed across the street carrying the sword, swishing it in the air. The hat was on the back of his head, but sort of down over one eye.
Mary laughed. She couldn't help it; the poor fellow looked so pathetic. And that thing he carried. It looked like cardboard and foil.
"Hello," he said. My name is James Martin Falcon and this here is Excalibur. Oh, you can call me Jimmy. Everybody does except Granny who calls me James Martin. What's your name? Do you have any brothers?"
Mary just sat amazed at the person in front of her. His eyebrows were down, then up. He had a quirky little twist to his mouth when he smiled. Blondish brown hair stuck out and clear gray eyes peered at her. He stood waiting. For an answer?
"I'm Mary, if you must know, and I don't have any brothers, or sisters either. I'm an only child. My Mother says I'm special."
Jimmy did a kind of bow and looked at her. "Very pleased to meet you. Sorry about the brother thing. We have a club and we need another member. Too bad about that." He nodded and marched back across the street, and then, as if, Mary thought, he felt safe on his own turf, he waved his sword mercilessly at an invisible enemy.
Who cares if he needs a new member in his old club? Mary thought. She didn't have a brother, she didn't need a brother, and she wasn't sure she cared much for Jimmy. "Brother, brother, brother," she said as she went inside. "Bother!"