Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday! New Exerpt

The contest continues until April 24th. If you'd like to win a signed copy of Tales From Imagination's Closet, leave me a message here or on my Facebook page. I'm posting two excerpts today. The first is from the book a short story entitled, "The Weed Whisperer," and the second is from Spectacular Speculations, the short story, "Operation Onion."

The Weed Whisperer

Simon Parker kept the most beautifully tended gardens in all of Jamestown. It was as if weeds
were afraid to enter his humble grounds. Simon refused to tell anyone his secrets and became known around the neighborhood as a gardening guru. The town’s admiration of Simon and his magnificent grounds would change if they only knew his secret. Simon had built a privacy fence around his entire yard.
Neighbors failed to see a portion of his property behind the fence in his backyard. There were no houses behind Simon’s place, only a wooded area, so the neighbors had no idea his yard extended past the fence. This is where his green, prickly secret hid. Directly behind the fence and extending to the edge of the wooded area lay Simon’s ultimate disgrace. Weeds of all varieties grew rampantly. Crab grass stretched the entire length of the area, poison ivy twisted and climbed and yellow dandelion heads poked up between the cloverleaves. Simon’s secret remained hidden until the day a young couple, Bill and Susie Danforth, decided to buy the wooded area behind his home.
The couple came to Simon one warm summer morning to request he kill the patch of weeds growing behind the fence.
Simon looked the young man in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
“Sir, we’re building a new house, we don’t want to look out our lovely bay window and see your ugly weed patch.”
Simon shook his head. “That weed patch is not even on my property.”
Bill pulled out a map. “Look, your fence is not even on the property line.” He pointed out the difference in distance. “You can move your fence back a good six yards, and then you can keep weeds on your side.”
Simon looked over the map. He knew his property line extended beyond the fence, but he had his reasons for it. “I see what you mean, young man.” Simon scratched this prickly chin.  “I will see what I can do.”
Bill offered his hand. “Thank you, sir. And by the way, you have lovely gardens. You’ll have to give Susie some tips.”
Simon glanced at the fence. “I don’t give away my secrets.”
Simon lumbered up to his house and went inside. He climbed the stairs to the attic and took out his the book of gardening secrets that had been handed down through generations of the Parker family. “Let’s see, how do I reason with these earth loving creatures.” He thumbed through page after page describing the personality of each weed. “Ah, yes, we have something. He scrunched his nose and squinted, trying to read the worn passage. “Ground ivy is the most rational of the weeds. If a problem arises, explain the problem to the ivy and ask them to help in reasoning with the other species.” Simon placed the book back in its hiding place. That was the answer, after dinner, he would go visit the weed patch and find the ground ivy.
“Simon, dinner…” Claire called from downstairs.
Simon closed and locked the attic door and went down to dinner.
“I saw the nice young man outside earlier, what did he want?” Claire set Simons dinner plate in front of him.
“He bought the property behind the fence, gonna build ‘em a house there.”
“New neighbors, must be the Danforths.” Claire smiled. “I can’t wait to meet them. I wonder what type of house they’re buildin’ back there.”
“Don’t know, but he did mention a bay window.” Simon continued eating.
“I wish we had a bay window, looking out over the rose garden. Wouldn’t that be lovely, Simon.”
“Yes Dear.”
“Is something wrong? You seem to be distracted.”
“No, just trying to figure out a little problem is all.” Simon pushed his plate away. “Very good, my dear…” He laid his napkin on the table and gave Claire a peck on the forehead. “

Operation Onion

My mother named me Samuel Clemens, but later gave me the nickname Stinker. She also told me that God doesn’t make mistakes, and we all have a purpose on this earth. However, I was convinced that in my case, He did make a mistake, or at the very least expressed His unique sense of humor.

My affliction began the day I was born. My mother delivered a beautiful baby boy, but there was a problem, the baby emitted an odor; unfortunately, that baby was me. As the story goes, it was a normal delivery except for the smell that permeated the room after my birth. At first, the doctor and nurses believed my mother had had a bowel movement while pushing to deliver me, but they soon discovered I was the source of the odor.

A nurse washed me and wrapped in a blanket, and the odor soon subsided, so no one gave it another thought—until Mother took me home. She soon discovered that I smelled differently depending on my mood. If I was scared, I emitted a sulfuric odor that smelled as if someone had passed gas. When I get angry, my body produced a horrific stench; some described it as a cross between a dumpster and rotten meat.

Countless doctors and specialists examined me, but none could explain my condition. My family and I learned to live with my peculiar condition, and I must say, everyone went out of their way to ensure my happiness—the majority of the time.

School went well at first, I loved going and I felt at ease there. This all changed as I matured and discovered how judgmental and mean other children can be. At age eleven, my teacher instructed me to go up to the chalkboard and demonstrate a multiplication problem. I knew everyone’s eyes were on me. I thought of how embarrassing it would be to make a mistake. I slowly slid from behind my desk and shuffled up to the blackboard, and as I did, fear took over and my body emitted that sulfuric odor.

“Shew! Who farted?” I hear someone yell.

“No it smells like someone has poopy pants,” called out another.

I heard a girl’s voice call out, “May I go to the restroom. I think I’m gonna be sick.”

“Yes, you may,” the teacher replied. “Why don’t the rest of you go out into the hall, and I’ll open all the windows.

My classmates pushed through the door like a stampede of animals trying to escape the horrific scent.

I stayed right there in front of the class and worked on my multiplication. I knew if I went out into the hall the smell would follow. I turned to the teacher and admitted, “It’s me.”

“Excuse me, Sam.” Mrs. Parker turned away from the window.

“It’s me, Mrs. Parker. I got scared, and when I do, I stink.”


No comments: