January 1, 2013


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

H Trope: personally experiencing the death of a _____________

“How do you know how other people experience death?” asked Mr. Folgers, the senior psych teacher.

Carl Haven leaned over to his best friend, Clarke Halverson and whispered, “How do you know when a teacher has gone over the edge?”

“Mr. Haven? The Other Mr. Haven? If you have something to share, let the whole class experience your wisdom.” Mr. Folgers snarled, then spun away from the class back to his Powerpoint presentation.

Clarke glared at the teacher’s back then turned his glare on Carl. A moment later he curled over his notebook and started writing furiously.

Carl looked over his best friend at Se’Anna King whose seat was in the next row. Her eyes widened. He lifted an eyebrow and shrugged.

When the bell rang, Clarke was out of his seat like a shot and out of the room. Carl said to Se’Anna, “What’s wrong with...”

Mr. Folgers walked up to him and handed him a yellow slip of paper. Carl exclaimed, “What am I getting a detention for?”

“I believe we have some catching up to do, Mr. Haven Your current grade in the class stands at an NC.”

“What? How can that be? I had a C+ last week!”

“That was before the test you and the Other Mr. Haven cheated on together. You both failed. That and your clone’s repeated missing of due dates and generally sour behavior have placed his otherwise untarnished Grade Point Average in jeopardy.”

Carl snatched the detention slip and muttered darkly under his breath as Mr. Folgers said, “I’ll see you later this week, Mr. Haven. Oh, and send your recalcitrant friend my way as well. I have a slip for him. Right after I call his parents tonight.”

Carl froze, his anger draining away and turned around. “Don’t call his dad, Mr. Folgers! Please? It’ll just make matters worse!”

The psych teacher sniffed, “A phone call in the past has brought amazing results, Mr. Haven. Now hurry to lunch or you won’t be able to have your daily infusion of Mountain Dew to maintain your sunny disposition.”

Carl glared at the teacher’s back then stomped out of the room. The door had a spring-loaded closer, so it was impossible to slam. He stopped in the lav on his way to the foyer where he’d meet his girlfriend Nyota and her passel of gfs and they’d head out to lunch together. He was washing his hands when it felt like someone kicked him in the chest.

He staggered backwards, gasping, stumbled and fell to the floor between the pair of urinals he’d just turned from. From the open lav door, he heard a scream. Then a horrible burning lanced up his leg from his foot to his thigh. He couldn’t help but scream. It felt like someone had blown his leg off!

He looked down expecting to see blood, but there was nothing. Only dirty lavatory floor. An instant later, a younger kid – probably a freshman – ran into the lav, yanking the door closed behind him. Not looking at Carl on the floor, he staggered past and went to the handicapped stall and slammed the door.

On the floor was a red footprint. Carl was staring at it when another wave of searing pain shot up his arm from his hand…

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