November 8, 2016


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.

Krzysztof Oja blinked and slowly shook his head.

Eden Ochion thought he looked like a shaggy orangutan. A scary one. "There's no way you can tell me what you're thinking?" she tried again. Krzy -- whose unfortunate name lent itself to being abbreviated to "Crazy" -- squeezed his eyes shut harder. "You have to tell me what's going on in that shaggy head of yours!" She said, reaching forward and rapping on his skull. Why couldn't she get through to him? No one had ever been able to resist her charms. People ALWAYS told her their secrets. It's why she was the most popular person at Barack Obama High School. If people made her mad, she could always spill those secrets. "Don't you have any secrets, Krzysztof?"

He stared at her, took a deep breath, opened his mouth as if he was going to say something and then closed it again. It wasn't like he was going to stand up and leave, Eden thought. She'd actually, physically glued him to his chair. She'd set it up so that the chair was the only open one in the library. That was because she'd coaxed, coerced, and blackmailed everyone into leaving it alone just so that Krzysztof would sit there. What was weird was that he hadn't reacted at all. She knew -- somehow that she wasn't sure of -- that he realized he was sitting on several mounds of hardening crazy glue. She smiled at the interior joke. "Crazy glue for a crazy boy," she muttered. She fixed him with one of her brilliant smiles and said, "Anything you want to tell me?"

She was wondering why he hadn't said anything about the glue when he looked up at her. The intensity of his gaze was startling after the way he'd always let her looks slide off him. She'd been trying to catch his eye since he got to school on the first day. It rarely took her more than a week to break a new person down enough to find a secret tidbit or two. Even the principal, one of the wiliest old ladies Eden had ever met, buckled after a two-week onslaught of kindness and interest. In her heart of hearts, Eden called BO High a garden of earthly preflight...because once she knew what she knew, most people were ready to take off. Or do her bidding.

Everyone but little Krzysztof here. That was why she'd made him her special project for the past month. After the challenge of Ms. Zarinche the Principal, she thought he'd go down into a blathering heap as soon as she unleashed her feminine wiles. Now she had to face the possibility that he was gay and she'd have to have one of her coworkers do the attraction and extraction. She smiled into Krzysztof's baby blues. She studied them, looking deep. There was something unexpected in there; a deep, dark secret. Her smile spread from ear to ear. Here it was at last! "So, saxy boy, you got something you want to tell Mama Eden?"

His gaze didn't shift, except that it felt deeper, as if it were pulling her forward. She wanted to turn away because she'd always thought there was something to the idea that the windows were the eyes into a person's soul. She couldn't. He still didn't smile. In fact, his face had gone weirdly slack, as if he were concentrating hard. She tried to blink, but couldn't. She tried to take a deep breath, to sigh or whistle or something, but couldn't. Strangely, her breathing was slowing down despite the fact that she was starting to panic. This was incredibly weird...

Names: Hebrew; Czech

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