Here’s an excerpt, edited for length, in which two of the characters who have blogged for me this month first met.
Mitch Meets Aunt Missy
excerpt from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE
by Marian Allen
“Hey, Mitch!” I saw Jimmy Gassman’s features pressed against the screen of our first-floor bedroom. Jimmy, my roommate, was ten, and a first-class pest. “Mrs. Brandt wants you to get cleaned up and go to her office. There’s a lady in there!”
My heart did one of those flops like they talk about in True Romance comics. (Sometimes you get real desperate for reading material.) Like I said, I’d be leaving in a few months, and I’d been at the Refuge all my life; nobody had ever even taken me home for a month’s free trial, but I’d never given up hope. Kids can be so dumb. I mean, the cops found me in a dumpster. With my coloring, there was some speculation that I might not be white. Nobody in small-town Middle America in those days was going to adopt a kid who might not even be white. Things were changing by 1968, but trust me to miss the benefit.
Anyway, I tossed the ball into the equipment shed and sprinted to the bathroom. No time for a shower. I slopped off the smell with a washcloth at the sink and darted into the bedroom for a change of clothes.
Jimmy still had his face smooshed against the screen, humming loudly. He said it tickled his lips.
“Cut it out,” I said, pulling on a clean tee and buttoning my good Madras shirt over it. “You’ll get lead poison or something. That screen’s dirty.”
“I washed it,” he lied.
“Hope you like the taste of bug guts,” I said, on my way out of the room. “Notice, if you will, the fly swatter on the floor under the window.”
When I opened Mrs. Brandt’s office door, the first thing I saw was that I wasn’t going to be adopted, at least not by this lady. They were stricter, in those days, about who was “qualified” to adopt, and that was pretty well middle-class young couples, mostly white. This lady was white and, if her rings were real, she met the financial requirements, but she was old – like with white hair and wrinkles. I found out later that she was born in 1897, which was cool, so she was seventy-one that day in mid-July.
“Mitch,” Mrs. Brandt said, “this is Miss Amelia Hardesty of Willowbrook. Miss Hardesty, this is Mitch Franklin, the young man I was telling you about.”
Willowbrook was the name of the town mansion on a hill outside of Faelin, too far off the state road to be seen in any detail. Also known as The Old Hardesty Place, and I guessed this must be The Old Hardesty.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What does your main character want more than anything?