Superhero Story – Part Three

Read Part Two here.

CHAPTER FOUR – Lindsay

I turned around and came face to face with Nick. He was smiling that dangerous smile, the one that got me to stay in the tower with him yesterday. It was this smile that made every girl in our class—including my best friend, Chloe—melt.

Thankfully, before he could open his mouth to speak, the bell rang.

“I’ve gotta get to class,” I said, walking around him. Poor Cal stood there like a zombie, his face all scrunched like he was solving math problems in his head, which, I guess, he was. He snapped to and gave me a slight wave and wandered out of the common area, to wherever his group of friends hung out before classes started.

Nick reached out and grabbed my arm. “Hang on, Lindsay, I really need to talk to you.”

He steered me away from Cal and toward a spot in the commons with fewer people hanging around.

I shoved him away and watched in horror as he went flying to the right, careening into some freshman girls. They giggled as they unwrapped themselves from him.

“Jeez, Linds,” he said, straightening himself and catching up to me. “Are you channeling The Incredible Hulk now?”

His face clouded over and he suddenly looked like he might throw up. “Hey, wait a second,” he said. “Are you… Do you have super-strength or something?”

I turned to face him and hissed, “Don’t say anything here. Something happened yesterday and I don’t want to talk about it now. And especially not with you.”

“But Lindsay,” he said, hands thrust in his pockets. “I thought we had something special.”

Buzzzz.

I opened my mouth to declare him a liar, but I could tell from the smirk on his face that he meant for me to know he wasn’t for real.

“Leave me alone, Nick,” I said.

“Seriously, Lindsay,” he pled. “Something strange is happening and you’re the only person I can talk to.”

I waited for the buzz but it didn’t come. He was telling the truth. He looked pathetic, like a helpless kitten.

“Candor doesn’t suit you,” I said. His eyes drooped. I sighed. “Meet me and Cal at lunch.”

“Cal? That pasty kid with the shifty eyes?”

“Yeah, Cal,” I said. “He was there, too. In the astronomy building when it happened. That’s why we’re all messed up right now.”

Nick rolled his eyes but agreed. “Fine. Lunch.”

I turned to hurry to my first period class.

“And Linds,” he called after me. “Don’t go throwing people into any walls, okay?”

 

CHAPTER FIVE – Nick

The first half of the day was torture. Not, like, the usual I-hate-school torture, but a new and different I-keep-getting-distracted-because-I-can-see-through-the-walls torture. First of all, you’d be amazed at how many kids are just walking around the hallways during class. And of course about a half dozen hot senior girls walked by just when Mr. Locke called on me.

“Nick?”

I looked away from the beautiful, giggling girls to see my beer-bellied teacher standing with his arms crossed. “Yeah?”

“Is there something particularly exciting about the bulletin board, or were you daydreaming?”

A couple of kids snickered.

“Believe me, Mr. Locke, there is nothing exciting about that bulletin board.”

My “attitude” got me sent to the principal’s office. It was there that I saw the creepy guy. He was greasy and clammy and had these tiny glasses that kept falling down his sweaty nose. Basically, he’s the type of guy that you never want to see in a schoolyard. He was talking to Ms. Duke, the secretary.

I stood off to the side, in the doorway to the office, while the guy spoke.
“I just need a list of the children on the trip,” the guy was saying.

“I’d be happy to help, sir, but we need to know what this is about,” Ms. Duke said. “I’m sure you understand that we can’t give out the names of the children without a good reason.”

“Someone left something,” he said, the words rushed.

“Oh,” Ms. Duke said. “Then you can pass it on to me and I’ll make sure the rightful owner receives it.”

The man huffed and pushed the glasses back up his nose. “I don’t have it with me,” he said.

Ms. Duke shuffled papers around to signify the end of the conversation. “Come back when you do. Thank you, good day.”

She looked past the man to me. “Nicholas Tanner, what is it this time?”

The man turned and walked out of the office, brushing past me. His arm grazed mine and the cold sweat seeped into my skin. I shuddered and wiped my arm off on my jeans. There was something odd, though. It wasn’t like normal sweat, it was chillier and thicker, like he was sweating jell-o. It left a disgusting trail where I’d wiped it onto my jeans.

“Gross,” I said aloud.

“Excuse me?” Ms. Duke said.

I turned my attention to her. “The usual, Ms. Duke. I have a bad attitude. I don’t live up to my potential. If I could use my wits for work instead of a smart-alecky brashness I could really go places in life.”

She pointed me to my usual seat and picked up the phone to call the principal, who promptly showed me into his office. And, just like that, the day seemed normal again.

 

CHAPTER SIX – Cal

When I entered the cafeteria at lunch, I saw a hand waving around the air. The hand was attached to Lindsay, and it looked like she was waving it at me. I turned around to make sure there wasn’t someone behind me, like maybe Brad Pitt or Justin Timberlake or someone. There was no one there.

“Cal, gosh! Yes, you,” Lindsay said grabbing my arm and pulling me down into the chair beside her. “We need to talk about this thing.”

I settled in for an intimate talk with the girl of my dreams, but then I got a flash in my mind. “Wait a second. Who’s ‘we’?”

Lindsay gave me a look like I must be stupid. “You, me and Nick, duh. We’re the only ones dealing with this.”

“The only ones that we know of,” I pointed out.

Lindsay shrugged.

Nick slid into a seat across from us and shot me one of those finger gun greetings that my uncle does. “How’s it going, Calc?”

Lindsay rolled her eyes.

“It’s Cal,” I corrected.

Nick smiled. “Right.”

“It’s so strange, you know?” I said. “Like, this morning, I kept getting my flashes all during class and I just knew every answer before anyone else, so I was, like, raising my hand all morning and just answering everything.”

Lindsay giggled and Nick snorted.

“How is that different from any other day, Nerd?” Nick said.

I looked down at my hands.

“Okay,” Nick said, straightening up. “So these flashes… what’s that about?”

I let Lindsay explain the scenes of the future that blazed through my mind and the mathematical equations that ran like a scroll over everything I saw.

“Oh my gosh,” Nick said, sounding impressed. “You really are the biggest geek in the history of all geeks everywhere!”

He laughed, stretching back with his hands behind his head. “I’m totally calling you Calc because you’re, like, for real a math dweeb. Like, literally.”

I bit the inside of my cheek and sneaked a glance at Lindsay. I would have given anything for her to reach over and flick him across the room.

“Anyway,” Lindsay said, changing the topic. “Let’s discuss these … changes, and figure out how to get rid of them.”

My jaw dropped open. “How to get rid of them?”

She nodded, her blue eyes pure and wonderful, staring at me. “Yeah, Cal. I don’t want a perpetual headache for the rest of my life. And the Hulk thing might be cool to someone else, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only hurt people so far.”

“That’s just because you don’t know how to control it yet,” I said.

“I’m with Lindsay,” Nick said, leaning forward again. “This weirdness might be cool to someone else, but it’s just freaking me out.”

I looked over at Lindsay who gave me a slight nod. Nick was telling the truth.

Nick told me and Lindsay about his morning of distraction due to seeing through walls, and ended with his trip to the main office. He started to continue, and I had a quick flash of something important, but I couldn’t grasp it because Lindsay interrupted and changed the course of our conversation.

“Let’s write this stuff down,” she said pulling out a notebook and turning to a clean page. “Let’s make a list of our … abilities.”

She drew three columns with each of our names as headers and started writing. In her column, she wrote, ‘Lie detector’ and ‘Strength’.  Under my name she wrote ‘Future flashes’ and ‘Math stuff’. And below Nick’s name she wrote, ‘See through walls’. Then she stared at the words and chewed on the pen cap, thinking hard.

Nick cleared his throat. “Uh, that’s not exactly all of it. I can do more than just see through walls.” He shifted in his chair, as though he was uneasy. Nick Tanner, uncomfortable. I’d never seen that before.

Lindsay’s eyes snapped up and she drew her cardigan sweater tighter around her. “What else, Nick? What else can you see through?”

He chuckled and shifted again. “Don’t worry, Purity Princess, you’re safe. I meant that I don’t just see through walls. I can reach through them, too. Maybe even …” he gulped. “Maybe even walk through them.”

Lindsay gasped and wrote the words down in her notebook.

I stared at the writing on the page and had a sick feeling in my stomach. Nothing flashed to warn me, but I felt on edge, all the same. “Lindsay, if that notebook ever gets out or falls into the wrong hands…”

Lindsay turned a shade paler and said slowly, “It won’t. I promise.”

She looked from me to Nick and repeated, “I promise.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Reunion Story – Part 8 THE CONCLUSION

Sorry I’ve been a slacker posting lately, but I started my new job last week, so my head has been a carousel of excitement, stress and a bunch of other things. Anyway, I’m hoping the conclusion (yes, finally!) to the reunion story makes up for it.

Read Part 7 HERE.

I skipped my high school reunion to have dinner with the girl next door on the pier.

Actually, first we started to go to dinner, then she threw my cell phone into a forest, then I went to the reunion, then she punched the guy I hated most in high school, and then we got pizza. I’m not sure, but I think that probably qualifies as one of the most unusual high school reunion stories.

I stared at Keri while she we sat there eating pizza (from Luigi’s, of course). The reflection of the moon and stars floated on the water below us. She pulled another slice from the cardboard box.

“You know what’s crazy?” she said, pointing the tip of the slice in my direction.

“What?”

“I have these friends, and they’re perfectly normal in almost every way, except for the way they eat pizza,” she said. She nodded at me, completely serious.

“What’s wrong with the way they eat pizza?” I said.

She took a bite of her slice. “You see how I crease it in the middle? I fold the slice over? They don’t do that.”

“What do you mean?” I said. I picked up a slice and held it in my hands, watching Keri.

She un-creased her slice of pizza, holding it tenderly, making sure it was perfectly straight, rigid. “They keep it flat, like this. For the entire time.”

I laughed. “What’s so bad about that?”

She smiled and her eyes narrowed. “Try it. Try eating the slice without bending it at all.”

I tried and she watched, giggling at my actions.

“You look like you’re eating corn on the cob!” she laughed. “It’s not normal!”

After we finished the pizza, we stayed on the pier, talking about college and life after college, and how time flies, and laughing about high school. We talked about the teachers we missed the most and we talked about our jobs and bosses. I talked about my mom, and I told her what my dad had shown me that afternoon.

“Oh,” she said. She rested her chin in her hand and looked up at me, her expression a mixture of emotions.

“Yeah.”

“So that was the whole thing? That’s why you guys were acting so strange?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh,” she said again.

“Yeah,” I sighed. I watched the water bob up and down in the moonlight. I thought about that binder of information and how my dad had held on to it so that he could show me everything today. I shrugged.

Keri reached over and put her hand on my arm. “I don’t know what to say,” she whispered.

“Yeah,” I whispered back.

I dropped Keri off at her house and pulled into the driveway. I saw Tom watering some flowers near the edge of his driveway. I turned the car off and walked over.

“You’re out late,” I said.

“Don’t tell Ann,” he said. “I give them a little extra water at night. I don’t like Ann out here in the middle of the day when it’s so hot, so I try to get some of the watering done while she’s asleep.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’re kidding, right?”

Tom shook his head. “How was the big reunion?”

“Well, funny you should mention that. We sort of skipped most of it,” I said. I filled Tom in on the whole story from the flinging of the cell phone to the punching of Jimmy Paige. Tom laughed through all of it.

“So you accomplished all of the tasks on the list?” he said.

I nodded.

He smiled. “They were good ones, if I do say so myself.”

I stared at him, my mouth dropping open. “Wait – you said you didn’t know…”

“I said that I’d never seen Ann with those notes, and I never have,” Tom said, smiling.

I sat down on the curb in shock while my mind raced backwards to those few years in my early teens when I found those notes in the hole in the mailbox. I never would have guessed that Tom was the one behind it.

“You were such a quiet kid,” Tom said. “Even before I married Ann and moved in here, I would notice you sitting on your front porch. You seemed like you didn’t like the entire world. You weren’t angry, just … withdrawn. I wanted you to have a little fun in your life. Something that would give you a spark of hope and excitement.”

“You made me clean my room,” I pointed out. “That was less about hope and excitement.”

“Yeah, well,” Tom shrugged. “Kids always need some instruction on that front, too.”

I shook my head. “I had almost convinced myself the notes were from my mother, until this weekend… And even then, I think a part of me harbored some fantasy that the notes were from the great beyond or something,” I laughed at how stupid I felt and looked up at Tom.

He stood there, still watering the flowers. “I ruined the mystery, huh?”

I shook my head again and bit back any emotions that fought their way through my throat and eyes.

“Your mom,” he said quietly. “She was a special woman.”

He said it because in that moment it had to be said, but he also said it because it was true. The emotions broke through and I leaned my head down.

Keri was right: we have friends and we have family, and then we have a special amalgam of the two that she called a forever friend. These are the people that know me and know my history and they know what I need to hear. Just as Keri was a forever friend (whether I liked it or not), so was Tom.

I wiped at my eyes and stood up. Tom turned off the hose and looked at me. “Your mom was special,” he repeated. “Your father is, too. And he’s still here. He’s an amazing man to take care of your family the way he has. You need to hear that.”

He watched me for a second, until I nodded, and then he walked into his house.

***

The next morning I woke up early and went downstairs. I made scrambled eggs and toast, and brewed some coffee. My dad came trotting down the stairs as I set our plates on the table.

“I could smell the food upstairs,” he said, his eyes wide with surprise. “I thought someone had broken in.”

I laughed. “It’s just a way to say thanks for putting up with me this weekend while I’m back in town. And… just to say thanks.”

He beamed. We sat down and ate breakfast and talked about the Giants. Then, when we were done talking about sports, I listened to my dad tell stories about Jim’s kids. And then he listened to my stories about work.

After breakfast, I walked over to Keri’s house and knocked on the door. She answered, wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

“You planning on going to the beach thing today?” I asked her. The reunion last night was only the beginning of the weekend’s activities. We were supposed to meet at the high school and caravan to the shore, then spend the late afternoon and early evening having a barbecue in the park. It would be torture.

“Not on your life!” Keri laughed. She leaned over and grabbed some shoes. We walked down her lawn, crossed the street and stood at my car.

“What do you feel like doing?” I said. I hopped in the Corvette.

She got in by climbing over her door and stepping on the passenger seat.

“I don’t care,” she said, pulling her hair into a ponytail. “Let’s just take this fancy car out for a drive!”

I backed out of the driveway, and we were off. It was just the beginning.

THE END (is not the end).

Reunion Story – Part Six

Read Part 5 here.

I closed the binder and ran my hand over the cover. “Why now, Dad?”

He rubbed at his eyes. His hair was grayer than I remember. He’d aged in between my visits home. He looked like my grandfather did, and I had to remind myself that he was now a grandfather.

“I’m sorry that it’s taken this long to be completely honest with you, Sam,” my father said. “My excuses won’t erase or explain our actions, but I promise you that at the time, we thought we were doing you a favor by keeping her illness a secret.”

He reached over and flipped open the binder. He pointed to a date at the top of the page. It was the August before my freshman year of college.

“The first appointment where we heard the word cancer,” my father said. “Just days before you left for school. Of course, we hoped and prayed it was a fluke, that a second opinion would change everything.”

He turned to another page: two weeks later. “It didn’t. The prognosis was bad. She started chemo quickly.”

I remembered. I was busy navigating the campus, meeting new friends, going to parties, taking tests. But I knew that something was wrong at home. Every time I called she sounded sick. Every time she spoke into the phone, she sounded weaker. Things happened so quietly and slowly that when I came home, it just seemed normal for her to spend most of the time in bed, or for her and my dad to go out for hours and her to come back looking exhausted.

I sat there with my father for hours as we shuffled through the binder and he filled me in on everything. I heard more than a person should ever hear about chemo and losing hair and vomiting blood. But I’d asked for it, and he was finally giving it to me.

It took two and a half years for the cancer to eat away at my mother. They only told me right before my junior year, when it was impossible to hide it anymore. I knew there was something wrong – she was sick all the time and her skin and hair looked wrong. When they finally told me, I was so angry at the secrets they kept that I wanted nothing to do with either of my parents. I stayed away from them as long as I could.

My father put the binder away in a file cabinet when we finished and came back to where I sat.

“Part of the reason for not telling you was that we were in denial, I guess,” he said. “We thought we could handle it, cover it up and cure it before you ever needed to know.”

He shook his head and shrugged. “We were wrong.”

I sat anchored to my chair. Now I had the facts, but I still wasn’t happy. The weight of anger and resentment still fell on my shoulders.

“Okay,” I said, finally standing up. My father looked up at me, waiting for some sort of absolution.

“Okay,” was all I could muster. “Okay,” I repeated once more.

Then I went upstairs.

Keri knocked on my bedroom door at 6:15.

“Your dad let me in,” she said.

“Shit,” I said, sitting up in my bed. “I think I fell asleep.”

I rubbed my eyes. “I – I’ll be down in a second. I just need to change.” I took a good look at her. She had some shiny thing in her hair to pull it away from her face, but it still streamed around her shoulders. Her dress was blue and so was a tiny purse she carried. Her shoes were those heels that I never could imagine her wearing in high school. The look suited her.

Keri nodded once, but her eyes held concern. I probably looked like I was run over by a steamroller.

I put on a clean, pressed shirt and a nice tie. I changed my jeans to a less wrinkled pair. Casual but nice, not looking like I was trying too hard. I’d spent years crafting the “not trying too hard” look. I ran my fingers through my hair and splashed water on my face to chase the sleep away.

I checked the note again – my strange tasks for this weekend.

Breakfast with dad on porch

Lunch with neighbor in piano room

Dinner with girl next door on pier

“These dumb errands,” I said, crumbling it into a tiny wad. The tasks hadn’t given me any clue to the identity of the note-writer and it hadn’t done anything to improve my weekend. If anything, I had wasted my entire day leading up to the reunion performing the first two tasks. The final task was dinner with Keri on the pier. I would get it over with, leave town and never think about the notes or the note-writer ever again.

I went downstairs. Keri was sitting with my father at the kitchen table.

“Pizza sound good to you?” I asked her, avoiding my father’s eyes. She nodded and stood.

“Bye Mr. Lancey, we’ll see you later,” she said. My dad nodded without speaking. Keri glanced at me, but I turned away. She followed me out the front door and to my car. She said nothing while I started the car and lowered the convertible top. She was silent while I steered out of the neighborhood.

“Okay, what’s going on?” she finally said. I shrugged and shifted gears, picking up speed now that we were away from the residential roads. “You and your dad are normally pretty quiet, but you were both downright shifty tonight. You wouldn’t talk to or look at each other. You’re acting like you were conspirators in some heist or something.”

“Nope, no crime,” I muttered. “Where’s the best pizza?”

“Luigi’s,” Keri said. She folded her arms. “You’re not going to tell me what’s up?”

I focused on the road. “Not Villa Pizza?”

She shook her head. “Luigi’s,” she repeated. “Off Route 34. Okay, you don’t have to tell me now, but if you keep acting like we’re carrying WMDs in the trunk of your car, I’m going to bring it up again.”

I swung the car into a hard u-turn. “Villa is better,” I said. Keri shook her head and sighed.

“What?” I said. “Give it up. It’s none of your business.”

She swiveled in her seat and stared at me, her face a storm of anger. “Pull over,” she said.

Her voice was icy enough to make me follow her instructions immediately. I pulled the Corvette off to the side of the road. We were on a two-lane road, empty except for trees and more trees bordering either side of the lane.

“This is where you’re wrong, Sam,” Keri said. Her words were spiked and pointed. “You are my business. I’ve known you since we were born and maybe we weren’t the best of friends all the time, but we’re forever friends. We’re the type of people that can always rely on each other. I know your past – I know you ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day in elementary school, and I know how much it hurt you when your mom died. There are things that happen to us as kids that mold us into the adults we become, and not only do we know each other’s things but we were there when they happened. So don’t tell me that something is none of my business.”

She unbuckled herself and pulled herself up so she was sitting on passenger door. She swiveled herself around and stepped out onto the street. She turned around to face me once more, “And you’re also wrong about the pizza. Luigi’s is much better.”

She started to walk. There was a forest of trees behind her.

“Keri,” I said, tired of this day, this weekend. “Get back in the car.”

She shook her head. She took a few more steps in those crazy high heels. She wasn’t going to get very far.

“You’re being so stubborn.” I tapped the accelerator to pull beside her. She continued to walk without looking at me. “This is like that time in sixth grade that you refused to drink the milk in school because you wanted the Board of Education to invest in a cow farm. It’s ridiculous. You can’t walk to the reunion.”

She stopped and turned to me. “You’re proving my point. You know that I’m stubborn because of something that happened in sixth grade.”

My cellphone rang. It was Freddie. I sighed and picked it up, still staring at Keri. She rolled her eyes.

“What’s going on, Freddie?”

“You on your way to the reunion, bro?”

“Yeah, I’m working on it.”

“I cannot believe you,” Keri said. “I can’t believe you’re taking a call.”

“Who’s that?” Freddie said.

“My neighbor,” I said. “We’re supposed to be getting dinner and then be on our way to the reunion.”

“Unbelievable,” Keri muttered. “It’s like you always have something to prove.” She began to walk again. I kept the Corvette at a steady, slow pace beside her.

“It she hot?” Freddie said.

I sighed. “This is not really the time, Freddie.”

Keri snorted.

“Is she mad or something?” Freddie said.

I paused long enough for my silence to give him the answer.

“Let me talk to her,” Freddie said.

“No way,” I said.

“No seriously, man. I’m extremely charming with the ladies. I can smooth things over with just a few simple sentences. Let me work my magic.”

I held the phone out to Keri. “My friend Freddie wants to talk to you.”

She stared at me for a second before grabbing the cellphone from my hand. “You are a piece of work, Sam,” she said. “When are you going to start living your own life? When will your flashy cars and moronic friends stop mattering to you?”

She looked at the phone in her hand. I could hear a tinny voice coming from the speaker. Freddie’s magical words.

She made a face and turned toward the forest of trees behind her.

“Keri, wait,” I said. Too late.

She wound up and tossed the phone into the darkness.

“This is the crap that doesn’t matter, Sam. Get it?” she said. “It’s time to start focusing on the stuff that does.”

TO BE CONTINUED!

The Nineties Called And They Want Their ____ Back…

Winner (by default) of the last giveaway is my couponing friend Lori, who I sent the free coupon to, even though she didn’t comment on the blog. I’ll quit the giveaways and if you want a coupon for a free download, just make a comment stating so, and I’ll gladly send you one via email! I’m serious — I’d love for anyone to read my stories.

In honor of all things high school, I’m posting some pictures of me from when I was in high school.

Insert “The 90s called and they want their (blank) back” joke here. Oh, no seriously – comment a joke if you can finish that. That would be funny.

Enjoy!

                     

The Best Revenge You’ve Ever Had — Win a FREE download!

“Sophie!” she squealed and the kids around us jumped. That’ll teach them to eavesdrop.

“What?”

“Your passport picture is so super-duper cute!” She grabbed my passport out of my hand. It was not cute, believe me. She pulled out her own picture.

“Mine is so terrible,” she moaned. She put them side-by-side so I could see her photo. I’ve seen less seductive expressions on Victoria’s Secret models.

“Oh my gosh, everyone look at how cute Sophie’s picture is and how awful mine is!” She passed them around the bus.

I sighed and looked at my watch: only seven hours and fifty-eight minutes to go.

From “Truly Glorious,” the sophomore year story in my collection of short stories: High School Stories

It’s giveaway #2 on my blog today! The winner of the first giveaway is CB Wentworth! I’ll email you the coupon code for a free download from my yahoo email address. Enjoy!

High school and bullies go together like principals and detention. In the second story in High School Stories, Sophie ends up having to spend an entire weekend with her nemesis, Charity, while they room together on the band trip. Charity seems intent on trying to make Sophie’s weekend as bad as possible. First, she stole Sophie’s boyfriend, now they’re rooming together, and it seems like Charity is ready to go after the two friends that Sophie makes on the trip!

Have you ever had to deal with a bully? What’s your best revenge story? Subscribe to my blog and share the story below to enter for a chance to win a free download of High School Stories! You can share your story even if you already won a download — don’t worry, I”ll keep track. Winner will be announced in 48(ish) hours.

High School Stories – eBook Giveaway #1

My new ebook, High School Stories, is up and available for download at Smashwords!

Regular price is $3.99 and for the month of July, it’s on sale for 50% OFF with the coupon code: SSW50.

BUT WAIT!

There’s more…

You can win a FREE download just by subscribing to my blog & commenting below! Here’s the fine print: I’ll post four giveaways (this one is number 1) and ask a question. Respond to the question in comments and subscribe to my blog. After 48 hours of posting the giveaway blog, I’ll put the names of the eligible commenters in a hat and pull out 1 winner per blog entry (so four winners in all will receive a free download of my collection of short stories). I’ll email that person the coupon code for the FREE download. If you have questions, please raise them in comments, because you’re probably not the only person with questions. Remember, this is my first giveaway, so I’m kind of winging it here. There’s nothing scientific about it… at all.

The first short story in the collection is called Nosepicker, and is about a freshman named Theo who is desperate to change the reputation that has, uh, stuck with him all these years. You see, he has a bad habit of getting caught with his finger up his nose. It’s embarrassing and even more so since he’s not really doing what everything thinks he’s doing.

What about you? Do you have any embarrassing memories from high school? Anything that still makes you slightly cringe, years later? Share your favorite blush-worthy high school memory in comments, and you’ll be entered to win a free download of High School Stories, which starts out with Nosepicker (and find out what happens to Theo!). Enjoy! I’ll post the next giveaway in 48(ish) hours and announce the winner from this blog post!

One more thing: until the end of July, you can download my other ebook, Poetic Pause: A Book of Poems for FREE with the coupon code: SSWSF.