Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carrie and the Search for a Friend

When I was about 10, practically every book I read came from a series (i.e. Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Sleepover Friends) so one day I decided to create my very own! It was about a bunch of regular girls who also happened to be a famous teen pop singing group on the side. Kind of like Hannah Montana, except Lisa and her friends didn't hide their identities -- everyone was cool with their fame.

Although I had dozens of story ideas, I actually only finished about five of the books. "Carrie and the Search for a Friend" was supposed to be number 6 in my series (I didn't write them in any order). It was "inspired" by a book that I absolutely looooved at the time -- "Don't Hurt Laurie!" by Willo Davis Roberts, which happens to be about child abuse. Hence some parts of my story are a little ... dark for a 10-year-old. This is kind of a weird one to start with, actually, but it's the first one I came across. I hope my "abuse" scenes don't scare everyone away. (I swear I was not writing them from personal experience. Willo had some other book with an abuse subplot, plus I think I read a few others.)

Anyhow, without further adieu, here are the first couple of chapters of this utter masterpiece.

Chapter One

"Carrie! Take out the trash!"

"Okay!" I wanted to yell 'Okay, boss!' but I could just imagine what Josephine would do if I did.

Josephine is my aunt. I live with just Josephine and my collie, Tabatha. I used to live with my parents and Tabatha, but a couple of months ago, my parents were killed in a car accident. Josephine came as my guardian, and starved me for some reason.
Then Josephine had to leave and my aunt Raina came. But Raina went into labor one day and Josephine came back, meaner than ever.

I bet you're all confused by now, so I'll go on and introduce myself. (Ripping off the BSC ...)

My full name is Carrie Lynn Packer. I have shoulder-length light blonde hair that my best friend Cyndi Wellman calls the three s's -- shiny, soft, and silky. My hair is really fluffy. It used to be really curly, but I styled it differently. I also have wide-set brown eyes.
(Note: I also used to "play" Lisa and the Angels with my dolls, and Carrie was played by one of my Skippers, which had "fluffy" blonde hair. Four or five of my other characters were played by the same doll.)

My five fave things are cooking, dancing, singing, boys, and good clothes. I guess I'm a goof-off. I hate nerdy clothes, snakes, child abuse, spit, and crime. I'm 4'6" and weigh 50 pounds.

I looked at the clock. 11:03 PM. I sighed. I had just gotten back from a huge dance called the Dancing On The Ceiling dance about an hour ago. It was wonderful. There was food, and games, and of course, dancing. It's held every year for middle school and high school students at Albany New York High School. It's called Dancing On The Ceiling because they totally emtpy the dance floor to make it look like the ceiling. Then, they made papier maché chairs and tables and glued plastic food to the papier maché. They hung the fake tables and chairs to the ceiling with string to make it look like we were "dancing on the ceiling." It was really cute.
(It sounds atrocious. Oh, the name of that dance -- in case you couldn't tell -- came from the song of the same title. I hope Lionel Richie doesn't read this and sue me.)

Lisa and the Angels also performed. Who are Lisa and the Angels? They are a pretty famous teen rock group that I happen to be a member of! We have a tape out called In the Land of Dreams. We're going to record our second tape, Dangerous Love, tomorrow -- my birthday. (I'll be twelve.) The tape isn't going to start selling until early October, though. (It's almost July.)

The members of Lisa and the Angels are all my closest friends. I might as well describe them.
(Oh, goody. I'm surprised this wasn't my Chaper 2.)

1.Lisa McOrrill. She's the lead singer. She's one of my best friends. (I have a best best friend ... if you know what I mean.) Here are some things about Lisa. Looks - shoulder-length, shimmering brown hair, wide brown eyes. Kind of tall and very skinny. Dresses good. Favorite things - singing, making jewelry, dancing, music, and ballet. She's a wonderful ballerina. She takes company classes. Wait! I think she is in the company.
(What company?) Dislikes - country music, long stories, eating. Honestly. She hates to eat! That's why she's so skinny. She barely eats. Personality - outgoing. Nice. Goof-off. She's 4'9". She weighs 61 pounds.
(How does Carrie know? And... if Lisa sounds anorexic, she wasn't supposed to be. That was some other character, Jennifer Owens. She isn't in this book.)

2.Cyndi Wellman. She's my BEST best friend. Here are some things about Cyndi. Looks - permed, brunette hair. Wide dark-blue eyes. Average height and average weight. Dresses good. Likes - reading, writing, singing, junk food, and dancing. Dislikes - spit, blood, fish, crime, and snobs. Personality - same as Lisa. She's 4'8" and weighs 78 pounds.
(Ha! at dull Cyndi not even having her own personality. Also, why do these girls have such strong feelings about spit?)

3.Kathy Bell. Long, straight golden hair. Dark blue eyes.
(Kathy was also a Skipper doll.) Dresses kind of nerdy. Tall and skinny. Likes - singing, ballet (she's in the company, too), horses, Anita Baker, and classical music. Dislikes - mean people, her hair, and punky clothes. Personality - very nice, very shy, very sensitive, cries a lot. She's 5'0". She weighs 85 pounds.

4.Racquelle Arlington. Looks - short, straight, pale blonde hair, very small pale blue eyes. Dresses ... well, alright, very nerdy. Very tall and slim. Likes - singing, animals, classical music. Dislikes - evil people, heavy metal music. Personality - nice, but can be a pain. She's 5'6". She weighs 100 pounds.
(Okay, forget Jennifer Owens, these girls ALL sound they belong in an eating disorder clinic. I guess I didn't know too much about heights and weights...)

5.Stacie Barnes. Looks - long, curly light-blonde hair. Huge blue-green eyes. Tall and skinny. Likes - baby-sitting, sewing, singing. She makes some of her clothes, which are fancy or casual. Dislikes - mean people, apple food. Personality - nice, kind of sensitive. She's 5'4" and weighs 93 pounds.

A couple of other things about my friends. Our families and ages.

1.Me. As you know, I'll be twelve tomorrow, and I live with just Josephine and Tabatha.

2.Lisa. She lives with her parents and her cat Brownie. She'll be twelve in August - two months from now. She also has a no-named horse.
(And in later books, a long-lost sister named Erin, but I hadn't invented her yet.)

3.Cyndi. Her family is weird. It became big in about a year and a half! You see, Cyndi was born in New York City. She lived in an apartment with just her parents until she was ten. Then they moved to Albany and bought an adorable Yorkshire terrier puppy named Blackey. They lived there for about a month when Blackey got lost. (Why am I telling you this? It's not about Cyndi's family. But I'll tell you anyway.)

(Gee, thanks, Carrie. Um, but since she brought it up, that bit about the puppy was from my very first Lisa and the Angels book, "My Own Pet.")

So Cyndi was alone, but a few months later Blackey returned. THEN, in about March, Mrs. Wellman had a baby named Emily. So Cyndi got a sister. THEN the Wellmans moved about thirty blocks away to a very, very old house built in 1700. It has a secret passage. (Really? Does it have a ghost named Jared Mullray?) Right after they moved, Kathy's mom gave Cyndi's mom a call, and forced her to adopt three children! Mrs. Bell gave her a lot of money. So Cyndi gained three more sisters. Eight-year-old Anne is quiet and shy, five-year-old Marie thinks she knows everything, and three-year-old Christie is very weird. She's going through an I LOVE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, ESPECIALLY JOE MCINTYRE stage.
(Heh. I wrote this in 1990.)

You'd have thinked (sic) Cyndi's family would be complete now, but no. A few weeks ago, the Wellmans adopted 1 and 1/2-year-old twins, Jennifer Michelle and Jessica Danielle (or the other way around). So now, Cyndi has one real sister, five adopted sisters, one dog, and two parents, of course. Anyway, Cyndi turned twelve yesterday.

4.Kathy. Kathy lives with her parents, her seven-year-old sister Marie, and her adopted two-year-old brother Henry. She has a horse with no name, but Lisa and Kathy are thinking of naming their horses. Kathy will be twelve in July.

5.Stacie. Stacie lives with her parents, her older sixteen-year-old sister Marie, twin five-year-old sisters, Angela and Andrea, twin four-year-old sisters, Kristin and Kristina, a three-year-old sister, Shelley, a two-year-old sister, Sheena, and a six-month-old adopted brother, Erik. (Wow! Nine kids!) She also has a horse, Brown Bear. Stacie will be twelve two days before Lisa.
(That's nice. What's with all the Maries? and all the adopted brothers?)

6.Racquelle. Racquelle lives with her parents, her twelve-year-old brother Donald, her nine-year-old sister Cheri, and her adopted seven-year-old brother Hobart. She has a horse, but it doesn't have a name, and she says she never will name it. Racquelle is fourteen.

So that's all. That's my friends and their families.

"Carrie!," shouted Josephine. "Quit daydreaming and take out the trash!"

"Okay, okay, okay!"

Chapter Two

I took the stupid garbage outside, and then changed into my long, white nightgown. I was just starting to brush my hair, when I heard Josephine.

"Carrie!" she called.

I sighed, and ran downstairs. "Wha-at?"

"Since you took so long to take out the trash, I'm going to do something to your nightgown."

"Do what to my nightgown?" I figured she was going to tear one of the sleeves or something.

But no. She held up a package. Inside was a picture of Big Bird. I checked the words on the package. A iron-on! What was she doing with a Big Bird iron-on?

"I'm going to iron this on your nightgown. Tomorrow morning when you get dressed, bring me down your nightgown and I'll iron this on."

"On my birthday?" I squeaked.
(Relax, Carrie. It's just your nightgown. The "iron-on" is probably cute.)

"Yes," said Josephine sharply. "Up to bed."

I walked upstairs, finished brushing my hair, and lay down in my bed.

This is going to be some birthday, I thought.

The next morning, I got up, took a shower, and went back into my bedroom. I took a look in my closet at all the nerdy clothes Josephine makes me wear. (I kept my old ones, just in case Josephine ever loosened up a little bit.) I decided on one of my better outfits, baggy pink stretch pants and a white polo shirt. I put on my clothes, and decided to wait to bring my nightgown down. I combed my hair and pulled it back with two tiny barrettes that looked like pink bows. (I'm surprised Josephine even lets me do that!) I put on some white sport socks, and for now, my pink bunny rabbit slippers.

Reluctantly, I grabbed my nightgown and carried it downstairs.

Josephine saw me. "Oh," she said in her hoarse, scratchy voice, "It's you." (Duh, who does she think it is, President Reagan?)

(Note, even though I wrote this in 1990, it gratuitously takes place in 1988.)

"Happy birthday." Then she saw the nightgown. "Oh, goody!" she said. "Go in there and eat breakfast. There's some presents by your plate."

I walked into the kitchen, expecting to finda quarter of a piece of toast, or a half an egg, or a plain doughnut, since my meals are always very small or sometimes even nothing. But I was surprised. My plate was actually full of eggs and a whole piece of toast.

I opened one present. A Rainbow Brite doll. What kind of a present was a Rainbow Brite doll? I opened the next. A stuffed Winnie the Pooh. How old did Josephine think I was turning? Two? I opened the last present by my plate. A white teddy bear. At least that was halfway decent.

(They all seem pretty equivalent to me, but what do I know. Carrie needs to be more grateful.)

I ate my breakfast. Then Josephine handed my nightgown to me. "All complete!" she laughed. "Ha, ha! Ha, ha! Ha, ha!"

I rolled my eyes and carried the nightgown and toys upstairs. Then I walked back downstairs.

I said this as fast as I could. "Josephine, Lisa and the Angels are recording a tape today, so can you drive me to the studio?"

"Speak up," said Josephine.

"Lisa ... and ... the ... Angels..."

"Cut that out," said Josephine. "Act like a normal human being, brat." She slapped me in the face. (Gasp.)

"Lisa and the Angels are recording a tape today, so can you drive me to the studio?"

Josephine blew up. She threw me against the wall, took off her belt, and whipped me in the face with it.

"Do you expect me to take you everywhere?" she screamed. "I hate you! I hate you, you little brat!" She groaned. "I might as well, because of that dumb doctors appointment you have before that!" She knocked my head against the wall again.

I couldn't help it. Tears started flowing down my face. I ran upstairs to my room, flung myself on my bed, and cried and cried.

Why, I thought, does she do this? Especially on my birthday! I miss Mom and Dad. They were the greatest. If it weren't for some car in the streets, they'd be here!

Suddenly I got mad at my friends. Lisa, Kathy, and Racquelle were all in the car -- the same car Mom and Dad were in. (How convenient.) Mom and Dad were killed instantly, while my friends were just injured. It wasn't fair! Cyndi and Stacie didn't do anything, but Cyndi's kind of nosy, and Stacie -- well, Stacie's not a great friend, either.

I took a look at myself in the mirror. Luckily, Josephine's stupid belt was plastic, so it didn't leave a bruise.

I began to think of my so-called friends, who had caused all this. (I hated them ... no, it doesn't say that, but it should have.) I decided to go on a search for a new, better friend.

I felt a huge lump in my throat and hoped I wouldn't cry some more.

(By the way, if I hadn't decided to go on a stupid search for a friend, this whole thing might never have happened.)


That's all for now. I know Carrie lives a troubled life, but she could be a little nicer. Who would want to be her friend? Also, I'm a little embarrassed to notice that her "voice" isn't much different than my current writing style. Oh, well.

Coming up ... outfits! And Lisa and the Angels song lyrics!!!


Rummy said...

Is this the part where the School Counselor and CPS have a meeting where they tell you what you're supposed to say?

tctill said...

I can just imagine if I'd shown this to some later books, Josephine's violent history is more or less forgotten and she becomes just a wacky aunt who dances and sings along to "Mony Mony" (which I/she thought was "Phony Mony") and "Got My Mind Set On You."

Sada said...

At first I thought the Big Bird iron-on was the child abuse.

Also, are you sure WE'RE not long-lost sisters???