Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tammy the Little Mermaid, Part One

I created several "series" when I was growing up, but there were only two of them where I actually finished writing any books. The first was Lisa and the Angels, and the second was my Fruitville Orphanage for Girls series. If you haven't already guessed, I was obsessed with orphans. Fruitville was based around 70 or so girls, aged 10-15, who all lived in an orphanage (because those are so common nowadays) in the fictional town of Fruitville, Washington.

Despite the occasional mention of "Adoption Day" and some other related plots, this series didn't really have much to do with the girls' orphan status; it might as well have taken place in a boarding school. I finished about four of the stories, and started a few others, but as far as I know, Tammy the Little Mermaid is the only one to survive.

One of the more noteworthy things about this story is the title. Not just its cheesiness, but the fact that ... my name also happens to be Tammy. However, I didn't name the title character after myself! Her name actually came from that boxer, Tommy Morrison. I wasn't a boxing fan, but Rocky 5 happened to be my favorite movie when I was 11, and I thought "Tommy Gunn" was really hot. Hence Tammy Morris's name.

As for the other girls, I WAS a wrestling fan at the time, and the rest of their names all somehow stemmed from wrestlers' names. For example, "Milli Smith" came from Davey Boy Smith, who had Milli Vanilli-ish dreadlocks (oddly, even though Davey Boy was my favorite wrestler, Milli was only a minor character in Fruitville).

Now that I've explained things a little, here are the first two chapters of Tammy the Little Mermaid! If I had to pick a junior/YA series to compare this to, it kind of reminds me of the Taffy Sinclair books, although Tammy is no Taffy. But the other girls are certainly as bratty as Jana and her friends. Read on and see!

Chapter One

(Starts on page 3 because I wrote this in a looseleaf notebook and the first two pages got ripped out and are long-lost. From what I remember, Tammy Morris is in her room, just waking up from some stupid dream about a "hunk" on the beach. She also thinks a little about The Little Mermaid, the upcoming play that Fruitville will be putting on with the boys from Madison Middle School. Her roommates, Christina Chase and Janine Yamamoto, are there, too, telling Tammy to get her lazy @ss out of bed. Page 3 officially begins with this gem...)

Tammy didn't want to make them mad at her. Enough people already got mad at her because they were jealous of her looks. Who wouldn't be jealous? Tammy thought dreamily. I'm the prettiest girl at the orphanage...

(What a "likable" character already.)

"Tammy!" Christina cried impatiently. "Get up!"

"Oh, sorry," Tammy said halfheartedly. She jumped out of bed and began to search through her part of the closet for the perfect outfit. With the exception of the DiBiaz's spoiled daughter Thea (the DiBiaz's -- who were named after Ted DiBiase -- ran the orphanage), Tammy had the most clothes of any girl at the orphanage -- partly because she was new and her things all still fit her, and partly because the prettiest girls always had to have the most clothes. (At least in Tammy's opinion.) She finally settled on some flowered shorts and a loose sweatshirt (good to dance in) and checked her reflection in the room's small mirror. Blonde curly hair, big blue eyes ... she looked better than ever!

Janine and Christina had long since left the room and were in the cafeteria, eating breakfast. Tammy went downstairs to join them and the other orphans. She went through the food line, exchanged her meal tickets for some Brownee Bites (what ever happened to those?) and a carton of milk, and sat down at her usual table with Stella Smith, Ericka and Scarlett Steinberg, Beth and Wendy Harris, Meg Billman, and her best friend, Tami Zuendel.

(For old-school wrestling fans, those names = Sting, Rick and Scott Steiner, Brett and Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and Tom Zenk.)

"Hi," she greeted everyone.

"Hi," replied everyone except Beth.

"Are you nervous about the play?" Meg added. "I am! I'm trying out for Flounder. What about you?"

"Ariel," Tammy answered. "I'm gonna get her, too."

"How do you know?" Stella retorted. "Some other good people are trying out for her, too."

"Whatever," Tammy grinned.

"You might not get the part, you know, Tammy," Beth spoke up coldly. "Stella's really good, and I've seen you practice, and you messed up about four times."

"Everyone messes up," Tammy defended herself, surprised by Beth's sudden rude outburst.

"Well, I think Tammy's going to get the part," Tami said supportively.

"And I think Stella will," Scarlett added, grinning at her good friend.

"Thanks," Stella said. "I guess we'll just have to wait and see!"

***

"Jeez, look how cute they are!" Brenda Harris cried.

"Look at him!" Wendy Harris added, pointing down at a blonde-haired boy. The Madison buses were pulling up, and the two girls were at an upstairs window, staring down at the many boys (and a few girls) piling out onto the sidewalk.

"Oh, my gosh, that has to be the cutest one yet! I hope I get to act with him," Brenda exclaimed.

"Staring at the guys?"

Beth, the middle Harris sister, strolled into the room and over to the window. "They are pretty cute," she said. "It's not often we get to see boys, being at a girls' orphanage. Well, are you guys ready? The auditions start soon."

"Yeah," Brenda replied.

"None of us are trying out for any big parts," said Wendy. "So we're not nervous or anything. At least, I'm not."

"I wouldn't want to be Ariel," added Brenda. "She has too many lines."

"Know who I don't like?" Beth said suddenly.

"Who?" Wendy and Brenda asked in unison.

"Tammy Morris. She's trying out for Ariel. Miss Conceited. I've never liked her. I hope she gets a tiny bit part."

"Why don't you like her?" Wendy asked. "I don't really know her, but I think she's okay."

"She bugs me!" Beth cried. "I heard her ask Virginia Vaughn if she agreed that she was the most beautiful girl in the universe. She's so stuck-up!"

"I think she was just kidding about that," said Brenda. "Everyone says dumb things to Virginia. Virginia's a nerd."

(Virginia Vaughn = Virgil.)

"Yeah, but she brags to everyone. I usually try to ignore her, but ever since the DiBiaz's brought up the play, she's been going on and on about how she's going to make the 'perfect' Ariel. What really bugs me, though, is that I think she may be right. She's one of those charming people who tries to be cute. And she's actually kinda good."

"Tammy's probably going to get the part," Beth continued, smiling as she suddenly thought of a new idea. "But she's not going to enjoy it very much. Because I am going to ruin it for her!" (dum da-da dummm...ominous!)

Chapter Two

"Testing ... one, two, three! Testing ... one, two, three!" Mr. DiBiaz blew into the microphone.

"Why doesn't he just start?" Tammy muttered impatiently. The orphans and Madison middle school students were crowded backstage in Fruitville's huge auditorium, waiting for the auditions to begin.

"Maybe he needs to see if the microphones work," Beth shot back. She rolled her eyes as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"I don't care if he starts soon. I'm too nervous to go up there," Wendy babbled. (Wait, wasn't she "not nervous" in the last chapter?) "What if I forget my lines? Uh-oh, I just forgot my song! I can't go..." Suddenly a high-pitched shrieking noise filled the room and the orphans jumped. "I hate it when he blows that whistle!" Wendy cried. "Why'd he blow it into a microphone? Is he trying to deafen..."

"Shut up, stupid, he's starting," Brenda whispered.

"Don't call me stupid," Wendy retorted. "I'm smarter than you are."

"Everyone's staring at you," Tammy hissed.

Wendy looked around and noticed over a hundred faces staring back at hers. "Hi," she said, waving.

Mr. DiBiaz gave her a dirty look. "As I was saying," he continued. "For those of you who don't know me, I am Nick DiBiaz, the founder of this orphanage. This here is my wife, Karen." The Madison boys clapped and whistled. Mrs. DiBiaz, who was clinging to her husband's side, smiled shyly and ducked her head.

"What a fake," Stella snickered.

"The principal of Madison, my good friend Corey Tatum, is here with his students," said Mr. DiBiaz. A gray-haired man in a gray suit smiled and raised his hand. "Along with Mr. Tatum is Madison's drama director, Ellen Fairsburg. Please be kind to our Madison guests. Now, are there any questions before we begin?"

A red-headed rebellious girl named Belinda raised her hand."When do we have to go back to school?"

Mr. DiBiaz sighed. "I've already explained that, Belinda. There will be no school today on account of the auditions taking up so much time, but starting tomorrow all of our classes will be cut ten minutes short, so you will have your sixth period and some of your free time to practice." (The orphans did attend school. The classrooms were located in the orphanage and only the orphans attended, but otherwise it was no different from regular school.)

A short brown-haired boy yelled, "Do we have to come here every day?"

This time Mr. Tatum sighed. "I've explained that, Peter. You'll stay at school some days, and come here some days."

"I understand that your Madison girls are strictly chorus members and are not trying out for parts. Is that correct?" Mr. DiBiaz questioned.

"Yes," Mr. Tatum replied.

Mr. DiBiaz looked relieved. "Good. (How rude.) Now we can start. We will begin our auditions with ... Mr. Sammy Aarons!"

Ms. Pinelli, Fruitville's music teacher, took a seat at the piano. A stereotypical nerd walked over to the middle of the stage. He was small and thin, with brown bushy hair and thick glasses held together by a strip of masking tape.

(Sounds like I'd been watching too much Saved By the Bell. Incidentally, I pictured Mr. DiBiaz to look like Mr. Belding.)

Some of the orphans started to laugh. "Whoa, baby!" Belinda yelled.

"You want to go out with me?" Wendy added. Stella, Tammy, Tami, Deena, and Meg were rudely laughing and pointing.

(These girls are beyond obnoxious, especially that brat Wendy. Sorry, Owen Hart.)

Mr. DiBiaz turned to them. "GIRLS!!" he bellowed. They were silent. He turned back to Sammy. "You may begin."

"Thanks," Sammy grinned. He began to dance around and sing some song called "Runaround Sue." It was too much ... he was so geeky-looking!

"What a stud!" Meg howled. Sammy blushed and fell to the ground.

Now the girls were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes. "Did he trip or what?" Tammy giggled.

"I - I don't know!" Wendy choked out between laughs. "Hey, Sammy, you're a coordinated stud, too!" she shouted. Sammy stood up, brushed off his gray trousers, and glared at her. Then he ran off the stage, bawling. Ms. Pinelli rushed after him.

Mr. DiBiaz turned towards the seven laughing orphans. "GIRLS!!" he shouted again. "YOU ARE TOO MUCH! HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF SOMEONE DID THAT TO YOU?"

"Sorry," Tami snickered. "But he's such a geek!"

"YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO LAUGH HIM OFF THE STAGE! NOW, IF YOU DON'T BEHAVE, YOU WON'T EVEN GET TO AUDITION!!"

"Are you gonna pick us up by the shirt and overwork us, like in Annie?" Wendy asked, pretending to be scared.(Ugh...)

"NO! BUT I WILL NOT HAVE YOU HARASSING THE MADISON BOYS!"

"They ain't harassin' us," said a long-haired boy in a heavy metal T-shirt.

"Yeah," grinned Stella. "We wasn't doing anything."

"WEREN'T, NOT WASN'T!" Mr. DiBiaz whirled back around. "Next auditioner."

"We love you, Miss Hannigan," Wendy murmured.

Mr. DiBiaz spun towards her. "DO YOU WANT TO BE IN THE PLAY OR DON'T YOU, YOU LITTLE SMART ALECK?"

"Oooh," Wendy said warningly. "You called me a name!"

"Shut up," Beth giggled, nudging her sister. (No kidding.)

Mr. DiBiaz filled his cheeks with air, then let it slowly seep out. "Okay, girls," he said dejectedly. "Have it your way."

"We're sorry," Wendy apologized. The girls calmed down after that. They watched a ditzy blonde-haired girl named Jenny Ames, two Madison boys, Stephanie Armstrong, Brianna Arnold, three more boys, and Sandra Austin audition. The first "B"-named auditioner was Megan Bagley, who was very nice and polite, and also a good friend of Stella's. "Go, Megan!" Stella cried.


Mr. DiBiaz whirled around.

"What?" Stella rolled her eyes. "I was just cheering her on."

Meg, Deena Boulder, and many other boys and girls auditioned. Finally it was time for the "H"'s. Brenda was the first Harris sister up. She was okay, but not exceptional. Beth was a little better. Wendy was an excellent dancer, but that was about it.

"You guys did great," Tami told them when they sat back down.

"Thanks," Beth grinned.

"You really did," Tammy added.

Beth ignored her. "She's probably just saying that to make sure we'll compliment her," Beth whispered to Brenda. Brenda just smiled.

The girls boredly watched the auditions for a couple more hours. At noon, Mr. DiBiaz announced, "Oh! Time for lunch. We'll resume the auditions when we return."

"YEA!!!" everyone cheered. They were standing up and stretching, about ready to head to Fruitville's cafeteria, when Mr. DiBiaz cried, "Oh! Hold it. One more audition ... we almost forgot. Brett Jamison."

"Oh!" everyone groaned. But every single orphan's eyes lit up when they saw the boy about to perform.

"Look at him!" Stella whispered excitedly to Tammy.

"He's the cutest one here!" Tammy whispered back. The boy was like a smaller version of the hunk in her dream. "But we'll have to see if he's any good," Tammy realized.

She didn't have to worry. Brett was terrific. His song, "Colour My World", was clear and strong, he was a good dancer, and his script reading was the most believable of anyone's so far. He was obviously going to get the part of Erik the prince ... and Tammy just knew she would play opposite him as Ariel!

********************************************************************
Coming up next: the parts are announced! Also, Beth launches her plan to turn everyone against poor misunderstood Tammy (who they are "just jellus" of).

5 comments:

Rummy said...

Makes sense that Ted DiBiase would be the new Miss Hannigan.

Anonymous said...

those kids are huuuuuuuuuuge brats, but it's not completely different from things like "Mean Girls." How ahead of your time, you were....

Recap That! said...

I agree with Anonymous. Did you, per chance, show this to Tina Fey? ARE YOU ACTUALLY TINA FEY?!

Cory said...

Man, these girls are bitches. Seriously. However, they are also realistic since you pretty much described all of my female classmates from back in the day (shiver).

Sada said...

I can't believe Mr. Belding lets them get away with that crap!