Thanks for all of you who entered this month’s writing challenge; your submissions continue to inspire me. I guess the warm weather is getting the creative juices flowing! There were a ton of fabulous submissions this month, and as always I could only pick a few:
From Jenny Porat:
The first time I saw Kyle, I was standing in between the Dunk-A-Dunce booth and the Hoop Hop, wrestling with a giant stuffed panda. Not the best way to make a good first impression.
It was a humid June day, the sun beating down on my head, heat clinging to me like a blanket. The smells of funnel cakes and sweat drifted through the air. Clutched in my hand were a few slightly sticky game tokens, their once shiny surface dulled over years of toddlers’ greasy fingerprints.
I remember the day clearly; running over to the Hoop Hop, gazing up at the giant stuffed panda hanging from the stand. I handed the girl working the station some coins, and took at shot, praying for the panda. I watched with anticipation as the ball circled around the hoop- time seemed to slow down. As the ball slowly tumbled in, I reached for the panda, longing to feel its soft fur when the girl running the booth reached across the counter and plucked it out of my arms.
Like a typical eight year old, I grabbed it back, only too slow to get it. Tears burning my eyes, I turned away to see a group of kids about my age crowded around a boy, the sun reflecting off his golden waves. I looked at his nametag. KYLE.
The smell of funnel cakes and sweat clung to Kyle, tangling itself in his hair and warm embrace, reminding me of the summer we met.
Want to know something unbelievable? Jenny is only fourteen! Can you believe it? I’m blown away by her talent., and also by her commitment to her craft at such a young age. Remember the name, peeps—you’ll be seeing it on the shelves someday!
From McKay Jervis, You and Me:
The first time I saw Kyle, I was standing in between the Dunk-A-Dunce booth and the Hoop Hop, wrestling with a gigantic stuffed panda bear. Not the best way to make a good first impression. He, on the other hand, left a great impression. He was crowded by people as he strummed on Ibanez acoustic guitar, his audience clapping and dancing along as he sang, “Cause you and your heart shouldn't feel so far apart…”
I swear, his voice was magical. It was soft and smooth, like waves crashing onto the sandy shore. The evening sun glittered his damp salty hair, dark brown and chopped wildly. His eyes gleamed the color of water droplets on a leaf. His tan showed he was local. My best friend, Brandie, was behind me, chattering away about the love of her life-- a senior she would never be able to date back home in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.
Her words went in one ear and out the other. I was mesmerized by this boy at the Labor Day Fair on the shore of Boynton Beach, Florida on this Summer Vacation, not even 500 feet away from me. Me. Lexa Darnley. This boy would surely never talk to me—not the girl who was still trying to find a comfortable way to hold that god awful bear.
And yet, here he was, waltzing towards me and my stalker-staring brown eyes, his guitar swinging from its shoulder strap.
“Hello,” he said.
This makes me want to go to a country fair and steal a kiss from a stranger! Summer lovin’, people. Miracles happen, I swear….
From Laura Wettersten:
The first time I saw Kyle, I was standing in between the Dunk-A-Dunce booth and the Hoop Hop, wrestling with a gigantic stuffed panda bear. Not the best way to make a good first impression.
Not that he was doing any better. A thick stripe of chili sauce dripped down his white shirt – evidence that not only did he dare to eat Frank’s Famous Frankfurters, he also considered them a fashion statement.
I didn’t give him a second glance and continued my efforts to tug the monstrous panda over my shoulders.
“Need some help? It looks heavy.”
I turned to him, a rude retort about how heavy his mama probably was on my tongue, but he’d moved closer to me and on second glance, I realized that the chili sauce on his shirt was just a red herring. This boy was CUTE.
I swallowed down the comment about his mother and tried to play it cool, like he wasn’t the prettiest boy I’d ever seen. I narrowed my eyes at him, regarding him with theatrical distrust. “How do I know you’re not going to run off with it as soon as I hand it over?”
His smirk almost made him cuter. “You really think I’d try something like that after I just saw you threaten that carnie’s life over this thing?”
“I didn’t threaten him. Not exactly.”
“So you don’t consider, ‘Give me that panda or I’m telling the Rent-a-Cop that you’re a swindling, fraudulent rat bastard’ a threat?”
I love the first few lines of this submission. Laura manages to insert humor and realism into the piece right away; the narrator has a saucy (no pun intended) unique point of view that is immediately apparent. And who can resist verbal sparring of the kind she evokes in this dialogue exchange?
From: Teresa Szandtner, Data
The first time I saw Kyle, I was standing in between the Dunk-A-Dunce booth and the Hoop Hop, wrestling with a gigantic stuffed panda bear. Not the best way to make a first impression, but I hadn’t been inside the Program before. Part of my brain told me this wasn’t real, but my senses begged to differ. I marvelled at how my arms were free of IVs and my surgery scars were gone. In here, I was beautiful. I gingerly put down the bear, which smelled of polyester, and bravely walked over to Kyle. He wasn’t real anyway, so what was there to be afraid of?
“Hi,” I stammered. “I’m Sara.”
“Hey Sara, would you like a balloon?” he asked, offering be a pink sparkly one. His fingers grazed mine as he handed it to me, sending a chill down my spine. His smile reached his eyes, as if he meant it.
As we walked along, I noticed a beeping noise that was steadily becoming louder. I looked around, thinking how the noise didn’t fit into this beautiful place. I felt Kyle’s hand on my back as I fell to my knees. When I opened my eyes, someone was placing an oxygen mask on my face, the strap bristling against my shaved head. A male nurse above me was speaking.
“Hi, my name is Kyle. I’m going to be your nurse this evening.” I sighed. Reality had returned.
I was really impressed by this submission as it took a relatively straight-forward writing prompt and twisted it into something sophisticated and sci-fi. This is an intriguing beginning. Well done!