Spriggy: High School Pranks

Today Spriggy takes some time on the therapist’s couch.


Tell me about a favorite memory.


In high school me and my friends liked hanging out at the community park. Sometimes we would play basketball, and other times we sat on picnic tables and shared cigarettes and booze that someone had taken from a parent or had gotten a college kid to buy.

One day a few of us had gathered but no one had brought any illegal substances and none of us felt like playing basketball. There was a frat house down the road and some of the brothers came to the park as well.

For some reason the college kids thought that all townies were losers and deserved to be picked on, and these frat jerks zeroed in on us. They were pretty stupid and couldn’t come up with any really good insults–just called us fags and losers who thought we were “really cool” to be hanging out in a little kids’ park. We observed that they had also chosen to come here, and then we left.

We went to one of the other guy’s house and came up with a plan to show them who the losers were–or at least to get them in trouble. That night we went around and spray painted their fraternity’s letters on some of the university buildings and some parked cars. We trashed the empty spray cans in a dumpster near their house.

Later, my friend’s brother who went to the college told us that the university believed it had been some kind of hazing ritual and put all the fraternities and sororities on probation. The one we’d picked on had to do community service too.

I think that was one of the best moments of my life.


Abbey’s Story: Part 1

In my new book, my main character (Lindsay)’s mom is arrested for murder, and in trying to prove her innocent, Lindsay discovers that her mom’s been hiding a lot of secrets. Her mom, Abbey, has a story to tell, but it doesn’t fit in my book, so I’ve decided to post a fairly spoiler-free version here.

Abbey Rosenbaum:

College was not going well. I didn’t have any idea what my major should be or what I wanted to do with my life, and I was bored with all of the general requirements. I also had absolutely no money. My parents were paying for school and room and board, and that was it. My summer job money was already gone–just from getting my first semester’s books.

Then I saw a man hanging a flier on the student center bulletin board. Something about a cashier job. I pulled the flier down as soon as he was gone and called him immediately. I got the job no problem–turned out I would be working at this little organic farm and greenhouse (and this was way before “organic” was cool).

After that everything changed. I’d always believed the planet needed to be protected, but I’d never really done anything about it. Now I saw how satisfying and freeing it was to grow real food that was chemical free. That farm was such a turning point in my life. I don’t think I’d change anything that happened there if I could.

What Was Your Favorite Halloween Costume?

To the cast of my work-in-progress:

Lindsay: “I really love vampire books, so last year my mom and I made this elaborate dress and cape for a Halloween party some of my friends were throwing. We did everything to the max: hair, make-up, nails, and of course, teeth. I totally won the award for best costume.”

Evan: Halloween? I think my mom threw a sheet over me one year and took me to a couple houses on the block. We went home when she got tired, and then she ate all my candy.

Jax: Last year my friend James got some of his dad’s military stuff, and we put on full jungle camo, combat boots, and helmets. We even painted our faces green and black. They wouldn’t let us bring the water rifles into school, but they didn’t make us go home and change. All day everyone stared, but I don’t think most people had any clue who we were.

Spriggy: Until I was 18 I would dress as a hobo to get candy. It was easy–I just had to get a stick and a bandanna, wear yesterday’s clothes, and not shower for a few days. Most people still gave me candy–they just gave me lots of disgusted looks, though as I got older some of them thought I was a real hobo. I’d still go if I could get away with it–I mean, who in their right mind would turn down free candy?

Abbey: When I was 7 my sister and I went as Smurfs. Neither of us wanted to be Smurfette, so my sister put on glasses and went as Brainy. My mom dyed my hat and pants red, and I put on a false beard and went as Papa Smurf. Everyone thought I was a boy, and I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but my sister was offended.

Feel free to add your own responses to the comments!

On the American Work Ethic

This post is by my character Spriggy. He is a character from my new book (still has no title). Lindsay comes to him for help, but, as you will read, his version of help is probably not what she’s looking for.

Americans work too hard. Spending eight or more hours each day as a slave is not the life any of us dreamed of when we were kids. The forefathers of our country never put in the Bill of Rights (as far as I know–I haven’t actually read it) that we have the right to spend our time suffering.

People say we have to work–how else could we pay our bills? Working for money is okay–to a degree–but when it becomes working for fulfillment I see a big problem. A job shouldn’t be what people turn to for happiness.

The American dream is to be happy, so I am clearly the idea American. I am perfectly happy without needing to do anything. My perfect day would be sitting around, talking to some good friends, doing nothing but eating and drinking. Since I do that most of the time, I feel my life is complete.

Those who work for money but can’t seem to get enough no matter how many hours they put in are doing something wrong. I only work when I have to, and I have everything I need. Who needs fancy furniture or hundreds of TV stations or 20 different outfits? If you don’t have all that crap you don’t have to work so hard.

A simple life is the best life.

Excerpt: Gym Class

Today I wrote a scene in my new book about my main character, Lindsay, finally crossing paths and connecting (in a way) with the main supporting character, Jax. Like my other excerpt, this is rough and will most likely change–this one is particularly rough because I haven’t had a lot of time this weekend to work on this or anything else. I think it can stand alone fairly well, and I feel like sharing, so here you go.

**Excerpt from my (unnamed) new book**

We were walking outside to the field when I saw him. The guy who’d caught the ball that had been flying for my face on Monday was walking a few steps ahead of me, head down, shoulders slumped. The posture was what gave him away because the slightly too tight gym clothes were nothing like what he’d been wearing before.

That was the same guy I’d crashed into running out of school yesterday, and, I just realized, was also the same guy I’d bumped into again on my way out of Spriggy and Rocco’s apartment. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t put it together sooner, but I guess I’d been pretty distracted those other two times.

We ended up on different teams, and my team batted first.  I think if I hadn’t been feeling so paranoid to begin with I wouldn’t have noticed, but when I came up to bat, I saw that his eyes were riveted on me. For every other player, though, he’d been looking at the ground or the sky. I wanted to yell at him to stop staring, but instead I quickly struck out.

Back on the bench, I leaned toward the chubby girl, Sharon, I always seemed to be paired up with. “What’s the deal with that guy?”

The girl looked like she’d just swallowed one of those super-sour gummy worms. “That’s Jaxon Conley. He’s really creepy.”

“What do you mean?” I looked out at him, but he wasn’t staring anymore. He also wasn’t paying attention to the game. A ball one of my teammates hit fell on the ground right beside him.

“He’s just creepy–like serial killer creepy.”

“He doesn’t look like a killer,” I said. All I saw was a scrawny kid who looked rather mopey. If I wasn’t starting to think he was stalking me I would have felt a little sorry for him.

“They never do, but everyone thinks that someday he’ll come in the school with a gun and start blasting people away.”

I wasn’t able to ask her any more about him–even though I had tons of questions now–because we got our third out, and I had to take my position at the back of the field.

The rest of the time I spent on the bench Sharon told me all about how Jaxon never talked to anyone and never participated in school activities. He always kept to himself and never looked anyone in the eye.

When I asked her about where he lived and what his family was like, she didn’t have any answers. She, and apparently the rest of the school, had made a lot of assumptions about him without knowing any real facts. I knew what that was like, thanks to Kim, and I didn’t want to label him “future serial killer” immediately, but when my turn to bat came up, he started staring at me again. Instead of looking at the pitcher or the ball, I turned and looked directly back at him. The ball flew by, and Coach snapped, “Pay attention, Rosembaum,” but I’d accomplished what I’d wanted. Jaxon quickly looked down.

He seemed shy enough that I figured that would end the trouble. Sure enough, the rest of the class period he never looked up once. On our way inside, I purposely hurried to walk right behind him, and just sensing me there resulted in him taking a sharp right turn to get away. But he crashed into the jock that was about to pass us.

“Watch it, freak.” The jock shoved him away–into me.

I met Jaxon’s eyes and saw a flash of wide-eyed panic. Then he ran inside.

“Good hustle, Conley,” Coach called after him.

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

My progress on my new book is going pretty well, considering I mostly write in my work’s parking lot after rushing to get there as early as possible and during my “free” lunch breaks (the ones I don’t have a staff meeting during or have to spend half my time cleaning out the turtle tank). On a side note I am so looking forward to the summer when we don’t have staff meetings and I might get the chance to sneak in a turtle tank cleaning during the workday instead of on my time.

Anyway, in my new book I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’ll be introducing an important character, and today I’m doing some work in his point of view.

Jax Conley is 14 and feels pretty isolated from the other kids at school, both by choice and because of his living situation. This post comes before he’s met Lindsay, my main character.


At school they’ve asked us to write about our dreams for the future. We freshman have our entire lives ahead of us—many, many years of possibilities, so most of my peers go big: sports stars, rock stars, movie stars, surgeons, lawyers. I’ve tried, but I just can’t picture an amazing future for myself. The problem is that big, impossible dreams are what teachers expect to see, so that’s why my paper came back with a C—that and I had run-on sentences. And I started some sentences with “And” and “But.”

I guess you want to know what I wrote about.

Okay, so there’s not real chance I’d get a scholarship to any college, and if I went anyway, the job I’d end up with would most likely leave me working ‘til I’m 80 just to pay off the student loans. What I’m going to end up doing is what 1 in 2 kids in this town will end up doing—working at the factory here in Sterling Waters.

Actually, I’m looking forward to turning 16, when my mom will let me get a real job and I can do something besides mow neighbors’ lawns and clean out the gutters for the old lady next door. I would love to get my own steady income. Then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about how to pay all our bills, and my mom wouldn’t have to embarrass herself giving food back at the checkout line because she didn’t have enough money for everything.

My mom does her best, but she works 2nd shift and has another job on weekends, and since I’m around and able-bodied I’d be a real jerk if I didn’t help however I could.

Also, maybe if I had a job I wouldn’t be sitting in class distracted by thoughts of whether the money I’d deposited will show up before the power company tries to cash the check or if the house is flooding because the hack job I did at sealing a pipe the night before failed. Kids aren’t supposed to worry about that stuff. We’re supposed to be thinking about our crush and how we’ll get into the big party on the weekend, right?

But that’s how life really is, and even if you think you’ve found a way to escape and kick back a little, if you’re lucky enough to find a real friend, enjoy it while you can because that diversion won’t last for long, and when your friend is gone and reality jumps back in, all those responsibilities will still be there, probably worse than ever.

Okay…so I got into this a little deeper than I’d planned…it was definitely more than I’d put in my paper.

Maybe I can wrap up on a positive note.

Well, I guess there’s one thing I’d like to do after high school. I’d like to get my associate degree in something practical—so when I need to fix the sink or if an outlet stops working I’ll actually know how to repair it the right way instead of making it up as I go. That’s my dream. Pretty impressive, huh?

(Super) Advance Sneak Preview

So, this morning at 3 a.m., after I groggily remembered with glee that today was Saturday, the start of my long weekend, and I could sleep in and would have the day to do whatever I wanted—I had the shock that I had not prepared my blog post for today (Yes—I actually prepare these in advance). I hadn’t even thought of this blog once until 3 a.m.

I knew yesterday there was something else I was supposed to work on between washing stacks of kids’ lunch dishes besides reading the baseball preview in Sports Illustrated (they predicted the Reds would be 3rd—that they would do better than 3 other teams in NL central!).

You see, on Tuesday I started actually writing my new book, and so that has monopolized my free time—it’s all I can think about when it comes to writing right now. So at least until the newness of my book wears off, and I start looking for anything to write other than it (I am so optimistic at 3 in the morning!), my posts may not be as substantial or regular as they’ve been.

I never do this—I never let anyone read a draft until I’ve finished and heavily edited it, but since no one reads this anyway—sorry, since so few read this (I certainly don’t want to insult the 4 viewers I do get)—I’m going to be generous. (Wow, I use a lot of parenthesis and super-long sentences at 3 a.m.) I am going to let you read the first paragraph of my new book. (Keep in mind that the finished version will most likely be completely rewritten.)

Here you go:

The man in the leather jacket with his hand at his waist was a cop, and he was here for me. I dropped my spoonful of greasy Chinese mid-bite. He was still on the other side of the food court, and he hadn’t seen me yet. I thought of running for the bathroom or just plain straight out of this crowded mall and down the highway, going as fast as possible until my body gave out, but that would be stupid. Maybe I was wrong and he wasn’t really after me.