“It must have something to do with the Aztecs,” said Matt.
I glanced over at Jude, who was staring at the words on his laptop screen with the heel of his hand jammed into his temple. He was biting his lip to keep from laughing.
“You mean the Mayans, numbskull.” Tina stuck a post-it note on Matt’s forehead. “Jude, pass me that bowl of chips.”
Jude shoved the bowl across the table. Tina grabbed a generous handful and swiped her finger across her tablet screen. “I hate playing read-the-teacher’s-mind,” she griped.
“I hate group projects,” said Matt. “We need some music.” He punched a button, and Lady Gaga started coming out of the speakers. Tina and I groaned. Jude hunched his shoulders but didn’t say anything. He picked up a pen and started scribbling on the paper by his keyboard.
“Hey, Casey, you got some Mountain Dew?” Tina said.
This study session was quickly going down the tubes. Jude and I were going to end up doing the whole thing the night before it was due. Like always. And Matt hated group projects? “Come on, you guys. We’re supposed to be working.”
“Tina, did you see this video?”
Sighing, I got up to go find a soda for Tina. By the time I got back, she and Matt were roaring with laughter at something on Facebook. She didn’t even acknowledge when I set the can down.
I slid back into my seat and saw a slip of folded paper sticking out from under my computer. I glanced at Jude in time to see his eyes flicker toward me and then back to his work. The edge of his mouth was turned up just a bit.
My insides did a little hop-skip. Carefully, I unfolded it.
Let’s ditch them and go see a movie.
I tried to bite off the smile–our relationship status was supposed to be a secret–but I couldn’t do it. “Hey, guys, my mom made a pie. It’s upstairs in the fridge. You guys want to go serve it up while we work on this?”
Matt offered a courtly bow. “Each according to his ability,” he said. “C’mon, Tina.”
Jude and I met each other’s eyes as they disappeared up the stairs. By the time they hit the kitchen, we were out the door, hand in hand.
In two weeks, I’m slated to do a “reading” for junior-high students at our local Catholic school as part of their read-a-thon. Most of what I write is so adult, I realized I need something targeted more toward that age group, so I set that as a goal this week. How’d I do? (Incidentally, does anyone else find that it’s easier to write a piece the more parameters you place upon yourself? I seem to have an easier time coming up with ideas and structure if I have multiple factors to combine. This week’s Write On Edge prompt was to take the cryptic hashtag #secretpiefridge and come up with an origin for it. I’m not completely happy with the “secret” part of this, but otherwise I was pleasantly surprised with the way this came out.
I enjoyed the banter of the characters … and it brought back all those frustrations with study groups. Creative use of the prompt.
I like the feel of the scene. It seems authentic. I did have a bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight through. Probably just me 🙂
Yeah, I was a little worried about the # of characters in 400 words.
I don’t necessarily find it easier to meet different parameters in the same story, but I love the challenge of it, which makes it more exciting, which makes it more fun, which makes it seem easier for me…I’m talking in circles, but I hope you understand my point.
As far as the scene, I thought it worked well. It felt more college to me, but that could be because I don’t remember participating in group projects outside of school until I was in college. During junior high and high school, my parents were super strict and any group collaboration had to happen at school, either between classes or after, but at school. Especially if boys were involved.
Love how you worked the nuances of the “you had to be there” in for all the characters. It seemed like everyone had a private joke with someone else. Well done!
Oh, you saw things I didn’t even see. 🙂 I was thinking high school for the age of the characters, on the rule of thumb that with children’s literature the characters should always be just a few years older than the audience you’re writing for…frankly, I never had group projects, either, but I know some people did.
I think it has a realistic flow.
I think you’ve got he group dynamic down. I had a pretty autonomous life in high school, so I could see this happening among my friends.
Kate, you have a talent for writing short stories…
Thanks, Ellen! They are a wrestling match, but I figure it’s good exercise.