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Good kids almost
For young readers of all ages
Sample - from Chapter 11
Amy reminded him he was coming to dinner that evening, to announce his decision. The announcement part was just a formality, because they already knew what it was going to be. But it would be extra fun, she said, because her mom was cooking something special. She wasn't going to tell him what; that would spoil the surprise. But she did tell him there were going to be things her dad had to order from very far away and spend a lot of money to get. She referred to the mystery foods with awe and an attitude as though she expected Kevin to share it, but he did not. It could be endangered Madagascar tree frog legs for all he cared. He was no longer in the clutches of their food, but she didn't know that.
He barely heard it as she rattled on about what she wasn't going to tell him. She assumed he was getting excited as she wanted him to, but he was thinking about something else. He was trying to figure out a way to save her.
Her parents were past saving, that was obvious, and that thing that was supposed to be her grandmother. But she was just a kid, just like him. It wasn't her fault she was the way she was. They had made her that way. They had brainwashed her, and they had almost gotten him too. She was in deep, because she was so close to the source of infection; and he despaired of being able to get her out. But he would have to try. Because he could not see a future without her.
"...and just bought us a brand new BMZ," she was saying. "The 85X, you know. Top a the line. Everything, computerized, bar and modem built right into the dash, wireless fax. Even got the digital paint job. Gramm's been staying in the other world lately. He told her not to take any more chances. We were lucky that time, just 'cause the Plums came to us first. That was just luck, plum luck. Ha ha. Get it? Plum luck? Next time we might not be so lucky. There aren't enough worms in her world, so we started getting them for her. We get them shipped-in fresh every week from this big bait company in Cleveland. Six-inch nightcrawlers; that's her favorite. So she doesn't have to go out looking. She said wild worms are way better. She said you could taste the difference. But she's not complaining. We're getting her plenty of lady bugs and preying mantises too, to keep her happy.
"Father says when we're all completely evolved, we're gonna move to another world, like permanently, where it's cold enough, and they don't have any electricity. Trouble is where it's cold enough there aren't enough worms and bugs -- that's the balance a nature -- but he says we can have our own family import/export business. He'll be retired from the company by then anyway."
She realized he was staring off into space. "Hey, Kevin! Are you listening?" He didn't answer. "Do you even hear a single word I'm saying? Kevin! Earth to Kevin! Come in Kevin!"
He came back. "How come," he said, "if they're all so afraid of fire and sparks, how come they're always burning candles all over the place...and smoking? And drinking alcohol? And eating exploding ice cream? Huh? Tell me that!"
"They're not afraid. They're just aware. Anyway, they're not even flammable when they're not in...you know.... What were you thinking just now? A penny for your thoughts."
"I don't know. Just daydreaming. Thinking about how I don't want to lose you. How I can't see any future without you."
"What would make you think something like that, silly? Of course you won't lose me. I'm going to be your wife for the rest of your human life. I'm gonna be tied around your neck like a ball and chain."
"But what about after?"
"We'll still be married. Gramm's still dad's mom. Things don't change just 'cause you evolve."
"Yes, but, it's just that I can't help thinking there's something wrong...with...."
"Oh no! Don't say that! Tell me you're not thinking what I think you're thinking! Tell me you're not!"
"What do you think I'm thinking?"
"Tell me you're not thinking of refusing your coming-in."
"Well, actually, I think I am thinking that."
"Oh my God, no! I was afraid a that."
"I think this whole business is bad. Evil. And I need to find a way to save you from it."
"Oh no! Oh no! Kevin, no! You're going to spoil everything! You're gonna get yourself cooked down into the slime and ruin my wedding! Don't you see how inconsiderate that is? I'm very disappointed in you."
"But don't you see, Amy? Eating endangered species? Cooking up everybody who doesn't agree with them? Even if they are your parents, you have to see they're a few french fries short of a happy meal."
"No, you're the one that's missing french fries.You don't see how good it is. Maybe it's Father's fault, for taking you too fast. Maybe I could get them to give you an extension. I mean, because we're engaged and all. They never do that, but maybe they could make a special exception in your case, I mean, for me, because I'm their daughter. You just need more time, that's all it is, to see the way things really are."
"I already see the way things really are. What else is there to see?"
"But everything mortal must die. That's the Law. I mean, isn't it?"
"So what's your point?"
"My point is, if it has to die, and we kill it, we are only doing something that has to be done. Now how can that be bad? It's the way things are, and that makes it good."
"But you don't have to do it. That's what's wrong with the picture."
"So is it wrong if a lion kills a cute little baby zebra? Tears its cute little throat out and eats out its cute little baby guts? Is that evil? Or if a cat kills a cute little baby bird? Or if a bird kills a cute little baby worm?"
"How's it different? It's the same."
"No, it's different."
"Different! Way different!"
"How? It's exactly the same."
"Animals kill to eat."
"Well, so do we. We eat everything and everybody we kill. We don't waste anything. We gotta eat too, you know."
"Okay. I see your point. You're absolutely right, but you're still wrong."
"How can I be right and still be wrong?"
"I don't know. I can't argue with you. I just know what I know. There's something wrong with this. But it's not your fault. It's them. They're evil."
"How dare you say something like that about them? When they are so nice to you. Sure, I know, they're not politically correct. But evil? I don't think so. You better not let my father catch you thinking things like that. Or you know what'll happen."
"Yeah. I'll get cooked down into the slime. Does that sound right to you? Like a good thing?"
"People have to be punished for what they do."
"Yes, maybe, if they do something wrong. But not for what they think. This is America. We have freedom of thought here. And the freedom to not join up with something we don't believe in. It's in the Constitution."
"Yeah but Dragons are international. We follow a higher constitution."
"We? So it's 'we', is it? You're already one of them, are you?"
"I'm going to be. And anyways, I'm in the family, so I already am."
"What if I don't join?"
"You have to."
"Yes but what if I don't?"
"Come on, Kevin! Don't do this to me!"
"What am I doing to you?"
"Oh, Kevin! You're gonna spoil everything! It's okay if you have doubts and fears. It's only natural. That's why they give you three days. Father says you can't stay where you are. You either move forward, or you get...how can I say it? Recycled? Evolution is the only way to go."
"Evolution. That's what they tell you it is?"
"Well, isn't it? We change into a higher form of life. I'd call that evolution, wouldn't you?"
"You call turning into a reptile changing into a higher form of life?"
"Well, isn't it? Being mortal sucks, Kevin. But Dragons can live forever. They're bigger, faster, smarter. They have all kinds of powers. I'd call that higher, wouldn't you? That's evolution, Kevin. That's our Destiny. That would be everybody's Destiny, if they could get it. Don't you see how lucky you are...to be chosen?"
"So that's how you think it is?"
"Well, isn't it? Oh, Kevin, it's a wonderful thing! Please don't mess it up. Please don't! You get to be a human being for a long time. You even get to have kids and everything. You get to enjoy the finer things of life and have more than everybody else. You get the best houses, the best cars, the best food. And little by little you turn, and finally you're totally complete, but not before you're ready. Look at my gramm. She's been a complete for a hundred and fifty years, and nobody could be happier."
"Is that why she eats worms and bugs?"
"That's her favorite food."
"Yeah, right. Give me a break! Evolution? It sounds more like de-evolution to me. Maybe if you ended up eating some kind of manna from heaven or something like that. But worms!? Bugs!?"
"Don't knock it unless you try it. You ever ate worm?"
"No. Have you?"
"Of course. All the time. It's delicious. Especially dipped in the sauce. The best way is to eat globs of tiny ones and swallow them whole, so they wiggle in your tummy. Mmmmmm, yummy!"
"I'm sorry you shared that with me, Amy. That's more information than I can process right now."
"Oh, you can handle it. You're a big boy. Guess what? There's gonna be worms tonight!"
"Is that the big surprise?"
"Part of it."
Then the bell rang, and they split up to go to different classes.
"You'll do the right thing," she said walking away. "Because you're my main man, and I believe in you. See you after school."
"Okay," Kevin said, but it wasn't okay.
"Sure," he said, but he wasn't sure.
© Charles Martin Simon