This is just a small excerpt from a chapter I’ve been writing. If you’ve read any other posts in this section, you already know that I’m on my way to writing my first novel. That being said, I’m still in the very, very early stages and can’t think of a plot or idea that I really feel excited about committing too, so I’ve brainstormed and started writing different beginnings to stories. I guess this could potentially act as another chapter to the “Lily” or “Jenny” book, but for now it’s just sort of to get my gears turning and see how its received by all of you guys. So I hope you enjoy. This one has a slightly older demographic, and I think you’ll see what I mean when you read it. Let’s just say it’s rated PG-13 so far.
It only takes one second. For a bullet to penetrate through the chest cavity, piercing the heart and killing its victim instantly. For an infant to speak his or her first word. And for sixteen-year old James O’Connor to realize he is, in fact, not human.
But to understand the true complexity and harrowing realization of his peculiar and unique identity crisis, let’s backtrack a bit first.
James’ story begins in the town of Twin Oaks, a small suburban hamlet an hour North of the bustling streets of New York City. James is a junior at Twin Oaks High. He is a member of the show choir, gets straight A’s, and before injuring his ankle, was the star player of the school’s notoriously undefeated soccer team. He has a beautiful girlfriend, named Shelly, and two loving, non divorced parents who spoil him to his core, the lack of a divorce being extremely common of the upper-middle class, predominantly BMW-driving residents of Great Oak, New York. On paper, James had the quintessential, perfect life for a teenage boy. But you’ll soon find one of the common threads in his story is that things are not always (almost never, in fact) what they seem.
When James was a little boy, his grandparents bought him a Mr. Magic’s Startling Magic Starter Kit. Every day for hours after school, little James would run home, beaming with anticipation, and practice his magic tricks. But like many other hobbies, as well as many other little boys, the fascination and inspiration subsided as the years flew by.
Now, at sixteen, the closest thing James performs to a magic trick is making his paretns’ money disappear from their wallets. I guess an important detail about James you should know is that at this particular stage in his life, he is battling (well, losing if it’s a battle) a nasty addiction to prescription painkillers. His first introduction to the deceitful, tricky little blue pill was two years prior when he was given thirty of them after getting his wisdom teeth taken out. It started with the prescribed dosage, then increased to twice as much, then three times, and, well, I think we can all see where this is going. But to make a long story relatively less long, and substantially more interesting, let’s take a look at the moment James realized he had a problem.
You see, something you should know about our dashing protagonist is that he isn’t the hero in this story by any means. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. But everybody needs a backstory, right? Or else he’s just five letters strung together on a page in a book you picked up for a dollar at the thrift store. And that’s no fun for you, or me.
After his prescription ran out, it wasn’t easy to satisfy his cravings. After all, how could he possibly get any more little blue pills, without accidentally breaking his arm or breaking into a pharmacy. And that’s when his addiction changed from semi-functional and manageable to flat-out, plain and simply, desperate. He paid a freshman named Josh Finkelstein twenty bucks to drop a free weight on his hand and drive him to the emergency room. Not to be racist, but I mean c’mon, you’re asking a Jew to do something…for money. Needless to say Josh was happy to offer his assistance, but held his hand out before breaking Josh’s, if you catch my drift.
So Josh broke his hand in eight different places, and was given twice as many little blue pills. But by this point you’re probably thinking, okay, so he is a teenage drug addict that seems to have everything a person could want. But wait a second, earlier you said he found out he’s an alien or something. Well, if that is what you’re thinking, first of all I really suggest you practice attentive reading first, because I never said anything about an alien. All I said was that he found out he wasn’t human. For all you know, this entire time I could be talking about a Labrador Retriever. But don’t worry, I think that would be a less compelling story than the one I’m actually telling. So no, Josh isn’t a dog, nor is he an alien, but I can’t just come out and tell you what makes him non-human. Then we would finish the book on page four, and what kind of writer would I be if I let that happen? Rhetorical, but not a very good one, just in case you’re a little slow today.
So getting back to Josh and his wonderful life and magic-filled childhood, you can only imagine his excitement when he found Mr. Magic’s Startling Magic Starter Kit in the attic. He was originally searching for his long-lost Nintendo 64, hoping his knowledge and accessibility to 1990’s cult video game classics would win him the prize of finally getting into his girlfriend’s panties.