Growing up in Hollywood was not as glamorous as it sounds, but the education is unmatched in all the country. In class I was taught geometry, history, and biology, but on the way home I learned how to recognize drug dealers and whores. I could spot a hopeful actor or actress from across a restaurant by the script they kept folded in their back pocket. My friend Dickson and I never finished at the top of our class in school, but outside those walls we felt like Einstein and some other smart guy like Einstein.
My family moved to Hollywood when I was still in diapers because my dad was an actor. He mostly did plays, but wanted to be in the movies. He was always talking in weird voices and pretending he was other people. Sometimes he would let me play along with him. We were knights and spies and astronauts. No matter what adventure we shared it always ended with a tickle fight and lots of laughter. After a while we didn’t pretend anymore. He said it was because I was getting older now and it was time for me to grow up. Luckily I got a new best friend right around the same time.
My problem was that I was looking at her face. Her brown hair was pulled back in a single ponytail. She paused for a second to let her blue eyes adjust to the dim atmosphere. As she started walking toward the counter I tried to picture her covered in fur with large ears, but nothing really clicked. That’s when I heard Paul’s voice whisper as he poured a shot of espresso. He never looked my way.
Maribelle was drawn to the water the moment she saw the warm rays of the sun broken into a million tiny diamonds on its surface. It was a sheet of sparkles for as far as she could see and the perfect place for a princess to play.
Dorian was just trying to make the best of the situation. The long hill of fading grass that stretched toward the lake was a wonderland of potential. And along the edge of the water he supposed that there were all sorts of magical discoveries to be found.
Maribelle knew from the moment their parents had met for brunch that she liked Dorian. He was quiet, but intelligent eyes roamed the countryside and kept a constant watch. He still had not looked her in the eye, but had a gentle way about him like the knights in her favorite bedtime stories. Slowly, he seemed to accept that they would be spending the day together and as they wondered off to play he began shouting in excitement new discoveries along the way, though she was still uncertain as to whether his words were for her or just to himself. (more…)
In my defense, I was desperate. If my mother would have been there she would have pointed out that my desperation was directly related to my lack of patience, but I tend to ignore my mom when she brings up my flaws anyway.
It all started with a craving for a taco. This was no ordinary taco craving though. It was a Seventh Street and Bell, outside the Hard Eight Billiard Club, taco stand taco craving. No one can make a street taco like Jose. (To be honest, I’m not actually sure that Jose is his name. He doesn’t speak English and it’s just easy for me to remember.)
Nick leaned against the passenger side window as his mom backed out of the driveway and tried fall back into the world of sleep he had been forced to abandon. His scruffy brown hair was just long enough help block out some of the morning light. If the judge had told him that waking up at 8:30 each Saturday was part of the deal, he might have opted for the jail time instead.
A constant jostle of stops and starts kept the dream world at bay, but thoughts of the day that denied him his sleep filled his mind. His dress shoes squeaked noticeably from lack of use in the quiet of the courtroom. Fear struck him like a sledgehammer to the chest when the bailiff would not let his mom join him in the front. That was the moment he knew the judge was going to treat him like an adult even though he had just turned 17.
The moment I stood up I knew there was no going back. Any courage I had felt drained away and was instantly replaced by a myriad of fears. I stared at my feet, willing them to move. Heads began to turn from the front rows, like a wave of dominoes that came crashing towards me. Slowly, I slid past the strangers sitting with me in the last row. That walk to the front of the funeral home was the longest of my life.
The minister motioned to the podium and I found my place behind it. I began to study the wood grain in an attempt to avoid meeting the hard gazes of people I had never met. Silence only fed my fears, so I took a deep breath and looked up. (more…)