Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #11

GENRE: YA Contemporary

Before I could stop myself, I reached for my hair, my fingers smoothing over my naked scalp. Gone, it was all gone. Even now, almost a year later it still came as a shock. I did this several times a day, like clockwork. It felt like a phantom limb, my hair.

My oncologist for the last year or so, Dr. Meredith, bustled through his office door. Noise from the hallway bled through for just a moment, before the door shut behind him, sealing us in. My mom drummed her fingers on her leg, a nervous habit. Dad reached over and took her hand in his, absorbing her tension.

Dr. Meredith was a large, robust man, and jolly, too with rosy cheeks and this perpetual baby powder smell. I always thought he would be better suited as a Santa Claus at the Green Oaks Mall rather than a doctor charged with the duty of delivering earth-shattering news. Maybe his appearance was supposed to soften the blow. The bad news is you have cancer. The good news is Santa Claus is your doctor. Peppermint stick for your trouble?

I’d always had this strange affinity for fat doctors. I wondered if they got on their scales every morning, shook their fists at death, and said, “Ha! Still fat and still breathing, suckers!” But, seriously, they knew how very possible it was to just die. At any moment and for no reason. Death did not discriminate.


  1. Wow, totally hooked. Loved the line about the hairloss being like a phantom limb. You have just enough sass for a sad situation, not overly inappropriately funny. Love it.

  2. That opening paragraph makes my heart plummet into my stomach every time I read it.

    I love the blend of heart and humor. Good luck!

  3. I love how I can very vividly see the doctor's office scene from this brief description, AS WELL AS describe the relationships between everyone in there. Really nice writing.

    Good luck!!!!

  4. Hooked from the first line! I was reading it expecting a description of her coffee-coloured tendrils or whatever and then you dropped the "naked scalp". Wow!

  5. Wow! This was great. It's awesome how it's such a serious scene but you made it funny, too (love the image of the fat doctors on the scale). My only (very minor) suggestion is changing the doctor's name--when I see "Meredith" I think of a female, so it was a little jarring that the doctor was male, even though Meredith is his last name. But I'm still VERY hooked!

  6. You are truly gifted with your ability to evoke such strong emotions that range from tragic to hilarity in such a very small amount of text. I would absolutely read this.

  7. I want to read more!

    Those opening lines are fabulous. They immediately gave me an idea of the situation, without knowing anything about anything except hair (or lack there of).

    The touch of humor was perfect, exposing the narrator's inner strength, despite the situation. Artfully done!

  8. I love the voice, from the small stuff like "sealing us in" to the hilarious comparisons to Santa Claus and the funny paragraph about shaking his fist at death. The humor makes me less nervous to read about such a difficult experience, so I'd love to read more. Great work!

  9. I like this a lot!

    I would switch a few sentences, IMO.

    The good news is Santa Clause is your doctor. The bad news is you have cancer. Peppermint stick for your trouble?

    Excellent voice!

  10. Love the voice. Cancer is never easy to read about, but I would definitely keep going on this one.

  11. Great voice. Perfect amount of humor for a tragic situation, feels spot on for YA.

    I wish there were more to read here.

  12. I love your descriptions and the way you open this. The title alone hooked me!

  13. You've got me. Your opening paragraph grabbed me by the collars.
    I love the ramblings about the Doctor, your voice is perfect, BUT I'm now distracted from the main character. While some of her (I'm presuming female since guys adjust to the bald thing as a fashion statement)characterization comes through in her observations and contemplations of her doctor, I'm starting to drift. Don't let the Doc steal the show. Maybe try taking these wonderful paragraphs and weaving them in as HER story unfolds.

    I'd keep reading.

  14. Thanks everyone for the feedback! It is so appreciated!