Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #36

TITLE: Unitus

Rather than protest when her English teacher angrily pounded the big red mushroom-shaped button on her desk, Abby simply gathered her things. She’d been to the Principal’s office before. The janitor would walk her down the hall and—-

Her classmates gasped. Abby turned. Standing in the doorway was Smackie, the former Sumo wrestler who normally handled only tough cases. He was six-nine and four hundred pounds of melancholy. His baton looked tiny in his huge hands, but it was deeply stained with the blood of recalcitrant students.
She pictured the headline: TEEN REGRETS INSULTING TEACHER.

As she walked down the hall, Abby heard the handcuffs that hung from Smackie’s belt jingling like they were trying to escape. She felt lucky he hadn’t cuffed her, but the contraband in her pocket seemed so bulky and obvious that even the dim-witted guard would notice it sooner or later. Her only hope: distract him.

“Sorry to interrupt your lunch,” she said, though it was mid-afternoon.

Smackie never engaged in small talk with students. He said nothing.

“How many rabbits you eat today?”

He poked the baton into small of her back, just below where her long black hair fell.

“None, huh? You stick with sushi or what?”

“Roasted schoolgirls.”

Abby gulped. Some kids ended up in the clinic after a round of discipline. One boy died after a week in the hospital.

Smackie opened the Principal's private door, seized Abby by the neck, and shoved her into a chair--exactly what she wanted.


  1. Hooked! The mushroom-shaped button threw me a little. At first, I thought it was on Abby's desk, but now I'm thinking it might be on the teacher's desk. Could just be me. :) Other than that, I thought it read smoothly, and I would definitely keep reading to see what comes next.

    BTW, love your protag's name. ;)

  2. The description of Smackie is OUT-FREAKING-STANDING. Love "the handcuffs that hung from Smackie’s belt jingling like they were trying to escape." Great, just great! Loved the dialog (but would like to be certain the "Roasted schoolgirls" line is Smackie's).

    Can't wait to read more n' see where the story goes!


  3. ROFL. Great set up, particularly the description of Smackie. Wonderful voice. I'd read on.

  4. I really liked this and would for sure read more. The button threw me off a bit as well- but over all great piece!

  5. Hooked. No clue what's going on, but I definitely want to know.

  6. Hm. This one is interesting. I'd read on without a doubt, but something about it feels so oddly MG to me, except the bits where it gets oddly dark (the bloodstained part, and the one about the dead kid). I think it's the mixture between humor and caricature you've got. It's very unique, but it sort of gives me whiplash.

    That said, I wouldn't suggest changing anything, because the said whiplashy mix of style gives it such a unique flavor. Best of luck!

    (By the way: My word verification thingy is "Prizers." Good omen? I think so!)

  7. I agree with Riley above. It felt almost middle grade to me too. And I wasn't always sure what was caricature and what was reality. I would read on, but I was a bit lost.

  8. The voice and the weirdness are what pull me in here.

    I liked the twists that tell us this isn't your average school, but I can't tell if I'm reading fantasy, dystopian, futuristic, etc.

    Loved the line that Smackie was four hundred pounds of melancholy. But as it turns our, he isn't melancholic. In fact, he has a nice warped sense of humor.

    Showing, instead of telling, could make this more vivid and immediate.

    I did wonder why she doesn't seem the least bit afraid of Smackie or going to the principal's office, after hearing about what had happened to other students.

    I also want to know what she did to get in trouble and what is in her pocket, but I can wait for those answers.

    Over all, I'd read more, but I do think it needs more work.

  9. I want to know what she did to get in trouble. I can understand that she isn't afraid of the principal since she's been sent to his office before, but I do wonder why she isn't scared of Smackie.

    I would read on.

  10. Thanks to everyone for your comments. In the next 50 words or so we discover why she's not afraid of Smackie...

  11. For me this reads too young. The writing is very broad and up front, more MG. I’m also a bit thrown. It seems to be going for outrageous humor, but that is a very difficult mark to hit and for me it hasn’t found it yet. There are great moments and descriptions, but I felt the overall effect was over-the-top in a way that didn't get me wondering what was going to happen.