Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Secret Agent #47

TITLE: Floopocalypse
GENRE: MG - Sci-Fi Adventure

On the day we left for Alaska, a librarian tried to eat my brains for lunch.

Her name was Ms. Pendergrass. She worked at the Santa Monica Public Library every day after school. I know this because I was at the Santa Monica Public Library every day after school. Usually waiting for dad to come pick me up.

“He’ll be here soon, sweetheart,” Ms. Pendergrass said as she sat down next to me. “Hey, you hungry?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Here,” said Ms. Pendergrass, “you can have my bag of chips. My stomach doesn’t feel so good.”

“Are they low-sodium, all-natural, non-fat chips?” I asked.

“Would I give you junk food?” she said. “Here, I’ll be right back.”

Ms. Pendergrass tossed the bag of low-sodium, all-natural, non-fat chips onto the table and scurried off towards the bathroom.

“K, thanks,” I said, opening the chips.

A half hour later the chips were gone and Ms. Pendergrass was still in the bathroom. I grew a little concerned.

“Uh...Ms. Pendergrass, you ok in there?” I said, knocking on the bathroom door with the end of my field hockey stick. I play field hockey. Left Inner. Co-Captain. My stick is an extension of my arm. It goes everywhere I go.

“Helloooo,” I said, knocking again with my stick.

“ROOLLLRRRRFFFFFFF!”, something roared back.

“...Ms. Pendergrass?”

Then, bam, the bathroom door burst open. And there stood Ms. Pendergrass. Except, she was no longer the Ms. Pendergrass I knew. She was a monster. She was a Floo.


  1. Oh Heavens! We have a children's librarian like that in a neighboring town.
    Great opener. Sounds like a fun read.

  2. The voice feels perfect, the tension is subtle, and then the story pops with an unexpected twist. Very well written, with a breezy, fun style. I like the repetitive use of wording because it suits the main character.

  3. Love this! Would love to read more, swap critiques, anything!

    I wasn't sure about the kid asking about healthy chips - what kid does that? But then again, maybe it fits with him spending so much time in the library.

    Love the title too. Seriously, contact me, I want more!!!! Mine is #38.

  4. Very fun! Love the opening line.

    Thoughtful kid to check on the librarian.

    I want to keep reading to know why his father is so late and how they end up moving to Alaska after school. Great work!

  5. Definitely sounds like a great comic voice for a middle grader, very intriguing and fun first sentence.

    How old is your protagonist that she would play field hockey in a league formal enough to be co-captain? Or maybe the junior leagues are a bigger deal in Santa Monica than they are around these parts.

    I agree that it's kind of strange that a kid would ask that about the chips. This shows that she might be somewhat precocious--if that's intended, it's working, but it did take me out of it a bit.

    Also, I really hope your protag takes down Ms. Pendergrass with the hockey stick. Battle!!!

  6. I love this! My favorite piece on here so far.

    That said, I want to be picky about repetition. You've got chips in there 5 times. For me, you could lose the 'opening the chips' and possibly the second run of low-sodium, all-natural, non-fat chips (although I did find it amusing and think her choice makes her more interesting).

  7. I loved this. Really, really did :) and can't think of anything to change.

  8. Cool! Agree with previous comments: good tension and then surprise. Good characterization. Good MG voice!!!

  9. Love this, it is funny and exciting. I really like the first line, but I do feel I've seen it before and worry that it might be getting cliche. I hope not because it is a great opening line.

  10. This one did hook me. Catchy first line, and I liked the repetitive chip fits in with the voice of the character. Must find out what a floo is!

  11. Love it! Dont change anything, I'd read on.

  12. Yeah, I wouldn't change anything either :)

  13. I like this. It grabs me and draws me in. I want to read more.

  14. I like the voice here, but the entire conversation about the chips feels like an arbitrary time-filler to lead to Ms. Pendergrass's transformation.

    Perhaps you could focus a bit more on the quirkiness of the MC (like you did nicely with the detail about the hockey stick) by explaining a little the OCD nature of his/her concern with the chips' nutritional value. It could make for an amusing moment, not rush the action, and also give us a bit of valuable early character exposition.