Reading work sample final
Merchant of death
I hope you’re reading this, Mark.
Heck, I hope anybody’s reading this because the only thing that’s keeping me from going totally off my nut right now is getting this all down on paper so that someday, when it’s all over, it’ll help prove that I’m not a total whack job. You see, two things happened yesterday that changed my life forever.
The first was that I finally kissed Courtney Chetwynde. Yes, the Courtney Chetwynde of the bites-her-lower-lip-when-she’s-thinking, stares-right-into-your-heart-with-her-deep-gray-eyes, looks-unbelievable-in-her-volleyball-uniform, and always-smells-a-little-like-roses fame. Yeah, I kissed her. It was a long time coming and it finally happened. Woo-hoo!
The second thing was that I was launched through a wormhole called a “flume” and got jacked across the universe to a medieval planet called “Denduron” that’s in the middle of a violent civil war.
But back to Courtney.
This wasn’t your average “nice to see you” peck on the cheek. Oh no. This was a full-on, eyes closed, starting with tight lips but eventually morphing into a mutual open-mouth probe thing that lasted for a good thirty-second lifetime. And we were close, too. Like real close. I was holding her so tight I could feel her heart beating against my chest. Or maybe it was my heart. Or maybe our hearts were bouncing off each other. I have no idea. All I know is that it was pretty cool. I hope I get the chance to do it again, but right now it’s not looking so good.
I guess it’s kind of dumb to be fixating on the glorious Courtney Chetwynde when the real problem is that I’m afraid I’m going to die. Maybe that’s why I can’t get her out of my head. The memory of that kiss is the only thing that feels real to me right now. I’m afraid that if I lose that memory I’m going to lose everything, and if that happens then…well, I don’t know what will happen then because I don’t understand anything that’s been happening to me. Maybe by writing it all down, it’ll start to make some sense.
Let me try to piece together the events that led to my writing this. Up until yesterday I was living large. At least as large as any normal fourteen-year-old guy can live. School came pretty easy; I kicked ass in sports; my parents were way cool; I didn’t hate my little sister, Shannon, usually. I had excellent friends, with you sitting right on top of the list, Mark. I lived in this major house where I had my own private space to play music or whatever and nobody bugged me. My dog, Marley, was the coolest golden retriever there ever was; and I had recently macked with Courtney Chetwynde. (Did I mention that?) How much more goin’ on can you get?
The thing is, I also had an Uncle Press.
You remember him? He was the guy who always showed up at my birthday parties with some special surprise. He wouldn’t just bring a pony, he’d bring a truckload of ponies for a minirodeo. He’s the guy who turned my house into that laser-maze game. Was that great or what? He’s the one who was throwing the pizzas at my party last year. Remember that guy? Every once in a while he’d show up, out of the blue, and do something amazing like take me flying in a private plane. Yeah, he was a pilot. Another time he gave me this computer that was so advanced, it wasn’t even in stores yet. You know the calculator I have that you input numbers by talking to it? That was from Uncle Press. I gotta tell you, he was the coolio uncle everybody wished they had.
But there was always something a little mysterious about Uncle Press. He was my mom’s brother, but she didn’t say much about him. It was almost like she felt weird talking about him. Whenever I asked, she’d shrug and say something like, “Oh, you know him, he’s his own man. How was school today?” Basically, she’d dodge the question.
I don’t know what he did for a living, but he always had boatloads of money. I figured he probably had some top-level government job, like doing research for NASA or something and it was all hus
h-hush. So I didn’t ask too many questions. He wasn’t married, but sometimes he’d show up at the house with some odd character. One time he brought this lady over who never said a word. He said she was his “friend,” but I got the feeling she was more like his “girlfriend.” I think she was African or something because she was real dark-skinned. And beautiful. But it was strange because she’d just stare at me and smile. I wasn’t scared or anything because she had soft eyes. And maybe she didn’t talk because she didn’t know English, but still it was kind of creepy. Merchant of death. (2002). Retrieved from http://djmachalebooks.com/books/pendragon/the-merchant-of-death/
2. How would you clarify the meaning of the mysterious lady? 3. Why do you think he is talking about his uncle? 4. How would you explain the world Denduron? 5. Rank the importance of the boy mark? 6. What choice would you have made if you were writing this to someone?