Here we go again: Scripting Change‘s second anthology: Beyond the Words! This year, the theme is literacy. My story is “Super Holly Hansson in: The Wicked Word Witch!” (I hope you never had a teacher like her). For a preview of my story, click here.
I bought one. There are goodies in there besides my stuff. The short story “I Don’t Read So Good” touched me. In a good way.
You can buy Beyond the Words at Smashwords, or at Amazon: US, or Amazon UK, or at Barnes & Noble. All proceeds will be donated to the following organizations. That’s right, I do not get a penny, but these guys below who foster literacy in their communities will!. And they are deserving.
Read for Literacy, in Northwestern Ohio, provides learning opportunities for readers of all ages and backgrounds, with three tailored programs: Creating Young Readers, for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade; Adult Basic Education; and English Language Learners, for non-native English speakers.
Literacy Action, in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an incredibly wide array of literacy programs for adults — from literal reading assistance, to workplace literacy, family literacy & education, and much more, this organization provides its community with crucial support, enhancing so many lives!
Page Ahead, in Seattle, Washington, focuses its literacy efforts on children, allowing elementary-school children to browse book fairs at the end of the school year & choose their own books for the summer — which are then provided to them by Page Ahead! They bolster this program by also working with parents, helping them engage their young readers.
Here is an excerpt from the story. The beginning, a very nice place to start.
SURFVILLE, CALIFORNIA. THE GEEK GUY’S COMICS AND COFFEE CORNER. EARLY SEPTEMBER. A WEDNESDAY. 5:52 P.M.
When Batgirl delivered a flying kick to a meaty thug’s mug and quipped, “Bykn hijfdkh stbbbb NARF,” I suspected a bad print run. When I opened the next comic book in my stash, where Power Girl growled to a guy ogling her super-bosom, “Tb oxow klk lup rrhgl,” I wondered if I was having a stroke at twenty five. But when the store’s coffee drinkers told the Geek Guy that they did not want the menu written in Klingon, I knew more than my word balloons had popped.
Just then, an anchorman howled from the wall-mounted television. “This is an emergency news bulletin! Reading in Surfville is impossible! Printed words are gibberish!”
A guy next to the adult comics rack stared harder at his copy of Chain-Mail Bikini Sword-Babe. “Hey! He’s right!”
The anchorman’s panic was about to undo his hairdo. “This just in! Chanting townspeople are driving, surfing, and zombie-shuffling toward the high school football field!” He blinked hard. “Oh, the humanity! I can’t read my teleprompterrrr … A, B, C …” He sleepwalked off-camera.
The Geek Guy closed his cash register and smiled at me. “So Holly. Can you up, up, and punch out illiteracy before I lose my customers?”
I pulled my blue supersuit and red cape out of my yellow hip purse. “Yeah. Can I leave my jeans and Batman T-shirt at the cash register?”
Fanboys turned to me, the six-foot-one geek girl turned Power Girl. Except my blonde hair was longer, and my supersuit had no bosom window.
I glared at them. “I’m changing in the bathroom.”
THE SURFVILLE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD. SIX MINUTES LATER.
My e-bracelet’s map app was unreadable, but I’d been here before. Except then, I hadn’t hovered one hundred feet above the grass.
The sun was low, the air was warm, the acoustics were loud. The thousands-strong crowd below—cheerleaders and geek girls, jocks and nerds, children and parents, surfers and tourists—marched onto the field and rattled my eardrums with the tune of the Wizard of Oz castle guards: “A, B, C! Aaaa B C! A, B, C! Aaaa B C!”
A podium on a platform stood near the north goal posts. I landed in front of the crowd and several yards before the platform. I waited for the villain to arrive, pontificate, and get punched.
Up to that perch strode a prim-lipped, silver-hair-in-a-bun epitome of the child-shushing librarian. I’d seen those grey long sleeves and full skirt before, maybe on Little House on the Dust Bowl? She icily eyed the crowd and screeched, “CLASS BEGINS!”
Everyone shut up, sat on invisible chairs, and faced the teacher.
A shimmering screen filled the space between the goalposts. Words appeared on it. And I could read them! No, NO, I was NOT going to recite THAT! I cocked my fist for a super-telekinetic punch.
She beat me to it. She led the crowd in a song that hit my brain like a hundred tons of Proust: “A B, C D, E F G! NO ONE SHALL TALK BACK TO ME!”
Words fled my head and filled the screen: A, aah, aardvark, aardwolf, Aaron … all the way through gyrostabilizer, gyrostat, gyrus, and gyve.
I staggered. That thing on the tip of my right … um … upper limb? What was I going to perform with it? I pounded my head to knock words loose.
The woman scrutinized me. She was growing past three yards tall. “SUPER HOLLY HANSSON! FORGET HOW TO FIGHT, DEARIE? LIKE ALL YOUR A TO F WORDS? HEH HEH HEH HEH HEHHHH!”
I growled, “Ubby dubbie! Shlump guggle … bloob?” That wasn’t right! I shut my mouth, grabbed my head, tried to grasp words, writer NEEDS her words!
More onscreen lyrics, more singing: “H I J K, LMNOP! YOUR WORDS SUPERPOWER ME!”
Words squeezed onscreen: Ha, Habacue, habanera … through pyx, pyxie, pyxis.
M-m-my skull was tub where someone took stopper out, words d-d-draining! Q through Z thinking so strenuous! Should … what … why … n-n-knees hit grass …
The woman was ten yards tall, smiling like she’d whacked a child’s knuckles with a yardstick. “PUNY, PATHETIC PUPILS! YOUR WRITTEN, SPOKEN, AND THINKING WORDS WILL ALL BE MINE! THEN I’LL FILL YOUR EMPTY HEADS WITH MY LESSONS! ‘HAPPY ENDINGS ARE FOOLISH! WRITING IS FOR ELITES! BOOKS MUST HURT! READING WAS NEVER FUN WHEN I WAS A CHILD!’”
The crowd drooled, its clothing turned grey.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!