Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Honor of St Patrick's Day

Today I decided it would be fun to post the first chapter of my book Bad Luck (title is a work in progress...). My book is about a girl whose luck is stolen by a leprechaun and she must fight to get it back. Because of this, I had a little more fun with St. Patrick's Day this year. We made a leprechaun trap last night and the leprechaun wreaked havoc on our house. Glitter everywhere, green in the milk and the toilets, and butterscotches left for the kids. Today we had a very green meal of ravioli, sausages, lime sherbet drinks and we're finishing off with green jello.

Anyway, here it is!

Chapter 1

The Worst Day Ever. The title of my paper glared at me on the computer screen. It was due in two days and I could think of nothing to write.  The thing was, a bad day for me was considered a good day for most people.
        Leaning back in my chair, I slowly turned in circles and looked around the room at the trophies and ribbons lining my white walls. My room seemed to be perfect—from the top-of-the-line computer that I’d earned with my own babysitting money to the closet filled with clothes, separated by color and style. I was hoping for ideas for my paper, but I could draw nothing from the perfection. The neatly arranged pillows and stuffed animals on my bed were suddenly too much. I pulled off my shoe and threw it, sending them flying. 
        I sighed and decided it was time to rest from homework for a while. I stood and stretched before going downstairs to find a snack. I had just opened the cupboard door to get bread out for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when the doorbell rang. 
        “Adam! Can you get that?” No response. “Adam!”
         He must have had his headphones on again. I grumbled and slammed the cupboard shut as I went to answer the door myself. 
        I turned the porch light on and opened the door, but no one was there. I looked down to see if anything had been left on the step. To my surprise, standing there was a strange, little man. He was short and round. It sounds cliché, but he reminded me of a leprechaun I would find in an old movie about Ireland. His clothing was a brilliant color of green, from the large green hat on his head down to his green leather shoes with huge gold buckles. His red hair stuck out in all directions and his beard was long and scraggly. Creepy.
        “How can I help you?” I asked, hoping that my smile looked sincere. 
        “Hello, my dear. Could you tell me where I could find Miss Megan Crenshaw?” His voice was little a higher than I’d expected from his appearance.
        “Um, I’m Megan. What can I do for you?” I became more nervous as he stared at me with a glint in his eye. The fact that he knew my name and where I lived made me want to slam the door in his face, but curiosity won and I waited to see what he needed.
        “I’m here to offer my services to you. I can spin gold, help you ace tests, get the guy of your dreams, that sort of thing,” he said as he grinned roguishly. He tapped his fingers together and wiggled his eyebrows at me. 
        Okay, that was just plain weird. Here was this creepy little guy on my doorstep offering fabulous things, but I already had everything I wanted. Okay, so I was still lacking in the guy department, but I was working on it. And who spins gold? It’s like he had jumped straight out of a children’s fairy tale book.
        “No, thanks. I’m just fine. Why don’t you try Holly two doors down? She could use some luck about now,” I said as I eased the door shut. I would have to apologize to Holly later for sending him her way, but the faster he was off my porch, the better. 
        “Now wait just a minute. You don’t know what you’re missing out on here. I’m offering you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He stuck his foot in the door. His boot must have been steel-toed because the door wouldn’t budge. 
        “Go away!” I yelled as I pushed with all my strength against the door. This was getting out of control. I was long past the curious stage, and I hoped my parents would be home any second.
        The next thing I knew, the leprechaun had doubled in size and his eyes were glowing like red-hot coals. Uh oh, I ticked the guy off. I let go of the door and started backing up. I looked around for something to throw at him. Unfortunately, Adam hadn’t left his baseball bat and cleats in his usual dumping ground in the hallway. The one time I needed him to be irresponsible, he actually did what Mom had been badgering him to do.
        “You will regret this!” the leprechaun thundered as the door swung wide open again. He snapped his fingers and waved his arms, mumbling strange words under his breath. He disappeared in a flash of green and gold smoke. I stared at the empty doorway for a moment before I rushed over and slammed the door. 
        An overwhelming dizziness overcame me and I fell to the ground. I awoke to find myself lying on the tile in the hallway. I waited for my head to stop spinning and my heart to stop racing, and decided that eating something would help me feel better. 
I got the bread out of the cupboard and opened the drawer to get a knife. Adam came out of his room singing to himself. I looked over at him, somehow managing to slam my finger in the drawer. Yelling in pain, I shook my hand, trying to get rid of the shock. When I turned around to get the peanut butter, my head hit the cupboard door that had been left open. I rubbed my head for a minute and then went back to making my sandwich.
“Wow, clumsy, are we?”
“Why don’t you—” I whipped around and ran right into Adam, who had a large glass of grape juice in his hand. There went my sandwich and his drink onto the floor. 
        “Good one, loser,” he sneered. If anyone thought my life was too perfect, it was Adam. I was only fifteen months younger than him and we didn’t get along at all. 
        “I’m so sorry. Let me clean that up and get more juice for Your Highness, so you can get back to your precious music,” I snapped.
        I got a washcloth wet in the sink and cleaned up the mess as he leaned against the counter, watching. I got him more juice and handed it to him with a bow.
         He grumbled a “thanks” before he went to his room and slammed the door. Seconds later, I heard music blasting through the wall. Typical. I walked out of the kitchen.
        I tripped on my way up the stairs, barely holding on to my plate.Muttering to myself, I set the sandwich down on my desk and sat down to finish my assignment. When I touched my computer keyboard, I zapped it with static, causing it to beep angrily at me. What in the world was going on? I tapped on a few keys to make sure it was still working and sighed in relief when my blank document showed up on the screen.
        I stared at the computer, nibbling on my sandwich. I started to type what had just happened, absentmindedly wiping away the crumbs off my shirt, noticing too late that there was jam all over my fingers. I groaned and changed into pajamas before grabbing wipes from the bathroom cupboard to clean each key so they wouldn’t stick. After saving the few measly words I’d typed, I started on my math homework.
        I heard the garage door open. My parents had taken my brother and sister to a birthday party and I could hear Maddie and William running through the house, yelling at the top of their lungs. They must have been full of sugar. I felt bad for whoever would have to get them to sleep.
        I flew through my math homework and put it in my backpack before I went in to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Looking into the mirror, I studied my reflection, not thrilled with what I saw. My eyes were red from wearing my contacts all day and my hair had jam and peanut butter smeared in it.  I washed my hair in the sink and started taking out my contacts. Maddie burst through the door and knocked my elbow. My contact lens flew into the sink, and I managed to grab it before it went down the drain. 
        “Sorry, Megan! Guess what! I got lots and lots of candy tonight. And we played lots of games. And there was a clown!”
        “Be more careful and remember to knock next time,” I grumbled. Seeing the look on her face, I sighed and added, “It sounds like you had fun.” 
        “Yep, I did!” 
        While she was busy, I took out my other contact and set the contact case on the shelf. I helped Maddie on the toilet—knowing Mom would make me do it anyway—and as I stood up, my shoulder knocked the shelf above it, causing my case to topple over into the flushing toilet. Maddie and I watched as the toilet continued to fill and then overflow.
        Maddie ran to the doorway and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Daaaddy. Megan clogged the toilet.”
        I grabbed towels from the hallway linen closet and mopped up the water that was flowing freely along the tiled bathroom floor. I heard footsteps pounding up the stairs and my dad appeared around the corner, plunger in hand.
        “What happened?” Dad popped the plunger into the toilet.
        “I put my contact case up on the shelf before helping Maddie on the potty, and it got knocked off when I stood up.” I blushed in embarrassment.
        Dad looked at me with wide eyes. “You mean your contact case is down in the toilet?” He began plunging with renewed vigor. When that didn’t work, he found the plumbing snake and  began using that.
        Maddie looked up at me and took my hand. “I’m sorry, Megan.” Her eyes filled with tears and I leaned down to hug her.
         “Oh, Maddie, that was my fault. Let’s go brush our teeth and find William.” I took our toothbrushes downstairs and helped brush her teeth. 
        “You guys okay? What’s Dad doing?” Mom asked. 
        “Plunging the toilet. My contact case kind of fell in the toilet while it was flushing,” I mumbled.
        “It did what? Oh, Megan. I hope he can get it out. That’ll cost a fortune if he has to call the plumber. Were those your last pair?” 
        “Yeah. I’ll have to wear my glasses, I guess.”
        “We’ll get some ordered next week when Dad gets paid again. Look, I have a headache after chasing your brother and sister all night. Could you please put them in bed?”
        “I guess. Good night, Mom.”  Feeling guilty for the contact case and potential cost of a plumber, I led Maddie up to her room where William was playing with trucks. 
        “Time for bed, William. Grab your pajamas.”
        “I’m busy.”
        “William. Don’t make me get Mom. You need to hurry or I won’t read a book.”
        William glared at me and found his pajamas in his drawer. I put them on him before finding a short book on the shelf. Sitting with both of them on my lap, I read—stopping every few seconds to answer questions about the book. 
        I hugged Maddie and William, put them in bed, and turned on the lullabies they listened to each night. The sugar rush from the party must have worn off because they yawned and fell asleep almost as soon as their heads hit their pillow. I left their room to find my dad waiting out in the hallway.
        “I couldn’t get the case out of the toilet. I hope the plumber won’t cost too much." He dried his hands on a towel.  
        “Dad, I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. I’ve put that case up there every night for years. Everything has gone wrong tonight.”
        Dad sighed. “Just be more careful. How about you find a better spot for your case?”  He gave me a hug and headed downstairs. I felt horrible, but I was thankful he wasn’t too upset about it. For now. I only hoped he’d feel the same way after paying the plumber.
        I tried to turn on my lamp and zapped it with static. I yanked my socks off, deciding they were the problem, and tripped down the stairs to get a lightbulb. On the way up, my foot snagged my nightgown, and as I fell, I made sure to land on my elbow so I could save the lightbulb in my hand. Sighing in relief, I held on to the banister and dragged myself the rest of the way. After replacing the lightbulb, I pulled the pillows off my bed, deciding I had way too many. 
        I snuggled into my blankets and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, the freaky little leprechaun wouldn’t leave my thoughts. I hadn’t had anything bad happen until I woke up on the floor in the hallway. Had he cursed me? Trying get him from my mind, I grabbed a book and started reading, finally drifting off to sleep with a book in my hand and the lamp still on.
        The next morning, I woke up and looked over at my clock. I jolted out of bed, sleep totally forgotten when I saw that I had somehow slept through my alarm. I grabbed my glasses, ran to the closet, and found no clean clothes. Weird—I know they were there last night. My dresser was empty as well. I muttered under my breath, thinking the twins must have gotten into my room. I dug through the dirty clothes basket to find the cleanest shirt and pair of pants.
         I had to settle on mismatched socks and slipped on my shoes, grabbing my backpack before running downstairs.
        I sat down at the table long enough to scarf down the toast Mom had made  and ran out to the car. I turned the key in the ignition, and the engine turned over but wouldn’t start. Great. The gas gauge was at empty. I threw my head back and growled in frustration and went to find my bike, only to find that the tire was flat. Good thing school wasn’t very far away. I took off running.