This is an exercise where I take the first line or two of a book and start writing. The goal is to write a complete story or scene. Another rule is that I haven’t read the book, so I have no idea where the beginning of the book is going.
We sit together outside the Fosters Freeze at a sea-green, metal picnic table.
All four of us.
We eat soft ice cream, which has been plunged into a vat of liquid chocolate (that then hardens into a crispy shell).**
That’s something I’ve always wanted to do: plunge into a vat of liquid chocolate and float in it. I imagine it would be little like floating in Great Salt Lake, except maybe you would sink. That would be alright as long as you could float back to the top and get some air. Then you could lick your lips, just like eating a gooey chocolate bar.
Of course it would have to be the kind of chocolate that hardens into a crispy shell. I’d love to feel it hardening over my entire body. Then it would fall off in big chunks every time I moved. Of course when I fell in the vat I’d want to keep my mouth closed and I’d want to breathe out my nose just as the chocolate started hardening. I wouldn’t want to suffocate.
Yes, I’d want to smell it and taste it. That would be the whole point, wouldn’t it? Why go to all that trouble and do something so delicious just to kill yourself? I’d have to be crazy. Besides I don’t see how anybody who loved chocolate enough to jump into a vat of the stuff, from head to toe, could ever want to kill himself. Maybe they’d if they were jumping in a vat of wheat grass juice or something like that. That stuff’s disgusting. Just the thought of it makes me think of dead stuff.
“Vinnie, Vinnie, Earth to Vinnie,” Tony was saying. “Your ice cream’s dripping on your arm.”
It was. I jumped up and started licking furiously.
They were laughing of course.
“Where were you?” asked Johnny
“He was in math class, thinking of Tina, weren’t you.” Vinnie said.
“Oh, Tina, What’s the square root of my heart? I love you smooch, smooch, smooch,” Johnny said.
“I was…” I wasn’t going to tell them what I was really thinking about. Even if they were all thinking about jumping into vat of chocolate, they wouldn’t want someone thinking they needed a trip to see the guys in the white jackets.
“Yeah, I was thinking about Tina,” I lied, but I started daydreaming again. It would be fun jumping into a vat of chocolate with Tina. Before I could work on that idea, somebody snapped me back to reality.
“Man, she’s got the best…”
“Yeah, just think…”
“Shut up, that’s not why I like her.” I said.
“Oh yeah, right, it’s her math skills.”
“That and… and she’s funny.”
“Yeah right. You’re funny, too. Can’t even eat ice cream.”
“Hey, leave the guy alone,” Tony said, “You’d have trouble eating ice cream if it was you taking Tina to the dance.
“Yeah, Vinnie, maybe next time you should get that in a cup.”
For some reason they all laughed thought that was about the funniest thing they’d heard all day. I didn’t get it, maybe because the ice cream was dripping across my hand again.
# # #
** first lines from “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan