Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Efrain's Secret - An Excerpt of My Young Adult Novel in Progress

I'm almost through the first draft of my first young adult novel Efrain's Secret which will be published under my real name by Knopf in 2009. As I grind toward deadlines, it becomes difficult to maintain the blog so I decided why not share a bit with you the project that is keeping me from posting on a regular basis. After all, it's been a minute since I dropped a novel, and while there are several in the works besides this one, this is a new direction for me. Here's a lighthearted moment between Efrain (aka Scout) with his boys. Enjoy!
When I hit the block tonight, Nestor says, "Yo, E, LeRon's got something for you."



"What's with the big, cheesy grin?"

"Just go over there."

"Don't mess with me, Nestor."


So I walk over to the other corner. LeRon sees me coming, and he has on this ol' cheese face, too. A folded sweatshirt hangs over his shoulder. I get my guard up but give him a pound. "What's up, L?"

"Yo, Scout, check it." LeRon unzips his parka, and who pops out at me but Frazzle. That's right. Homeboy's wearing a sweatshirt with that muppet's bushy-eyed grill on it.

"Oh, no!" I laugh. "Where'd you get that?"

"My sister made it for me."

"That's cool though."

"I told her how y'all be calling me Frazzle and shit, and then she goes and makes me this shirt, talking 'bout how I'm just like him." LeRon starts counting the ways on his fingers. "Look like him, talk like him, act like him. . ."

"It's true, yo!" I just can't stop laughing. "All of it."
"Nigga's even afraid of the dentist like me." I really crack up at that one, but LeRon is, like, mad serious. "Yo, what you laughing at, man? Ain't you ever seen that movie Marathon Man?"
"No." I had never even heard of it until now.

"Yeah, well, peep that shit, and see if you ever want to go the dentist again."

I shake my head. "Dude, brush your damn teeth every day like you supposed to and lay off all that soda, and trust me, you won't have to be scared of going to the dentist."

"Whatever, yo." Then LeRon tosses the sweatshirt hanging over his shoulder at me. "This one's for you."

I catch the sweatshirt and unfold it. Kermit the Frog. I have to smile. At least, it ain't Elmo. LeRon is clowning me like it is though, but I don't let him phase me. "But Kermy's cool though. He writes books, does movies. . . He's a Renaissance frog."

LeRon gives me this look like we're debating capital punishment or abortion or some shit like that. "His girlfriend's a pig, yo."

OK, now I have to get a little serious, too. "Don't with play me, LeRon. You don't know my shorty. Keep her out of it."

He points at me. "Ah! You were about to wild out, weren't you? Ah, ha!"

I start to head back to my post. Halfway there I stop to yell, "Yo, Frazzle, one more thing. You need to go see the dentist before your teeth start falling out. That's the whole point."

"Yo, E, shut up and drum up some business."

"No doubt." I get to Nestor, and he's cracking up. Guess he knew about Kermit before I did. "It ain't that funny, Elmo."

"Nah, I ain't Elmo, kid."

"Yeah, you are. You Elmo."

"No, I'm not, man."

"I'm telling you, you Elmo, son. You're simple, you're ticklish, you be acting like you're three years old. . . ." As I try to think of more ways in which Nestor and Elmo are alike, he unzips his leather jacket. "Yooo. . . it's Fozzie!" I just lose it. "Man, you cats are taking me back. I forgot all about Fozzie."

"Yeah," says Nestor. "Wocka, wocka, nigga."

It's a miracle I don't piss myself, I'm laughing so hard.

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