For those of you who are interested in experiencing a little bit of “Glass On A Stick” I can share with you that Amazon.com allows visitors to preview the first three chapters free of charge. Just click on the cover and a new window will open up, allowing you to read to your heart’s content … as long as it’s only the first three chapters.
Writing “Glass On A Stick” was an equal mix of work and play. There’s no doubt that writing a book with 205,000 words in it is work, and a lot of it at that. But there’s also no doubt that breathing life into the characters in a book is a lot of fun. Because of this, I thought I’d share an excerpt from the book since I, like so many of you, enjoy sneak peeks.
One of the characters in the book, Doug Wilder, reminisces about his childhood and what he remembers will certainly bring back memories to those of you who grew up back in the 70s. And for those of you who didn’t grow up in the 70s, you’ll still find this excerpt well worth the read. So enjoy, and share the link to this blog entry with your friends on whatever social media networks you may find yourselves.
Excerpt from Chapter 19:
Spending that many hours with strangers afforded Doug a lot of free time, and he filled it as best he could by acting out all sorts of adventures that were rattling about in his head at any given time. He remembered this one time when he was about five years old, when the babysitter was busy hanging the wash outside and he decided he was going to crash his Matchbox cars into the wall in the hallway. He liked watching his cars careen down the hallway, and he was never too sure when they would spin out of control and bang into the walls on either side. He imagined himself to be the Richard Petty of Matchbox car racing even if he was only racing against himself. He remembered that the last time he’d done that, the babysitter had chewed him out for damaging the long wooden slats that ran along the walls. She had yelled at him for what seemed like hours about something on the walls that belonged to someone named Wayne, and it wasn’t until he was an adult that he realized that she’d been upset over the damage he’d done to the wainscoting.
In any case, he remembered that he didn’t want to get her upset with him again, and so he’d come up with the idea that if he lined the walls with rolls of toilet paper, the cars would crash into the toilet paper instead of against the walls. Once he was done playing with the cars, he could return the toilet paper to where it came from and no one would know that they had been used as crash barriers that afternoon. He thought the babysitter probably kept the toilet paper in the closet by the bathroom with the towels like his dad did at their house, and so he ran to the end of the hallway and opened the closet door right beside the babysitter’s bathroom. He found toilet paper all right, but not enough to make crash barriers on both sides of the hallway. And then, right behind all those rolls of toilet paper, he found a box he’d never seen before.
He tore it open and found packages … long packages that had something soft inside them. Tearing one package open, he found a rectangular shaped pad that was soft like toilet paper and smelled pretty, like the baby powder his mom used to put on his baby sister when she changed her diapers. He turned the pad over and found a strip of paper on the other side. He peeled back the corner and touched it with his index finger. It was sticky! His mind had quickly determined that if it was sticky, it would stick to the wall, and if it stuck to the wall, this was even better than toilet paper, which might move if a car hit it. He divided the contents of the box into two separate piles and counted them, excited to learn that there were as many in one pile as in the other. Doug ripped the packages open excitedly, and laid them out along both sides of the hallway to see how far they would reach. Since he rarely crashed his cars at the beginning of the race, he decided to line the packages up from the bathroom back down to his Matchbox car starting line. He could reach two-thirds of the way down the hallway! He decided it was best to set up the barrier one pad at a time and with that, he carefully and methodically pulled the strip off the back of one pad, stuck it securely to the wall where it met the floor, stripped off the back of the next pad, stuck it after the first one, and so on. So he wouldn’t be accused of having made a mess, he put the strips of paper and the packaging the pads were wrapped in back in the box and put the box on the counter in the kitchen so he could replace the pads and have them for the next time he’d bring his Matchbox cars over to the babysitter’s house. With that, he hurried back to the starting line and began to race his cars again, except this time, he felt compelled to crash them into these new-fangled crash barriers as hard as possible to see if they would stand up to the speed and force one could expect from authentic die-cast high-speed racing cars.
He had run maybe three or four races by the time the babysitter came back inside. He hadn’t heard her admonishing the dog outside for getting in her way as she juggled the laundry basket and tried to open the sliding glass door, nor had he heard the sliding glass door open. What he did hear was an ear-piercing scream and the laundry basket falling to the ground, along with the odd sound folded laundry made as it spilled out across the kitchen floor. She slapped Doug hard in the back of the head and his head bounced off one of the walls. Tears welled up in his eyes as she began tearing the barriers off the wall, more because she was destroying his racing track design than because his head smarted. And Mrs. Sanchez, a mix of horror, shock, anger and upset, hurried down the hallway, ripping pads off the wall, crying, “¡Ay, Madre de Dios!” and “¡Estupido!” and other things Doug didn’t understand. At the end of the hallway, and having ripped nearly all the barriers off the wall, she turned back to Doug and shouted, “You are a very bad boy! I’m going to tell your papa what you did to my house!”
The unfairness of it was only equaled by his fear for what his dad was going to do to him when he found out about the crash barrier he’d built to protect Mrs. Sanchez’s walls. He couldn’t remember what his dad had done to him after the babysitter had told him why she wouldn’t babysit him and his sister anymore, but now that he had diagnosed himself with Asperger Syndrome, he understood that she had discriminated against him because of his condition even though Asperger Syndrome wasn’t a diagnosis commonly made back when he was growing up. It didn’t matter though. He knew that Mrs. Sanchez, like all the other babysitters before her and after her, hated him for his superior intellect, and this is why they were more abusive towards him than they ever were towards his sister.