#6. Should put this entry first? Is this where I start? Beginning a story is confusing. Here it is! The Opening Salvo. The Shot Across the Bow. Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe Confrontation.

The guy takes his head out of his hands and looks at me, blinking, like I’d blown smoke in his eyes. He picks up his coffee. Yes? he asks. Can I help you?

I take a big breath. You killed my Mom and Dad.

Ever wonder if your words pack a punch? The guy’s hands start to tremble. His coffee splashes onto the checkered tablecloth.

I wonder if he’s scalded himself. I hope yes, but then I think ouch.

His eyes dart back and forth like he’s hunting for an escape route.

And see those kids there? I point back at my table without looking. Those are my brothers. You killed their Mom and Dad, too.

 I stop. I don’t know what else to say.

We stare at each other. His face collapses, tears spill over his bleary eyes and into his whiskers. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, he whispers. Sorry. He pushes away from the table, up-ends the chair, rushes outside, and leaves his coffee.

I watch the door ease shut after him, the bird and viney window curtains whiff carelessly. (Makes sense: how many “cares” could cheerful gauzey curtains in a cute coffee shop have?)

I’m in shock. I didn’t know I had tough and bold in me. Like a robot, I pick up his chair, push it back to the table, blot the coffee spills with my sleeve, place the coffee cup in the wash bin, and walk back to my table.

Mimi skewers me over the heads of the twins. She’s horrified.

Not me. I’m hate-i-fied.

ISABEL

cropped-isabelcrosslegsmaller1.jpg

(sketches by my friend Ryan, BTW)

PS   I’m back home and calmer. I study what I wrote.

Is this a cliff hanger? Maybe not quite; but I needed to at least write about the  murderer. At Mimi and Pop’s he’s like the elephant in the room that nobody talks about.

Back to the nature of cliff hangers, just to get off vile and evil for a minute:

I can tolerate cliff hangers just so long as I can keep reading, or know that the next book in the series is within my reach. I just finished Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” When I started with the first book, all the rest of the series had been written and was either in paperback or in the library; so, as soon as I finished “The Lightning Thief,” I could start on “The Sea of Monsters!” Then the library had “The Titan’s Curse” lined up and waiting for me as soon as I finished Monsters.

Otherwise I don’t think I could have stood it. You know, all that hopping from foot to foot to see what was going to happen. Get it? Stood it? Hopping from foot to foot? I love puns; Mom said the two of us have the pun “gene.” She was a scientist with a sense of humor.  Every time I build a pun I think of her; so, that’s good, at least.

Come to think of it, my life right now is a series of cliff hangers. I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT THIS WAY UNTIL THIS VERY SECOND. Writing brought the idea up. It’s like the idea was swimming in a lagoon and the writing was the hook that reeled it in.

end of PS, Isabel