SUMMER GOODMAN NEVER KNEW WHAT hit her. That’s because it was me, and as soon as I collided with her in the hallway—scattering every one of her perfectly indexed index cards—I disappeared into the mob of kids who’d arrived to help realphabetize her life.
I love Summer Goodman but she barely knows I exist, which I’m pretty okay with because when you love someone, they don’t have to do anything—and Summer does nothing, so I think it’s all going to work out great.
One possible problem is, I’ve never actually spoken to Summer, except the time I said “sorry,” which was after I sneezed on the back of her neck the first day in science class.
It was a really wet one—and she didn’t sneeze back on me or have me suspended, so that’s just another reason I think she’s so great.
What isn’t so great is that I’m the “new kid” again, which isn’t as bad as it sounds unless you think about how awful it is. That’s why I put all my focus on the more important stuff, like Summer Goodman and how my germs have actually bonded directly onto her skin!
The way I see it, surviving this year is all I have to do. Start to finish in one whole piece and then I win. Of course, being me, winning doesn’t come easy, which is why I created an alias, a supercool guy who will step in when I mess up or can’t talk or both.
Dabney St. Claire is mysterious, smart, and popular without even trying. I talk to him out loud sometimes, but mostly he’s just in my head, along for the ride, telling me how he’d do what I’m doing, only without doing it so wrong.
My sister thinks there’s something the matter with me, which is why she tells her friends I have a metal plate in my head, which would actually be a cool thing because then I would never have to fly on airplanes because my skull would set off alarms. Her friends always look at me with sad puppy-dog eyes, and even though I don’t have a metal plate or even a paper plate in my head, I stare back at them and speak my favorite language: SAPTOGEMIXLIKS.
This is just another reason my sister wants to move again.
© 2010 Alan Silberberg