Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Grange Hill Rules O.K? by Robert Leeson (Fontana Lions 1980)

0700 hours on a cold December morning and the Magnificent Seven of Grange Hill were still wrapped in their blanket rolls.

No! One was awake. Little Benny Green had his clothes on and was creeping downstairs. Mum left for work twenty minutes ago. Dad had been up half the night with his back, but now was asleep at last. Benny had found a way of earning some much needed pocket money. But he was keeping it to himself for the moment.

As he reached the main road, heading for the shops, he passed a parked car. The man at the wheel took careful note of him as he went by.

0800 hours. Penny Templeton Lewis chewed toast and marmalade as she went over her notes for the Year Assembly that morning. The School Council had decided on a big charity sponsored walk-in competition with Brookdale School. For the tenth time, Penny wandered what they’d all say when she put the idea to them. Peter Jenkins would object—naturally. If there was one thing he hated more than walking, it was organized walking. Trisha Yates would object, too. Just lately everything Penny said or did seemed to get right up Trisha’s nose. Penny shrugged and stuffed her notes into her bag.

Twenty minutes later, she was in the car, passing through the shopping centre on the way to school. Suddenly her mother braked and swung the car to the kerb.

‘Look, there’s that sweet little Justin Bennett. Let’s give him a lift.’

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election by Tom Perrotta (Berkley Books 1998)


 “SO TELL ME,” said Dad. “Who's gonna win this election?”

Lisa shot me a surprised glance, her pretty eyes widening with alarm. Tammy stared blankly at her pancakes. Mom twisted her head, apparently searching for our waitress. Dad pressed on.

“What's the matter? We're all intelligent people. Doesn't anyone have an opinion?”

The whole brunch had gone like that, Dad playing teacher, the rest of us fumbling for answers. Mom was stiff and tongue-tied, Tammy sullen, Lisa polite. I'd done my best to keep the conversation afloat, but I was starting to lose heart.

“I'm a lifelong Republican,” he went on, “but I'm actually thinking about pulling the lever for Jerry Brown.”

The sense of relief around the table was immediate and conspicuous.

“Jerry Brown?” Mom scoffed. “You've got to be kidding.”

“I'm serious,” he insisted. “This country's corrupt from top to bottom, and Brown's the only one with the guts to say so.”

“Perot's saying it too,” Lisa reminded them.

“He's nuttier than Brown,” Mom observed. “The ears on that man.”

“What about Clinton?” I asked. “He's pretty interesting.”

“Ugh.” Dad looked disgusted. “That guy. He could stand out in the rain all day and not get wet.”

“I'm surprised,” said Mom. “I had you pegged for a Clinton man.”

“Me?” he said. “What gave you that idea?”