It had been a while since I’d worked on a YA novel about a boy confined to his apartment building for the summer. When I ran across this draft opening paragraph I decided it was time to return to the story.
My mother, Abigail Wilson Secrest, doesn’t like the idea of
me watching violence on TV. So I make sure she doesn’t find
I remember this old movie I saw once. Cowboy is sitting in
a saloon alone, drinking a glass of beer. Bad guy walks in and
starts drinking and complaining. Says to the dancing lady: You
know what I hate? I hate this town, it’s dirty and it stinks.
Drinks some more and says to the bartender: You know what I
hate? I hate this rot-gut whiskey of yours. It tastes like the
Pecos River after a herd of cattle went through.
Drinks some more and says to the cowboy: You know what I
hate: I hate your ugly face. And the bad guy pulls out a gun
and waves it at the cowboy. What do you got to say to that? he
says. And then the bad guy puts the gun under the cowboy’s
chin. Answer me, he hollers at the cowboy, or I’ll blow your
Next thing, the cowboy’s gun goes off from under the bar
and the bad guy flies backwards through the air dead. Cowboy
puts his gun on the bar and says to the bartender: You know what
I hate. I hate a man who needs help shutting up.
Let me tell you what I hate.