Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I'm Here to Save Your Day

I'd like to think that the title of this blog post applies to all of my posts, but it is today's awesome title for this week's story. Today's featured author, Jared Larson, is giving us something a little different to enjoy. For one, it's a middle grade. Two, it's a middle grade version of an epic poem! Three, that epic poem is Beowulf!!

But first, a bit more on Jared. In his words, "he has a job that if he revealed to you, he'd endanger his family." (I'm not entirely sure if he's joking.) But, when he's not endangering his wife and three kids, he writes. He's written journalistic piece and short stories for local publications, and now he's giving middle grade a try. Hope you all like it. 

I'm Here to Save Your Day: The Adventures of Bo Wolf
By Jared Larson

Chapter 1: It's Go Time

My name’s Bo Wolf. I’m twelve years old and I never lie. Never. I’m all about telling the truth. There once was a man named George Washington who told his dad that he could never lie and then became President of the United States. I’m exactly the same way. If I lived way back then, George and I, we’d be best bros’ forever. I’m sure of it.

That’s why when I tell you about my totally crazy story– I’m going to tell you everything, the good and the bad. I’ll admit it, I’ve been bullied. I’m sure George had been too.

So there I was, standing in the boys' bathroom at school. The last bell of the day had rung and I knew they were out there.

Rufus Durfus and Brutus Strunks were the meanest bullies in Los Angeles. I think if you tallied the wedgie count they inflicted on other kids, by the end of the day it would have at least reached thirty-nine, and that's an average.

Trust me, I've had the underwear go up the butt crack plenty of times, but these boys... they were professionals. They ripped plenty of pairs of my coolest Fruit O’ Looms underwear. And it never felt good.

The noise of screaming kids and banging lockers filled the hallway outside the bathroom. No one came in here when school got out. It’d be a good time to check out my almost-incredible physique before attempting my escape.

Some people have said that my arms look like flexi-straws. I didn’t think so. They'd have some big muscles in a year or two.

No matter what people said about my arms though, my face was on the verge of spectacular. Sure, it was still kind of baby soft, but it’d be manly in no time. My dirty dishwater hair could change into a cool brown soon enough. And my green eyes... they were the lady catchers. I could steal the heart of any girl with my smoking hot eyes.

Okay, so I had glasses. Not a big deal. They helped my right eye from going bonkers. I even wore a patch once when I was eight. Mom said I looked like a cool pirate, but some of the kids thought I looked like, well, how’d they put it? Oh yeah, “Hey Bo! Go back to your home on Dweeb Island.”

My mom called it a lazy eye, but it’d get better. Just last month she’d said the doctor told her I could take the glasses off in a couple months, so that was cool.

The hallway started to get quiet, and my heart raced way faster. I did a few kung-fu moves in front of the mirror to warm myself up, just in case Rufus and Brutus caught me. But hopefully this time I could manage to sneak out of here wedgie free.

I stopped flexing in the mirror, breathed in deep, and then checked my awesome digital Timex wristwatch. Crap! 3:15 p.m. already? My adoring fans were waiting. (That’s right, I have a fan club. Jealous? I’d be).

Due to my savvy awesomeness, and with the stealth of a young ninja, I snuck out of the bathroom and down the hall. There were no signs of life. I bolted down the stairs, rounded a corner, and came to one of the school’s back exits.

It was go time.

I pushed the door open and a gush of warm air hit me in the face. There they stood in front of a blinding sun, Rufus and Brutus. I don’t know how they did it, but I think they could smell my potential greatness or something, because they always seemed to know exactly where I’d be.

Brutus cracked his thick knuckles. Rufus had a big grin spread across his fat face. His teeth were all covered with braces that looked like a silver railroad track.

“Ith about time you thowed up,” growled Rufus. He smiled big, and then sucked up all that extra spit inside those storage bag cheeks of his.

“My knuckles feel like pounding your puny face in,” said Brutus.

“Get over here thquirt,” Rufus said, pointing at the ground.

I tried to run. It was no use. Before I even started, Brutus thrust his arm out, clothes-lining me in the throat. I fell like a rock. I don’t know who it was– Rufus, I think– who turned me over and grabbed the back of my underwear.


A pair of my nicest Fruit O’ Looms had died.

My awesome Timex wristwatch had 4:00 p.m. on it when I walked into fencing class with torn undies. I was half-an-hour late. My dad, the owner of the place, stood by the door. He was a retired pro at fencing, so he ran the business as a part-time job. He had a full-time job as a doctor, working on peoples’ blood that got all clogged up.

Dad didn't have a happy look on his face when he saw me. “Bo, get over here.”

“Yeah, dad?”

He looked at the clock. “You’re late. What happened?”

“Nothing important,” I said.

His eyes narrowed. “Go get dressed. Everyone’s waiting for you in the gym.”

My dad seemed pretty grumpy, and I didn't want to make him any grumpier, so I hustled to the locker room.

Now, if you don’t know what fencing is, it’s a pretty cool sport. I’m talking dang cool. Only studs like me can really pull it off. When it comes down to it, I got skills, and I’m not talking about any skills, I'm talking about totally-awesome-mad-ninja skills. Rufus and Brutus wouldn’t stand a chance against me if I had a sword in my hand to school them in the ways of the ninja.

And this is where my fan club comes in.

I’d gotten dressed in my white fencing uniform, with my sabre (that's my fencing sword) in one hand and my mask (it looks like one of those hats that bee keepers wear when they go collect honey), under my other arm. I was strolling down the hall, just chillin’ ya know, minding my own business, when suddenly the gym door burst open and my fan club charged me.

I was like a rock star. They were shoving one another for a chance to touch me. But instead of it being hot young girls, it just happened to be seven to twelve-year-old boys, all with stinky breath and sweaty hair plastered to the sides of their heads. A few even had the beginning scents of B.O. that smelled like rotten salsa.

“Settle down, boys,” I said.

They parted, and I put on my mask.

"Oooooooh. Aaaaaaaah," said a couple of the younger kids. You know how seven-year-olds can be. They followed me into the gymnasium where the instructor, Mrs. Wolf, (my mom), was waiting for us.

“Boys!” she shouted. “Contain yourselves. Stop acting like a bunch of wild monkeys.”

"Come on, mom," I said, flipping up my mask. "They can't help themselves."

"Wipe that stupid smile off your face, young man."

I wiped it off in .06 seconds.

Mom put her hands on her hips. “Now everyone put those masks on.”

All the boys sensed her mood and obeyed pronto.

"En-garde!" she yelled.

Every boy dropped to an on-guard stance.

"Lunge!" she cried.

We all took a big step, thrusting our weapons forward into midair.

"Again." she said. "Again. Again."

We did this for a good fifteen minutes with a few other drills, and then we all took our places in line for dueling.

Two parallel lines ran across the floor about two feet wide. We had to stay inside of them while we fenced, otherwise points would be docked. Half the boys lined up on one end, the other half on the other. One by one we fought each other, and then finally, my turn.


  1. Jared! I'm glad I could read some of the actual book - just as good as the pitch. I especially like the obvious disconnect between Bo's narrative and what's really happening. Too funny.

    My one qualm... my fencing mask didn't look at ALL like a beekeeper's! Those have, you know, BRIMS. Fencing masks are sleek. No brims. Unless when you're using sabre it requires a different mask from foil but I sure didn't think so. :P

  2. Middle-grade Beowulf? What a great idea!

  3. I loved the pitch for this book, and I love this excerpt. So many great lines, and I love that it's a middle grade novel based on Beowulf!

  4. Thank you, Sarah. This site is not only a great idea, but there's something cozy and relaxing about it.
    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Bo sounds like he might grow up to become Michael Scott from The Office. Fortunately, I get the feeling that his future adventures might lead him down a more fulfilling path. Still, I love characters that are more awesome in their own mind than they are in reality. I also love that the writing is undoubtedly middle-grade, but it didn't bore me as an adult reader. Good job.

  6. Thanks, Jared! Never heard a blog referred to as "cozy" before, but I like it!

  7. Great job Jared!You know I'm already a big fan :) The voice of Bo really comes off as authentic in this excerpt and left me wanting to read more!

    And this blog is cozy Jared!Nice way to put it!

  8. It is! It's cozy. It's not just the design, it's the idea. The whole theme and the resemblance of behind glass cases, puts out a warm resemblance of home. I love it. Thanks, Sarah. And thank you again for the kind words, everyone.