Friday, August 15, 2008

Like a Gigantic Fly on the Wall

Dr. Crisp came back to the orchard last night to pick up my math exam, just like he promised. He parked the big moving truck next to the house and accepted Mrs. Appleton's invitation to step into the kitchen for pie and coffee before he had to leave for his meeting. I snuck over to the truck and of course it was unlocked.

As quietly as I could, I opened the back, crawled in feet-first, and pulled the doors shut behind me. There wasn't room for me to stretch out my legs, and the roof was too low for me to sit up, but at least I fit. It was comfortable too, cuz Doc had cushioned the floor with padding.

Good old Doc, always looking out for me. What would I ever do without him?

I almost drifted off to sleep but I woke up when the front door of the truck opened and closed and I heard Dr. Crisp tell the Appletons to "Take care, now." Then the motor came to life and we were off.

My sleep-deprived brain was spinning in a frenzy during the entire trip. I could fit into a truck, and that meant I could go anywhere--well, anywhere a big moving truck could go, which is quite a lot of places. If I had a driver, I could visit big cities, forests, deserts...I could see the ocean, and go for a swim in water too deep for me to stand!!!

Except I've never learned how to swim, so I'd need to take lessons first.

The truck stopped and I heard Dr. Crisp get out, his footfalls fading away across the pavement. I waited a few minutes before I emerged from the truck and verified that yes, I was just outside of Town Hall and there was nobody else around to see me. My legs were cramped up from just that short trip, so I had to stretch a bit and rethink my grand plans to tour the country in a truck like this--but maybe they make trucks in a bigger size that would give me more room?

I found the window Dr. Crisp said would be open, and stood to the side of it where I could hear and still be out of sight. The meeting was already going--or should I call it "the fight"? Mr. Peterson was loudly proclaiming that they'd be ice skating in Hades before I'd be allowed to disrupt classes in his town.

"We have to educate her," said Mrs. Lee. "If she doesn't graduate high school, she'll never go to college, marry a rich man, and get to buy lots of expensive clothes and designer footwear!"

"We'll pay for continued tutoring at her home," said Mr. Peterson. "And there are plenty of colleges that offer courses over the Internet."

"You can't keep Melly at home forever, Cedric," said Dr. Crisp.

"Sure we can," said Mr. Peterson. "In fact, I'm looking for the funds to build a thirty-foot gate around that orchard to keep her from ever menacing ordinary folks again!"

I seriously considered saying something just then, and letting them know I was there, but they were all talking at once and shouting over each other so they wouldn't have even heard me.

"The issue in front of us is very simple," said Mrs. Lee, when the room had calmed down again. "We have to treat Melinda Mills like any other student and allow her to come to school if that is what her guardians want for her to do. As long as we can reasonably accommodate her physical disabilities--"

"Being tall is not a physical disability," Coach Saunders stated. "If it was, I'd be able to get much better parking spaces."

"Melly can't fit through standard doors, or stand upright in the hallways, or fit into most classrooms," said Mrs. Lee. "She can't do necessary things the other children can, and from a legal standpoint that's a physical disability."

"Humph," said Coach Saunders. "You're not putting her in my gym all day. The physical education program is already stretched thin without losing our biggest space."

My heart fell. Was a school gym really the only place I'd fit? No wonder Coach Saunders was against me, and Mr. Peterson too, which meant Dr. Crisp would have to win over Mrs. Rodriguez in order to get a majority of board members on my side!!!

"I worry about the safety of the other children," said Mrs. Rodriguez.

"Melly is well-behaved and respectful," said Dr. Crisp. "She wouldn't hurt a soul."

"I've brought a witness who says otherwise. Mr. Appleton, would you come in here?"

Mr. Appleton? Had I heard that right? I know I was sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly but I couldn't imagine what would Mr. Appleton be doing at the school board meeting. I risked a peek into the window but it wasn't Mr. Appleton who stepped sheepishly into the hall. It was Jay Appleton.

"Have a seat, Mr. Appleton," Mrs. Rodriguez said formally to Jay. "Are you comfortable?"

"Yes, ma'am," said Jay.

"Good. Tell us about the day you first saw Melinda Mills."

I know the day I first saw Jay. It was after my first disastrous trip into town, when they chained me up like an animal, and when the Appletons volunteered to look after me--but that's not the day Jay told the school board about.

"It was last summer," he said. "There's a huge fence between our orchard and the Mills Farm, with lots of signs that Mr. Mills put up that trespassers would be shot on sight--but I found a gap at the bottom that I could just squeeze through, so I thought I'd look around and see what was so gosh-darn secret. That's when I first saw Melly, washing her cows in the creek."

My jaw dropped and my fingers twitched all on their own, wanting to strangle that little creep for spying on me in my own private farmland. And I didn't just wash the cows. I also washed my clothes and on warm days I took a nice long bath--what exactly had Jay seen? I felt myself blushing at the thought.

"Did you ever go back after that?" asked Mrs. Rodriguez, leading Jay through his story like an expert lawyer on TV.

"Every Tuesday, for a while," Jay confessed.

THAT LITTLE PERVERT!!! I wanted to kill him!!!

"Now can you tell us what happened on Tuesday, October 9th of last year?"

My heart almost stopped and my throat went dry. That was the day Pa died. Was Jay there when it happened?

Jay started to say something but instead he asked, "What has six legs and two heads?"

"We're not here for riddles, son," snapped Mr. Peterson.

"It's not a riddle," said Jay. "It's a monster!" He pointed to the other side of the room, at my horrible two-headed dream-beast of exposed bone and rotting flesh, with four legs on the floor and two more dangling at the sides of its barrel-shaped body.

"Nice doggy," said Mrs. Rodriguez, adjusting her thick glasses.

The creatures howled and-- I woke up in the back of the truck. Dr. Crisp looked at me through the open doors. "You missed the whole meeting, Melly. You really should try to get more sleep at night."

I tried to sit up and of course bumped my head. "Did they--? Was there--?"

"The vote was three to two. You're going to school, Melly."

"Okay, good, but that's not important right now. Was there a monster at the meeting, and did Jay Appleton tell everybody...stuff...about me?"

Dr. Crisp looked at me curiously. "There were no monsters or teenage boys in attendance. Just the five board members and a whole lot of boring talk. It probably would have put you to sleep again, even if you'd woken up for it in the first place."

Doc drove me back to the orchard and gave me some pills to take for my bad dreams so I could get some sleep. I plan to sleep for the entire weekend and deal with Jay on Monday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oooooooooh!!!

Oh, wait!!! I can sneak into town in the back of Doc's empty moving truck and listen to the meeting from just outside the window!!!

Some Kind of Code?

After staying up two nights in a row, I could barely keep my eyes open by the time Dr. Crisp came by today for our tutoring session. Strangely, he drove up in a large rental truck. "What are you hauling?" Mr. Appleton asked him.

"Nothing yet. I have a friend who's moving into town, but right now this truck is just a big empty space." Doc looked right at me as he said this, like he thought it would mean something important to me, but I was too dead tired to think about what he was saying.

"Is that school board meeting still happening tonight?" Mr. Appleton asked.

"Sure is. In the second-floor meeting room at Town Hall. It's a nice room, except that it gets stuffy in the summer and we have to open a window." He looked at me again and said, "Usually it's the window looking out onto the parking lot."

I blinked and yawned.

"The lot where I'm going to park my big empty truck," he added.

"Humn," I said, cuz it seemed like he was trying hard to get some kind of reaction from me.

"And the meeting is closed to the public?" Mr. Appleton asked.

"Strictly closed. The only way a person might hear what's going on would be if they happened to be located 18 feet off the ground, just outside that open window." It was like he was speaking in code, I thought, but I was just too tired to figure out the message.

"I have a math exam for you, Melly," he said, handing me a few sheets of paper. "I'll be by later to pick up your answers, on my way to the school board meeting, in my big empty truck."

I took the papers and nodded. I wanted to ask Doc if he'd come up with a way for me to attend the meeting, like he said, but I'm sure he'd have told me about it if he had.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All-Nighter, Hour 9

It's 6AM and the sun's coming up over the apple trees at last. I'm so tired I can barely think straight, but I successfully avoided my dream monsters for one whole night!!!

One night down and the rest of my lifetime to go...

All-Nighter, Hour 8

5AM. The sky is getting lighter but there's no sun yet. This is normally when I'd be waking up to milk the cows. Maybe I should go to sleep for a minute or two, wake up, and trick my body into feeling like I got a whole night's sleep.

Cows need milking and I'll bring Tinkerbell with me for company. She's not giving any milk yet 'tho, cuz she hasn't had her calf--'tho she's getting fatter every day!!!

All-Nighter, Hour 7

4AM. It'll be getting light soon. Now I know why adults drink coffee or Red Bull.

Hey!!! I have a red bull--Old Carl--except he's more of a dark brown with white patches. We can play bullfighter with a pair of my red AthletiGlom shorts. Ole!!!

That ought to wake me up.

All-Nighter, Hour 6

I've got my second wind, or third wind, or I don't know how many winds I've had cuz I stopped counting already. It's 3AM, by the way.

The only thing on TV right now is an infomercial about a skin-cream that doubles as a marinade for chicken and can also be used to patch up a flat tire. It comes in original, barbecue, or teriyaki flavor.

I should ask Mr. Appleton to hook up some more channels.

All Nighter, Hour 5

2AM. So sleepy...zzzzzzzdlkf;jasd-- Hmm??? Almost drifted off there. Almost...

All Nighter, Hour 4

It's 1AM and I've never been so tired in my life.

I should take another victory lap but I haven't won anything else so far.

Maybe after this game I'll take a defeat lap.

All-Nighter, Hour 3

It's midnight and I just won a game of spider solitaire on the difficulty level with four different suits!!! Hooray for me!!! And now my eyelids are drooping, so I'm going to do a victory lap around the orchard--Coach Saunders would be so proud!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All-Nighter, Hour 2

It's 11PM and spider solitaire is kicking my butt!!! Tinkerbell is asleep in my lap and I don't think she's in the scary meadow cuz she's waaaaay too content. If I fell asleep now, maybe I'd join her in a happy cow-dream--but I don't want to risk it!!!

All-Nighter, Hour 1

It's 10PM and I'm not sleeping. I'm going to stay up all night watching TV, playing spider solitaire, and not going back to the spooky meadow with Miss Freckles and that other monster.

I'll try to check in with my blog every hour. If an hour goes by and you don't hear from me, COME BY AND WAKE ME UP!!!

My Monster

I fell asleep last night and dreamed about the spooky meadow. Everything was the same as before except now I had Tinkerbell in my arms--which makes sense cuz that's where she was when I fell asleep.

Tink got startled when the first gargling howl came from over the ridge. She squirmed and struggled, so I had to hold her tight and try to calm her down.

And guess who showed up with us right then. No, not Dream Boy--I only wish!--it was Miss Freckles, the giant girl who hates my guts, and she was cackling with glee. "What dark and evil part of your mind is this?" she asked.

"I thought you were the dark and evil part of my mind," I shot back. "I wish I could have traded those GlomCorp clothes for you instead of for Dream Boy!"

"That really hurts, Melly." She made a momentary effort to look sad but failed miserably. I think it had something to do with the gleam in her eyes as she looked out at the swirling red smoke rising from the other side of the ridge. She clasped her hands together when the beast let out another tortured shriek. "Why, Melly! I do believe you've made yourself a monster!"

"Why is it my monster?" I asked, stroking Tink to calm her down again. "Maybe it's your monster."

"It's your mind, so it's your monster. That's the way it works."

"But how do I know this isn't your mind?"

"Oh, Melly." Miss Freckles laughed. "Do you really think I'd invite you into my mind? The creature on the other side of that ridge is a manifestation of your fears, your guilt, and your anxieties. It's your very own monster, created by you!"

The shriek came again, closer than ever, and the red smoke swirled from something large passing through it. Miss Freckles leaned forward eagerly and waited, while I swallowed hard and tried to turn away--but I couldn't. It was like my eyes were glued to the spot!!!

Slowly, a creature emerged from the smoke. It had six legs, two heads, and patches of flesh that clung loosely to its visible bones.

Miss Freckles recoiled with her entire body. "This is your monster? This is the skeleton in your closet?"

My mouth was so dry, I couldn't even answer.

"What have you done, Melly?" Miss Freckles demanded.

"N-n-nothing," I said, unconvincingly.

Miss Freckles launched herself at me, swinging punches that could have flattened a heavyweight boxer--pretty easily too, since she's my size or close to it. I fell back and raised my arms to protect myself. I know it was only a dream but it sure felt real as she connected her fists with my face, arms, and shoulders.

"What have you done, Melly?" she kept asking. "What have you done? What have you done? What have you done?"

I woke to find Tink mooing in my ear. I stroked her neck and told her it was all just a nightmare, and I'm sure it was--but then, why are my hands still shaking as I type this, and why are there bruises coming up on my arms as if I got hit for real?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tinkerbell Mooooves In

I barely slept all weekend. Every time I closed my eyes I was back in the dark and spooky meadow with that monstrous something waiting just over the ridge. It's like my brain was a TV and I couldn't change the channel!!!

Don't tell Mr. and Mrs. Appleton but I've brought my favorite heifer, Tinkerbell, into the shed to keep me company at night. She's not "shed-broken" yet, so I don't let her up on my mattress, but I don't mind curling up with her on the floor with a blanket. Tink's a smart cow, so I'm sure I can teach her to leave her cow-pies in the litter box I made for her from the wooden crate my GlomCorp stuff came in.

The school board met on Friday night and decided on all kinds of budget items, new rules, and curriculum changes--but they couldn't agree on what to do about me. Dr. Crisp said they were deadlocked, with two members voting to let me attend the school, two members voting to keep me out, and one who wasn't able to make up his or her mind.

Doc wouldn't tell me who voted which way but I think I can figure it out. He would have been on my side, of course, and I think Mrs. Lee liked me and my designer jeans well enough to let me in. Mr. Peterson hates me and would have wanted me removed from his school, his town, and his planet, if that were ever put to a vote. Mrs. Rodriguez probably voted against me too, after Jay whined to her for an hour about how mean I am. Which means Coach Saunders gets to cast the final vote. I sure hope he won't decide based on how many laps I can run around the orchard or how many chin-ups I can do!!!

Doc said the school board is meeting again this week. If the other board members can't persuade that last member to vote with them, it will be up to the chairperson to decide--and that's Mr. Peterson, unfortunately. I asked if I could go and plead my own case but Doc didn't think so. "The meeting is closed to the public but maybe I can arrange something for you."

Anyway, that's just one more thing for me to be anxious about while I'm avoiding sleep.

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Illustrator Challenge

Artists can create illustrations of me or the events in my life, as long as they are appropriate for my young readers. Any previous post on this blog can be illustrated. If I like an image that goes well with a post on the blog, I may add a small thumbnail version along with credit to the artist and a link to the full-sized image. Images of me posted elsewhere should link back to the "Giant Girl Rampages" blog.

If you want to draw a picture of me, here's what you need to know:

I'm 15 years old and almost (but not quite) 18 feet tall. Mrs. Appleton says I'm very pretty and well proportioned, which I guess is a complement. I'm not super thin or anything but I think I'm in pretty good shape.

I have dirty blonde hair that's kind of wild because I trim it with Pa's old hedge trimmers. My eyes are green as the ocean, as Ma always said, but I wouldn't know because I've never seen an ocean. My skin is tanned from being out in the sun a lot but not too dark and (usually) not burned.

I wear a blouse and skirt-shorts that my mother quilted for me three years ago. They look like a big patchwork cuz she used many squares of fabric and cowhide. I've grown since then, so the skirt-shorts no longer come down to my knees, my blouse is way tight, and there's a bit of skin showing in between. I don't have any shoes (and that makes me sad to think about so I usually don't).

If you do draw my picture, send the link in a comment so I can post it to my blog. Thanks!!!

Fan-Fiction Challenge

You can write fan-fiction about me if you want. Just let everyone know your story is made up and not real, unlike this blog which is absolutely 100% true.

Be sure to link back to my blog and I'll link to the stories I like best!!!