Archive for June 2013

Patron Saint deleted scene: Awkward elementary school days…

Only two and a half months left before THE PATRON SAINT OF UNATTRACTIVE PEOPLE is released.  To further whet your appetite for weirdness and the Midwestern mythic, here’s another deleted scene from the book.  My protagonist is reminiscing over her elemetary school days:

Callie and I got along well in school because she was a smart short kid with a big mouth. She could verbally best anyone who made fun of her because she knew big words that they didn’t. The second-grade kids who called her names didn’t know what to think when she said they were senile cretins or obtuse imbeciles.

“We don’t understand what that means,” one of her tormentors whined.

“Too bad,” she said. “Get a dictionary.”

“Yeah,” he said, “well, you’re really short.”

“Go to Hades,” she said.

“Did you just swear?” he said.

“No,” she said.

“It sounded like you swore. I’m telling.”

“Go ahead,” she said.

“What did you say again?” he said.

“You should have paid more attention the first time,” she said.

Callie was queen of the snappy comeback, even when we were seven. I was the kid with sunglasses shade who sat out when we played dodgeball because my shade could get knocked off. I wasn’t taunted much in school but give most of the credit to my first grade teacher. She explained to the other six-year-olds that I had to wear sunglasses because I had a condition that made me sensitive to light. Soon the other kids wanted to wear sunglasses to school like I did.

“I don’t see a problem with that,” said my teacher, “as long as you get your work done.”

Everyone in my class wore sunglasses for the first two weeks of school. After that the novelty wore off and they realized they could see a lot better without them. But since anyone could wear sunglasses inside, it wasn’t a big deal. For years I sent my first grade teacher a card at the beginning of every school year. In another place with a meaner teacher, my elementary school experience could have been a lot worse.

Patron Saint Update: Dianne the candy store fortune teller


Dianne is another one of my protagonist’s friends who didn’t make it into the novel but deserves a mention anyway.  Part candy store owner and part oracle, she probably has the coolest job in the world.  Read on:

Sweet Truth is three blocks from our coffee shop. Dianne owns the candy store. She was two years ahead of me in school and often I’ll bring her a vanilla latte in exchange for candy. I’ve probably gained a couple pounds because of all those sour balls and gummy bears, but I’m on my feet all day so it doesn’t matter much.

The candy store is what you’d expect – rows of clear plastic bins filled with jelly beans and chocolates and gummy everything, rolls of plastic bags and cups of twist ties. Dianne’s office is also pretty normal, but she’s impeccably neat, has everything in piles and folders and trays. The only thing weird thing about Dianne is that whenever anyone drops candy, she runs over and examines where the pieces fell before she cleans them up. Some people read palms. Some people read tea leaves. Some people cast stones and read the pattern. Dianne reads jellybeans.

“Got another latte for me?” she asks when I walk in the door. “I have some malted milk balls and orange slices for you.”

“Sugar sounds good,” I say, “but could you take a raincheck on the latte? I don’t want to back to the shop right now. My parents are having difficulties.”

Dianne frowns. “Marital?”

“And economic,” I say.

“They usually go together,” she says. “How are sales?”

I shrug. We hear the familiar clattering of jellybeans or sour balls or candy-coated chocolate bits on the tile floor.

“Don’t move,” Dianne yells. She almost vaults over the counter, skittering to where a woman who smells of lilac is staring down at a scattering of green jellybeans.

“I’m sorry,” the lilac woman says, “I’m so clumsy. I thought I had a good grip on the bag but then–”

“It’s okay,” says Dianne. “Couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

She studies the pattern of green jellybeans for several moments.

“Well,” she sighs, “there may be some rough times ahead.”

I say, “There are rough times now.”

“I don’t know how things will end,” she says, “but you’re survivor. I’m pretty sure things will be fine.”

“Pretty sure?” I say.

“That’s all the beans will tell me,” she says.

“Can I help clean them up?” says the lady. “I feel so bad about this.”

Dianne waves her hand and says not to worry. I walk back to the coffee shop with my malted milk balls and orange slices and a deep-set sense of dread.