Archive for April 29, 2014

Larissa’s Launch: Another Preview

Three weeks left until the official launch of Larissa Takes Flight: Stories!  Here’s another story that doesn’t appear in the book, in case you need an early peek into Larissa’s world…

Larissa and Blood Sports


For one and a half years in high school, my usual walk-to-school attire was a midriff top, miniskirt, high boots, and fishnets if I could leave the house without my mom hauling me back inside. Sometimes I slammed the door on her scream, but not always. That resulted in drag out-fights about how my parents never let me do anything. I had to take off the fishnets and wear a skirt that fell to my knees, then grouse out the door again

I kept jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes in my backpack and changed clothes in a gas station bathroom across the street from the high school. Mission accomplished. I had freaked out my mom again, and could deflect boys with a stern keep-away eye.

My parents had raised me too well, instilled decent morals and a sense of individuality. I knew that would come in handy later, but in high school their teachings on not drinking or using drugs sat in my head like concrete blocks. I didn’t have or want a boyfriend. My job was to keep track of others’ love games. There were no rules, no time outs, no penalties. I was a scorekeeper with my pen and notebook, a fly on five walls so I could give the morning, noon, and after school statistics, listing skirmishes and random hallway encounters.

Fights could build to a crescendo over a matter of days or a couple class periods, end with a ring of the bell and the scuffling of shoes. Play was short, fast, and dirty. There was no padding, just blood and ink on notes penned in class. I paid attention to speculation, knew which whispers to dismiss and which to tuck in the back of my mind, a space behind my left ear reserved for those details.

The players were gladiators, ready to tempt death at the hands of the high school rumor mill, their pride and hearts offered for a pummeling. It was a game to see who could care the most about their beloved, a game to see who could breach zippers most efficiently, a game to see who’d trample last week’s lover, leaving red cleat prints.

There was no one more elated than a sixteen-year-old girl whose boyfriend hid balloons in her locker on her birthday, no one more deathly defeated than that same boy given the cold shoulder two weeks later for no apparent reason, no rush like trying to make out in the janitor’s closet or the band booster concession stand without getting caught.

The wounded snarled, hefted their backpacks, and slogged to the next class. It was best to leave them alone to resurrecting their ego for another day. I’d read enough to know love had always been like this and we couldn’t invent anything that hadn’t already happened, though everyone else at school seemed to think we were the creators of the original tragedy.

In the evening while my classmates talked about the day’s matches on the phone, I curled in my room and played eardrum-blasting music, doing algebra problems and waiting for my mom to yell at me to turn it down. I didn’t need to discuss the games with anyone, let others take care of the commentary, too busy planning my next mother-thwarting outfit in the game of parental displeasure. It was all about strategy.