Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just like Scout

A few nights ago a dear friend called me just to chat and catch up on life. He said he had been watching the film To Kill a Mockingbird and he paused the film to call me. He said that it suddenly struck him how much Scout, the girl who is a major character in the film, reminded him of me, what he imagined I was like when I was a kid. He said she looked somewhat like me, but that it was her personality that seemed so much like me. I do believe this is the nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten from anyone.

The fluky thing about his comment is that when I’m writing fiction I often write in the voice of a 12-year-old girl living in the mid-20th century in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. And I realized that this girl who occupies my brain is much like Scout Finch. So when I write I do look like her, I act like her, and I write in her voice. I never had put two and two together before.

I posted this piece of quickie little piece of fiction on this blog once before, quite some time ago. This is an example of something I have written in the voice of my alter ego, that 12-year-old girl who could be Scout.

Sammy and Angela were sitting on the front porch of the store when I walked by. They had obviously stopped talking when I got near enough to hear. I walked past them, let the screen door slam, grabbed an RC Cola out of the ice chest, and dumped an orange juice can full of pennies on the counter. Miss Dixon always tolerated me. She just chuckled and counted the pennies.
She said, “Well, you’ve got 24 cents extra. How about I throw in a penny and give you five nickels in trade? You want to play the slots?"
Of course I wanted to play—I’m a preteen slot machine junkie. Ever since the time I hit the big jackpot down at the amusement park, I’ve been expecting to hit it big again. I figure I’m just lucky.
So I walked over to the nickel slot machine by the front door. First nickel, nothing. Second nickel, nothing. Third nickel, I got straight cherries and nickels started pouring out of the machine. 
Miss Dixon said, “Girl, if you just aren’t the luckiest kid I’ve ever seen. You must have been born under a rainbow.”
She handed me a paper bag and I sat on the floor by the door putting all my loot in the bag. I could hear Angela crying on the front porch.
“Sammy,” she said, “I just can’t understand why you won’t believe me. I don’t care who told you and I don’t care what they said. I did not kiss Bo Maltby, I swear. Some of the girls think he’s cute, but not me. Tell me who told you. Tell me!”
Geesh, Angela was such a liar. I saw her kissing Bo Maltby just a couple of days ago, out behind the tobacco barn on the road to the store. I’m like a cat, just walk around with no shoes, not making a sound. I see all kinds of things I’m not supposed to see. Like the time I took the shortcut home and saw Mr. Morris sitting in the sun on his lounge chair wearing only what God gave him. Well, he was wearing sunglasses—I suppose God didn’t give him the sunglasses. He was all smeared in oil and had some big aluminum foil contraption all wrapped around him. And if you want to know the truth, I really did see his wiener. I’ve only seen one before, but that was my brother’s and that hardly counts because he was a baby. Mary Francis told me that her uncle showed her his wiener and it was ugly and hairy. So now I’ve seen one too and I don’t hardly care to ever see another one again.
I did see Angela kissing Bo Maltby, but I didn’t tell a soul, and she was flat-out lying to Sammy out there in front of the store. Sammy just shook his head, got up, put his hands in his pockets and walked away, leaving Angela crying. I grabbed my bag of nickels and sat on the front porch to drink my RC.
Angela sniffled, looked at me, and said, "You heard that, didn't you?"
I just drank my soda. 
She said, “You are evil. Everyone thinks you’re just a goofy, harmless little kid but I know about you. I’ll bet you’re the one who told Sammy about Bo and me, aren’t you? I’m going to get back at you for this, just you wait.”
Her dark eyes glittered at me, but I wasn’t afraid.

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