I am very close to publishing my third book. It’s just as exciting as the first time around. I love my characters. They are awesome and idiosyncratic.
Below I have provided a sneak peek to Room 42:
Lunch that day was tuna sandwiches. The bread was okay, but the tuna was tasteless and watery. I took a sandwich from the counter and sat down near Luke. I didn’t see Jed around. He’d probably finished and gone outside to play basketball.
“Guess what?” Luke said.
“What?” I opened my sandwich and scraped the tuna out with a plastic fork.
“Miss Hentuckle was about to give us a test and then a pipe in the wall exploded. I had to save the whole class, and after I did, Miss Hentuckle said I don’t have to take any more tests ever again.”
“Yeah?” I liked hanging around with Luke, even though he was little. He was one of the only cheerful people around and he had a great collection of comic books. He did have one problem. It was called telling the truth.
“Hey, who’s that?” Luke was looking over my shoulder.
I twisted around. “That’s Tom Grant. He’s new. They put him in our room.”
I thought Tom would go sit with the cooler kids, but he sat down next to me and plunked his lunch tray onto the table. “Nothing like a soggy tuna fish sandwich to start the middle of your day.”
“Hi,” Luke said. “I’m Luke Skywalker.”
“I’m Darth Vader,” Tom said. “Pleased to eat you. I mean, meet you.”
Luke stared at him. His blue eyes were moon-size and lit up with curiosity. “Where are you from? I come from California and we have our own helicopter and I have a huge guard dog that kills people.”
I rolled my eyes. Luke’s family was from New York and was as poor as my own. The only reason he could afford to come to Lakeville Boarding School was because of his rich great-uncle. Luke talked a lot about him. At first, I thought he didn’t exist, but then Luke got a remote control car shipped to school on his birthday, so I figured the uncle must be real.
“Is that a fact?” Tom bit into his sandwich. “I happen to be from California as well and I have a dog that does not kill people. But, alas, no helicopter.”
“He’s making it up,” I said to Tom. “His name is Luke Fletcher, not Skywalker.”
“Pity. I’m still Darth Vader.” Tom put his sandwich on his plate and nudged it away from him. “This lunch. The concept is good, but I see room for improvement. Is this what the food is like every day?”
“More or less,” I said.
“If you hold your nose when you eat,” Luke said, “you don’t taste it. But then it’s hard to swallow and your ears feel like they’re going to blow up.”
A shadow fell over me. I flinched and tucked my head down into my shoulders and made myself as small as possible. Luke shrank away. I knew it was Bull Atkin. He was the only person with that smell.
Bull stood right behind me and leaned close to my ear. “Got anything for me? The vending machine is calling to me and I’m all out of cash.”
My hand was already in my pocket, searching for money, when Tom said, “I don’t hear it.”
Bull took a step towards him. “What? Who are you?”
“I’m Tom Grant. I don’t hear the vending machine calling. Maybe it’s because I don’t speak vending.”
What was he doing? He was going to get himself a bloody nose! I tried to catch Tom’s eye, but he was looking up at Bull with a lazy sort of cockiness that would get on anyone’s nerves.
I sneaked a glance at Bull’s face. He was eyeing Tom skeptically. “You new here?”
“No. I’ve been here for twenty whole minutes. Do you have a name?”
“I said Bull.”
“And I said Bully what.”
Bull scrunched his forehead. “You making fun of me?”
“No, never. Here.” Tom handed Bull his lunch tray. “Have a sandwich. I know I took a bite out of it, but I have clean teeth.” Then he turned his back on Bull, which didn’t seem like a safe move, if you ask me.
But Bull didn’t pound him. He stood still for a few seconds, looking at the tray like he didn’t know how it got there. He turned slowly and left with the sandwich.
I let out a whoosh of breath. “What did you do that for?”
Tom shrugged. “I just gave him my lunch. Now I have hunger.”
It took a minute before it dawned on me that I could sit up straight again. Bull was gone, with nothing but a soggy tuna sandwich.