Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WALK LIKE A YANKEE by Kerry Madden

I wasn't looking for a story or a particular voice, but sometimes the voice or the story will come slamming into your head whether you wish it to or not. I don't know yet what this will become, but when a good friend said, "Write it down. Now!" I obeyed.

by Kerry Madden

Are you going to keep up on our power-walk or are you going to go all Southern on me and stroll? We have forty minutes! That's it. So I’m not strolling here. We're not walking Southern! Got that? I keep up a very fast-paced walk. I’m serious. So listen, you’re going to have to keep up with me or just forget it. You’re already lagging behind. I can’t talk to you if you’re lagging behind.

I need to be able to talk to you. You’re all the way back there. Three inches is a lot, and it’s more like three feet if you want to know the truth, which I’m sure you don’t but too bad. It’s good for you. You’re freaking slow. I’m not exaggerating. Come on. Keep up. I don’t want to look behind me to have to talk to you. Come on! Keep up. Keep up! I’m serious, keep up! You’re lagging again. Yes, you are! Unbelievable.

You’re really slow, aren’t you? It drives me crazy people who don’t keep up. It’s one of my pet peeves. I keep up a very fast paced walk. Would you keep up already? You’re lagging again. My best friend lags behind me too. You walk like him. It drives me nuts. What’s the point of a power-walk if you’re going to lollygag? Keep up! You are so seriously southern. Of the deepest South, that’s you. You walk like you’ve got no place to go. Typical southerner. No destination in mind! We have forty minutes to get in a serious walk, and we are not going to spend it shuffling along.

Let me ask you a question. How do you think I got such got a great butt? Not by ambling or shuffling or dragging my feet that’s for sure! I used to be embarrassed by my butt, but now I’m proud of it. Kids used to oink at me at school when I reached for food, because I wasn’t all super-skinny, but now I realize they were just jealous. I have a great butt.

A woman at the party stopped me last night and said, “Don’t take this wrong way but you have an awesome butt.” It made my night. The whole night I kept thinking, “I have an awesome butt.” What’s the matter with you? Which way do you want to go? Decide. Now. No right now! Do you want to go left? Right? Left? Right? Come on. Make a decision. There are probably bugs on that trail. No thanks. But seriously, I can’t stand people who can’t make decisions or who display signs of weakness. It’s such a freaking turn-off. Look at these train tracks. God, we are so in the South. Freaking train tracks!

Speaking of, could you believe that waitress gave me that disgusting sugary iced tea yesterday? Fine, sweet tea - whatever. They don’t even warn you here about the tea. They ought to warn you. There ought to be big freaking signs. Seriously. How is a person supposed to know to request “sweet” or “unsweet” tea down here? What the heck? It was gross. I almost gagged on all the sugar. You’re slowing down again. I’m just talking here. It's not an excuse for you to slow down. Keep up! How many times do I have to say it?

Let me see how much that house costs. Keep walking in place while I look. No strolling allowed. I’m watching. Pick up those feet! $400,000 for this neighborhood? That’s a little surprising. I didn’t think houses in the South cost that much. The fence isn’t bad. Nice stone work too. Good, you’re keeping up. Finally. Nope, now you're slowing down again. Keep up, I said! I'm not going to tell you again.

Do you even know where we’re going?

Kerry Madden is the author the Maggie Valley Series published by Viking Children's Books. The books include Gentle’s Holler (2005, starred Kirkus and Publishers Weekly), Louisiana Song (2007), and Jessie’s Mountain (2008) set in the heart of Appalachia in the Smokies. Her first novel, Offsides, was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age in 1997. Her book, Writing Smarts, published by American Girl, is full of story sparks for young writers. Her newest book, Up Close Harper Lee (Viking) made Booklist's Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth. New to Alabama, she teaches creative writing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. www.kerrymadden.com

1 comment:

karen said...

Kerry: You do have a great butt.