My Story for Amanda

blogtourI’ve contributed a piece to the STORIES FOR AMANDA benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds to go to amandatoddlegacy.org and their efforts to stop the horrific epidemic of bullying

Here’s an excerpt from my story, ”Out of It”

Anguish, effort, determination. It was all in the shot I’d taken last night at the pickup soccer game in the park. Out of the 157 images I’d snapped, I only needed one to turn out, and this was it. I hit the upload button extra hard to send the selected picture to my online album. I was a god of memories.
Never mind that he didn’t score. Never mind that it got cold. According to the image I’d framed, it was perfect. Going through the pictures and choosing which shots to show and which to delete was one of my favorite parts of photography. Without a picture, it was as if it never happened.
“Liam, we’re there.” My mom pulled the car up next to the school and turned to look at me. “Remember, today is the day you get involved.”
Getting involved was her new crusade. Apparently she’d read some statistic that said kids who weren’t in extracurricular activities were more likely to use drugs. I preferred to stay behind the scenes, but joining something would be easier than facing constant is he on drugs? scrutiny.
“I know. I will.” I opened the door to get out. “Thanks for the ride.”
My mom blew me a kiss before I closed the car door and she pulled away.
“Great picture, Liam!” My friend Andres waved his phone from where he was sitting next to the front steps of the school.
I refreshed the picture again as I walked over. Twenty-five likes already.
“I look like I should be on the cover of Sports magazine,” Andres said.
“Good thing it doesn’t show that you actually missed the goal. One of my other shots had turned out well, but it was of Jagger making a goal. He was such a jerk I didn’t want him in my image collection.”
“Every time he scores I’m happy for the team, but I wish someone else had made the goal. Oh, and for the record, I didn’t miss. My shot got blocked.”
I put my phone away. “Hopefully that picture of you is good enough to get me a sports assignment on yearbook.”
“Yearbook?” Andres laughed. “I thought you hated our junior high yearbook.”
I did. It was crap. “My mom is forcing me to join something. How hard can it be? I’m at school anyway. I’ll pull out my camera once in a while and be done with it.”
“You’re not going out for football?” Andres asked.
“Yeah, right. With my build they’d put me starting defensive lineman for sure.” We sniggered as we made our way into the school to our lockers.
I wasn’t built like a starting defensive lineman. I was more like a cross between a distance runner and a malnourished basketball player. I ate constantly but grew up, not out. My mom had dragged me to the doctor a bunch of times probably after reading too many ridiculous stories in her Things Parents Should Worry About magazines. Eating disorders aren’t just for females—your son may be starving. Each time a new issue arrived I braced myself for more odd questions. I was pretty sure the whole get involved and stay off drugs thing had come from a magazine article.
Our friend Dillon was sitting on the floor in front of his locker, furiously writing something in a notebook.
“Why are you so busy already?” I nudged him with my foot so I could open my locker. “School just started a week ago.”
“I’ve got some orders lined up. Lots of customers with summer job money.”
Dillon was one of those guys who could somehow get his hands on anything digital and stuck to his own code of honor about what should be accessible or not as opposed to what might be legal or not. I didn’t ask too many questions about how he managed to acquire games and movies for us. It was better to not know.

To read the rest of “Out of It” in the Stories for Amanda anthology, please join the release party here.

Watch for more excerpts every day from now through October 31 from the 16 authors in romance and new/young adult who have teamed up with Telemachus Press and joined the fight against bullying.

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