*disclaimer to all my works here, especially the writing prompts – they are unedited first drafts. Always, except for the parts I edit along the way (a thing I have to stop doing), like word changes, spell corrections & little things like that.
This piece is going in the book. It will most likely be edited a few times before it goes in, but whatever tips can be offered, I’d appreciate them. Constructive criticism is good.
The Cactus Brigade’s First and Only Murder
Erin didn’t typically sit with Mazzy during her lunch periods. This was most often because Mazzy was always surrounded by her other friends, a rather large group of her other friends. Erin wasn’t always comfortable with that many people in a group. She also didn’t know many of them so well because some of them were in eighth grade. Erin preferred sitting with her dudes. The Cactus Brigade is the name they gave themselves. The Cactus brigade consisted of Erin, Arlo, Harvey and Simon.
They sat at the table, the four of them, for lunch every day. Once in a while, a couple more friends of the dudes might join, but the only members were the four. Harvey is the leader, or as he calls himself, the President. Arlo is the prosecutor, Simon is the VP and business manager, and Erin is the secretary/treasurer – even though there is no money involved. Erin can’t remember where the name originated from, but she is pretty sure Simon thought of it. They originated in the beginning of sixth grade.
Each day after they finish eating they recite the Cacstitution of the Cactus Brigade. They also sing the “Make a Mii” song. This way of spending her lunch period usually meant that she would leave lunch period feeling better than she had when she arrived. It was a happy boost to each of her days.
“Hey, dudes,” Erin said as she walked up & placed her tray on the table. She sat second from the end of the long rectangle, next to Simon. Simon, who inevitably rubbed his apple or banana on her arm before he ate it. It was a weird tradition for him.
“Hey, schlub,” Arlo said. “What’s news today?”
“I know the news,” Simon said, and he stood up. “Someone is turning 13 today. Someone we all know & scrub.” He proceeded to rub his apple on her arm.
“Today is your birthday, Erin?” Asked Harvey.
“Yes, but it’s not a big deal, please don’t make it one. I’m not having a very good day.” Erin said and sighed heavily. “Rorschach pooped on the floor next to my bed last night, guess where my feet fell when I got out of bed this morning?”
“Noooo! Man, that’s no good.” Said Harvey.
“Right? Then, no one in my family acknowledged my coming of age. Well, teenage.”
“We did,” said Arlo.
“Yes, you’re the first and thank you guys. This is why the Cactus Brigade is awesome.” She was feeling that lump arise in her throat but she didn’t want it to release. She pushed it back down as hard as she could. Crying now wouldn’t be a shining moment for her, even if they’d seen it before.
“This apple tastes better than any apple I’ve ever polished before eating. It’s a birthday apple.” Simon said happily and grinned. “It’s a golden birthday apple.”
“What’s a golden birthday?” Asked Arlo.
“A golden birthday is the one that falls on the day of the age you’re turning.” Harvey said. “Today is May 13th, Erin is turning 13.”
“I’ve never heard of that.” Arlo replied. “Pretty cool. I won’t have a golden birthday until I’m 21.”
“I hope we can all be there for that one,” said Erin.
“Mine was when I was 4, that feels unfair.” Simon said.
Harvey said, “Mine is next year.”
“We need to do something special for this golden day.” Said Harvey.
“No, no you don’t. WHAT is on this sandwich?” Erin said making a face. “Looks like I’ll only be eating the fruit today…again. This is why I usually bring my lunch, but poop foot had no time this morning.”
“Mystery meat. They take all different pieces parts of lunch meats and mash them into slabs of this mystery thing.” Simon said. “Maybe we should put the sandwich out of its misery? After all, it IS Friday the thirteenth.”
“Hmmm, that sounds like a good celebratory act for a golden birthday. A … muuuur-der. Mystery meat murder on Friday the thirteenth.” Arlo said.
“Should we call you poop foot all day?” Harvey asked. “JUST kidding! Just kidding.”
Erin sent a glare that stung Harvey. He looked away.
Arlo got up and went to grab a few ketchup packets from the commissary. Simon placed a small paper plate on the table in the center of all of them. Erin ceremoniously lifted the sandwich in both her hands and gently placed it on the plate. Harvey started humming quietly and they all followed suit. When Arlo returned, he gave each of them a packet of ketchup. They ripped the corners off of their ketchup packets.
“Should we say something first?” Asked Simon.
“This is really happening,” said Erin. “Ha!”
“We should say only one thing…” said Harvey. “Die, mystery meat, die! You have no business being eaten by innocent mouths!”
They all squirted their ketchup onto the sandwich, drops of it flying onto each others’ hands! Then, they began plunging their forks into the sandwich, one at a time. When each fork was in the sandwich, they pulled it apart and the ketchup oozed into the middle making it look like it was bleeding.
That’s all for now. I know it’s rough & it will undergo some changes, I’m positive. I managed to include a sandwich prop AND write something for the book. 2 birds, one stone.