Sunday, September 22, 2013

Excitable Ed: A story for children and adults

I've just drafted my second children's story. Like the previous one, it's as much for adults as for kids.

The text is below as is a video of me reading it aloud. Even as an adult I enjoy being read to.

Feedback welcome.

Excitable Ed
(to be illustrated)

From the day he was born, Ed was excitable. He popped out practically waving pom-pons.

The day his baby sister was born, he tried to dance with her.

When his preschool teacher told the class to slowly melt like ice cream cones, by the time the other kids melted, he had melted, straightened, melted, straightened, and melted again. 

When he started kindergarten, people didn't like that Ed was excitable.

When his teacher, Ms Tidey, asked a question, Ed would blurt out the answer. "Edward, you must wait until you're called on."

When Ms Tidey said it was time for recess, Ed raced to get a ball but the teacher said, "Walk, don't run. Edward!  Now you can't have a ball."

One day at recess, there were pigeons on the top of the roof. Ed kept jumping up to get a better look---until one pooped on his head.  All the kids laughed at Ed.

The kids liked Ed even less than the teacher did. They would imitate Ed zooming around and they didn't even care that he saw them. The teacher once called him "Excitable Ed" and now that's the only thing the kids call him: "Hi Excitable Ed!" "Zoom around for us, Excitable Ed!"

Still, Ed wanted to make friends so when he saw other kids giving little presents to each other, he bought a piece of bubble gum for every one of his classmates. But when he started to give them out, one child said, "That's stupid!" Another tattled to the teacher, "Ed has gum in class!" And Ms. Tidey said, "Give me that gum, Edward. Don't you know there's no gum in class?!" Ed bowed his head and gave her the gum.

Then one day at recess, when someone kicked the soccer ball into the street, Ed, trying to be nice, raced after it....and didn't see the car coming. Splat!

Now Ed had to be in the hospital while they put his body in a whole-body cast.

Ms. Tidey called Ed's mother and said, "I really think Edward should start taking a drug to calm him down."

His mother asked, "But Ed does fine on school tests. Maybe if the work were harder or more interesting? Or maybe if you let him move around some more?"

Ms Tidey murmured, "I think he should be evaluated for Ritalin."

Ed's mom said politely, "I'll think about it."

Ed asked his mother, "If I take that drug, will I still be me?"

Ms. Tidey passed-around a get-well card for Ed's classmates to sign but most of the kids snickered and didn't sign it. One classmate, who already knew how to write, wrote, "Are you still fast in a cast?"

Not one of Ed's classmates came to see him in the hospital.

Ed had to share the hospital room with another child: Ellen too had been in a car accident. Her face was covered with bandages, like a mummy. With Ed's whole body in a cast, they made quite a pair.

For the first time anyone could remember, Ed was quiet--he was exhausted from the accident. Besides, it is hard to zoom around when your whole body is in a cast.

Everyone in the hospital liked the calm Ed--except Ed. He felt like he lost his real self. Now, he was Boring Ed.

But one thing that didn't get put in a cast was his heart.

"Don't worry, Ellen" said Ed. The bandages will come off soon."

"I'm scared of what I'll look like," Ellen replied. The doctor's supposed to come in soon to take off the bandages,"

"Don't worry. You'll look good again fast."

And just then, the doctor walked in and, after a too-quick hello, removed the bandages.

Monsters looked better.

Ed forced himself not to say, "Ugh!." And it was a good thing Ellen couldn't see herself in the mirror.

But then Ellen could. She pulled a small mirror from her bedside drawer and said it, "Ugh! Will I be like this forever?"

The doctor hesitated and then said, "Ellen, you'll look much better,. Um, you're healing well. So good news: you can go home! Your parents will be here in a few minutes." And the doctor walked out.

Ed said, "What counts is what's on your inside."

"That's not what the kids think." Ellen replied.

Ed said, "If you're nice on the inside, your outside shines too. Kids like nice people as much as they like good-looking people."

After Ellen left, Ed laid there thinking: Does it really matter more what's on the inside? Will people like me only when I'm not my real self? Should I take that drug? For me? For the other kids?

And Excitable Ed closed his eyes.

Do you think Ed should take the drug?

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