Hi everyone… this scene never made it into the published version of Summer of L.U.C.K., my middle grade debut, which is about three kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival. Although I loved this scene and hated to cut it, it didn’t move the story along. But NOW, you can check it out. Hope you enjoy it!
Summer of L.U.C.K. and sequel Ready or Not
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“Strike three!” yelled Mitch McKendrick, umpiring late afternoon softball between the Charging Buffaloes and the Black-Eyed Bees on Camp Inch’s ball field.
With the Bees leading 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Dwight’s strikeout sent him glum-faced back to the Charging Buffaloes’ bench. His teammates slid over to make room for him, and Kenny shot him a dark stare.
Justin checked his watch, preoccupied by his role in Operation L.U.C.K. Will this game ever end?
“They should have pinch hit for me,” Dwight told him, pulling a Wash’n Dry towelette from his pocket and cleaning his hands with fastidious zeal. “I’m not good under pressure.”
“Um-hum,” nodded Justin vaguely.
“You’ll get ’em next time, buddy,” said Ben, pacing behind the boys.
While the Black-Eyed Bees’ counselor visited the mound for a word with his pitcher, Justin tested his watch, setting it to ring in ten seconds. That’s not loud enough. Will I even hear it if it’s under my pillow?He looked around. It’s noisy now, but it’ll be quiet tonight. What if it’s too loud and wakes everybody?
“You’re up,” said Ben, tapping Justin on the shoulder. “Get on base however you can.”
Dwight handed Justin a bat. He headed to the plate in a bit of a daze but somehow took four balls, bringing the Charging Buffaloes to their feet hooting and yelping.
Harper, next at the plate, swung through the first two pitches.
“Strike two!” thundered Mr. McKendrick.
Everyone fell silent. After turning to read a sign from Franklin, Harper dug in. The pitcher threw a slider. Crack went the bat as Harper powered it up in the air.
“Home run!” screamed Kenny, and the Charging Buffaloes mobbed Harper at home plate, hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him all the way back to the cabin.
Amid the jubilation, no one noticed when Justin slipped outside to check – for the third time – that his empty backpack remained hidden between a big rock and the cabin wall. Right where I put it. Satisfied at last, he ran back inside in time to witness a final victory chorus.