Case in point: Danny never stopped flirting with Penny, even when he knew it pissed Adam off. Or maybe he did it even more when Adam got mad. His gut twisted thinking about it, and his hands tightened on the handlebars of his Skidoo. Penny didn’t say that she minded it, but every now and then he’d seen a shady look on her face when she moved away from Danny’s hand on her shoulder, pushing him back when he was begging for a hug, or when she caught him staring at her as he sipped from his drink. Adam would shove him or give him a semi-playful smack on the shoulder and tell him to stay away from her, but the guy just laughed it off.
“I’m just kidding! Relax, man!”
Sometimes Adam wondered why they were friends. Or, rather, still friends. They’d known each other since they were two, been to each other’s birthdays every year since then, learned how to fish and shoot together, and Danny had helped Adam to build his snowmobile practically from scratch.
Adam could see his buddy up ahead, veering his 2016-model Summit X T3 880 up the drifted slopes and taking jumps that left wings of powder hanging in the air. What Danny wanted, he got, and therefore a lot of kids wanted to be in his circle.
It just sucked that being in this particular group meant you had to show you had balls. Turning around halfway through a run did not show anything but being a wuss. Adam sighed, anticipating the bad-mouthing he was about to get. But there was no help for it; the needle had already moved on the gas gauge, giving him about ten more minutes before he’d have to turn around.
The good news was Danny had already started slowing down, signalling a stop. If he was really lucky, he wouldn’t be getting back on fumes.
Okay, readers, I’m stepping out of the story here. I honestly don’t know where it’s going right now. Not used to writing in this genre or style and I’m worried about sounding contrived. There are a few directions it seems to want to explore: the harassment of Penny by Danny, the peer pressure, Adam having to go back to town early. I can see the other boys wanting to make it all the way to Rouyn to buy beer before going to a party, and of course, giving Adam a hard time about leaving. I’m not sure how the dialogue should go, though. I’m thinking of maybe printing off what I’ve got so far and then asking the students I’m targeting to come up with the dialogue for me. Or deciding what should happen next.
I’m fairly certain, though, that the inciting incident will be Adam taking a shortcut to save gas and going through the ice on a shallow lake, ending up alone in the dark and soaking wet. He’s got to get to a warm place before he freezes to death, plus based on Danny’s behaviour (and maybe some off-colour remarks) toward Penny, he’s going to feel a need to get to her to protect her.
I also see Danny as being a smoker. But if I write the character like that, am I encouraging smoking? Or seeing the antagonist realistically?
Last year, I made a list of slang that I heard being used regularly in school, but I know some of it’s changed by now. Smoking is often referred to as “bangin’ darts”, unattractive girls are “ratchet”, and something bad or frustrating is “burnt”. I’m caught up in a cycle of self-doubt on whether I should use these in the dialogue or not. Oh, what the hell . . . The worst that can happen is they tell me it sounds dumb and then I make them rewrite it! Or give me suggestions and I’ll do it.
Adam parked his machine in beside the other three and raised his helmet so he could speak clearly. ” ‘Sup, boys?”
“Smoke break,” Danny told him, grinning. “Want a dart?”
“Naw, you know I’m quitting.” Adam waved him off and looked away.
“Yeah, you keep saying that,” Steve said. “But I keep seeing you in the smokers’ pit at school.”
“That’s ’cause that’s where all you losers hang out, dumbass.” Adam propped one knee on his seat. “Listen, what’s the plan here?”
“We’re heading to Rouyn, gonna pick up some two-fours and head back to AJ’s for a party,” Danny said. He exhaled a long puff of grey-white smoke mixed with the condensation of his breath.