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Johnny B Goode - Excerpt

I used to laugh every time I watched the old Lost in Space re-runs my parents watched when they were my age. They were so lame! Mum said she always knew the robot was there to protect Will so she wasn't scared. Dad was a different story. I thought he must have been a coward. Chicken. Lily-livered. Jumping at shadows. But then it happened, and I knew there was a lot out there to be frightened of. I only wish I had a robot to protect me. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn't have a story to tell now. But then again…

The day began ordinarily enough when my alarm blared out Good Charlotte's The Anthem. I groaned and rolled over, squeezing my eyes shut, forcing my mind to return to my dream-date, the gorgeous Jordana in the grade six class next to mine. Yeah, I know. I'm really too young to date, but you're never too young to dream, right? It was no use. She was gone and I knew she wasn't coming back.

Mum pounded on my door.

"Johnny! Get a move on! You'll be late!" she called as she passed my door on her way to wake up the twins. I groaned again, mumbled something I knew she wouldn’t hear and dragged myself out of bed. By the time I had pulled on my uniform and shoved my books into my bag, the twins were preening in the bathroom, and I had to wait again.

"Hurry up!" I growled at them. I knew if I didn't get into the bathroom soon, I'd never get a chance. Mum would make me do the lunches and set the table, and the girls would get out of doing their jobs again. Life is really unfair when you're the oldest and you have irritating twins for sisters.

Still, today I had my chance in the bathroom and the girls made the lunches. Their secret giggles and whispers should have warned me, but I just thought they were doing things year fours do all the time. Big seventh graders ignore such things, but today I really shouldn't have.

I know I'm dribbling like my baby brother when Mum tries to feed him, but I guess I don't really know how to get it all out. I think I just have to tell you about my day, and then maybe you'll understand. And maybe you won’t think I'm all bad. At least, that's what I hope.

I choked down a couple of vegemite toasts washed down by some milk, wiped my face on the back of my hand and ran out the door. Mum, of course, called me back and told me to walk with my sisters, and, still being a kid and a bit scared of her, I had to do what she said. Hey, you better not tell anyone else I'm still a bit scared of my Mum! To tell the truth, I'm not really scared of her. I just respect her too much to not do what I'm told. OK?

Well, I walked to school with the twin monsters, and just as we got to the gate, it all started.

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