Christopher Allen McDaniels is a ten-year old who lives in my mind. Christopher is the subject of a manuscript I completed a year or two ago. It’s been sitting in my computer all this time while I decide whether or not to publish it. Christopher is the son of lawyer (his father) and a judge (his mother). When he gets into trouble, which happens one way or another in every chapter, his parents “hold court” in the kitchen to review the case and ultimately declare Christopher guilty. He’s then sentenced to time in his room.
Now, with all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and the spinoffs that have been published over the past few years, I am not sure whether or not Christopher Allen McDaniels would fall flat as a book…not that anything I ever wrote would even approach the success of the aforementioned publications. I certainly did not model my creation after any of the wimpies. Christopher’s actually more of a Dennis the Menace kind of kid, fashioned after the comic strip I grew up on.
So, here is a chapter from the manuscript. I haven’t figured out how to keep WordPress from putting a space between paragraphs, so I’m stuck with that format. Meanwhile, if you have the interest to get through it, I’d love to get some honest feedback, something I know is rare to achieve on my blog–even dishonest feedback. But, I’m willing to give it a go if you are. If a comment is too much, maybe just a like or a “dislike” will suffice. Thanks ahead of time! And now, heeeeeere’s Chris….
Rachael is the babysitter. Sometimes I think kids my age aren’t treated right. I can see having a babysitter for my sister. She’s only two so she’s still a baby, sort of. But me. I’m 10. I’m not a baby. So why do I have to have a babysitter. If someone has to watch me, that someone should be called a childsitter or a kidsitter or maybe they should just be called a watcher. Yeah, I like that, a watcher.
So Rachael is my watcher. She watches me a lot when my parents get stuck at work or when they go someplace like a restaurant or a movie. Rachael is a teenager. Her boyfriend is Rick. Rick and Rachael, they’re a package. You get one, you get the other. Usually Rachael shows up first. Then my parents leave. Then Rick shows up. He has perfect timing. I don’t know how he does it because he doesn’t wear a watch. He also leaves before my parents get back. I guess he doesn’t like my parents. He never wants to be around when they are. But Rachael’s the main part of the package. She’s the one that gets paid and she’s the one that my father has to take home after she’s done watching me and my sister.
As long as my sister doesn’t have a potty accident Rachael has a pretty good deal going. My sister is usually in bed just before she gets here and I spend most of the time in my room doing important work for the President on my computer. So she gets paid just for sitting around with Rick and eating the junk food my mom always leaves out for her. Not a bad deal, being a watcher. Actually, it’s pretty boring. I just don’t understand what Ricks sees in it.
Most times when Rachael comes, she brings her homework to do. One time she had to write an essay about how she helps other people. I guess she doesn’t help too many people because she decided to write about how she helps my Mom and Dad by babysitting—ah, watching—me and my sister. So this is where I come in, exactly where I shouldn’t have. It turned out to be The Case of the Babysitter’s Homework. By now, you should know how it turned out—I was found guilty. When the court sentenced me for my so-called crimes I got the usual, “Christopher Allen McDaniels, go to your room!”
So where was I? Oh yeah, so Rachael figures she will be like a reporter and interview me about how great a babysitter she is. First I try to persuade her to change “babysitter” to “watcher” but she doesn’t go for that. Then I tell her I really don’t see how she really does very much work when she’s watching me and my sister. She disagrees. She says it’s a lot of responsibility watching us. She says it’s true if everything is okay there’s not much to do. But, get this, she says if something unexpected were to happen, like some kind of awful emergency, then she would have to put all her training and skills into saving our lives, making sure nothing in the house is damaged and keeping America safe. Wow! And I just thought she was an ordinary watcher. Wait ‘til I tell the President about Rachael.
The interview continued, but not for long. Rachael was getting freaked out because I wasn’t helping her and she didn’t know what to write. That’s when I said what I said that I shouldn’t have said. I told her if she really wanted a good essay she’d let me write it for her. A+ guaranteed. Writing doesn’t freak me out and I can write as good as someone in the 10th grade. Besides, I really can help make her babysitting job look like it’s the most wonderful job in the world. So Rachael says if I write the essay for her, she won’t tell my Mom I didn’t take a shower for the next ten times she babysits me and my sister. Now this is a deal.
I spend the next hour pounding away at the keyboard on my computer. The words our flowing out of me so fast my fingers can just about keep up. Rachael says she needs three pages. I give her four. So I’m an overachiever. I finish up just about the same time my parents come walking through the front door. So I quickly put on my sleeping shorts and t-shirt and waddle on down the stairs looking like I’ve been sleeping for a couple hours since I was supposed to be in bed by nine. I quickly stuff the essay into Rachael’s backpack and she gives me an okay wink. My job is done. I get a goodnight hug from Mom and a “go to bed, Chris, it’s late” from my Dad. I run upstairs and burrow into my comforter. As I doze off I’m thinking, if I get that same assignment some day to write about how I helped someone, I can write about how I helped my babysitter write her paper about how she helped someone.
Now, I don’t want to jump ahead, but let me say this in my defense: I think I wrote a pretty good essay. I wrote about how Rachael had to take a course about babysitting after school for two weeks. Then I explained all the skills she learned about how to take care of my baby sister and how she could make a good grilled cheese sandwich if we got hungry and how she knew where the fire extinguisher was and how she knew where the list of emergency phone numbers was on the refrigerator door. I also put some stuff in to really make her look good, like how hard she studied all the time after my sister and I went to bed and how she was always reading a book about the earth. And just to show that she’s not a geek, I put in a few lines about her friend Rick. I told about how Rick always comes over when she’s babysitting and what a good friend she is since she sits right up close next to him and how they sometimes even put their arms around each other. Stuff like that. I thought that would show how nice and kind she could be to other people. Like I said, A+ for sure.
Well, you can imagine how surprised I was when a few days later Rachael comes running up the porch steps and starts banging like crazy on the front door.
“Christopher, you little ant, you come out here this very minute,” she yelled while she was breaking the door down.
“Little ant!” Me?
I opened the door, expecting Rachael to be smiling and waving her A+ essay in the air and maybe even giving me a big hug and calling me her hero. But noooo. It was anything but.
“You little creepy ant,” she yelled, “How could you have written all this stuff about me? You knew I had to hand this into my teacher. Do I need to tell you how embarrassed I was! Mr. Danzinger even said he thought I was being a little too promiscuous and I didn’t even know what the word meant until my friend Sarah told me. How dare you!”
“I can’t believe this,” I said, “If you read everything I wrote before you handed it in and you didn’t like it, then why did you hand it in?” As soon as I said that, I figured out the answer before I could stop saying it.
“You didn’t read it first did you?” I asked.
“No, I was too tired when I got home, then I was late the next morning. Besides, I trusted you. Big mistake. I may never be able to go back into that classroom again.” Now we’re at the point in the story when my Mom came up behind me asking, “What’s this all about Christopher?”
I won’t bore you with the awkward discussion that followed that question. But you can guess two things. First, I was sent to my room. That’s an easy guess. Second, Rick isn’t allowed in our house anymore unless my parents are home. Poor Rick. He gets punished and he didn’t even do anything. Sometimes things just don’t make sense. Oh, I’d knew you’d ask that…C+.