We're doing dialogue this week for Red Writing Hood. Here's the latest edition from Janie, my teenage superhero. This week, she's talking to her mother about her newly discovered powers.
I begin tugging at a hard piece of skin, waiting for it to yield and give.
“Stop that,” Mom says, without looking my way. She slows to a red light. “So, I got my first power when I first turned 14. Just like you.”
She says it matter-of-factly, as if saying, “I got a peppermint mocha at Starbucks.”
“Go on,” I say. “What is it?”
She flinches. “I don’t have a power any more. But I used to control the weather.”
I choke on my Diet Pepsi. “Shut UP!”
She tucks a stray hair behind her ear. “You know how you wear your pajamas inside out when you want a snow day?”
“And put a spoon under the bed,” I add.
She frowns, “Never heard of that one. Anyway, I had a huge report due. On Margaret Sanger.” She pokes me in the shoulder. “The founder of Planned Parenthood?”
“Okay, Mom. Whatever you say.”
“I have failed as a feminist.” She pulls into the parking lot of Chiptole, shaking her head. “Failed. You really don’t know who she is?’
“MOM!” I screech. “I don’t care!”
“Watch yourself,” she says. “So, I hadn’t done any research. No note cards. No trips to the library. Nothing.”
“Why didn’t you just go to Wikipedia?” I ask.
She ignores me. “The project was due the next day. It wasn’t happening, and your grandmother would murder me if I came home with a F.”
Grandma spent her days shooting chipmunks from her back porch. Mom wasn’t exaggerating. I gulped. “What did you do?”
“The only reasonable solution. I went to bed, and told the skies to bring a snowstorm to cancel school. And I wore my pajamas inside out. ”
I snort. “I’m sorry Mom. You grew up in Wisconsin. That’s all it ever does--snow.”
“Yes, Janie. Normally that would be true.” Her voice turns to a whisper. “But it was almost Memorial Day. And it only snowed in Mill River. They were swimming in the river the next town over.”
I open my mouth, and close it again. “Global warming?” I squeak.
“No,” she says. “And honey? That was only the beginning."