If There Were Schools for Agents...

News, trends, and the future of publishing
Post Reply
Krista G.
Posts: 192
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:47 pm

If There Were Schools for Agents...

Post by Krista G. » January 15th, 2010, 2:03 am

Nathan tightened his grip on his paper sack—at least he’d managed to convince his mom he didn’t need the lunchbox anymore—and surveyed the cafeteria. There were about a thousand empty spaces scattered throughout the room, but not a single empty table. Looked like he’d have to make a few new friends, and fast.

He’d barely made it past the first row when a too-big kid, MSHS emblazoned across his chest in bright blue letters, moved to block his path.

“Hey, Sacramento,” Letterman Jacket said, reaching out to tweak his collar. “Looks like you’re not in California anymore.”

Nathan’s cheeks began to pale, until he remembered he’d ditched the lunchbox. But then he glanced down at his T-shirt, an old Kings jersey, and decided he’d have to make some wardrobe changes, too.

“So what do you think of the big city, Sacramento?” Letterman Jacket asked, but not in that friendly, welcome-to-the-neighborhood sort of way. “Too many trade houses for you?”

Instead of answering, Nathan feinted right, then darted left. And he made it past the bully, but his lunch wasn’t so fortunate.

“And what do we have for lunch today?” Letterman Jacket rifled through the bag. “A sandwich, some apple slices, a pudding cup—no, two. Wow, Sacramento, you must be feeling generous.” He flashed Nathan a wicked grin. “Looks like I’ve got it in the bag.”

“Come on, Flickermann,” a new voice interrupted, this one female and definitely New York. “Aren’t you tired of clichés? Or did you want to fail Query Writing 101 for the third time?”

Letterman Jacket, also known as Flickermann, scowled. “Back off, Reid.”

“No, you back off.” She seized a wad of Nathan’s shirt and jerked him out of the way, then snatched his brown-bag lunch back, too. “This is a magnet, Flickermann. That means they can kick you out.”

Flickermann backed off and the girl grabbed Nathan’s wrist. As she towed him away, he mumbled, “Thanks.”

She shrugged, pushing the paper sack into his chest. “Flickermann’s a jerk, and bound for P&E—with a big red ‘Not recommended’ stamped next to his name.” She held out her hand. “I’m Janet, by the way.”

“Nathan,” he replied, and shook it.

“Well, then, Nathan,” she said, “you must be new to Miss Snark High.”

He blushed. “Is it that obvious?”

“Not obvious. Obvious is overused.” She cast a sidelong smirk in his direction. “But very, very evident.”

“And very isn’t?”

“Isn’t what?


Her smirk broadened into a smile. “I think I’m going to like you, Nathan from California.”

They reached a crowded table on the lunchroom’s other side, and Janet introduced him to the pack.

“That’s Matthias, Davy, Carla—and a few others.” She flicked her hand at the rest, then pointed out one more. “Oh, and that’s Kristin. She’s all right. Bit of a goody-goody, I suppose, but she’s good for homework help.”

The girl named Kristin rolled her eyes. “As if you needed any, Janet. You practically teach the query classes. And you’re not so bad at contract negotiation, either.” She looked at Nathan. “She’s got this great idea for a website, but she wants to call it Query Piranha. Query Piranha! That rolls off the tongue about as well as a fur ball.”

“Kristin’s from Colorado,” Janet said. “Or was it the Midwest? Anyway, we’ve been trying to teach her how to say it like it is.” She swiped an apple from the table and shined it on her sleeve. “I’d say we’re making progress.”

“How about Query Shark?” Nathan suggested.

“Query Shark?” she echoed, then took a bite.

“You know,” he replied. “For your website.”

“Query Shark,” she said again, rolling it around her mouth this time, like she was savoring the taste of it. “Query Shark.” She nodded. “You know, Nathan, that’s pretty good.”


“Pretty damn good.”

He blushed. “Thanks.”

She smacked him on the back. “Sure am glad I saved you from Flickermann.”

He bowed his head. “Me, too.”

Her lips pulled back into a smile then, exposing what looked like several rows of teeth. “Because the last kid from California, I just let him keep.”

Nathan started to laugh, then stopped. Nobody else was laughing. But then Janet threw her head back and let out a guffaw, and everybody else joined in. Nathan allowed himself a giggle then, but that was all.

Miss Snark High School was even more than he’d imagined.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary

Posts: 8
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 12:38 am

Re: If There Were Schools for Agents...

Post by vacuumqueen » January 15th, 2010, 2:07 am

Funny. :)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests