Second Chances

Emmy, what did you do at school yesterday?

So Dad we just finished reading the book Seed Folk and it was all about giving, so we had this assignment and for a project we were supposed to make a secret gift of the Seed Folk book to someone and see what they thought about getting the gift.

Anyone?

Yeah. Anyone. So Erin and I left the book on the hood of a car parked on Valencia Street and then we waited around to see what happened.

What happened?

Well this guy came up to the car and he was in a hurry and he didn't even notice the book on the car and so he just pulled out and started driving away.

Oh no. Did it fall off?

No it stayed there right on the hood.

Oh too bad. So you never found out what he thought of it.

No we did.

How? I thought he drove off?

We followed him.

How did you do that?

Erin ran and got the car and we sped after him. Erin was great. She was a demon.

Wow. What happened?

Well he just drove along for a while – I think he went four or five blocks and then I guess he finally noticed the book. So he pulled over got out of the car and got out.

What happened then?

Erin and I were really excited cause now that he had found the book he was getting his secret gift and it was going to be really cool.

And?

He grabbed the book and he looked at it a minute and then he just flung it away.

Flung it?

He flung it. And then he got in the car and drove away.

What happened to the book?

It was just lying there on the side of the road.

Did you go get it and try again?

No we just watched it for a while.

You and Erin sat in the car and just watched your old book sitting there in the road?

We did.

I bet that was sort of boring.

No cause this guy came walking along and he picked up the book and read my note on the back page. And then he put it in his back pocket and walked away. He was really cool.

What did your note say?

It said, 'this book is a gift from Emmy. I am in the 6th Grade. Please read and give it to someone else.'

Sounds like a perfect ending, him picking it up and all.

Totally.

Can you tell me about the two guys? What was the first guy like? The one who flung the book away?

He was a mean guy.

And the other guy?

He was cool.

Can you make up a story about each of the guys – you know a backstory about whom they are?

Dad, I am not doing writer's camp.

This isn't writer's camp; this is just a little backstory to make the regular story even better.

I think its pretty good the way it is. And it actually happened.

Fine. Fine. But a little backstory never hurt anybody.

Dad…

Oh Come on. It won't kill you.

Okay, but you are a weirdo. The first guy is 45 and he is a teacher at Waldorf. He is very mean and strict and he hates the kids he teaches. He went to Cal and he studied business but that didn't work out. He lives with his mom and dad and is very mean. He got married but they were divorced after three years. He has a child, a girl and she is 27, but he does not see her very often.

What is his name?

Burton.

What do they call him?

Burton.

Nice. What about the other guy? The cool one?

He is 28. He went to Stanford and he studied computers. He graduated from college and got a job in a technology company. He isn't married but he has a girlfriend. He is very nice. He is called Ben.

I think your school project was pretty cool.

Yeah. It had a happy ending.

What do you suppose Ben did with the book?

He read it obviously. And then I bet he gave it to some one else so they could read it too.

You think he gave it to Burton?

Come on Dad. Burton doesn't get a second chance.

Cause he is mean?

Exactly.

- Jay Duret