Author: Henry Circle
Description: A mortifying episode of in-school diarrhea sends witty and skeptical Christina Begoni flying into the arms of a holy-rolling homeschool group where she meets "Teenage Sex Incarnate," David, and his alarmingly sweet sister, Sunny. The group is complete when they are joined by two other hardened public school students, Christina's mustachioed younger brother and one deliciously rowdy redneck bully for a raucously funny and often gripping adventure on the Mississippi River. Will Christina be able to fight the wild river, a gun-toting grandpa and her own hilariously heathen ways to hold this group of unlikely friends together?
Excerpt: I stretch my hand up to him, and he bends with his legs wide to stabilize himself. When Ricky pulls, I start gliding through the mud. I can feel the strength and power from his seemingly boney arms. I guess he's what you'd call wiry. But the mud seems to be trying to hold me down. I feel the mud rolling my shorts and underwear down to my ankles. I try to push my free arm under the gunk to hold onto my bottoms, but with one more yank from Ricky, they are long gone. I have no shorts. No underwear. “Stop! Stop a second!” I scream. I scrunch my knees up and wiggle my arms down through the muck trying to find my clothes. I extend my legs down and feel around with my toes. I try feeling through the mud with my hands again. And my feet and hands at the same time. Nothing.
“What on earth are you doing?” Ricky asks. “Give me your hand so I can go on and get you out.” He sticks his fingers out to me.
My eyes are misting over. “I can't come out.” I can't believe this is happening in front of Ricky Kelly. I wish I could just disappear.
Searching the pit with his eyes, he asks, “I can't see nothing. Too dark. What happened? Something caught your foot?”
The last thing I want to do is admit I'm literally half naked, but we have to get out of here and find our friends before something terrible happens to them. This isn't kiddie kiddie play time hour so I buck up and confess, “I lost my stupid shorts in here. I can't find them.”
“You aren't the first girl I've seen in her underwear. Gimme your damn hand.”
“I lost those, too. Can I have your shorts, please?”
Ricky brightens, blooming into a grin as bright as a garden sunflower. Even in the dark of the evening, I can see the foolish look on his face. “Ricky, hand me your shorts,” I repeat.
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