Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pitch Slam: THE PACKING HOUSE - YA Contemporary

Title: The Packing House
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 81,000

Hero: Iron Man. Joel tries to avoid his past until it becomes public knowledge. Forced to face his problems, Joel discovers his own super powers in the vulnerability of words, risking everything in a public poetry performance; in the same way, Iron Man faces his own wreck of a life, turned around for all the world to scrutinize, to become the badass hero of iron built upon his heart wound that would otherwise kill him.

Pitch: Everyone knows Joel's secret. It's all over YouTube. Joel must track down and face the unknown person behind his nightmares, and find a way to publicly regain his dignity through participating in a poetry slam.


At the bell, I head to study hall, my last class. There's a substitute today. Cell phones come out. Someone has their iPod up way too high. In a way I feel sorry for the sub; has to be right up there with garbage collector. I prop a book between myself and my backpack, then close my eyes, which have slammed shut all day.

The next thing I know, the substitute is standing over me, his hand on my shoulder, shaking me awake. Someone sniggers nearby.

"Wake up, young man. There's no sleeping in study hall."

I look up and try to get my eyes to adjust and stay open, blink a few times, and look around wildly. What an idiot. I even forgot where I was for a moment. A surge of warmth starts at my ears and neck before it slides across my cheeks.

"All right, I'm up."

Whispers erupt in various places around me, as I sit up and rub my eyes. Someone laughs. My desk is askew. Something smells bad. Sulfur. Odd…the realization hits me hard.

A female voice remarks, "If I were him, I'd be totally embarrassed!"

"What's your name?" the substitute asks quietly.

"Joel Scrivener."

The substitute leans down. "Joel? You might want to speak with a counselor about those dreams."

"What do you mean?"

He leans closer, lowers his voice. "You kept saying, 'get off me, stop touching me, get off me,' over and over."

He gives me what he must think is a reassuring smile. Then he leaves.