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Toothpick

Author's note: I was inspired to write this when our English class at school had a guest speaker -- the mother...  Show full author's note »
Author's note: I was inspired to write this when our English class at school had a guest speaker -- the mother of two autistic children. SHe spoke to us about her life and about autism, and she helped us understand more about this condition. Our teacher, Ms. Van Daalen, asked us to write a story from the perspective of an autistic child/teenager. After I wrote mine, she encourage due to develop it further and so I wrote a short novel: Toothpick  « Hide author's note
Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 20 Next »

Chapter One

My name is Benjamin Sayer. I am 15 years, 8 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 18 hours and 34 seconds old. I live in London, in England. Here are ten facts about London:

1. London is the capital city of the United Kingdom.
2. The River Thames is the largest river in England
3. The London Eye is the biggest Ferris Wheel in Europe
4. There are over 19,000 listed structures in the British capital.
5. About 25% of all people today living in London were born in another country.
6. Each week, the 409 escalators in the London subway cover an astonishing distance: The equivalent of several trips around the globe!
7. Gaslight was introduced in London in 1807; prior to this, torchlight was used.
8. About sixteen percent of the UK’s restaurants are located in London.
9. The Big Ben is actually not the name of the tower, as many people think it is. It is the name of the 13 ton bell inside of it. The tower is actually called the St. Stephen’s tower.
10. London is home to people speaking over 300 languages.

I like listing facts. Mum says that it helps me to understand things better. Sometimes I think that Mum thinks I’m stupid. I know that I’m not stupid. I know all my times tables, every capital of every country and every star sign by heart. Today is a Saturday. I know that because I have a calendar in my room with every day marked in a different color. Every day, Mum puts a marker on the color of the day that it is. Today it is blue. That means that this is Tuesday. Friday is yellow. I don’t like yellow and I don’t like Friday. Friday is the day when Mum makes me walk to the supermarket to get dinner. She lets me choose whatever I want. I hate walking to the supermarket. All the people around me, the noise, the smells, it makes me want to run home and curl up in a ball under my desk. It is nice under my desk, and it is safe. Under my desk, I have a flashlight and a pack of strawberry gum. I eat half a piece on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That way, I save it and I don’t have to go to the supermarket to get more.

Today, Aunt and Uncle are coming to visit us. They are bringing their children. Mum says that their children are my cousins. I’ve never met my cousins but I hope that they are nice.
Mum told me to make them a welcome card while she went out to the shops.
When Mum got back, she dressed me in my nice clothes and we taped the welcome card to the door, so that they could see it when they came in. I used blue and red glitter and my new sharpies that I got for Christmas. Then, I lined up all my animals. I make my animals from toothpicks. I have lots and lots of them. They are all over my floor and my wardrobe and my desk. I have a farm and a jungle and a desert and a house. First, I break the toothpick into little bits and then I use my special glue to stick all the little pieces together so that it looks like a dog or a cat or a donkey or whatever animal I fancy making. I make 1 every day and if I don’t, it is a bad day. Mum says she loves them but she wishes I would put them somewhere else and not all over my room because it is impossible to walk from one end to the other without crushing them. I find it easy though. I take one step into the farmyard, right between the cow and the pig, and then two steps between the gap from the jungle and the vet’s office, and then a big leap into the empty desert and I’m at my bed. Easy.

The doorbell rang. I like it when the doorbell rings because it always means there’s someone there and you don’t know who it is, so it’s a surprise. While I wait for Mum to get the door, I think about who it might be. When the doorbell rang this time, I knew it was going to be Aunt and Uncle because when Mum rushed to the door she said, “Ben, they’re here! I hope you didn’t forget to brush your hair, darling,” I had not forgotten to brush my hair.
My Aunt and Uncle walked in and Mum hugged and kissed them, like you do when you’re meeting somebody and you want to be polite. I sat on the stairs because Mum didn’t tell me to do anything yet. I figured that it’s better to wait till Mum tells me to do something because when I do things from my own mind, I can sometimes get in a lot of trouble.

“Ben, come over here and say hello to Aunt and Uncle!”
I got up and walked down the stairs. I walked down 14 stairs till I reached the bottom.
“Oh Benjamin, look how you’ve grown!” my aunt exclaimed. She hugged me with her huge arms and pressed me to her huge bosom and I felt the softness of her blue sweater. She smelt of that cheap perfume that Mum hates so much. I don’t like that perfume. Maybe she could borrow some of Mum’s expensive perfume that she orders from Italy on her birthday.
When she finally let go of me, she held me outstretched in her arms as if to marvel at me once more before planting a huge smooch on my cheek. I felt the sticky red lipstick cling to my cheek. Gross. I wiped it off. Mum gave me her mean look which meant I’ve done something bad. Then Uncle came over to me. He was long and thin and had hair like the clouds and whiskers like the neighbor’s cat, Twizzles. He smiled at me and shook my hand. His hands were rough and sandy and they didn’t feel very nice, but I shook his hand anyways because I know that it is the polite thing to do. Then, I went back to my stairs and sat down. I wanted to go upstairs and play with my animals. I wanted to make a crocodile.

“Dad, where the hell is my iPod? You told me you plugged it into the car charger and it isn’t there.” I did not like this voice. It was a mean voice. I looked to see where the voice was coming from. It was from a tall girl. She had lots of black around her eyes, sort of like a panda bear. She had shiny silver pieces around her lip and nose and lots on her ears. She had black hair with pink and blue pieces in it. I’ve never seen anyone with blue and pink hair. Maybe she is from somewhere where people have rainbow color hair. Then I remembered that man I saw on the way to the shop with spiky red hair. Maybe he was from the same place. I wouldn’t mind having rainbow color hair. Then I’d have hair to match every single day of the week.
The girl wiped her hands on her black trousers. Her fingernails were painted black and she had lots of rings with skulls on them, like pirates. Maybe she is a pirate. I wonder if I could make a pirate out of toothpicks. Then it could have a parrot friend and I could use my bathtub boat for its ship.
“Hold on a sec honey, I’ll go fetch it.” My uncle scurried out of the house like a mouse.
Aunt and Mum chatted away and went to the kitchen to get some tea.
The door suddenly flew open and two little children flew into the room. They are very rude, I thought, they didn’t ring the doorbell. The children were about as old as the children who live down the block with Mrs. McKinny. They had smiles on their faces as if they were about to do something naughty. They ran through the house to the kitchen screaming and laughing very loudly. That noise hurt my ears so I sat on the stairs and cried. Mum ran over to me. “Ben, dear, I think you need some time to cool off. Do you mind running over to the shops to pick me up some biscuits? Use the change to buy yourself a chocolate bar or something nice.” I took the money gratefully. Going to the shops is bad, but being here is worse because I can’t get away. When I go to the shops, I can walk where I want and do whatever I want and look at whoever I want.

It was a sunny Saturday. Sunny Saturdays are nice because you can just relax and enjoy the sun and not worry about anything. If it was a sunny Sunday, it wouldn’t be as nice because you would worry about the fact that the next day was school.
There were little puddles of rain on the sidewalk and I liked the sound that my sneakers made when I stepped in them. Squelch. I hit the busy road too soon. The noise started here, and got worse and worse until I reached the shops. I just tried to focus on other things, like the birds flying over the rooftops or the soft clouds slowly moving along or the water flowing deep under the bridge and all the fish that swam around in there, just like Mum told me to. I fiddled with some toothpicks in my pocket.

I got to the shops and found the biscuits that Mum likes especially with her tea. Then I picked a Lion chocolate bar and paid for everything. I still had some change left so I put it in my pocket along with the toothpicks.
The way back was worse because I knew that Aunt and Uncle and my cousins were going to be there and I didn’t know how to be nice or how to make them like me or how to make sure that Mum didn’t give me her mean look.
I munched on my Lion bar and tried not to think about it.

When I got home, Mum answered the door. “Chris! Thank you so much darling! These will go perfectly with the tea!” She hurried back to the kitchen and I took my shoes off. I glanced into the kitchen. Aunt and Uncle were there, and the girl with the rainbow hair. The two little kids were jumping around on the couches in the living room.
I ran upstairs to my room to start on my crocodile. I knew exactly what color he would be and I decided to make his teeth out of tiny bits of white felt. When I got to my room, I didn’t know what to think. My animals were gone. I mean, they were still there, but they were just broken toothpicks. My bed covers were on the floor and my strawberry gum was gone. And my animals were broken. My animals were broken. My animals were broken. I couldn’t stop screaming. I hid under my desk and wept into my knees. I stood up and kicked the mess of colorful broken toothpicks. I knew the children did this. They were not my cousins. I knew they were not my cousins because Mum said my cousins were nice and sweet. This was not nice and sweet. They could not just do this and go home. I was mad. I was very mad.
I ran down the stairs very fast. I ran into the living room and grabbed one of the children. I held his neck because this is what I saw the snake wrangler do on television. I grabbed his neck and shook it and shook him until my anger went away a little. The child was screaming. I did not like his screaming so I shook him more. I heard a scream and I felt hands pulling me away, pulling the child away. I heard crying and more screaming and everything was bad. Mum was screaming and holding me and Aunt and Uncle were holding the children because they were scared that I would hold their necks again.
The girl with colorful hair was standing in the doorway munching on a biscuit.
I ran outside to the sun. I knew I had done a bad thing. My animals were ruined. My animals were ruined.

I knew they were bad when they didn’t ring the doorbell.
Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 20 Next »


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This book has 2 comments. Post your own now!

SoGrace said...
Nov. 22, 2016 at 9:07 am
good job!!!!!!
 
Tafkas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm
What a marvelous book! This was really well-written. I love how consistent you kept your characters - and Ben - Ben was so endearing. The ending was wonderful - I read the whole book in one sitting. I wish there were even more! Great job!
 

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