1. Baby X
Dec 28, 2021 by Mr. Allen
(The blog chapters below were the beginning of DAISY IN EXILE. Some are not in the book. Some are, but edited. I hope that these bonus details of Daisy's life will make you smile or maybe even laugh.)
It was definitely going to be a boy. Mom and Dad were talking about it at dinner. Mom had taken some test to see that there were “no complications” with Baby-X and she’d just gotten back the results. The biggest complication for Baby-X was that he was going to be born into this dumb family.
My teenage, mall-rat sister, Clymene, asked them what they were going to name Baby-X. They wouldn’t say. I suggested Max or Bix. Clymene reminded them that I’d wanted to name our dog Max or Bix. She was pushing for Ajax, Argus or Ares. I told them if they wanted to go for a phony and pretentious Greek mythology name, like Clymene, they should go with Charon, since clearly this baby would be crossing into hell. Mom was miffed. But Dad laughed and said they would take our suggestions under advisement and let us know. Sure thing.
This name thing with Clymene and I went way back. She says she’s named after a Greek goddess because Mom and Dad were still in love when they had her and spent a lot of time thinking about names, while I was an accident and they just slapped on the first thing that came into their heads. But my dad says they named me Daisy because his aunt Daisy, who was a famous flapper that was the toast of the town, whatever that means, had just died, and someday I would understand—like that’s some excuse. No offense if you’re named Daisy too, but Daisy is a stupid name.
When we got back from Moken Island, which you can read about in the first book, I had to jump right into school. I’d missed a couple of weeks. You’d think maybe after you’d been ship wrecked, fought off pirates, recovered a stolen treasure and survived a typhoon or two, people would give you credit. Not likely. Sixth grade cliques had formed faster than buboes on a plague victim. I was thrown in with Lucia Sarir and Ted Morgenstein.
Ted I knew from third grade. Lucia was a new student. She had yellow hair and thick glasses and was thin and shy and hardly said anything to anybody. I think her parents were from another country, because she wore slightly weird clothes, like they were purchased in a department store in Bulgrungastan or something. She got picked on constantly.
On my second day back, Ted, Lucia and I got lumped together for a geography project. That was fine with me because, even though Ted has a cool-rating of below zero, he’s the brainiest kid in the class and it turned out Lucia, once she got over being shy, was clever and funny and had a nutcase, high-pitched giggle that cracked me up. Plus she had a butterfly collection and played killer chess.
Already we’d been labeled the “Odd Squad.” When I saw another classmate, Martin Blindenbok making fun of Lucia in the hall, I turned and walked the other way, so I wouldn’t be seen with her. I felt like a total creep afterwards.
Martin needed a good sock in the chops. So, okay, Lucia walked like a baby giraffe that didn’t quite know how to stand on its legs, and her clothes were weird and she was shy to the point of invisibility, but that’s no reason for Martin to follow behind her and mimic her while everybody laughed. When she turned, he pretended he wasn’t doing anything, while everybody cracked up even more.
It made me sick that I was such a coward. I even pretended to laugh so they wouldn’t turn on me. How could I be so rotten? I used to face off with sharks and pirates and now I was afraid to do anything. How low a worm could I be?
That night, Clymene smashed up Mom’s SUV. It was really late and everyone was asleep. Some neighbor called the police and they came over and Mom and Dad were out there in bathrobes and when I came down to check it out they both yelled at me to get back in the house this very instant. Cly broke her nose, the nit. She’s going to be grounded for like ten years or something, but of course when I came down for breakfast and asked Mom what happened, Mom was all CIA about it.
So then I went off to school and socked Martin Blindenbok as hard as I could.
I wasn’t planning on it. But when he went up behind Lucia and knocked her books out of her arm, I yelled at him. And he said, “Oh, yeah? What are you going to do about it?” Martin is a whole head taller than me and weighs twice as much as me, but I didn’t care, I just let him have it as hard as I could. His nose exploded blood and he fell and hit his head on a locker and crashed down in a blob, out cold.
Students screamed and teachers came running and grabbed me. They even called an ambulance. Then later, when Mom picked me up, the principal told her Martin appeared to be okay, like that was supposed to be some kind of good news.