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Iambik Productions

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Excerpt

There are a lot of people who can't believe that Jojo has the nerve to come back to our neighborhood. There are more people who don't want him around. Things haven't exactly been peaceful since he went away. Things are never peaceful in my neighborhood. But at least people haven't worried about Jojo for the past two years.

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Battle of the Bands
Excerpt

The smell in the garage is lousy. Old bulbs coated with years of dust and cobwebs don't cast the best light either. But when I pick up my guitar and my fingers find the strings, and that first riff comes screaming out of the amp, the only thing that matters is sound.

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Blue Moon
Excerpt

We were coming up on the final barrel, the one closest to the barn. Now, one lightning turn around it and...

The mare didn't turn. Instead, she had the bit in her teeth and was pounding straight for the barn, faster than she'd ever run before. I gave up trying to turn her. I just wanted to stop her. She was heading straight for the open barn door. There was only one problem. The doorway was high enough for a horse. But not for a horse with a rider on its back. If I didn't do something fast, I was about to lose my head.

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Breathless
Excerpt

And the thing about panicking when you're forty feet under the ocean's surface is that you can drown, and you know you can drown. In fact, you can't breathe without your regulator even if you're not panicking. You're also not supposed to hold your breath, because there's pressure underwater. That means if you're not breathing out bubbles while the regulator is out, your chest might expand until it explodes.

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Chat Room
Excerpt

I didn't allow myself to think about what I was doing, because if I did, I knew I would chicken out. I just typed the name and hit Enter.
Zhwuuup! In a flash my information was gone, launched into cyberspace somewhere. Before I had time to blink, a new page appeared on the screen. It was bare except for two short sentences: You are logged on, Roxane. You may now enter a forum.
My heart started beating so hard it hurt. Oh my god--what had I done? I was a registered chatter! Now I could be traced. The site administrator could track me down.

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Doors in the Air
Excerpt

Doors, doors
That's all I know
Look for the doors
Wherever you go
Just close your eyes tight
And reach out your hand
Then slip through a door
To a faraway land

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Elliot's Fire Truck
Excerpt

Elliot Moose jumped aboard his bright red fire truck. "Fire Chief Elliot to the rescue!" he yelled. He cranked up the siren, strapped on his helmet, and with a mighty push he rolled into the hall.
   Today Elliot was a firefighter, and he felt courageous!

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Fastback Beach
Excerpt

At the turnoff to Fastback Beach, Spider stomps the brakes and the car fishtails. He straightens it but we've passed the turnoff, so he cuts a U-turn in the middle of the highway, laying rubber that smokes around us. Then we're on the gravel trail leading down to the beach.

Below us, white in the moonlight, stretch miles of sand. This is a perfect place for drag racing. Spider steps on it and the car jumps ahead. I put my hand down for balance and brace as we hit a dune and become airborne.

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Finding Elmo
Excerpt

I've come up with a plan," Dad said.
Phew, I thought, relaxing a little. Dad was a smart guy. I should have known he'd come up with a plan. Maybe he wanted to hang a bigger sign outside the store or advertise on the radio.
But it wasn't that at all.
"I've agreed to start renting out the big birds," Dad said. For a second, I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. What was Dad thinking? "For parties and conventions. It's a good way to bring in extra cash--" Here, he paused for a moment.
"They want Elmo first.

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Hypnotized
Excerpt

"She's locked in," he says, his eyes wide. "She's hypnotized. I did it. She's down there with this totally serene look on her face. It's unbelievable." I'm not hungry anymore. I bolt downstairs. I have never seen my sister look serene before. I stop in my tracks when I see her. She's sitting on a chair in the middle of our basement. Her back is straight. Her eyes are closed. Her face is passive, relaxed, devoid of all emotion--meaning, in her case, devoid of anger. I see nothing evil about her for the first time in my entire life.

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Kishka for Koppel
Excerpt

Koppel plunked the meat grinder down on the table.
    "Tell her what you told me," he said.
    Yetta rolled her eyes. "Oy vey, he's talking to a meat grinder."
    "Tell her!" shouted Koppel.
    The meat grinder was silent.
    "Does it know any chicken jokes?" Yetta giggled. "It sings 'My Yiddishe Mama' maybe?"

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Kishka for Koppel Read-Along
Excerpt

Koppel plunked the meat grinder down on the table.
    "Tell her what you told me," he said.
    Yetta rolled her eyes. "Oy vey, he's talking to a meat grinder."
    "Tell her!" shouted Koppel.
    The meat grinder was silent.
    "Does it know any chicken jokes?" Yetta giggled. "It sings 'My Yiddishe Mama' maybe?"

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Laggan Lard Butts
Excerpt

Our school teams always lost. It didn't matter what sport—basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball or hockey —we sucked at them all. I'd been on all our school teams every year since grade six and we'd never had a winning team. Forget winning team, we'd hardly ever had a win.

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Mirror Image
Excerpt

I've never talked to Lacey because, clearly, it would be a waste of breath. I don't even know why people like her were born. What is she good for? Proof that evolution can go backward? Sure, she's pretty, but that's about it. Dolls are pretty too, and I got bored with them years ago. Meh. I hardly ever played with them even when I was little. Why would I bother with a brainless doll now?
Sadly these things can be forced on us.

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Overdrive
Excerpt

"We have to get out of here. There's nothing we can do. Besides, there are already people there to help and to call the police. There's nothing we can do but get in trouble."
I hesitated.
"Go! Get out of here!"
I got the car moving. I had one eye on the road in front and the other on my rearview mirror, trying to see the accident. I saw flashing red lights behind me in the distance. For a split second I took my foot off the accelerator. Then I pressed down harder, picked up the speed and took a quick left turn.

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Picture This
Excerpt

It was a bad choice to take a shortcut through a dark alley. A guy came up behind me, stuck something hard into my back and offered me another choice: Hand over my backpack or else.

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Pierre Le Poof
Excerpt

Pierre was in training for the poodle championship. Every day after breakfast he ran on the treadmill. On Tuesdays he went to the School for Show Pups, and on Thursdays he went to Poochelli's Pet Parlor for a shampoo.

While he was being puffed and fluffed, Pierre imagined running with the wind in his long tangled fur. He chased squirrels, dug holes and rolled in any stinky thing he pleased.

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Richard was a Picker
Excerpt

Shoulders, chest, knees and toes—
the rest of Richard slid up his nose.

Richard was in
his half-picked snout,
which was completely inside out.

He looked like a booger,
   a big gloopy blob,
an ooey, gluey, goobery glob.

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Sewer Rats
Excerpt

"The teachers can't do nothing to us," Lisa told him, crossing her arms. The paintball wars aren't on school property.
"But—," Micky tried. It was like trying to stop a hurricane.
"Do you think I care what the teachers think?" Lisa asked. "They think we band together because no one else likes us. And we're proud to agree with them, aren't we?"
Micky shrugged. When people called us losers, it just made our group stronger.
"It's the Medford gang I care about," Lisa continued. "The Sewer Rats have never lost a paintball war and we're not going to chicken out now.

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The Matatu
Excerpt

The conductor picked his way down the aisle, collecting fares, making change and giving tickets.
    "All the way to Machakos?" he asked Kioko's grandfather.
    "Yes, to the end."
    "Eighteen shillings for two."
    "Eighteen?" his grandfather asked. "He is so small, you should only charge half the fare for him."
    "He is small. If you want a cheaper fare, we can tie his feet together like the chickens and put him on the roof."
For a moment, Kioko thought they were serious, but then the men laughed.

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The Matatu Read-Along
Excerpt

The conductor picked his way down the aisle, collecting fares, making change and giving tickets.
    "All the way to Machakos?" he asked Kioko's grandfather.
    "Yes, to the end."
    "Eighteen shillings for two."
    "Eighteen?" his grandfather asked. "He is so small, you should only charge half the fare for him."
    "He is small. If you want a cheaper fare, we can tie his feet together like the chickens and put him on the roof."
For a moment, Kioko thought they were serious, but then the men laughed.

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Wired
Excerpt

Halfway down the run I knew I was skiing the best I ever had. If I kept pushing, I would easily stay at number one.
Beneath my helmet, I grinned my grin of fear. And as I cut into a steep turn, I saw it. But couldn't believe it.
Wire. Black wire stretched between two trees at waist height. I was flashing toward it at thirty meters per second. Hitting the wire at that speed would slice me in two.

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