Confessions, Chapter 34 V2

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I’m closing in on finishing the second draft of Confessions of a Hallway Hustler. My goal is to publish it this month.

Here’s a current version of the to-do/punch list:

To-dos V1

1. create outline
2. dictate story
3. transcribe dictations
4. expand scenes

5. revision — 2nd draft
6. revision — 3rd draft (including punch list)
7. copyediting
8. design cover
9. layout interior of ebook
10. create & insert illustrations
11. publish on Kindle
12. Kindle free promotion + Bookbub ad campaign

Punch list V1

1. describe the feeling of eating Snap/Crackle for the first time
2. come up with new names for all the characters
3. come up with fun names for different types of candies & candy bars
4. have Anton use Chainy’s password for something nefarious
5. high schoolers — Sideburns & Adam’s Apple
6. kid has Hairy Squatter scar
7. names for energy drinks — Type II and Infarction
8. have Lopez playing with a magic kit when Anton meets him for the first time & when he meets Elvira — Lopez tries to get Elvira to be his assistant — she’s dismissive
9. epigraph — “I want to be a good guy. Really. But not yet.” — St. Augustine
10. change Snap to Crackle
11. make Anton’s vision his organization consistent — King? or something else — name his underlings accordingly — MAYBE military all the way — General Anton, lieutenants, soldiers
12. use to clean up prose, make sure grade level is below 6
13. after the shopping spree with Gina and the meeting with Jerry in C31, have Anton use a debit card for a purchase, allude to Jerry’s laundering service
14. the locket Anton gives Elvira in C30 should have some (ironic, absurd) meaning to Anton — that Elvira doesn’t get at all

And here’s the second draft of Chapter 34:

I never noticed this before. If you get real quiet and listen with a sharp ear, you can hear the sound florescent lights make. If you block everything else out, you notice that they’re loud. Really loud. They make this hissing sound.
No, it’s more like a screeching. Florescent lights screech. At least the lights in Sosa’s minimart were screeching. At me.
Sosa was oblivious, of course. He was lounging in his usual spot — on his makeshift throne in the back room. His lackeys and toadies were there too, draped on palettes stacked high with cases of Crackle, hanging onto his every word.
My guys waited for me outside in the alleyway.
“Aaaanton,” Sosa began. He drew out the first syllable as if he were a parent scolding a child. “Come over here. I want you meet some important people.” He gestured to a guy holding a tablet like it was the control panel for a spaceship. “Meet Derek, the guy who makes sure we never run out of Crackle.” The glow of screen made his cheeks orange. He gave a nod, but didn’t look up from the tablet, which he was stabbing with this thumb.
Sosa continued his introductions. He pointed to a girl who wearing purple camouflage fatigues and pair of mirrored sunglasses. “This is Carla. She’s the reason we’re never short on Infarction.” Carla gave a salute. I was quite sure what to do, so I saluted back.
Then Sosa motioned to an older kid in the corner, who was dancing with a mop. “That’s Raj. Best driver in Jerburbia.”
“He can drive?”
“Yes. He got his license last week.”
Raj gave dipped the mop and blew me a kiss.
I looked around to make sure the kiss was meant for me. I waved back.
And then, with a sweeping gesture, he pointed out a group of little kids in denim jumpsuits. They were swarming around the tallest palette in the room, trying to mount it. One kid was on top. As soon one of the others tried to join her, she’d push them off. The oldest couldn’t have been more than seven.
“And these little ruffians are my cousins.”
“They work for you?”
“If you can call it that. I try to keep them busy. Once in a while, they get something done…by accident.” Sosa chuckled.
He looked at me and waited. He expected me to laugh at his joke. I gave the best imitation of mirth I could muster.
“Mostly, it’s a favor to their folks. Keep them out of trouble. And out of their hair.” He whacked me on the back.“The future’s in good hands with this crew.”
Suddenly, Sosa’s expression grew serious. He leaned in, his normally booming voice dropping to a conspiratorial hush. “That’s why I invited you here this afternoon. I know you’re a busy guy. But I felt it was important.”
“I’m always available to come see you, Sosa. You know that.”
“Good man.”
“So what’s on your mind.”
“The future. Our future.”
“What about it?”
“It’s being threatened.”
I straightened up. “How so?”
“There’s this kid at your school, Anton.”
“Who is it?”
“He goes my the handle ‘Doc Matos’.”
“That kid!” I blurted out. “I know him. I mean, I’ve heard of him. ”
“Usually, I don’t bother with the small fries. Not worth my trouble. But this kid, he’s a trouble-maker. Got a big mouth. Likes to shoot it off in public. And people are starting to listen.”
“He’s a nobody. Nothing to worry about.”
“Maybe you’re right, Anton.” Sosa pulled out his phone, after a few taps, a video started to play. It was Doc Matos. He was standing on a footstool on the basketball court at school. A bunch of kids were gathered round him, listening with rapt attention. He was going on and on about the dark side of the candy world. I had to hand it to him. The guy had passion.
There was a barrel sitting beside him. Smoke rose from the opening on top of the barrel. Licks of flame darted out. Doc Matos called upon the crowd to toss their packets of Crackle into the barrel. Some of them did. Then more of them followed. In no time, they were pressing forward, tossing their Crackle into the barrel. The fire surged. Black smoke filled the video frame. You could practically smell the burnt sugar.
Sosa paused the video.”My crew…no, my family. I think of them as my family. I do my best to take care of them. A lot of kids depend on me. And they have families too. Families they need to take care of.” Sosa slipped the phone back into his fanny pack. “This kid is bad for business.”
“Agreed. One hundred percent. So…what’s the plan?”
Sosa’s eyes had that glint I’d come to recognize. “I need you to make sure he stops…talking.”
“Sure, Sosa. No problem.”
I hadn’t noticed, but Sosa’s lieutenant, The Shadow, had been behind us this whole time. Sosa wrapped his arm around him. “I want my associate to go with you. He’s got certain skills I think you’ll find useful.”
“That’s okay, Sosa. I have my own guys. I trust them.”
“I insist,” Sosa said.
It was clear the matter wasn’t up for debate. I was stuck with this kid until the job was done. Whatever that was.

Confessions of a Hallway Hustler cover

Confessions of a Hallway Hustler

Another Shameless Wimpy Kid Parody
By Jest Ninney

Confessions of a Hallway Hustler is the rollicking tale of Anton Altanero, a foreign transplant with delusions of grandeur, navigating the wilds of a typical American middle school. It's Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Scarface, without the guns but with all the greed and ambition.

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