What a great idea….share my novel by blogging it in segments over the next few months.’ So here it is, readers. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday there will be a new segment or chapter. I hope you enjoy it!


A Novel by Trisha Sugarek


Reno, Nevada

Scorching, desert sun soaked into the roof of the mobile homes, the aluminum so old and weathered that there was no reflection. Heat shimmered off the trailers, the rusted out cars parked in the weeds, and even the dirt. An abandoned tricycle laid on its side, the red paint worn away and one wheel missing. A young girl bolted out the front door of one of the older trailers and scrambled down the four wooden steps to the road.

“You get back here, ya little bitch!” a male voice bellowed from inside.

The girl sauntered down the street between other mobile homes just like hers. A jaunty baseball cap shielded her face from the blinding light. Her sandals flapped on the hot pavement. She wore pristine white short shorts and a pink sleeveless blouse tied off at the waist.

As far as the eye could see were rust streaked, silver trailers with faded trim, red dirt and black sticky pavement with not a shrub or a flower in sight. This was her life and she couldn’t wait to get out.

The few damp tendrils that had escaped her hat sparkled with fire where the sun touched them. Even though Alma had just turned sixteen, her body had blossomed into that of a full grown beautiful woman. As she walked away she muttered to herself.

It’ll be a cold day in you-know-where before I take orders from one of Mom’s boyfriends. How can she stand them? Ugh! You’ll never catch me settling for some low life boyfriend. I don’t take guff off nobody. Especially not from some lousy, drunken, pig of a step-father, or ‘uncle’ or whatever the heck Mom’s calling this one.
Alma was concentrating on where she was going and what her future might hold when a deep voice called out.

“Hey, Lady Bug! Where you off to in such a hurry?”

Alma’s head snapped up and when she recognized the voice calling from behind a screen door, a smile lit up her face. She slowed her angry march as she came up to the door of the neighboring trailer, accenting the sway of her hips.

“Hey, Charlie!” Alma purred. “Just goin’ for a stroll; wanna come along?”

“Sure, lemme get my beer.” the man replied as he stepped back into his door and almost instantly reappeared. He joined Alma in the middle of the street and they began to walk. The man was in his early twenties, and what he lacked in height, he made up for in physique.

He was unbelievably handsome, with shaggy, light brown hair that just touched the collar of his shirt. His cobalt blue eyes, with silver flecks, sparkled when he looked at her. As they walked down the middle of the road, Alma’s smile had slowly faded and she appeared deep in thought.

“Whas’ up? You’re awful serious today.”

“It’s nothin’.” Alma said.“Come on now, tell Charlie what’s buggin’ ya,” he replied.

“It’s just that creep my Mom’s got livin’ with us. What a loser!” Once Alma started the floodgates seemed to open. Charlie was her best friend and always listened, really listened to her.

“He lays around all day drinkin’ beer while she goes out to work. Then when she comes home he claims he was out lookin’ for a job. She has a few beers with him and then the arguing begins. I don’t know why she keeps pickin’ these losers.” She sighed.

“She moves one of ‘em in, pays the bills, and supports the bum. In the end it’s always the same; they fight every night and finally he smacks her around and she kicks ‘im to the curb. I am never gonna’ have a boy friend like that! I’ve got plans, big plans, believe you me!”

Charlie stopped in the road and Alma walked a few steps before she realized he wasn’t beside her anymore. She stopped and looked around.
“What?” she asked.
“He’s not botherin’ you, is he?”
“What’d ya mean?”
“He’s not touchin’ ya?”
“Ha! That’ll be the day! Just let ‘im try somethin’ like that! I’ll kill him!”
“You sure?” Charlie insisted.
“Wha’d you care?” she asked.
Charlie scowled at her. “I thought we were friends, Alma. Friends look out for friends.”
“Well, thanks, but you don’t need to worry. He wouldn’t dare try anything like that. Besides, he’s not my type.”
“Oh, really? And what would be your type be, at the wise ol’ age of fifteen?” Charlie laughed.
“Sixteen!” she corrected him. “Last week and you know it. Anyway, my type is none of your beeswax.”
“Okay, okay, don’t get your knickers….” Charlie cleared his throat realizing what he had been about to say. I’ve got no right to refer to a young girl’s knickers in any context. “Ah….I mean…don’t get all mad and everything. I was just wondering.”
He paused, thinking about her turning sixteen. “So…how does that old saying go? ‘Sweet sixteen and never been kissed.’ Would that describe you?”

Alma blushed at how close Charlie was to the truth. Why does he only see a child when he looks at me? What I want is for him to realize that I’m a woman now and that he’s my type. How can I convince him of that when he’s with Cassandra? She wondered to herself. How can I compete with a tall, willowy blonde waitress who works a real job at the diner? I have to do something.

As they walked along, Alma took off her cap and shook out her hair. Reddish gold flared to life as the sun’s rays found her hair.
She smirked sideways at Charlie “You volunteering to be the first?” she asked.
“Me?! No way. In case you haven’t noticed, kiddo, you’re jail bait.”
It‘s now or never. Alma decided. This is a perfect opportunity to get my first kiss and if I play it right, it could be with Charlie.
“’Cause if you are, volunteering that is, I wouldn’t mind if it was you.”
Alma buried her face in the fall of her long hair. She was dying of embarrassment. What if he turns me down? I’ll lock myself in my bedroom and never come out.

They had walked past the mobile home park and out into the desert. The sun was cradled in the saddle of the distant mountains and everything was turning a soft purplish pink. Charlie took her hand and led her off the road and into the shade of a mesquite tree. With his hand, he playfully dusted off a large flat rock.

“Sit.” He ordered. “Okay, here’s the deal, Alma. We’re friends. I hope you know I would never hurt you. So, I’m gonna tell you a few home truths. Don’t be in such a danged hurry to get your first kiss or… anything. You got lots of time. Be choosey. Don’t go with the first guy who asks you. And whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short or cheap.”
“Jeez, forget it! I don’t want your danged old kiss. I was just seein’ if you would.”

Charlie scowled down at her. “You know I’m with Cassandra for however long it lasts and I’m a one-woman-at-a-time kinda guy.”
Tears glistened in Alma’s eyes. “Are you sayin’ that I’m cheap?”
“God, no! I was just sayin’ slow down.”
“Oh.” Alma thought that over. She looked up at Charlie through her long, brown eyelashes.
“You never gave me a birthday present, Charlie.”

Alma’s lightning change of subjects had Charlie scrambling to catch up with her. “Well, I’ve been busy with work and all…”
Alma’s eyes flashed with mischief. “So, now I know what I want from you for my birthday.”
“And what’s that?” Charlie asked.
“My first kiss, from you…”
“Goddamnit! Alma, haven’t you been listening to a word I’ve been sayin’?”
Alma stood up. “Yes I have. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m now sixteen, have never been kissed and you owe me a birthday present.
Besides I feel safe with you.”
“Alma, don’t ask that of me. It’s not right. I’m twenty-three and you’re just a kid. I’m old enough to be your…” He fumbled for an example of a family member.
“Older cousin? Older ‘kissin’ cousin?” Alma grinned up into his face. “Come on, Charlie. I want my first to be from someone I lo…like… Who’s a friend and who has some experience. You do have experience, don’cha?......' To read more go to my web site at: www.writeratplay.com. To be certain you don't miss a section join my blog on the Home page.

Author's Bio: 

Playwright, author, poet, Trisha Sugarek has been writing for five decades. Until recently her writing focused on play writing that ranged from prison stories to children’s fables. She has expanded her body of work to include two books of poetry, and a group of children’s books.

She has recently completed her first contemporary novel “Women Outside the Walls” and a second book of Haiku poetry. Her original brush and ink artwork will illustrate the book. All of her work can be found on her web site www.writeratplay.com ordered at Samuel French.
A new series, “ShortN’Small” offers individual short one act plays, small casts, no set, and no costumes.

Trisha has enjoyed a thirty year career in theatre as actor, director and writer. For three years she had her own theatre/performing arts company in Texas. Originally from Seattle, she has worked in theatres from coast to coast. Her plays have been produced across the country and Samuel French has published four of her plays to date. A text book is being written in Argentina to teach English using Trisha’s body of work. Trisha lives in Savannah, Georgia with her three golden retrievers.