#MusicMonday: The Phoenix

As much as I’m trying to focus on BloodBound (The Fraktioneers #2)…

This new series keeps popping to the front of my brain and taking over. So I’m writing both at the same time! 🙂

And this song is playing a big part in my writing process so far:

Fall Out Boy – The Phoenix

Introducing the first in the Pony Flanagan Investigations series:

Firebird

FirebirdPFI.png

Pain lanced up my arms as I shifted the twenty or so plastic shopping bags looped around them, raising my hand to stick the key into the trunk latch of my 2002 Geo Metro. Two trips my ass. Flanagans never made two trips. Not that I had much basis, since I knew precisely two Flanagans: My dad and myself. And even then, I was only half Flanagan and half… whatever my birth mother had been.

I slammed down the trunk lid and blew a strand of orange-copper hair out of my eyes. My last hair tie had broken tragically in an early morning battle with the thick stuff. And I’d meant to get another pack while I was in the store. “Crap.”

“Miss Flanagan!”

I turned back toward the tan brick building to see a pudgy, pimply faced teen chasing me down. “Yes?”

He held out a single, white plastic bag and took a deep huff of air, filling out his cheeks and making him look like that blueberry girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Only red. Like a cherry. “You forgot,” he rattled between breaths, “a bag.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “Thaaaanks.” As soon as he was relieved of the bag, he keeled forward and slapped his palms to his knees, his body heaving with each breath. “You okay?”

“Yes, Miss Flanagan.”

I bent down to his level, the back of my brain screaming obscenities about the ice cream melting in my trunk. “It’s Garrett, right?”

He met my gaze and nodded. His breaths coming easier the longer we crouched there together, no doubt becoming town gossip fodder for the next two weeks. The young substitute teacher, washed out from the crusades of the big city, and now spending quality time with one of her young, impressionable students. For shame. “You sure you’re gonna be okay?”

He nodded again. “Yes, Miss Flanagan.”

I rolled my eyes. “It’s Pony, Garrett,” I chided and rested my hand on his chubby shoulder. If they were gonna gossip, might as well give them something to gossip about. “We’re not in homeroom. You can nix the Miss Flanagan crap.”

Garrett raised his eyebrows and pressed to a stand. “Pony? That’s a weird name.”

I stood along with him, fighting the childish urge to stick out my tongue. “Isn’t it though?” Pontiac Dakota Flanagan. My dad’s feeble attempt to be creative, naming me after the specific place of my conception. The back seat of his 1968 Firebird convertible. On some lonely back road in our home state of South Dakota. I just thank the good Lord he hadn’t been driving a Camaro or a Mustang. And I suppose I could have gone by Dakota or Cody, but I’ve been Pony as long as I’ve been alive. Seemed silly to change it now.

“Well…” Now that I was sure Garrett wasn’t gonna stroke out in the parking lot, my thoughts turned back to the perilous state of my Haagen Dazs Java Chip. “Thanks again, Garrett. See you Monday.”

He wheezed and waved, but if he said anything else, I missed it as I slipped into the driver’s seat of my rust-bucket P.O.S. “C’mon, Percy.” I gave the Geo a loving pat on the dashboard as the engine coughed to life. “Friday I’ll get you an oil change, I swear.”

Firebird © 2016 Lu J Whitley

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