My next book of fiction is Meeting Margo, which is the penultimate prequel to You Don’t Think She Is and Meeting Dennis Wilson and my other stories. Meeting Margo tells the story of how Brian and Margo met on the first day of second grade and eventually became best friends. This book will be published in print and Kindle editions in early October 2016.
*** UPDATE: May 2017. Meeting Margo is available in a Kindle edition, with a print edition coming in June. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for more information.
In this excerpt , from chapter three, we see Brian’s first real conversation with Margo, on the playground, first day of second grade, Quaker Valley, Pennsylvania, August, 1967. They’ve already seen each other and felt at first glance like they knew each other already; they’ve gone out to recess and gone down the sliding board and even gotten in trouble together; Brian knows that Margo is from Canada, but other than that, his soon-to-be-best-friend is a mystery to him.
They take a few turns on the merry-go-round, and then…
We were on our way over to the swingset, but Margo muttered “Zut! Pebble!” and sat down on the ground to take off her right sneaker. I sat down next to her, squinting from the hot bright morning sunlight reflecting off the windowpanes of the school.
O.K. Time for answers.
“So… you’re from Canada?” I said.
“Oui,” she said.
“Wee?” I repeated.
“Oui,” she said, untying her shoelaces. “Y-E-S. Oui.”
“Does ‘oui’ mean yes?”
Margo giggled. “Ouais.”
Way… wee… God… this wasn’t going to be easy.
“What’s wee?” I said.
Margo pulled her shoe off, smirking. “You mean you don’t know what wee is, Bri?”
“No… I mean, that’s ‘yes’ in Canadian?”
“No,” Margo said impatiently, “in French. There’s no such thing as Canadian.”
That’s right. French. She said already.
“How come they speak French in Canada?” I said.
Margo looked like this was the first time anyone had ever posed the question.
“I don’t know, Bri,” she said at last.
I noticed that Margo was calling me “Bri.” Oddly enough, nobody’d ever called me “Bri” before, but it just rolled off Margo’s tongue like it was my given name.
“But your Dad speaks French?” I said.
“No… Mom does. She’s from Quebec. That’s a French speaking province.” Margo had her white sweatsock rolled all the way down over her heel; somehow a small stone had worked its way inside. She picked it between her thumb and index finger and flicked it off into the grass, then pulled her sock back up. “Dad’s from Ontario,” she continued as she gave her sneaker an upside-down insurance shake and then pulled it on. “He speaks mainly English. He tries speaking French, and Mom tries speaking English, but a lot of times they just look at each other. They‑‑”
I reached down to help Margo up. “Come on!” I said, and we ran hand-in-hand over to get in line, Margo’s two long white shoelace ends flopping against the macadam with each step.
“Your shoelace is untied.”
Margo grinned as she bent down to tie her lace. “That,” she said, “is the oldest trick in the book.”
About Meeting Margo…
I love Margo LeDoux. I always have and I always will. I loved her, really, from the moment I set eyes on her: Tuesday morning, August 28, 1967, in Miss Peterson’s second grade class, General John F. Reynolds Elementary School, Quaker Valley, PA.
A prequel to my coming-of-age novels You Don’t Think She Is and Meeting Dennis Wilson, Meeting Margo tells the story of how seven-year-old Brian Pressley met and became best friends with Quebecoise tomboy Margo LeDoux.
My published novels evolved from a sprawling multi-binder mass of prose which I’ve both alluded to in those books and mined for short stories. In re-reading that work, I thought “You know, this isn’t BAD…” At the same time, readers of You Don’t Think She Is and Meeting Dennis Wilson kept telling me that they “missed the characters” and wanted more.
So here’s more!
Meeting Margo was published this past winter as a Kindle short, and will be published in a print edition in early June, along with a followup novella entitled Margo Moves In. These two novellas will take the reader up to the beginning of You Don’t Think She Is.