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Reality boy, p.24
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       Reality Boy, p.24

           A. S. King
 
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  “Gerald!” Hannah hasn’t let me go yet, and I don’t let her go, either. “Look at you,” Hockey Lady says.

  “Is it the end of second period yet?” I ask.

  “Nah. We’re just losing so bad I came out before the rush.”

  She lights up a cigarette.

  “I’m Hannah,” Hannah says.

  I nod and say, “My girlfriend,” as if this isn’t obvious.

  “That’s great,” Hockey Lady says.

  There’s an awkward moment between the three of us. Hannah giggles.

  “I wanted to thank you for talking to me that first night,” I say.

  “You’re welcome,” Hockey Lady says.

  “It really helped me,” I say, remembering all the sobbing I did on her shoulder.

  “Glad I could help.”

  Then Hannah says, “We’d better get back in.”

  “The rush is coming,” I explain.

  Hockey Lady nods and then winks at me on my way through the door.

  “Who’s that?” Hannah asks as we walk back to stand five.

  “Just some viewer I met once.”

  “Oh,” she says.

  I hear myself say this and I like it. Just some viewer I met once.

  Just some viewer.

  As I sell sixty more chicken-fingers-and-fries orders and tap ten more beers and sell two little kids some hot chocolate, I see them all that way.

  Viewers who will never know the truth. Viewers who don’t really matter. Viewers who just didn’t have anything better to do on Friday nights a decade ago.

  I look at Hannah over on register #6. She is more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen. When she looks at me she is the opposite of a viewer. She can see inside me. She makes me see into the future. I can see myself graduating next year—war paint and all, pushing Deirdre up that ramp they’ll have to build. I can see myself in ten years, married to Hannah, maybe a baby or two if she wants some. I’ll have a job that isn’t counting hot dogs. I won’t have to see Tasha or my mother again if I don’t want to.

  It’s like Gersday, but better.

  It’s real.

  I’ll eat real strawberry ice cream.

  I’ll be somewhere else. My own Morocco or India. My own Scotland.

  I’ll be just another human on a planet full of humans, but better equipped because I have demands.

  For my family.

  For my life.

  For the world.

  For myself.

  What acceptable behay-vyah.

  What acceptable behay-vyah.

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  Huge thanks to the usual suspects: my supportive family and friends, the fantastic Michael Bourret, the genius Andrea Spooner, Deirdre Jones, Megan Tingley, Victoria Stapleton, and the entire team at Little, Brown for making me feel like a superhero.

  Special thanks to Heather Brewer, Andrew Smith, Sara J. Henry, Beth Kephart, and Ellen Hopkins, who write beautiful books and who are beautiful friends.

  To every fan, librarian, teacher, bookseller, and blogger who has supported my work: Your support means the world to me and my gratitude is galaxy-sized.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  A.S. King is the author of the highly acclaimed Ask the Passengers, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner, received six starred reviews, appeared on ten end-of-year “best” lists, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her previous book, Everybody Sees the Ants, received six starred reviews, was an Andre Norton Award finalist, and was a 2012 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults book. She is also the author of the Edgar Award—nominated, Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz and The Dust of 100 Dogs, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. When asked about her writing, King says, “Some people don’t know if my characters are crazy or if they are experiencing something magical. I think that’s an accurate description of how I feel every day.” She lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and children. Her website is www.as-king.com.

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Welcome

  Dedication

  Epigraph

  Part One

  I am Reality Boy

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3: Episode 1, Scene 1, Take 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7: Episode 1, Scene 12, Take 2

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11: Episode 1, Scenes 20–29

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16: Episode 1, Scene 36, Take 1

  Chapter 17

  Part Two

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19: Episode 2, Preshow Meeting

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27: Episode 2, Scenes 7–15

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32: Episode 2, Scene 15, Take 2

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35: Episode 2, Scene 0, Take 0

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43: Episode 2, Scenes 23–35

  Part Three

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46: Episode 3, Scene 2, Take 2

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51: Episode 3, Scene 12, Take 17

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Acknowledgments

  About the Author

  Copyright

  Copyright

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  Copyright © 2013 by A.S. King

  Cover design by Liz Casal

  Cover art © Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images

  Cover © 2013 Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  Little, Brown and Company

  Hachette Book Group

  237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

  lb-teens.com

  Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group.

  The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

  First ebook edition: October 2013

  ISBN 978-0-316-22269-3

  For more about this book and author, visit Bookish.com.

 


 

  A. S. King, Reality Boy

 


 

 
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