Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia
Book 2 in Tex, the Witch Boy Series
Genre Young Adult Paranormal Mystery Romance
Editor Tanja Cilia
Line Editor Penny Ehrenkranz
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
Tex McKenna’s junior year of high school is just as bad as his sophomore year. Maybe worse. Olivia’s dumped him. He's caught up between two warring gangs and gone “undercover” with the Modern Gangstas to unmask a murderer. All this poor Witch Boy and supernatural trouble magnet wants to do is end the school year alive. And maybe find out who the mysterious punker girl is and how she knows all his secrets.
“Come on, Tex,” said Ian. “Just chill out.”
“Easy for you to say.” I kicked the skateboard up and sat down on the skate park curb. The park was crowded today, as the unusually warm April day brought spring-seekers out in droves. My board’s wheels continued to spin, taking on a life of their own. Kinda’ like my life. Rolling out of control as if by magic.
Magic. Did I mention I’m a witch? I know, right? I never wanted to be a witch, nor would I say it was high on my list of future vocational choices. I didn’t have any say in the matter. Through the modern miracle of genetics, I inherited my witch-hood from my mother. It’s not all bad. Last year, during my sophomore year at Clearwell High School, witchcraft helped save my friends’ lives.
Little did I know that as my junior year was coming to an end, witchcraft would once again play an important part in peoples’ lives. Or lack thereof. It was the year I loved and lost. And the year I found myself caught in the middle of a gang war.
“Oh, boy, here we go.” Ian rolled his eyes. “You’re not gonna go on about Olivia again, are you?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. “No.” I stretched out my legs and picked at the torn striping of my black high-tops. The pentagram on my skateboard gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. Olivia’d painted it there. “It’s just…why would she break up with me?”
Ian snorted. “Come on, Tex, she’s a girl! Nobody understands girls…or what they’re thinking.”
“But…it’s Olivia. She’s different.” Olivia Furman is truly different. Exciting, wild, smart, resourceful, extremely self-reliant—she’s one of a kind. And she’s beautiful. She was also my first serious girlfriend.
Ian sat, plopping his skateboard between us. “Yeah, whatever. You can’t wallow around in self-pity the rest of your life, Tex.”
“I’d hardly consider two days the rest of my life, Ian.” The hammer came smashing down on me two days before, although it seems like I’ve been through an eternity of pain. And I’m beginning to sound like a teenage vampire romance novel. Not cool.
“I brought you to the skate-park to make you forget about Olivia.” I looked around to see if any of the other skaters were sneaking glances at my lovelorn and brokenhearted sad-sack state. “Now, shake it off. There’re other girls out there.”
“Yeah. But they’re not Olivia.” I felt I’d never again find a perfect girlfriend like Olivia. And, to be honest, the sheer, terrifying notion of starting to date again filled me with more fear than a locker-room full of bullies.
“Jesus, Tex!” Ian jumped to his feet and hopped on his board. “Let’s roll.”
Taking love advice from Ian Stapleton was probably not the soundest of logic. I’ve known Ian since grade school. Against the odds of fleeting teenage friendships, we’ve maintained our relationship through the years. I guess you’d call Ian a pseudo-goth. His fingernails are painted black, his hair dyed to match, and on occasion, he’d wear eyeliner. Incredibly high-strung, he insists upon being different to the point where it gets him in trouble. If Ian were to ever start a protest, he’d possibly find himself the only member in the Fight Mainstream Sensibilities Club. Nothing upset Ian more than people who follow cliques, dress in trendy clothing, and gossip over the newest hot topic or bland boy singer. It’s never come up, but I’ve wanted to point out to him he’s sorta’ following a trend himself—that of the sullen and brooding goth kid. But it’s easier to let him be. An agitated, confrontational Ian is an unpleasant Ian.
Ian took off at great speed, effortlessly rolling up and down the skate ramp walls. I threw down my board and followed him. I skated recklessly, trying to stay ahead of my despair. After about fifteen minutes, I noticed we’d attracted an audience.
Ian pulled up beside me, his face paler than usual. “Tex,” he whispered, “we’ve got to get out of here. Now.” He snuck glimpses at the two kids watching us.
“Crap! Here they come. Do not tell them what school you’re from…or your name.”
“Yo, kid, nice moves,” said the taller boy. He wore a long red bandanna tied around his head. His tripp pants, fully decked out with chains, jangled as he walked. Red-dyed shoelaces held his battered sneakers together.
“Um…thanks.” Ian seemed edgy as he rocked back and forth on his heels.
“Where you go to school?” The tall kid squinted his blue eyes.
“Ah…Red Valley.” Ian nodded in agreement.
“Cool…cool…” He broke into a wide grin. “What’s your name?”
“Bob…Bellman.” An unexpected breeze crawled down the back of my neck, raising goose bumps. Bob Bellman was the first name that popped into my mind. He was the terrifying school bully who was murdered last year and still never far from my thoughts.
“I’m B-Rryce.” He held his fist out to be bumped. “This here’s Coo-Coo.” Coo-Coo stepped forward and swung his hand up. I held my fist out for another bump. Coo-Coo ignored me, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a cigarette. He was much shorter than B-Ryce, and his teeth were crooked as a road map. The red ball cap he wore over his greasy blond hair was absurdly turned sideways. He lit the cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke into my face.
I coughed and said, “Are you coo-coo for smoko-puffs?” Ian nudged me. Coo-Coo stepped closer and narrowed his eyes, the cigarette dangerously close to my face.
“Yo, you crackin’ wise on me, bitch?” He reached out to grab my collar, but since I wore a tight T-shirt, his fingers fumbled down the front of my chest.
“Um, no, I’m not crackin’ wise.” Ian inhaled loudly while the two boys stared at me in silence. Suddenly, B-Ryce laughed.
About the Author
After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something that I'm passionate about.
“Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia” is the second novel in a trilogy detailing the adventures of my teenage witch, following the initial book, “Tex, The Witch Boy.” The trilogy is meant as entertainment but also deals with current social issues teens face. “Tex And The God Squad,” the third book, will soon follow.
I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her) and have a 20 year old daughter, who hasn’t yet decided what to do with her life. But that’s okay…it took me 25 years or longer.