My Words: A Young Adult Short Story

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and we see what we can find. On the first Wednesday of each month, I’m featuring some snippet of my words; that is, my writing.

In April of this year, ORANGE KAREN: TRIBUTE TO A WARRIOR was released. This anthology features more than 30 short stories from various genres. Among them is my young adult contemporary short story, Color Me Happy. Here’s an excerpt:

Orange Pompoms

Oh, how I wanted to be the girl-on-top.

I know what you’re thinking, but the term had nothing to do with sexual aggressiveness or sluthood. I’m not like that. I’m talking cheerleading pyramid.

Splits, back flips, herkies, toe-touch jumps, tumbling passes—I could do them in my sleep. I’d been tumbling since elementary school and a cheerleader since the first tryouts in junior high. I’d craved that top spot since I’d made the high school varsity squad, and finally the cheerleading coach had designated me to be “the girl-on-top.”

We came out in orange football jerseys with tight white shorts, shaking our orange-and-white pompoms. With my natural light red—okay, orange—hair, I looked like a striped traffic cone. The first part of our routine went smoothly—a choreographed dance to a pop and hip-hop medley. Then it was go time for our stunts. The lifts and jumps were as smooth as the satin ribbons in our hair, as three of us were hoisted up and thrown into flips and twists, each caught by three spotters below. The students clapped and yelled as we performed our daring feats . . . or showed off our legs—take your pick.

Then we gathered up into a bunch and started to form the final trick. I was lifted like before, but this time even higher. At the top, I raised one leg over my head and stood single-footed on the flattened hands of junior Tara Smith. The crowd erupted with cheers, and the stands rumbled with the feet of hundreds of students expressing their admiration. I was there—at the top to hear and see it all.

My heart thumped wildly, and my head floated further above my third-story location. The music ended on a boom, and the praise of our spectators washed over me anew. This was exactly where I’d wanted to be.

And then I felt it. A slight movement at the bottom of the pyramid, like the princess felt the pea or Yertle the Turtle burped at the bottom. Immediately, I lowered my leg, and Tara quickly responded by spreading out her hands to let me stand in a more stable position. But her hand faltered. Her balance wavered. Time slowed to a crawl, and I could see what was happening before I fell.

The cheerleaders’ hold gave way, and I went down like an ice cream scoop onto the sidewalk. Spotters scrambled beneath me. I had one last thought before I landed: “Please, no one put this on YouTube.”

ORANGE KAREN Book CoverTo read more, check out the book: ORANGE KAREN: TRIBUTE TO A WARRIOR. The current Kindle price is only $3.99, and Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free!

Do you enjoy short stories? Do you have any anthology recommendations? And have you ever been on the top of a cheerleading pyramid?

17 thoughts on “My Words: A Young Adult Short Story

  1. Hey Julie, Jennifer Gracen, who was also a contributor, is a member of LIRW, my writing group. Small world!
    Love your descriptions

    1. Thanks, Coleen! I was never a cheerleader either. We had a fabulous high school cheerleading squad, though, and they inspired some of this. I got to watch their feats from the stands…where I sat with the band. 🙂

  2. Hi Julie. That is well done. It’s very convincing. If you can be that smooth with a story line all the time then you can write a book about window cleaning or accounting and it will be well received. If you add a good story line then you have a contender for a best seller.

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