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When high school freshman Lindy O'Brian sees a go-kart in action she dreams of building her own machine. Only a few minor details stand in her way -- she's broke, most of her friends think she's nuts, and enemies she didn't even know existed are out to get her.
The technical hurdles are nothing compared to the crime she and her friend Burt must solve on their way to buildingâ€¦ "A Kart for Lindy"
Lindy O'Brian rolled the spongy yellow cylinder between her fingers until it compressed into a thin rod, then worked it into her ear. She held it patiently as it gradually expanded to block out the din, then went through the same process for the other ear. She sighed with relief and rolled her brown eyes upward for an instant before looking out over the Wilsons' back yard. It was packed side-to-side and end-to-end with gyrating, screaming, stomping kids. Music blasted from an elevated stage against the fence on her left. The bass was so loud she could feel her insides wiggling. The invitation mentioned local radio personality Freddie something-or-other, would be spinning CDs. If there was anyone up there, he was blocked in behind the enormous speakers.
Ellen's parents really know how to throw her a birthday party, she thought. A DJ, a stereo the size of Cincinnati and a couple hundred of her closest friends.
Lindy knew there were only about that many in her whole ninth grade class at Woodbridge High. It meant Ellen had probably just sent invitations to every single freshman. Being the most popular girl in the class (whatever that meant) it was probably the easiest way to go. Lindy had just finished estimating how many guests were gate-crashing upper-classmen (half), and was moving toward a table that might be refreshments when she was startled to see the hostess herself making her way through the crush of bodies.
"Hey, Lindy! Isn't this totally cool?" yelled Ellen, her long blonde hair bouncing. She had big grin on her face and looked like she was marching in a parade. Lindy glanced down and saw her spike heels were sinking deep into the ground with each step. Ellen bent to take off her shoes. "Nice to see you here. You know, you don't have to study all the time. Life is for fun too." She pitched the shoes into the bushes at the back of the house. "They don't work," she said simply.
"But I don't--" started Lindy, but Ellen was already on her way back into the fray. Suddenly the blonde girl turned back again with a puzzled look.
"What's that in your ears?" she hollered.
Lindy moved closer. "Earplugs! Music this loud can really screw up your hearing!"
Right. And you're the best proof I've seen all day. Lindy decided to try another tack. She pointed toward the dancers. "You're going back in there barefooted?"
Lindy shook her head and waved both hands palms out, after which the other girl shrugged and started back into the crowd. By this afternoon she'll be both deaf and crippled. Suddenly Lindy didn't want refreshments any more. She just wanted to leave. At home, the music should be just about right without the earplugs, she thought with a chuckle. She lived at the other end of the neighborhood, an easy walk.
She moved around the garage and onto the Wilsons' driveway, a long straight stretch of asphalt that emptied out onto Collins Avenue. The Wilsons had the biggest lot in her neighborhood and had built the house as far back from the road as possible. So they had to put in three hundred feet of driveway. Oak trees lined the driveway at regular intervals and had grown together enough over the years that they gave a distinct tunnel effect. Not enough to shut out the early September sun, but enough to make it a pleasant walk as she moved between areas of light and dark.
Growing up in the mid-60s midwest was easy for me -- I just ignored all the baloney going on, and did my own thing. Cold winters inside messing with electronics; endless summers outside racing go-karts and mowing lawns to support my hobbies.
And reading. Reading all the time. My favorite saying was always, "If someone takes away my gadgets I'll get mad, but if someone takes my books, I'll get EVEN." It still holds true.
I started my career at Digital Equipment Corporation after wangling a Computer Science degree out of Northwestern in 1976. Since then I've helped design spacecraft at JPL and, at Rockwell, written part of the flight software for the MX missile, our latest generation ICBM (which the Soviets never matched). Most recently, I've done testing on critical defense software.
I like to work with go-karts and electronics and hold radio amateur callsign KI0PF. (See my comm setup at http://www.tactical-link.com/ki0pf.htm). By now you've probably guessed I'm an unrepentant gearhead. If it blinks, buzzes, produces RF, or goes preposterously fast, I like it. This probably also explains why I like to read (and write) science fiction. That is, fiction with SCIENCE in it. No spells, elves, magic swords, or suspension of the laws of physics. After I finished "Valkyrie's Flight", a hard sci-fi time travel novel for mature readers, Lindy kept yelling at me to tell her story. Since she can be one persistent teenager, I bowed to the inevitableâ€¦
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Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 264
Paper Weight (lb): 11.2
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