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Things Not Seen
by Andrew Clements


p.5 Mom's hand starts reaching for where she figures my arm will be. She's off by half a foot, so I lean forward to help out. When her hand hits flesh, she freaks, like she's grabbed a lizard or something.
     "Oh, God! Oh, God! It's Bobby! It's him! He's there! He's not...he's not...Oh, God, David, do something! Let's...let's call Dr. Weston--or someone else, a...a specialist."
     So I'm thinking, Oh, great. Yeah, let's call one of those Invisible Teenager Specialists. I'll get the Yellow Pages.

p.14 My dad needs one of those collars like they put on dogs that bark too much. Then, when he says, "Bingo!" he'd get a shock.

p.16 Richard Feynman -- funny physicist
v p.16 Then I see a pack of gum. I walk to the mirror above my dresser. I unwrap a piece of Doublemint and stick it in my mouth. I open wide, and it's there on my tongue. I shut my mouth and it's gone. I chew with my mouth open, and I see the gum, moving around between my teeth like a gray caterpillar. Then I swallow the gum, just to see what happens--all gone.
     Then I work my tongue around in my mouth for about ten seconds, and I spit at the mirror. And I can't see anything on the mirror. I rub my hand over the glass, and my hand feels wet. Invisible spit. I have invisible spit.

p.29 You know how Hemingway writes? He couldn't write anything about this girl's face. Because he'd say something like, "It was a pretty face." And that wouldn't be enough. This face needs someone like Dickens, or Tolstoy. Someone who'd take a whole page and spend some time on her eyebrows and cheeks, or maybe notice the shape of her mouth when she's concentrating or walking with her cane.

p.56 The alarm system is blinking. That's supposed to make me feel safe. It's blinking next to every door. The alarm system has eyes and fingers all over the house. It senses things. The system will shriek when something outside starts to come through a door or window. But fear doesn't need doors or windows. It works from the inside.

p.59 I stand up and toss my pillow back onto the bed. I take deep breaths. I go over to my dresser and look in the mirror. I wonder what my hair looks like. So I grab a comb and pull it across my head, patting my hair with the other hand. Feels right. It's Bobby, the well-groomed spook. What a clear complexion he has.

p.68 I'm pacing back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, back and forth, and my whole life is on hold. I'm waiting for something to happen. I'm waiting for Mom to come home and Dad to think and Mrs. Trent to bake more cookies and the school to call and the sun to go down and the sun to come up again tomorrow. It's like my life is supposed to be playing, but the VCR is on pause and the screen is blank and maybe the whole rest of the tape is erased.

p.69-70 Last year our world history teacher told us how the ancient Greeks used to go into battle naked. Fighting with swords and shields and spears. Naked. And how they used to hold their athletic contests naked. Running and wrestling and throwing the discus. Naked.

...

     But I think that maybe I get what the Greeks were up to. Being naked outside, out there on the battlefield, it's like I've never been this charged up, this alert, this ready for anything. There's no chance I'm going to make a mistake, because I've got no armor. There's only th is thin layer of naked skin holding my life inside it, so am I going to let a sword or a spear or some kid on a skateboard take me out? No way.
     And if I have to run a marathon or jump into a brick wall to get out of the way of some girl in spandex on a mountain bike, why should I carry a single ounce of extra weight?
     These Greek generals weren't stupid. Want your warriors and runners to be fast? Want 'em to fight like crazy and be extra careful and completely awake all the time? All you have to do is take away their clothes.

p.114 About half the girls at U High act like they've known what they want to do in life since about third grade. Girls like Meghan Murray and Linda Strauss? If they see me at all, they look at me like I'm a bug, something to squash as they march toward the highest possible rank. The other half of the girls have money. Girls like Jessica and her crew. They're into clothes and jewelry and cell phones and beepers--and cars will be next. These girls don't pass notes in class. They send infrared e-mails to each other on little palm computers.

p.120 I can see the wheels spinning behind Mom's eyes. She's smiling, and it looks like a real smile, but I know better. That's her I'm-just-barely-not-ripping-your-head-off smile.

p.144-145 When sets of parents get together, it's always risky for the kids. Back at the beginning of fourth grade I had this friend named Ted. We had fun messing around at school, and he came over to my house for an overnight once.
     Then Mom got this bright idea that his family should come for dinner. Ted's parents were nice people, just not educated like Mom and Dad. Ted's dad ran the parts department at a Ford dealership, and his mom was the secretary at a real estate agency.
     It was a bad night. Mom wore a black dress and pearls, and she cooked this fancy meal. Dad wore a sport coat and tie, and he was icing down some expensive wine when the doorbell rang. Ted's folks were wearing jeans and matching Disney World T-shirts, and they handed Dad a cold six-pack of Miller Light to help the party along.
     And that night pretty much ruined my friendship with Ted.

p.227 bobby7272: naughty, naughty--don't fight sarcasm with sarcasm--two wongs don't make a right
     aleeshaone: but do three rights make a left?
     bobby7272: very deep. i hear the sound of one hand clapping.