Love & Salamanders
I'm a very friendly and mostly honest young man. I live in a town called Calderas, in Southern California. We're about 80 miles from the coast, so it's nothing like Los Angeles. (Too bad!) Still, it's a nice place to live. My father thinks so, at least. He's the mayor and has been for five years. He ran for election just after my mother died. She had cancer, and my father became mayor because he was mad that our hospital was falling apart. He managed to save it. Or, he talked a bunch of rich guys into putting up the cash to make it better. Since then, people are pretty happy he's in charge. I am too. He's a good mayor and a good dad. Mayor Ortiz. What a guy. Let me introduce you to a few more people. ________________________________________
Henry Connell (my nerdy best friend)
My best friend, but a guy who loves to tell me what an idiot I am. (He's probably right most of the time.) He's extremely smart-he never received less than an A on anything. Still, who wants to hang out with a guy who calls you an idiot all the time? The thing is, he'd do anything for me. He slept at my house for five straight weeks when my mother died. That's 35 nights! Beat that. Really. He's my best friend.
Angela Camden (the love of my life)
In Hollywood, they'd call Angela my love interest. Whether she likes me as well is one of the great mysteries of my life. But she's a good friend too. We hang out-Angela, Henry, and me. As for confessing any of my feelings, forget it. It's too risky, and I'm a complete coward. The other thing you need to know is that Angela's even smarter than Henry. And she has always got some issue that's making her crazy. You also need to know that she loves nature, the environment, and salamanders. She loves salamanders. You need to know that.
Tim Hernandez (my arch-nemesis)
Frankly, I'd prefer not to introduce Tim. His favorite thing to do is push me around. (And not in the funny and friendly way that Henry does it.) He's also really good-looking. Who cares? Well, I'm pretty sure he's got a thing for Angela. Worse, I think Angela might have a thing for him. It's too horrible to think about.
Sarah Johnson (all-around great girl)
This is a tough person to describe because who would believe that there's a girl in the world who would like Henry? Not me. But it's true, and I'd even say she's got a shot with him. The thing is that she has so much going for her-she's a great athlete, super smart, and way, way too nice for the likes of Henry. But love is a mysterious thing.
Salamander Photo: iStockphoto.com; Character Photos: ©Jon Whitney Photography