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Cast of Thousands, chapter 15

They galloped down the stairs. Nobody was in sight, but a steady sound of hammering led them to the backyard.

The morning had slowly grown cloudy, and Joyce was making the most of it. She knelt on the edge of the lawn nailing an old dresser back together, soaking up the cool air. She thought there was nothing as wonderful as the energy that she felt from using her whole body to put some broken thing back together.

The girls tumbled out of the house like a pair of excited puppies and ran up to her. Marcy quickly composed herself and opened her notebook. "May we ask you a few questions for our 'Person on the Street' column, ma'am?"

Joyce smiled. "Ready."

Marcy held her pen poised above the paper. "Do you ever have whole conversations with yourself, and if so, what about?"

"Wow, that's an interesting one," Joyce said. "Let me see... You know, I really don't think I do. Sorry, kids, I wish I could help more."

Jessie chirped, "That's okay. That's what I thought you'd say. We should go ask Moms too. Do you know where she is?"

Joyce weighed her hammer in her hands, thinking about it. "Can't say I do. I know she was going to go to the hardware store to get some more nails for me, but I don't know if she's gone yet. You might look around inside for her."

"Thanks Mommy!" her daughter squeaked, as they both took off for the house.

"Mommy. Geeze, she hasn't called me that since she was about four," Joyce told the hammer, turning back to her dresser.

* * *

List Of Actual Yes Answers

Kelly, mom: Well, of course! Well, sort of. I don't really have conversations with myself, I have them with
other people in here. I'm not sure if that's the kind of answer you're looking for. What about? Oh, 
everything... what to do today, what to say to someone , whether Kitten is a big dork or a cutie pie, which 
celebrities are secretly aliens....

Janis, 7th grade: Yeah, sometimes. Um... stuff like whether I should run for treasurer or not, or stuff 
about the people in class with me.

Michael, 8th grade: Yeah, when I'm playing soccer, I talk to myself all about which play to make next and 
how I'm playing and stuff. You know, like "watch out! There's a guy on your right! Okay, now kick! GOAL!"

Mr. Baker, 9th grade social studies teacher: That's an awfully personal question, isn't it, girls? Okay, 
well, I suppose I do. I suppose it's not that unusual. About... groceries, what to say in front of my 
students, that kind of general thing. It's fairly useful, actually. I feel like I'm getting different 
perspectives on an issue by hashing it out like that.

Carly, 9th grade: I saw a baby the other day and I had a little conversation with myself, I was all "I want 
a baby!" "Don't worry, we'll have a baby someday!" "But I want that one!"

* * *

Jess' Journal Entry

October 9, 2002

Dear Diary,

I don't know who I am anymore. It used to be like I was always the same person at school, with the same class and the same friends, and now everything is changing so fast.

Not just everything like now I'm 12 or now I'm in junior high school or whatever. But everything during the day changes too. Every less-than-an-hour I'm in a different room with a different teacher who has different rules and different kids there. It's really confusing and weird. I don't think I like it. But sometimes I do. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Marcy said some stuff this weekend that made me feel really weird too. She said that Cal told her that everybody our age feels weird, like they are totally different from everybody else. But I didn't think that so much before she said that! Now I worry about how weird I am all the time. Because if everyone thinks they're weird but they're really normal and it's normal for them to think they're weird then what do you do if you really ARE weird?

Especially the mean girls in my Chorus class make me feel that way. They sure think I'm weird. I don't know why. But if they can tell I'm weird and different without even knowing anything about my family then it must really be true.

I think Marcy thinks it's okay for me to be weird, but I wonder if all my old friends would feel that way. Maybe that's why I don't hang out with them anymore. But is it cause I know I'm too weird to hang out with people or because they don't like weird people?

I wonder if Marcy would ask Cal for me. But it's also a scary question to ask her. Bleah. Bleah!!!

Chapter 16?