Why My Love Life Sucks: The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer

  • Round: Books: 5 Page Challenge

  • Genre:
    Fiction: Young Adult/Juvenile, Sci Fi/Fantasy
  • Submitted: June 20, 2011


Status: Elevated to Round 3

  • Want it elevated: 65%
  • Publishing Pro Rating: Under review.
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5 Page Challenge

Pages 1-5 | Extended Sample


17-year-old super tech geek Gilbert Garfinkle was going to fix the world, and it was going to be perfect. He had it all planned. But a funny thing happened on the way to the future . . . Her name is Amber, and she has a killer smile.

Pages 1 - _


 I’m not dead. Yet.

It’s funny when Monty Python says it; not so funny when it’s true.

According to Amber, I’m not going to die, but I’m not sure I believe her. She’s a pretty convincing liar. I thought she liked me. I thought things were going just fine between the two of us. And then she bit me.

Now I’m stuck here paralyzed and in pain, and the only thing I can do is think. And the only thing I can think is Why me?

“This is . . . cozy,” she had said when she stepped into my room. It’s only cozy if you use cozy to mean tiny. “You certainly have a lot of stuff.” That’s an understatement.

“My Uncle Ian likes to buy me things to make up for the fact that my mother’s a bitch.”

Amber laughed. It was a nice laugh. I felt so relaxed, because she’s so beautiful. They say there’s no point in worrying about the things you can’t control, and I figured I didn’t have a chance in hell with her. Turns out I didn’t, but not in the way I had thought at the time.

“You do realize that makes you a son of a bitch, right?”

 “Can’t deny that,” I said with a nervous laugh. She was quick. I’ll give her that. “Would you like to play a video game?”

“No, thanks.” She picked up a piece of one of my gaming systems that I’d taken apart, and she tilted her head like she was confused.

“I like to see what I can do to improve them,” I explained.

“Not taking them apart might be a good start.”

I considered telling her the modifications I’d made, but I figured that would only bore her.

Her eyes moved to the largest object on my tiny wall. It’s a little hard not to notice. “Wow, that is one big TV.”  

“Did you want to watch something?”


I pointed through the open door in the direction of the kitchen.  “Are you still hungry? Would you like a bite?” I asked. Looking back on it, I probably should have worded that differently.  

She stepped into my room and shut the door behind her. “No windows?”


“That’s convenient.”

At the time I thought she meant it was convenient, because we had privacy. Now I know she might have meant something else. She took off the navy-blue jacket --the jacket I had lent her--and she hung it up on my ratty, old office chair. The bright red of her dress and the pink of her lipstick looked out of place in my mostly black, white and metallic- gray room.

I said, “I sometimes call this place ‘The Dungeon.’”

“Because of all the dragons?”

All the dragons? It’s not like I have only dragons. My tastes are eclectic. I have a ton of science-fiction, and video-game stuff, too, not to mention the posters of my hero, Albert Einstein. “No, I call it ‘The Dungeon’ because it’s a tiny room in a house as big as a castle, and it has no windows. Plus it’s in the basement. My mother doesn’t like me to leave the servants’ quarters. Okay, maybe it has something to do with one particular dragon . . .”

Amber laughed again. It felt nice to make her laugh. It’s usually a good sign when I can make someone laugh, a sign they aren’t going to try to hurt me. Usually.

“I don’t want to talk anymore about your mother.” She sat on my bed and patted my vintage Star Wars sheets. “Sit next to me.”

“I don’t know . . .” I rubbed the back of my neck and looked at the closed door to my room. I felt . . . kind of trapped. But I didn’t know why. I wish I had trusted my instincts.

“Don’t worry,” she said with a smile. “I won’t . . .”

Now I know why she didn’t finish that sentence.

But she was smiling at me, and she looked so beautiful and sweet, and I didn’t want to say no to her. So I sat beside her on my bed. She took off my glasses, leaned in, and started to kiss me. I thought, This is not happening. I’m Gilbert Garfinkle, for God’s sake. Pretty girls don’t sit on my bed and start kissing me. Then another part of my brain said, Shut up, Gilbert, you think too much. So I stopped thinking and kissed her back. Yeah, it’s always a mistake when you stop thinking. I should have realized that at the time.

I’d never kissed a girl before, not a romantic kiss, but I’ve been studying it. My mother’s maid, Olivia, leaves her women’s magazines in the kitchen, and they’re full of tips about what girls do and don’t like. Women in general apparently don’t like wet, sloppy kisses with probing tongues. Most prefer dry but firm kisses with slightly parted lips. Most guys don’t realize they could learn a lot from women’s magazines. I know I have. I take kissing seriously. I take everything I care about seriously, even things I once thought I could only dream about.

Amber pulled her soft lips away for a moment, tilted her head, scrunched up her eyes and smiled at me again. “You’re a good kisser.”

“You don’t have to sound so surprised.”

She pulled me by the shirt collar closer, and kissed me harder. I started to wonder how long it normally takes a couple to move past kissing on the lips to something else, and it was making me nervous again. Amber continued to kiss me. Then she moved from my lips to my cheek. Such sweet, little, soft kisses, like feather strokes. Kiss, kiss, kiss, on my cheek. She slowly inched her way down from my cheek to my neck. Kiss, kiss, kiss . . . It felt really good, and I was starting to relax, until . . .  

She licked my neck.

I guess that was the first sign something weird was going on, and my brain started screaming, Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!  My brain sometimes screams quotes from old movies or TV shows like that.

She paused a second and looked up at me.

I said, “Amber, what are you . . . ?”

Then I saw these two sharp things suddenly extend out of her mouth, and I tried to pull back, but she held my shoulders firmly in her hands and sank those things into my neck. I felt an unbearable, burning, stabbing pain that spread from my neck through my entire body, and I was suddenly paralyzed. I’ve never wanted to scream more in my life.  My mouth was open, gasping for air, but I couldn’t control it, couldn’t make a sound. I tried to lift my hands to push her away, but my hands wouldn’t budge from the sheets. I could hear her breathing in my ear, and I heard and felt her gulping my blood. It burned, and even though I was breathing rapidly, I felt like I was suffocating. It probably only took a couple of minutes, but it felt like hours, and it felt like I was dying.

At first I silently told God that I didn’t want to die, and then I silently begged him to make it quick. Neither prayer was answered.  

When Amber was through, she retracted her teeth. She was panting, her chest heaving until she stopped and let out a deep breath. She moaned softly, pushed me onto my back, wiped blood--my blood--from her lips with the back of her hand, and ran her tongue over her teeth to lick them clean. She leaned over me, examined my neck, and once again smiled. “Already starting to heal.”

I wanted to pull away, but I still couldn’t move. She held my chin in her hand and looked into my eyes. The only thing I could do was tremble in pain and fear, gasp for air, and look at her looking at me.

“Now listen carefully,” she said. “You’re not going to die. I only drank two pints. Three tops. You taste very good, by the way, it was tempting not to stop.” Now there’s a comforting thought.

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