A Friend Like Filby by Mark Wakely
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A Friend Like Filby is a heartfelt, amusing story you won’t soon forget. If enough readers nominate it, the novel will be published by Kindle Press and you’ll receive a free copy of the eBook when the campaign ends! Read the first three chapters for free and nominate it for free today!
True friends can make all the difference.
George has been fascinated with the idea of time travel ever since the shocking death of his mother when he was ten, and hopes someday to find a friend like Filby, the closest friend of the time traveler in the 1960 movie The Time Machine. George’s high school friends, Dave and Nancy (AKA Onion), struggle to understand his odd obsession. The story takes place during the three friend’s senior year, with a major revelation in store for George on graduation day.
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Excerpt from Chapter One – SO IT BEGINS
It’s early. Real early. Dave and I were the first ones to arrive. It’s as quiet as a morgue, with most of the hallway lights still off. With no one else around, I was surprised the doors were open since the place is usually locked down like the prison it vaguely resembles.
Dave picked me up right at dawn. Since he has a car and I don’t, I reluctantly agreed to roll out of bed way ahead of my regular schedule. Real early was still better than the dreaded school bus from hell I had to take on occasion when a ride from Dave wasn’t possible. Dave said he had “something to do,” and now I know what it is. Dave’s standing on a classroom chair, yelling into a security camera. Never mind that it doesn’t record sound; I guess Dave’s expression and unfriendly gestures are enough to get his message across. The chair seat is flexing and groaning under Dave’s weight and I’m standing by apprehensive, waiting for the seat to splinter and for Dave to come tumbling down like Humpty Dumpty, cradle and all and whatnot.
He’s still angry about some decision the school administration announced yesterday regarding student organization budgets or benefits or something. Not that Dave really cared about any of that; he just loves any opportunity to act offended at anything the administration does. I guess putting it all on tape for some unsuspecting security guard or secretary to see was his way of making his displeasure known.
The second week of our senior year and already Dave is in rare form. He’s screeching now in full rant, his face just inches away from the camera lens. It was a beautiful performance, gloriously obscene, a marvel of four-letter words strung together like a true maestro.
When he was finished, he gave the camera an obscene gesture with both hands.
Spent and out of breath, he climbed down from the chair and dragged it back where it belonged.
Dave calls our school “The Big Brown Box,” where we’re “processed” and “churned out like obedient zombies.” I guess its Dave’s calling to be a rabble rouser, but I’m not sure you can make a living at it. If you could, though, Dave would make a very good one.
“So. How was the rant?” Dave asked, still out of breathe but beaming with pride.
I thought a moment, comparing it to his past performances.
“Oh, I don’t know. I’d give it a solid B, maybe a B plus.”
Dave seemed pleased with the grade.
“Thanks. It wasn’t a personal best, but it was pretty good, wasn’t it?’
“Sure, Dave. Sure.”
I patted the big guy on the back, and then we headed off to the cafeteria to sit at our favorite table and wait for them to open so we could get our usual morning cup of joe.
* * *
Our Big Brown Box was one of those sprawling eyesores of a building– ominous, pompous and dreary, not unlike a few of our teachers. Built in what seemed like record time, it towered over the neighborhood. Metal detectors by the main doors were installed our sophomore year, as were the surveillance cameras and doors that locked electronically when classes began. The joke was they were either trying to keep the bad guys out or the inmates in. Even the drug-sniffing dog they brought in unannounced on occasion seemed afraid of the place and always bolted out the door when its job was done.
“Hear that, people?” Dave said loudly one morning when all those electronic locks kicked in with their usual thunk that reverberated down the halls. “Homeland Security cares about you.”
Even though our senior year had just begun, oddly enough I was already getting a bit nostalgic, and was thinking lately about my freshman year. Freshman year was essentially hell week that never ended. Yeah, we were the scum, the newbies, the dorks and freaks and nerds and geeks that nobody loved or wanted. There were notable exceptions, of course– the few girls with supermodel looks already and an even smaller number of jocks with overactive thyroids who towered over the rest of us and made first team without even breaking a sweat. (Actually, Dave was one of those.) But like I said, they were the exceptions. The rest of us had to bow and scrap to the upperclassmen, even those who had little status otherwise. It got old fast to find all your stuff in the trash if you left it unattended for even a minute, or have someone cut in line in front of you just because you’re new.
Read more on the nomination page – A Friend Like Filby
“I actually read it twice to make sure I hadn’t missed anything the first time through- the plot twists and turns are just so clever. It’s one of those rare novels you find yourself thinking about and reacting to for days afterwards- to me, that’s not just good fiction, that’s great fiction.” ~ Linda Yung