VIEWS: 85 PAGES: 4 POSTED ON: 6/25/2011
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Sara Nickerson Narrator Lizzie Margaret Sophie Narrator: Since their father’s drowning death, Margaret and Sophie’s mother has become more and more withdrawn. They were very surprised when she loaded them into the car one Sunday and went to a small island. Sophie: Mom, have I ever been on this island before? Margaret: Have I ever been here, Mom? Sophie: Town! The arrow pointed this way to town. Lizzie: (mumbling to herself) If I remember right, there was a hardware store right around here. There it is! Narrator: Lizzie pulls the pickup in front of a gray-shingled hardware store, gets out, and walks in. Sophie: Why do you think we’re here, Margaret? Margaret: Shrugs Sophie: I wonder if it has something to do with Dad. Margaret: Do you think I look more like her or him? Sophie: You know I don’t remember what he looked like. Margaret: You’ve seen pictures. Narrator: Lizzie comes out of the store carrying a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign and throws it in the back of the pickup. Without saying a word she jumps back into the driver’s seat, starts the engine, and quickly starts driving further into town. Finally they come to a stop in front of a huge old house. Sophie: This place looks like a palace. I think we should move here. Lizzie: We’re not moving here. Margaret: Mom, is this place ours? Lizzie: Margaret, take that sign and stick it in the middle of the yard, would you? But first take this marker and write our phone number near the bottom. Margaret: So why is it ours, Mom? Lizzie: Just do it, please. Margaret: But Lizzie – Lizzie: Please, Margaret. And don’t call me Lizzie. I’m your mother. Narrator: Margaret attempted to place the sign in the yard to no avail. The ground was too hard. Lizzie told her to go behind the house to find a shovel. While she was back there Margaret decided to do a little exploring. What she saw was amazing. The back porch had been long forgotten. It was packed floor to ceiling with a strange variety of things. There were wooden pickle barrels and rusted gates and tools to fix a car and tools to fix a tooth and tools to build a house. There were cans of food without the labels and garbage sacks full of toilet paper rolls. Margaret could have stayed there on the porch for days digging through twenty- year-old National Geographic magazines and crinkly-yellowed newspapers with funny-looking ads. But what she wanted most of all was to get a peek inside the house. As she crept closer and closer she crashed through an old crate and fell flat on her face. What she saw when she fell sent her world spinning. She found a small package addressed to Elizabeth Clairmont. It took her a little while to realize that Elizabeth Clairmont was her mother. Someone had sent the small package to her mother. Return to Sender had been written across the front in a hasty hand. The package had never been opened. The postmark was four years old. After hearing the pickup horn call for her, Margaret instantly stuffed the package down the back of her jeans and covered it by pulling down her sweatshirt. Just as she was about to leave the back porch and head back, she remembered the shovel. Now Margaret had to decide what she would do with the package. Sophie: What’s that? Margaret: Can’t I have some privacy? Sophie: It’s my room, too. I’ll tell Mom. What is it? Margaret: I don’t know what it is, Sophie. It’s just a package I found – Sophie: At the house? Margaret: Yes. Sophie: Open it up. Margaret: I don’t want to right now. Sophie: I’ll tell Mom. Margaret: Shut up, Sophie. Sophie: Starts to scream. Margaret: (Slaps her hand over Sophie’s mouth) Okay. But not right now. Narrator: To ensure that Margaret doesn’t open the package without her, Sophie hides it. When they finally open the package, they find a champion swimming medal, a key, and a graphic novel titled Ratt Volume 1. In order to solve the mystery, Margaret decides to sneak out of the house and go back to the old house on the island. She needs Sophie’s help to pull it off. The phone rings. Sophie: Hello. Margaret: Sophie? Sophie: Margaret! I knew it was you! Margaret: Is that Mom? Sophie: (Giggling) She just yelled for us to stop fighting. I’m doing a good job aren’t I? Margaret: You’re doing a perfect job, Sophie. Sophie: Where are you anyway? Margaret: I’m at a house. The house next door. Sophie: When are you coming home? Margaret: Soon. Does Mom suspect anything? Sophie: No. I stomp around the kitchen when she’s in the living room. She thinks it’s you. Did you find out the mystery? Margaret: Not yet, but I’m getting close. The house just had a lot of junk. You’re not missing a thing. Sophie: Will you call me again? Margaret: I don’t know. I lost my quarters. Are you okay? Sophie: Yes, I’m okay. Margaret: Okay, Sophie. Bye. Sophie: Bye, Margaret. Narrator: With the help of Boyd next door and the mysterious “Rat Man” that lives in the mansion, Margaret has an exciting adventure as she tries to solve a family mystery that has been hanging over their heads for years. Does she succeed? Will Lizzie ever tell Margaret about her father’s death? Exactly who is the “Rat Man” from the comics? Read How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Sara Nickerson to find out. Booktalk My name is my Margaret Clairmont. I have always known that my family is a little weird. There is my Mother, Lizzie, who sleeps when she isn’t at work, and my sister Sophie, who is always doing the Hardest Jigsaw Puzzle Ever Made. You get some kind of certificate if you ever finish. My father died three years ago. We don’t ever talk about him, unless my Mother isn’t there. There has always been a feeling of mystery surrounding my father’s death. He drowned, but he was a champion swimmer. How could a champion swimmer drown? I have a lot of questions, but Lizzie, I mean my mother, will not talk about it. The only time that we ever go anywhere is on Saturday. Sophie calls it Family Fun Day, but I call it Bare Minimum for Survival Day. About three o’clock every Saturday, we gather up our dirty clothes and go to the Laundromat. After we get the clothes into the dryer, we walk a block and a half to the grocery store. We always buy two loaves of bread, two boxes of cereal, milk, bananas, chips, peanut butter and jelly, 6 frozen pizzas, two bags of tater tots, and 6 microwave bean burritos. Then we walk back to the Laundromat and get our clothes and go home. That had been our life for years until one day Lizzie got up from her morning and afternoon naps, looked at us, and said, “Get your shoes and jackets!” Soon, we were all in the navy blue pick-up and headed somewhere. In the back of the truck was a sign that said FOR SALE BY OWNER. We didn’t own anything that I knew of. We had no idea what we were doing or where we were going. After taking a ferry we arrived in a small town and drove to a huge old house. It was like a palace, but one that was under a dark spell. There was another ordinary house right next door that looked like it had been plucked from a regular housing development. We drove into the driveway, and Sophie and I wanted to move in right away. Lizzie lit her cigarette and said “Take that sign and put it in the middle of the yard, and write our phone number on the bottom with this marker.” I wanted to explore a little, but Sophie got in trouble by going too close to the water so Lizzie made her stay in the pickup while I finished with the sign. The ground was too hard to just stick the sign in the ground so Lizzie sent me to the back of the house to get a shovel. The back door was opened just a crack and I stepped inside. I just wanted to take a peek! It was packed floor to ceiling with a strange variety of things. There were wooden pickle barrels, rusted gates, tools to fix a car, tools to fix a tooth, tools to build a house. There were bicycle horns, and balls of string, and at least a dozen different mannequin hands, all with chipped red nail polish. There were stubs of candles and old fashioned ruffled dresses, and doll heads with missing hair, and baby bottles, cans of food without labels, garbage sacks full of toilet paper. I could have stayed on that porch for days. I took a step forward, tripped over a box of old encyclopedias, and rusty fishing poles and then looked down at an old wooden crate that I had crashed through. And that’s when I saw it, a package that was addressed to Elizabeth Clairmont, (MY MOTHER). Someone had sent this to my Mother. On the front of the envelope there was a stamp that read RETURN TO SENDER. It didn’t look like it had ever been opened. I had to see what was inside. I stuffed it in my jeans and under my sweatshirt and took it home. You’ll never guess what was in it: a key; a champion’s swimming medal; and a graphic novel entitled Ratt Volume 1. You have to read How To Completely Disappear and Never Be Found by Sara Nickerson to find out what it all means!!
"How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found"