Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has enlisted her in his petty criminal enterprises. Lynn finds refuge in online flirtations, eventually meeting up with a troubled young soldier, Logan Loy, and inviting him home. When he's forced to stay over in a storage space accessible through her closet, and the Army subsequently lists him as AWOL, she realizes that he's the one thing in her life that she can control. Meanwhile, her mother's boyfriend is on the receiving end of a series of increasingly violent threats, which places Lynn squarly in the cross-hairs.
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April 02, 2012
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Excerpt from Caring Is Creepy by David Zimmerman
The most dangerous thing I ever did was tell a grown man my
real name. I typed it for him. Lynn Marie Sugrue. When it
happened, it didn't seem like anything at all. Hardly something
worth worrying over. Me and my best friend Dani were down in
her basement bedroom on a night hot and thick enough to push
in against the window screens. We were playing our favorite game
of the moment, a sort of online combination of crank phone call
and blind man's bluff, but it was really more of a scheme to try out
being bad in a place we thought it wouldn't count. We just never
expected to be the ones wearing the blindfold.
So this is August of 2005 in Metter, Georgia, population half of
nothing. A million miles from anywhere good. So this is me and
Dani, just turned fifteen and a couple weeks away from our sophomore
year at Metter High. So this is me fucking up my life like you
The trouble started with a gift. The day after my friend Dani's
birthday, I found her moping down in her bedroom beside
a pair of huge boxes. Dani's dad owns that used car lot out where
Lewis Street meets the county highway--Big Dunham's it's called,
the one where in the commercials a girl in a bikini goes around
popping balloons on windshields, saying, "We're popping prices
like you wouldn't believe." He'd been promising for years to buy
her a car when she turned fifteen. Dani wouldn't be able to drive
without an adult sitting next to her for another year, but this hadn't
bothered her one whit. "I'll get to have plenty of practice for the
license test," she'd say. A few weeks before her birthday, though,
something happened to change Dani's mother's mind, something
not even Dani would tell me about. Whatever it was she did, it
made her mother decide poor little Dani wasn't quite ready for a
car of her own. Instead, she got a new computer.
I took a beer from my backpack and waved it in front of her face
to get her attention. "Cheer up, there's more naked men inside that
plastic box over there on the floor than you could ever possibly
Dani closed her eyes and shook her hair so hard it twirled around
her head like a skirt, but she snatched up the beer all the same.
"Well," she said. "For scientific study."
"Sure," I said.
Dani had used the wholesome notion of scientific study as a
means of investigating all manner of nasty things over the years.
We'd spent a good deal of the summer watching dirty movies filched
from her dad's footlocker in the garage, pausing at the stranger
parts and studying them like scientists. Once, she even got her
mom to buy Judy Blume's Forever with the excuse that she needed
to write a paper on the mores of suburban adolescents in the 1970s
for her social studies class. I still shake my head in wonder over that
bit of bullshit.
It took both of us to tug the computer free. The Styrofoam
squeaked like a stepped-on mouse.
How could I have known then the kind of craziness that would
come out of that box? Or that on that same exact day, maybe right
around the same time, the boy who'd change everything about me,
right down to my last clean pair of socks, was opening up his own
box of trouble? Inside his box was the decision to leave his job,
his home, his whole life. Inside his box was how he got caught
sketching a stray dog on the back of a pink requisition form and
was now pushing a mop as punishment. No more of this, he told
himself. No way. I'm through. And I remember thinking how a
new computer smelled like clean.