Crank, p.1
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         Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
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Crank


  Excerpt from “Give Me Women, Wine, and Snuff” by John Keats

  If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  First Simon Pulse edition October 2004

  Text copyright © 2004 by Ellen Hopkins

  SIMON PULSE

  An imprint of Simon & Schuster

  Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas

  New York, NY 10020

  www.SimonandSchuster.com

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Designed by Sammy Yuen Jr.

  The text of this book was set in Trade Gothic Condensed.

  Manufactured in the United States of America

  20 19 18 17 16 15 14

  Library of Congress Control Number 2003116437

  ISBN-13: 978-0-689-86519-0

  ISBN-10: 0-689-86519-8

  eISBN 978-1-439-10651-8

  DEDICATION

  This book is dedicated to my family, and all families whose lives have been touched by the monster.

  With special thanks to Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser and their wonderful SCBWI, which guided my way.

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  While this work is fiction, it is loosely based on a very true story—my daughter’s. The monster did touch her life, and the lives of her family. My family. It is hard to watch someone you love fall so deeply under the spell of a substance that turns him or her into a stranger. Someone you don’t even want to know.

  Nothing in this story is impossible. Much of it happened to us, or to families like ours. Many of the characters are composites of real people. If they ring true, they should. The “baby” at the end of the book is now seven years old, and my husband and I have adopted him. He is thriving now, but it took a lot of extra love.

  If this story speaks to you, I have accomplished what I set out to do. Crank is, indeed, a monster—one that is tough to leave behind once you invite it into your life. Think twice. Then think again.

  Crank

  * * *

  Flirtin’ with the Monster

  Introduction

  Alone

  On Bree

  More on Bree

  My Mom Will Tell You

  Aboard United 1425

  Two Hours into the Flight

  Hot Landing

  The Prince of Albuquerque

  Mutual Assessment

  I Got in a Car with a Stranger

  Small Talk Shrank to Minuscule

  You Call This a Castle?

  Not My Type

  At Least I Had Something

  Dad Had to Go to Work

  He Worked in a Bowling Alley

  I Opted Out

  Not Quite Silent

  The Screaming

  Of Course, When I Was Little

  Okay, Over the Last Few Years

  Dad Hadn’t Paid His Cable Bill

  The Rules

  She Went Inside

  I Must Have Moaned

  The Wind Blew Up

  Bree? Who Was She?

  I Wanted to Know Him, Too

  The Return of Guinivere

  That’ll Teach Me

  Toss-and-Turn Night

  Through the Keyhole

  So Much for Sleep

  I Hid Out for Three Days

  I Even Spent Time at the Bowling Alley

  He Hadn’t Changed After All

  You Fly Until You Crash

  Dad Crashed

  He Knew It, Too

  His Mom Was at Work

  He Wanted to Kiss Me

  First Kiss

  The Week Flew By

  Somehow the Place Looked Different

  Choices, Choices

  You Have to Remember

  We Met at the Bowling Alley

  Just Before the Drop

  No Time Like That First Time

  But That’s Not Exactly Cool

  If a Little’s Good

  Although Maybe

  Because It Wasn’t That

  I Didn’t Want to Stop Either

  For Some Crazy Reason

  Not Until the Door Opened

  Like an Idiot

  The Monster Loves to Talk

  Dad Said

  I Was Pissed

  Night Had Hung

  I Thought I Knew the Way Home

  I Tried to Be Cool

  Hands

  And Then I Heard

  Three Raiders Jackets

  I Held Tight

  Dawn Broke

  About That Time

  Clueless

  I Was Supposed to Sleep?

  After the Fourth

  Used Up

  Woke to Pounding

  Coming

  I Filled the Sink

  His Demon Showed in His Eyes

  He Told Me Why Anyway

  My Brain Somersaulted

  We Sat on the Floor

  Fifteen Blocks on Foot and a Bus Ride Later

  Lince Floated

  Evening, When We Left

  Dad Asked Where I’d Been

  One Hour

  Instead We Returned to Small Talk

  Dad Went Out

  I Was Mid-Drip

  Okay, I Looked Awful

  So of Course I Did a Really Stupid Thing

  Adam

  But First I Had to Pee

  But That Day

  So I Said

  Girls Get Screwed

  I Considered That

  One Day and Counting

  To Speed or Not to Speed?

  A Couple of Toots

  But Right Then

  It Throbbed the Next Day

  I Still Wasn’t Down When We Landed

  Tightened Airport Security

  I Saw Them

  Then She Caught Sight

  Homecomings Are Strange

  My Mom Says “I Love You” with Food

  Home Sweet Home

  Despite All Trepidation

  REGARDLESS

  I Slithered Down the Hall

  The Door Opened

  Brain Lag

  Silence

  On the Nightstand

  I Went Straight for the Phone

  Changed

  The Phone, Still in My Hand, Rang

  At Least I Had the House to Myself

  I Considered

  Suddenly, However

  My Luck Ran Out

  It Got Worse

  All Thoughts of Bad Habits

  I Went to Try On the Swimsuit

  The Tattoo, However, Was

  As I Pondered

  His Idea of Love

  Mom Knocked on My Door

  Over Lasagna and Garlic Bread

  Leigh Knew

  Later

  I Tucked That Away

  Wild Waters Day Dawned

  Mom and Scott

  Whether That’s Good or Bad

  Rather Than Face

  Before Bree

  As If That Weren’t Enough

  Right Then, Three People

  Still, When Brendan Came By

  I Went Home

  Grounded UFN

  The Problem with Being Grounded

  She Cut Me Loose

  I Pondered Th
at

  Did It Show?

  We Drove Down by the River

  One Spoon

  I Had to Explain

  In That Quite Hot Moment

  Chase Wanted to Walk Around the Mall

  A Second Word of Advice

  Two Guys in One Day?

  Mom Wanted to Hear All About Brendan

  Inconsistent Me

  Dear Kristina,

  Why Was Everyone

  I Did Cry Then

  Chase Was Right

  I Had to Pick Up

  GUFN Again

  Leigh Headed Back to School

  Chase Left Me with Goodies

  I Watched the Window

  I Hid Out in My Room Until Dinner

  I Hoped Not

  Brendan Was Waiting

  We Bumped up the Road

  Saturday Night

  Brendan Stoked the Fire

  Paydirt!

  Hair Mussed

  High

  Day One

  Mom’s Car Wasn’t in the Driveway

  Which Roused Me

  Major Mistake

  I Did

  I Mostly Managed That

  Backpack Bulging

  So Why

  As I Considered My Answer

  Giselle?

  You Bet I Did

  I Could Hardly Wait for Friday

  It Started with a Kiss

  But It Was Bree

  Not a Blink of Remorse

  Have You Ever

  Brendan Pulled Up

  I Stumbled up the Driveway

  Exhausted

  It Was Mean

  Close to Empty

  Brain Waves

  The Game Replayed

  Answer Before They Ask

  Stunned

  Relief, Disappointment

  Powerful Words

  Tried to Beat Mom Inside

  Leveled

  Light-Headed

  Northern Nevada Autumns

  No Answer

  Timing Is Everything

  We Went into Her Room

  She Forgot to Mention

  This Time

  He Talked at Me Awhile Longer

  The Next Few Days

  I Gave Up the Bus

  I Meant

  Okay, the Air Races Intervened

  Robyn Was Game

  Wolf Whistles

  We Found Our Box

  Three Races

  Robyn Wanted the Whole Story

  Now, You Might Think

  Before I Met the Monster

  But Now Nothing

  Problem Number One: School

  Problem Number Two: Relationships

  Problem Number Three: Connections

  Problem Number Four: Feeling Good

  Feeling Good

  I Would Celebrate Several Ways

  In One of Her Better Moments

  Celebration Two

  Half of Me

  Let’s Just Say I Got to Go

  Ecstasy Is Hard to Describe

  Chase Was Right There

  I Was Aglow

  Unforgettable Birthdays

  Elevation

  I Don’t Know

  I Was Cinderella

  If You Guessed

  Exiled

  I Spent the Next Day

  Burned Out

  Jerked Awake

  Report Cards?

  Anyone Could Have Come Along

  He Got Out of His Car

  I Wasn’t Scared—Yet

  Tough Girls

  Cause and Effect

  Back in My Room

  Resolutions

  Other Problems

  Crank, You See

  By Wednesday

  The Good …

  … The Bad …

  … And the Ugly

  I Did Think Twice

  I Became an Instant Celebrity

  Clear Blue Easy

  I Went Through

  Saturday

  My Appointment Was at Two

  Planned Parenthood

  I Already Knew My Options

  The Realization

  Passing Out

  Voices

  Oh Yeah, I Was Fine

  Chase Steadied Me

  He Drove Me Home—Slowly

  My Mom?!?!

  The Kitchen Was Warm

  Somehow She Didn’t Notice

  I Opened My Mouth

  Omens! Great!

  I Thought About Calling Leigh

  Snow Began to

  Snow Day

  Too Much

  I Needed Two Things

  How Big

  I

  Mesmerized

  More Choices

  I Won’t Bore You

  Highs

  The #1 Best Thing

  Lows

  The #1 Worst Thing

  Happy Endings

  PUBLISHER’S NOTE

  This ebook is best read at the smallest font setting on your device.

  Flirtin’ with the Monster

  Life was good

  before I

  met

  the monster.

  After,

  life

  was great.

  At

  least

  for a little while.

  Introduction

  So you want to know all

  about me. Who

  I am.

  What chance meeting of

  brush and canvas painted

  the face

  you see? What made

  me despise the girl

  in the mirror

  enough to transform her,

  turn her into a stranger,

  only not.

  So you want to hear

  the whole story. Why

  I swerved

  off the high road,

  hard left to nowhere,

  recklessly

  indifferent to those

  coughing my dust,

  picked up speed

  no limits, no top end,

  just a high velocity rush

  to madness.

  Alone

  everything changes.

  Some might call it distorted reality,

  but it’s exactly the place I need to be:

  no mom,

  Marie, ever more distant,

  in her midlife quest for fame

  no stepfather,

  Scott, stern and heavy-handed

  with unattainable expectations

  no big sister,

  Leigh, caught up in a tempest

  of uncertain sexuality

  no little brother,

  Jake, spoiled and shameless

  in his thievery of my niche.

  Alone,

  there is only the person inside.

  I’ve grown to like her better

  than the stuck-up husk of me. She’s

  not quite silent,

  shouts obscenities just because

  they roll so well off the tongue

  not quite straight-A,

  but talented in oh-so-many

  enviable ways

  not quite sanitary,

  farts with gusto, picks

  her nose, spits like a guy

  not quite sane,

  sometimes, to tell you the truth,

  even / wonder about her.

  Alone,

  there is no perfect daughter,

  no gifted high-school junior,

  no Kristina Georgia Snow.

  There is only Bree.

  On Bree

  I suppose

  she’s always been

  there, vague as a soft

  copper pulse of moonlight

  through blossoming seacoast

  fog.

  I wonder

  when I first noticed

  her, slipping in and out

  of my pores, hide-and-seek

  spider in fieldstone, red-bellied

  phantom.

  I summon

  Bree when dreams
r />   no longer satisfy, when

  gentle clouds of monotony

  smother thunder, when Kristina

  cries.

  I remember

  the night I first

  let her go, opened the

  smeared glass, one thin pane,

  cellophane between rules and sin,

  freed.

  More on Bree

  Spare me

  those Psych ’01 labels,

  I’m no more schizo than most.

  Bree is

  no imaginary playmate,

  no overactive pituitary,

  no alter ego, moving in.

  Hers is the face I wear,

  treading the riptide,

  fathomless oceans where

  good girls drown.

  Besides,

  even good girls have secrets,

  ones even their best friends must guess.

  Who do

  they turn to on lonely

  moon-shadowed sidewalks?

  I’d love to hear them confess:

  Who do they become when

  night descends,

  a cool puff of smoke, and

  vampires come out to party?

  My Mom Will Tell You

  it started with a court-ordered visit.

  The judge had a God complex.

  I guess for once she’s right.

  Was it just last summer?

  He started an avalanche.

  My mom enjoys discussing

  her daughter’s downhill slide.

  It swallowed her whole.

  I still wore pleated skirts, lipgloss.

  Crooked bangs defined my style.

  Could I have saved her?

  My mom often outlines her first

  marriage, its bitter amen. Interested?

  I was too young, clueless.

  I hadn’t seen Dad in eight years.

  No calls. No cards. No presents.

  He was a self-serving bastard.

  My mom, warrior goddess, threw

  down the gauntlet when he phoned.

  He played the prodigal trump card.

  I begged. Pouted. Plotted. Cajoled.

  I was six again, adoring Daddy.

  What the hell gave him that right?

  My mom gave a detailed run-down

  of his varied bad habits.

  Contrite was not his style.

  I promised. Swore. Crossed my heart.

  Recited the D.A.R.E. pledge verbatim.

  How could she love him so much?

  My mom relented, kissed me

  good-bye, sad her perfume.

  Things would never be the same.

  I think it was the last time she kissed me.

  But I was on my way to Daddy.

  Aboard United 1425

  The flight attendant escorted me to

  a seat beside a moth-munched toupee.

  Yellowed dentures clacked cheerfully,

  suggested I make myself comfy.

  Three hours is a mighty long time.

 
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