Click on image to enlarge.
by Angelo Spyropoulos
Category: Young Adult EPIC eBook Award Finalist
Description: When thirteen year-old Joey Mills embarks on a road trip, things seem as spectacular as the RV he's riding in. But Joey soon finds himself on a personal detour which will test his courage and loyalty, and bring to question his ultimate destination.
eBook Publisher: Zumaya Publications, 2005 Zumaya Publications
eBookwise Release Date: September 2005
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [231 KB]
Reading time: 170-239 min.
"This novel is tough and honest. Mr. S's language is both beautiful and gritty. I have no doubt that this fine novel is the beginning of a significant literary career."--Percival Everett, author of Wounded: a novel
FOUR BEACON REVIEW FOR RV "...the characters were well-developed and likeable; overall this was an enjoyable read, and Mr. Spyropoulos style reminded me very much of Stephen King--easy to read and at the same time rich and full."--Lighthouse Literary Reviews
"You really feel like you are listening to a thirteen-year-old boy as Joey tells his story, with all the angst of a young boy ready to step over the threshold from childhood into maturity."--Reader Views
I watched Pete's thick arms rested on the steering wheel, at the cactus scars in healed-up clumps along his right one, and I was glad nothing like that had ever happened to me.
He looked out at the long, bare road and wide-glared wilderness, spitting tobacco sometimes into a Taco Bell cup. He looked comfortable. He adjusted the vents on the air conditioning, made sure they hit my mom just right. Then he looked over his shoulder at me.
"Hey, Joey, you ever been to the Grand Canyon?"
"No, but I'd like to."
He looked back at my mom and said, "Marcie, you've been raising this kid in a cage. We'll definitely need to hit that."
We had left Austin, Texas, that morning, not long after Pete showed up at our front door. He hadn't been around in a while--maybe a month--and he hadn't called my mom during that time, not even once; so when he came to our door, Mom said she wasn't gonna let him inside the apartment. She told him that since he hadn't had the decency to call her he could kiss her ... you know.
And even though I knew Pete had a way of talking to Mom and making her understand stuff, it looked like she meant what she was saying. She kept going "No, Pete, you don't care about me. Go home."
Pete smiled, but then he looked at her in a way that made me know he cared. He walked up closer, smelled like mints. He asked her if he could explain things. When she told him he couldn't, he still started explaining the things.
"It's my mother's fiancé--smoked his gun."
Mom opened up the door some more. She said, "What?"
She knew just what he meant, though, and eventually I also figured out that smoking a gun means blowing off your head, plus Pete said, "He was a good man," and I knew that was what people said about dead people.
He told us that "after the tragedy," he had been at his mom's house, dealing with his own sort of depression; but he said that now he was all done feeling that way 'cause he'd had time to do some thinking. He said he missed my mom. And then all of a sudden he had an easy look to him because Mom seemed to start really hearing him.
He told her that he wanted to show her something. She rolled her eyes into nearly just whiteness; but still, she slid her feet into her slippers and we followed him out to the sidewalk. That's where the RV was.
It was big and white and parked too far from the curb. The engine was still crackling. When I asked Pete if it was his, he looked at my mom like he was waiting to see what she'd do. He told her that he'd rented the RV with her in mind, because he wanted to make things up to her. He told her all kinds of stuff. Like, he said that she looked gorgeous; and when she told him to quit it, he said, "How about you throw some clothes in a bag and the best drop-dead dress you own and we go somewhere?"
"Let's take Joey, somewhere," he said, looking at me. "It's what this kid needs. How about we go camping?"
"Yeah, camping," I said, and said it again because I hadn't been camping in more than three years.
Mom shot Pete an interesting look.
"Why would I need a dress for that?"
"No, Pete, I don't believe I will." She turned around and started walking while she talked. "As usual, your timing's lousy. Laundry's undone. Kitchen's a mess." She looked at me. "Joey, why don't you finish your room?"
I didn't want to but did what she said because Mom was in bad moods a lot lately and it was true about the house. She hadn't been cleaning it as much as she used to. Caked-up plates, and Tabasco in water with soggy macaroni piled up everywhere.
"You can't scare me away with chores, Marcie." Pete walked into the kitchen, and I could hear his boot heels, his Redwings, creak along the linoleum. He did all the dishes, cleaned the stove and took out the trash, and Mom just stood and smoked cigarettes right there next to the open kitchen window, blowing smoke rings sometimes while she watched him do it. After he was done, he talked her into changing and going out to the community pool.
On the diving board, Pete bounced a few times and wiggled his toes. Without his shirt on, you could see how suntanned he was, except for where his scars were pinkish and blotched on part of his stomach and went up along his side and onto his arm. He looked at my mom and told her he liked her suit. She had bought it from this store that went out of business, was a two-piece in, like, a honeydew green; and she'd said it was a steal.
She stood on the shallow side, looking down at her feet through the water; then she put a hand up over her eyes and looked at him.
"It's just like you to show up out of the blue, isn't it?"
Pete didn't answer, just sprang into the air and did a complicated sort of dive where his arms went out in the air like Jesus on the cross. He stayed underwater as he swam to where Mom was. When he came up, she said, "God, Pete," because her hair got all wet; but still, they stood there at the steps and looked at each other. Pete touched Mom's bikini top like he was just now beginning to notice it, and they kissed.
After swimming, they went into Mom's room, and Pete started whispering stuff. They were both trying not to be loud, but the walls were thin. Mom laughed softly, Pete mumbled something, and she, a bit louder, said, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I am."
Pete said more words I couldn't make out; but then real loud he said, "Marcie, it is that simple."
I heard the mattress coils squeak. Mom said, "Well, it's nice to know where we differ."
She sounded tough at that moment; and in some ways, I thought maybe there was some reason for her to act that way towards Pete, a way that made more sense to people who were in relationships and knew about them. But I wished she would just be glad, like I was, glad that Pete came back.