At thirteen, Hudson Pickle is a total hockey has been. Thanks to a growth spurt (think Shaq on steroids) Hudson has lost his co-ordination, his spot on the rep team, his group of friends, and his confidence. Not a good way to start Junior High.
To get his mind off hockey, Hudson’s focused on making the school basketball team. But after an asthma attack at the first tryout and a run in with his rival (a loud mouth, wannabe sports hero who likes to play dirty, both on and off the court), Hudson knows he needs back up. He finds it from his Uncle Vic, who moves in with Hudson and his mom after a suspicious fire destroys his basement apartment. Problem is, Victor Pickle comes with his own set of problems and secrets - including a couple that will affect Hudson right down to his DNA.
Inside Hudson Pickle is a middle grade, contemporary novel of 45, 000 words.
First 500 Words:
The panic in Mom’s voice cut through my closed bedroom door like a right winger splitting the defense. “Hudson! We’ve gotta go!”
I looked at the clock. Mom should’ve been cleaning up from dinner and packing lunches for tomorrow. I tossed my Sports Illustrated on the floor.
“What are you talking about?” I yelled back. “I’m doing my homework!”
“It’s Uncle Vic!” Mom’s voice was getting louder. She was coming up the stairs.
I rolled off the bed. This could be good. Excitement followed Uncle Vic like stink follows gym clothes.
The bedroom door burst open. Mom’s shiny, red face came next. “There’s been a fire,” she said. “Get your coat.”
“Fire?” It sounded crazy, but nothing was too out there when it came to Uncle Vic. It was probably just another one of his pranks, like the time he sat in a tree and played his guitar for forty-eight hours straight to protest clear cutting logging of old growth trees. He’d gotten the attention he wanted for that one, thanks to a YouTube video that went viral.
Or it could be something even better. He’d spent time in the slammer when he was a teenager, though I’d never gotten a straight answer on what his crime had been. He’d also been arrested for disturbing the peace and obstruction of justice. I knew because I’d read it in the paper, in the back pages of the entertainment section where they bury news about pseudo-famous, local people. But he’d only been fined for those crimes, never served time.
He didn’t strike me as an arsonist. But with Uncle Vic, you just never knew. That’s the one things I liked about him. He wasn’t boring and predictable like Mom.
“For real? A fire?” I asked her.
“Yes, a real fire.” Mom exhaled hard, making her bangs fan out like an umbrella. “And yes, your Uncle is fine.”
“Oh, right.” It hadn’t occurred to me that Uncle Vic might be hurt. The guy was invincible. “So what’s the panic?”
“We’ll talk in the car.” Mom was already bundled up in the oversized down jacket she wore almost all year long, her small body unable to fight the Midwest cold without it.
I grabbed my hoodie off the floor and followed Mom to the garage.
“Calm down, Mom,” I said as she backed out of the driveway at twice her normal speed. Her normal speed was painfully slow but still, she was starting to freak me out. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t really know,” Mom said. “I just got this call from Uncle Vic. He said there’d been a fire. He asked me to come and get him.”
“A fire in his house?” Uncle Vic lived in a basement suite near the centre of town, miles away from our square box in the ‘burbs.
“Yes, in his house,” Mom replied, her eyes fixed on the straight, flat road ahead.