Title: ROGER FIREBUG
Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 34,000
Roger “Firebug” Frieburg spends a lot of time in the middle school principal’s office and has his eye on his best friend’s crush, but it’s his artistic ability and love of pit-firing ceramics that earns him his new nickname. Unfortunately, when an at-home art experiment goes awry, the fire department doesn’t find his nickname very cool or funny. And when his brother is abruptly fired from the local restaurant and the building mysteriously burns to the ground, Roger looks just like an arsonist- not an artist. Small town secrets unfold as Roger realizes a creepy math tutor named Elton may take over his best friend, the only girl that likes him, and get away with arson.
I think I just burned my eyebrows off. I open one eye in time to see the flaming jar roll across the floor and out the shed door. It leaves behind a trail of red-hot sparks. Epic! How did ceramic glaze blow up like that?
The smoldering trail in front of me changes color, then springs to life as the floor catches fire. No! I stomp on flames and follow the burning line out the door and escape down the steps. Curls of smoke snake from beneath the wooden stairs where the jar has fallen. If it’s close by, I’ll throw dirt.
I squat, and peer between the steps, but something hairy launches from the dark and smacks me square in the chest. It rebounds off my stomach and my butt hits the ground as two more furry bodies boing off me. Bushy tails swish over my face and an oily stench settles in. Burnt skunk. "Harris! Help! I'm roadkill!" Dazed, I stagger for the house.
"Harris! The shed's burning!"
My older brother blasts out the front door, shooting death-ray eyes my way. "Turn on the hose Roger! Ugh, skunk!"
This is awful. I crank the spigot on and exhale skunk. How did this happen to me? I was only trying to make my glaze recipe better? The hose finally turns rigid as strong water pressure kicks in. If Harris lets the shed burn down, I’ll lose all my best pots and won’t have anything good to show.