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Record Breaker

De
152 pages
It's 1963, and Jack's family is still reeling from the SIDS death of his baby sister. Adrift in his own life, Jack is convinced that setting a world record will bring his father back to his senses and his mother back to life. But world events, including President Kennedy's assassination, threaten to overshadow any record Jack tries to beat, from sausage eating to face slapping. Nothing works, and Jack is about to give up when a new friend suggests a different approach that involves listening to, not breaking, records.
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R ECORD
BREA KER
RobiN S tevsn RECORD BREAKER RobiN S tevsn
RECORD BREA KER
RobN S tévsn
Text copyright ©2013Robin Stevenson All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Stevenson, Robin,1968Record breaker [electronic resource] / Robin Stevenson.
Electronic monograph. Issued also in print format. isbn 9781554699605 (pdf).isbn 9781554699612 (epub)
I. Title. ps8637.t487r42 2013jc813’.6 c20129072842
First published in the United States,2013Library of Congress Control Number:2012952479
Summary: In1963, cataclysmic world events threaten to overwhelm Jack as his family tries to deal with the death of his baby sister.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit. Cover design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Getty Images
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria,bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custer,wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com
161514134321
To Sara Harvey—fabulous editor, generous mentor and great friend.
OE
he word record or rockîng în a rockîng caîr îs nîney-ree ours and eîg mînues, se sîx years ago, în1957,by Mrs. Rap Weîr, o Truro, Nova Scoîa. More an ree days o nonsop rockîng! O course, Mrs. Weîr never ad o dea wî my aer. “Wa are you doîng în my caîr?” Dad was sandîng across e îvîng room wî îs a sî în îs and. “ï’ve been on my ee a day. Move î.” “ï can’,” ï od îm. “ï’ve been rockîng sînce ï go ome rom scoo. Amos ree ours.” You woudn’ înk rockîng în a rockîng caîr woud be pysîcay demandîng, bu my egs were geîng îred aready.My ca musces were sarîng o burn. Sî, ï Igured ï ad o be abe o rock onger an Mrs. Weîr. Se was în er Itîes, ater a. Od enoug o be a grandmoer.
ROBI N S T E V E N S ON
My aer gave an exaggeraed groan as e ung îs a on e coa rack însîde e door. “Don’ e me îs îs anoer record aemp.” Wy else would anyone rock for tree ours?ï wondered. ï dîdn’ say î ou oud oug, because Dad ges oppîng mad î e înks ï’m beîng ceeky, and ï coudn’ aford o annoy îm. ï needed îs caîr or a eas anoer nîney ours. “ï reay înk ï can do îs one,” ï saîd însead. “ï can break e record.” He ook o îs coa and se îs brîecase down. “How’s your moer?” e asked, owerîng îs voîce. “Reay good,” ï saîd. “Se was up wen ï go ome rom scoo. And se’s makîng dînner! Sausages.” ï coud ear em sîzzîng în e pan. “Toug ï smeed someîng good.” Dad’s ace reaxed îno a smîe. “You soud be epîng er, Jack.” “ï ofered.” ï rocked more vîgorousy. “Se saîd ï coud do îs.” He ook a coupe o seps oward e kîcen; en e sopped and ganced back a me. “You do reaîze a you’re no eaîng dînner în a caîr?” “Dad! ï can’ sop now. ï ï sop now, e as ree ours was a wase o îme.” “As opposed o wa?” “Hu?” ï dîdn’ know wa e mean. Dad rowned. “Pardon. Nou.” “Sorry. Pardon.”
RE COR D B RE A K E R
“You can rock some more ater dînner, î you mus. Now come on. Ge ou o a caîr and ep your moer ge dînner on e abe.” He eaded îno e kîcen, caîng my moer’s name. “Marîon? Marîon?” ï kep rockîng. “Marîon? You know wa your son’s doîng now?” Mom’s voîce was sot, and ï ad o sow my rockîng and sraîn o ear wa se was sayîng. “ï’s armess enoug. How muc roube can e ge îno în a rockîng caîr?” here was a ong sîence, and ï knew wa Dad was înkîng abou. A ew weeks earîer ï ad rîed o ea weny-our raw eggs în ess an wo mînues and eeven seconds bu rew up aer e îrs seven. Eggs, no mînues. Rîg on Aan’s soes. O course, Aan ad o go and e îs mom, wo od îs dad, wo od my dad. “Your sîser,” Dad muered. “Sendîng îm a book.” Mom’s sîser îs my aun Jane. Se sen me eGuinness Book of Recordsor my eeven bîrday, wîc was a year and a a ago. A a îme, and ï sî aven’ broken any records. Mom acuay auged. ï wasn’ muc o a aug, jus ampwî a în o a cucke în î,bu e sound made me grîn a e same. ï rocked arder, e caîr umpîng a sot rym on e carpe. Ou o bed, makîng dînner and now augîng: oday was a very good day. Mom dîdn’ aug muc anymore, no sînce Annîe ad dîed, bu wenever se dîd, ï aways e îs sense o reîe.
ROBI N S T E V E N S ON
îke someone ad îted someîng eavy of me and ï coud suddeny breae more easîy. “Jane coudn’ ave predîced a e’d ake î îke îs,” Mom saîd. “Hmm.” Dad owered îs voîce, bu ï coud sî ear îm. “Good o see you up.” ï coudn’ see îno e kîcen rom e caîr, bu ï dîdn’ need o. ï coud pîcure Mom sandîng a e sove, er souders unced up a ense, îke se was în paîn, er aîr împ and er ace pae above e same od yeow dress and cardîgan se wore pracîcay every day. ïn e od days, se ad aways sprayed on perume and pu on brîg îpsîck rîg beore Dad waked roug e door. ï used o be embarrassed by ow ovey-dovey ey were—e way Dad used o kîss Mom wen e go ome rom work, grabbîng er and puîng er cose, bendîng er backward as î ey were movîe sars. He’d pu on îs Perry Como voîce and sîng o er: “Till te end of time, long as stars are in te blue…” ï used o înk î was sappy. Now ï’d gîve anyîng o ave îngs go back o e way ey were. Maybe Mom woud aug agaîn î ï broke îs record. ï cosed my eyes and îmagîned er eîng er rîends abou î:My son Jack set a world record, can you believe it? He rocked in a rocking cair for tree days! Wat a riot…ï coud amos ear e peas o auger
RE COR D B RE A K E R
rom Mom, e cuckes and admîrîng commens rom er rîends.ï rocked arder. My egs were sarîng o ur.ï grabbed e hermos rom besîde my caîr and ook a sîp o waer. A very sma sîp. Peeîng was goîng o be a caenge. ï ad pu an empy bucke besîde e caîr, jus în case, bu î wasn’ goîng o be easy o pee îno î wîou soppîng rockîng. ï coudn’ îmagîne ow Mrs. Weîr ad managed î. “Jack! Come se e abe.” Dad sepped îno e îvîng room. “You can go back o your rockîng ater dînner,î you reay mus.” “ï can’ sop. ï aready expaîned îs, remember?” He rowned a me. “O course you can, Jack. You need o ea.” “he record îs or conînuous rockîng. You can’ jus do an our ere and an our ere. Oerwîse ere’d be ousands o od peope breakîng e record every day. ï woudn’ mean anyîng.” “And î îs supposed o mean wa, exacy?” “ï’s arecord,” ï saîd, exasperaed. “ï means you are e bes în e word a someîng.” “A rockîng a caîr? Hmm. And you ave o do îs or ow ong?” “Nîney-ree ours and eîg mînues. We, nîne mînues, ï guess. To bea e od record.”
ROBI N S T E V E N S ON
He sared a me. “Nîney-ree ours! Good ord, a’s amos our days, Jack. You can’ sî ere or our days.” “ï’m no jus sîîng,” ï remînded îm. “ï’m rockîng. ï’s acuay good exercîse.” ï oug îs mîg ep my cause, sînce Dad aways waned me o be more acîve. He snored, and Mom appeared a îs souder. “You ave scoo omorrow,” se saîd. “Anyway, you can’ say up a nîg.” ï ooked a my wac. “ï’m pas ree ours aready,” ï saîd. “ï reay înk ï can do îs.” Dad crossed îs arms across îs ces. “And ï reay înk you’d beer ge your backsîde ou o a caîr and ep your moer ge dînner on e abe.” “Bu…” “Now. And don’ you e me ear you arguîng wî your moer agaîn.” You woud ave oug e’d wan me o succeed, bu appareny no. ï sopped rockîng and e squeak-bounce o e caîr was repaced by sîence. ï sood up and saggered oward e kîcen. My egs were rembîng îke ï’d run a maraon, bu ï knew ï coud ave beaen e record î ey’d et me aone. Wen was ï ever goîng o ge our days a ome wîou anyone eîng me wa o do? Never, a’s wen.