dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

We are finishing up First Impressions this month with a page from Pk Hrezo. Yay, Pk! We love

having you back! This time, she brings us a YA light sci-fi titled BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL INC.

When people hear I’m remotely homeschooled in the year 2069, two things happen: first, they pause, wait for me to say I’m joking. When that doesn’t happen, their eyes glaze over with forced courtesy and they smile, nod inwardly, cringe at their social faux pas because if I’m not allowed to attend school centers, then I must be special and they just aired it out in the open. Not special as in gifted intelligence, but the other kind of special—the euphemism for those socially awkward weirdos and cataclysmically disruptive doofuses. Sometimes I play along, stare intensely at them til sweat beads on their foreheads, you know, make them shift in their own clothes while guilt wells up from their core. Always good for a laugh.

Truth is, I’m hardly what you’d consider challenged. Okay, so I’m better online than I am in person—ninety percent of teenage America is too. But contrary to popular (and presumptuous) belief, being homeschooled from remote locations doesn’t always mean you’ve been assigned there from the school board because of social disorders. My isolated northern Alaskan station is by choice—my parents run their business here. And there’s not a soul today who wouldn’t jump at the chance to trade places with me. Mark my words. Take that to the bank, and all that jazz.

My screen flashes with a call and I point to my screen, gesture to answer. Been waiting for this one. VIP customer my parents say. More VIP than usual, which would make him VVIP. In other words, he’s made of money and Mom and Dad want some of it. “Butterman Travel, Incorporated. Hello, Mr. Van Nuys. What can I do for you?”

A silver-haired man with nice skin (rich skin) fills the video screen. Distinguished appearance, but regret taints the twinkle in his eye. I know the type. We get a lot of them. Old farts with more money than life could ever let them spend, desperate to fix some gaffe from their past that either got them punked or punked someone else at some point. And when they’re this close to heaven’s door, time is the one thing they can’t buy.
Unless they come here.
I enjoyed the voice of the MC in the first paragraph – very unique and fun-filled. I thought the voice wavered in the second paragraph, however, especially at the end with phrases like Mark my words. Take that to the bank, and all that jazz. By the end of the second paragraph I was wondering how many people she encountered who didn’t already know who she was and why she was remotely homeschooled, if she lives in an isolated Northern Alaskan station. Who asks? The customers of her parents’ business? Kids she meets online? (And when she says people, does she mean adults, kids, or both?)
I also wondered how remotely homeschooled was different from regular homeschooled and how other teens are educated in 2069, but I figure that’s something to learn later. Not on the first page. Just as an editing note, it should be assigned by the school board, not from the school board.
I’m assuming the gender of the MC is female, but I have no reason to do so. Gender could easily be cleared up on the first page by having the MC say, “Butterman Travel Incorporated. Anna speaking.” (Or Hank, or whatever.)
I also wonder what makes her (or him) so certain there’s not a soul today who wouldn’t jump at the chance to trade places with me. Is the word today significant? As in, a very important event is happening in Northern Alaska today? Or her parents’ business is so thrilling, anybody would want to be a part of it? And how well known is it? Does everybody know about it?
So, other than the end of the second paragraph and the unresolved gender of the MC, I have no objections to this page – but lots of questions. Hopefully my “first impression” of what’s going on will guide Pk in fine-tuning of this page to nudge readers in the direction she wants them to go!
Pk, thanks for sharing your page with us today. You can find Pk at her blog, and don’t forget to check out Marcy’s feedback on Mainewords.
I’ll be back on Thursday, interviewing Mary Waibel, author of the newly released Quest of Hart.