Posted in Short Stories, Words, Writing

Writing as my Past Self? – The Cool Name Club

Today, I tried to write a story kind of using the style I had three years ago.

Which might not seem like that long ago, but I was only in the fourth grade back then so my writing has changed a lot.. Here’s an example of something I wrote around then. After re-reading that piece now, I have a lot to say about it… 😬 but that’s not what this post is about.

In my opinion, the plot-line is spot on for this challenge for three-years-younger me. It feels like a story I would totally have written then. This took a long time to write because I’m a slow writer; it’s most likely going to be one of the longer one-post stories you’ll see on here.But anyway, here goes.


“D’you think we should invite Lara?” Jupiter asked.

“Well duh,” replied Clementine, sprawled upside-down on Ellery’s bed.

“Heck no,” Sapphire said simultaneously. “Lara? Blech.”

After a short pause, Rex reasoned, “Let’s vote. All in favor of Lara being invited to the Official Third-Grade Cool Name Club say ‘aye.'”

“Aye,” said Clementine, Ash, Sky, and Haru.

“All in favor of–“

“Nay,” Sapphire blurted.

“Nay,” July, Aesha, Esme, Jupiter, Autumn, Ellery, and Logan repeated.

“Well, it was an ‘aye’ for me, but ‘nay’ still wins. No Lara, then,” Rex said.

“Okay, then,” Ash said, clearly disappointed, turning the page of the yearbook. “What about–“

“Ash, we’ve gone through the yearbook a million times. It’s not like a new Cool Name Kid is suddenly going to appear there since yesterday. Besides, I have to go eat dinner,” Ellery said. “You guys have to leave.”

Ash sighed. “You’re right. I just wish we had someone new in the club, and not just same old us. No offense.”

“Bye, Ellery,” Sky said, opening the door of Ellery’s bedroom and walking out. Everyone else followed behind.

They said goodbye a last time to Ellery, slipped their shoes on, and walked outside to be greeted by a pleasant evening light. “Well, bye, guys,” Clementine said as she turned away from them and sprinted to her house next door.

“See you tomorrow,” they chorused.


THREE WEEKS LATER


The Cool Name Club walked into class together, as usual. They ended their conversation and sat obediently in their assigned spots. Timothy glared at Esme as she sat down cheerfully beside him.

“And how are you doing today, Timothy?” she asked, her grin wide as a shark’s.

Timothy harrumphed and didn’t answer. Esme’s grin didn’t fade as she turned away from him and began to do her worksheet, the ‘morning brain stretcher’ that each third grader in Mrs. Campbell’s class found on their desk every morning.

After a minute or two, Timothy said, “Why do you do this stupid ‘cool names’ thing, anyway? Why is ‘Esme’ “cool” and ‘Timothy’ isn’t?”

“Because,” Sapphire, who was on Timothy’s other side, said with a sneer, “Just because that’s how it works. You wouldn’t understand.” She waved a disgusted arm in his direction.

Timothy grumbled and didn’t take his eyes off his work again.


“Now that I see you’re nearly done with your Morning Brain Stretcher, I have an important announcement,” Mrs. Campbell said several minutes later. She gestured toward a girl sitting at a desk across the room and said, “We have a new student. I’d like to introduce you to…” she paused. “Tell us your name, sweetie,” she whispered.

“My name is… uh… Winter.” Was he just imagining it, or was she looking Jupiter dead in the eye when she said it?

Haru looked at her fellow club members with her eyebrows raised. They all had the same thought, and when recess came, they jogged to catch up with Winter.

“Winter,” called Ash.

“Winter?” Sky repeated.

“Winter!” Rex exclaimed, tapping her on the shoulder.

“Oh! Right.” She turned around, startled.

“Hi, Winter,” Autumn said. “My name is Autumn. This is Jupiter, Clementine, Sapphire, Rex, Ellery, Sky, Aesha, Esme, Ash, Haru, Logan, and July.”

“We are a club called the Official Third Grade Cool Name Club. Or, for short, the Cool Name Club,” continued Aesha.

“You have a pretty cool name,” Jupiter said. He saw Winter’s mouth curve slightly upward.

“D’you wanna join our club?” Clementine asked.

“Sure!” Winter replied immediately, her eyes sparkling with delight. “What do you guys do, anyway?”

“Ehh… stuff.”

“Be better than other people,” Sapphire said. July chortled and Winter narrowed her eyes slightly. “We have fun together and never tell people what we do. Everyone in the third grade is jealous of us.”

“Hey, guys,” Lara said as she passed them to grab a basketball.

“Hi, Lara,” Ash said, then he turned back to the group. “Please, can we invite her? She’s so nice.”

“Remember, it’s about the name,” Jupiter said harshly. “Not the ‘nice-ness’. This is the Cool Names Club, you know. In case you forgot.”

Ash rolled his eyes. “I know, I know. You started the club, you make the rules, blah, blah, blah.. But really, the name ‘Lara’ is basically the same as ‘Haru’, and she’s in our club.”

They all turned to look at Haru, the newest member of the club. A month ago, they had a vote. It was a tie, but the ‘yes’ side finally won over Autumn, so Haru was invited. Haru blushed and said, “Don’t look at me. I voted yes. I think we should invite Lara.”

“Me too,” Winter said.


ONE MONTH LATER


“I’m here, I’m here. Where’s Winter?”

“She’s the only one we’re waiting for,” explained Jupiter.

“Okay,” Aesha replied as she sat down on the floor of Haru’s bedroom.

As if on cue, they heard the front door creak open and Winter’s soft voice talking to someone. “Follow me,” they heard her say. “Up here.”

“Who’s she taking up here?” Jupiter wondered aloud. His question was soon answered when the door swung open and Winter stepped in, along with another girl.

“Who are you?” Sky asked. “Wait… we’ve seen you before. You’re in third grade. Mr. McGregor’s class, right?”

She nodded. “I’m Winnie.”

Sapphire secretly made a grossed-out face. “Winnie?” Logan blurted.

Winter set her hands on her hips. “Winnie is a beautiful name.”

“Winter, we have to vote when we add someone new,” Sky said. “You can’t just invite someone without telling us.”

“I’m telling you now.”

Winnie shook her head. “It’s fine, Winter,” she said quietly. “At least we got you in.”

“What do you mean, ‘we got you in’?” Jupiter asked, suspicious.

“Nothing,” Winter said. “But can Winnie please stay, at least just this once?”

The answer amongst the club members was clear. “No.”

Clementine bit her lip. Was Winnie really that bad a name? And they didn’t even know what she was like. She heard Jupiter’s

Winnie sighed and left the room, gently shutting the door behind her. “You guys are mean,” Winter said, sitting down against the wall.

“No, we’re not!” Clementine said defensively. “We’re just… just… some people have cooler names than other people. You know what I mean.”

Winter sighed in defeat and soon they were playing board games, talking, and doing all the things that the Cool Name Club got to do once a week. When it was four-thirty, they heard the door open yet again and a man’s voice call out, “Beth! Time to go!”

“Beth?” Haru said. “Who’s Beth?” No one answered.

“Beth!” he kept calling. “Beth!” Then he said, more quietly, probably to Haru’s mother, “Can I go up and get her?”

Soon, footsteps were getting louder as the man made his way up the stairs. He rapped his knuckles on the door that had a sign which displayed, HARU’S ROOM – MEETING IN ORDER and then let himself in. He looked around. “Beth?” Then he turned to the wall beside him. “Ah, Beth. Why weren’t you responding? It’s time to go. Come on. Say bye to your new friends.”

He held out his hand and Winter took it. She exited behind him without looking at or saying anything to the others.

Jupiter looked at the others. “Beth?


Winter was late for school the next day, and she still ignored the other club members. “Something’s up,” Aesha whispered to July and Haru, who shared a table with her, as she doodled on the back of her Morning Brain Stretcher.

When morning recess came again, they walked up to Winter and said, “Why did your dad call you Beth?”

Winter shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

“But you do,” Haru said.

“No, I don’t.”

“Tell us,” Aesha said.

Winter sighed, her pale face even paler and her dark hair sweaty. “My — my — my name isn’t Winter. It’s Beth. I told you my name was Winter so I’d get into your club.”

“What!?” Logan exclaimed. The rest of the club had by then gathered around.

“You lied to us?” Clementine cried.

“Who told you about the club?” Jupiter asked Beth.

“Winnie. We’re next door neighbors now, and I met her a few weeks before I started school here. She’s my best friend now.”

“Not us?”

Beth sighed. “I wanted to be friends with you guys, because you’re cool and all, but I realized that you’re all jerks. You think you’re better than everyone else just because your name sounds cool. Plenty of people have names that are, according to you, ‘ugly,’ and they are great people. Me, for example.”

Although it was, in their opinion, a bit of a rude thing to say, she was right. They had grown to like “Winter” a lot. “We’re not jerks,” Clementine said, arms crossed.

“Prove it,” Beth said. “End the Cool Name Club.”

Jupiter was bewildered. “We’re not going to stop being friends just to prove some little thing to you!”

“I didn’t say you had to stop being friends. Winnie and I are friends, and we’re not part of some club who thinks they’re cooler than everyone else. Which is also unfair, because everyone who’s not in the club isn’t cool, but you don’t let anyone be in the club unless they happen to have a name you like!”

“We’re not going to end the club,” Sapphire said. “We don’t care if one random person named Beth doesn’t like us.” The others nodded in agreement.

“Fine,” Beth said. “But I’m starting my own club. The Ugly Names Club.” She turned to face the rest of the third graders, who were playing on the black top and the playground. “The Ugly Names Club!” she shouted. “Who wants to join?”

And with that, Beth walked briskly away from them, leaving them standing there speechless.


TWO WEEKS LATER


“What do you think they do?” Ellery asked.

“Don’t think about that,” Esme said. “We’re still cooler. Who would want to be in an Ugly Names Club?

“Apparently, Beth, Winnie, Jack, Tyler, Hunter, Jairo, Tommy, Gertrude, Danh, Brady, Ally, Mike, Molly, Betty, Harry, Timothy, Martha, Kaawa, Aggy, Anne, Gwen, Hans, Adit, Allan, Cat, Jordan, Andrei… and… Lara,” Jupiter read from a list Beth had proudly given him. “Lara should be in our club, guys.”

“Fine,” they agreed.

The following day, the Ugly Names Club was huddled together at recess. There were even more people than on Jupiter’s list now. The Cool Names Club looked puny compared to the Ugly Names Club.

Jupiter walked up to Lara once he spotted her from the crowd and said, “Lara, would you like to join our club? The Cool Names Club?”

The members of both clubs turned to look at Lara, waiting for her response. She considered the question, then smiled politely at Jupiter and replied, “No thanks.” Then she turned back and kept talking with the Ugly Names Club.

Jupiter was shocked. “No one’s ever turned us down before,” he said when his club had moved away from the Ugly Names Club.

“I guess the Ugly Names Club is… cooler than us?” Aesha mumbled.

“But that doesn’t make sense!” spluttered Sapphire. “We’re the Cool Names Club! The COOL Names Club! Why did Lara stick with them?”

Jupiter shook his head.


That evening, Clementine and Ellery had a play-date at Clementine’s house, just the two neighbors.

“I just don’t get it. What makes them better than us? We’re the ones with the cooler names,” Ellery said as she sketched a dragon on Clementine’s desk, which they had been doodling on for years, and it was getting hard to find blank spots.

“Maybe… maybe because their names are ugly,” Clementine said thoughtfully.

“Huh?”

“I mean… our names are cool, so that gives us a reason to be, you know, better than everyone else. But theirs are ugly, and they’re proud of that, so they don’t worry about who isn’t ‘cool’ enough to be in their group. They just… have fun. You know what I mean.”

“Huh.”

There was a long silence between the two. Ellery shaded in the dragon’s spread-open wings.

“I miss Win– Beth,” Ellery whispered. Clementine didn’t respond, but Ellery could tell she agreed wholeheartedly.


At recess, Clementine nervously went up to the Ugly Names Club. “Uhh… Beth?” she called.

Beth turned around. Clementine could tell Beth didn’t really want to see her, but still Beth’s face wasn’t mean. Clementine realized suddenly that that was yet another difference that made the Ugly Names Club ‘better.’

Clementine took a deep breath. “I… I’m sorry for how we treated you. All of you. Somehow we… we got to thinking that just because our names were a little unique sounded a little cool, all of yours weren’t, and we were better. When your name was Winter, we loved hanging out with you. You’re a very nice person. But when we discovered your name was Beth, we immediately switched to hating you. That… that’s not what real friends do. And I’ve learned now that Jupiter isn’t my real friend. You are. What I’m trying to say is…” she looked her in the eye. “Can I join your club?”

Beth looked at Clementine for a very long time.

Finally, she spoke.

“As long as we can call you Clem,” she said with a slight smile.

Clementine narrowed her eyes at Beth and grinned. “Deal.”


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Thanks for reading all the way to the end! (If you did.) You can try this challenge too if you want — write how you would have a certain time ago.

Author:

A teenager obsessed with words of all kinds. When I’m not reading or writing, I like musical theater, drawing, and painting. (she/her)

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