A Weird Thing Happened on the Way to Publishing a Novel

My middle grade novel, Smivey Stepward, is a coming-of-age, first love, mystery, ghost story with an unexpected twist at the end I really love.

The start and stop process I used while seeking a literary agent to represent my work to publishers obviously didn’t work. Obvious, because start and stop never works with anything. The only way things happen is through perseverance. Someone said, “If one tooteth not his own horn, the same doth not get tooted.” Wise.

Early on, a question from agents I kept seeing was, “What is your social media presence?” I didn’t have a social media presence.

I immediately began working on my new project. Trying, very uncomfortably, to create a social media presence that went beyond clicking on Facebook once in a while, wondering what Twitter was, and marveling at my kids’ Instagram pictures. The problem is I spent two years working on all this and completely stopped pursuing representation.

Now you know why I haven’t written any blog posts for over a month.

Writing a synopsis of a fifty-seven thousand word novel is excruciating. It involves summarizing every chapter in a paragraph, all twenty-two of them. Then condensing the paragraphs, weeding, editing, shortening, clipping, editing some more, crossing off, rethinking, changing my mind, and finally, looking online for advice on how to write a good synopsis and discovering mine was crap. Rewrite.

Query letters are almost as painful as synopses but not quite. A query letter has to have a killer hook, just enough information, and not sound like the back flap blurb all books have.

When everything is ready, it’s time to research which agents who rep middle grade novels are accepting submissions. That doesn’t mean creating a list and sending out a huge stack of the same things to everyone. Ohhh, no. Some agents want a query letter, synopsis, and ten pages. Some want three chapters, some two. Some want just a query letter and one chapter. All use some form of email, no one is using snail-mail anymore. They make it very clear paper submissions will quickly find their place in the trash.

Some agents use a platform called, “Query Manager” which is an online submission form and those are not all the same, either. Some ask for a biography, a pitch, a target audience, and one required the name of an actor who would play the main character if the novel became a movie.

Then the wait, and the inevitable “thank-you but no thank-you” replies.

It definitely is worth the work. Having a finished novel I’m very proud of and being able to present it to the publishing world is an exciting experience.

So there you have it. I haven’t disappeared. I didn’t stop writing. In fact, I’m writing more. Just not blog posts right now. I’m writing to agents, many of them, asking them to represent me in my quest for a publisher who will release Smivey Stepward to a waiting world.







Discover Prompts Day 29: Lists

I believe that age is in direct correlation to the length of your lists. If you are young, your list, if you have one at all, is very small. If you are middle-age, if you use lists, you don’t tell anyone. If you’re our age, your lists are long and detailed. In fact, you have lists to tell you what lists you have. Your lists have categories so you can quickly find your list.

The detail on your list is also quite telling. Almost everyone writes a list when it’s time to go to the store. When you start writing lists to remind yourself of what to do during the day, that can be very helpful and is a descriptor of a person who is well organized. If your lists are telling you how to do things you have been doing for years, that is something different all together.

Writing a list of all the things to remember when you are getting ready to travel is a good idea. Travel is stressful. The older you are the more stressful it is. At some point, it becomes much easier to stay home. At home you know exactly where everything is and no lists are necessary. When it’s time to pack a suitcase, you have to make a list of everything in the suitcase so you don’t have to unpack it before you leave because you can’t remember what you put in it. It is also important to make a list of your suitcases and they should be numbered as well.

There may also be a time when you stop trusting that you really did what you checked off. Did I really do that? I don’t remember closing the garage door, but I checked it off the list. What if I checked it off thinking I would close the door next, but forgot. Now you are doubting your list. That’s a real problem.

Here are some simple things to help you with your lists.

1. Color-code your lists. Red – very important. Yellow – important but not critical. Green – it’s on the list but it won’t matter if you forget it.

2. Use sticky notes. Sticky notes are God’s gift to the elderly. Sticky notes are another direct correlation to age. If your kitchen looks like you are trying to wallpaper it with sticky notes, you are definitely in your middle 70s. If your bathroom is completely papered with sticky notes, you are at least 84.

3. Put shopping lists in your refrigerator. You don’t go a single day without opening your fridge, so if your food related lists are in the fridge, you will be sure to buy the food you actually need.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, put sticky notes on the windshield of your car. You will be reading them or trying to write on them as you’re driving and that’s never a good idea.

5. Your underwear drawer is another great place to keep lists, for obvious reasons.

6. Placing sticky notes on the toilet paper holder is not advisable. That prickly feeling might be a sticky note.

7. Be kind to your lists and they will be kind to you. If you forget something, it is not the list’s fault. You are the one who forgot to check it.

So many unanticipated things can happen if you do not use lists. Everyone knows you should not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You should also not go anywhere without a list.

Maps are to travel as lists are to living. Lists provide considerable protection from making unwise choices. For example, you go to the store without a list, intending to buy a cantaloupe, some strawberries, and a gallon of milk. Instead you come home with a new circular saw because you started thinking about a project on the way to the store and completely forgot you were going for groceries and ended up at Home Depot. Not a good idea.

If digestion is becoming a problem, you will want to make a list of the items you shouldn’t eat. Depending on the effects of eating the things you shouldn’t, you might want to allow your spouse access to your list as well. For example, if baloney affects you badly, put it on the list. If cheese becomes an effective means of stopping all forward progress, put it on the list.

There are many reasons lists are important for happy living. As your years begin to accumulate, you realize lists exist for very good reasons. One thing I don’t think I’ll ever have to put on any list is, “drink coffee.”

Dale Parsons

Discover Prompts Day 23: Notes

Obviously, that’s not me. When I’m sleeping I look rather hideous, so I chose to use this guy. He didn’t care. The prompt for today is Notes. I’m supposed to start a diary, which I’ve started many times and have never kept for more than two or three days.

Something else I’ve never done is keep a note about dreams. Usually, I can’t remember anything but bits and pieces, but last night I had a vivid dream and I remember it.

My wife and I were going to catch a flight to Amsterdam. I was driving us through the terminal on a green golf cart. At the gate area she got off the cart and went with a ticket agent to get a boarding pass. In the mean time, I was following instructions and driving the cart up a short ramp to the jetway. I went down into a musty dark basement to get my boarding pass. My wife wasn’t there. I went back up to the gate area and the plane was gone. I assumed I missed the flight and my wife didn’t. I found some other Amsterdam passengers and discovered I was looking at the wrong plane. I was still looking for my wife when I woke up.

I imagine some important reason we were going to Amsterdam. I was going to speak at a major conference on model railroading. Crowds of people were waiting to hear me share my notes about building benchwork strong enough to sit on. Sitting on the benchwork makes it possible to do detail work on the other side of the layout when you discover the bench is too wide to just reach across.

Another possibility for the trip is that I was going to demonstrate the fine radio controlled airplane skills I have gained in seven years of flying. No concerns about the fact I can’t fly anymore because of essential tremors. I can’t control the radio sticks well enough to keep the plane from crashing. That probably wasn’t it.

Maybe I was invited to come to Amsterdam to talk about the fine art of blogging. People want to know how to build a huge number of followers. Someone said, “You’re not a leader if you turn around and no one is following.” I wouldn’t think it would be necessary to fly to Amsterdam to talk about the vast number of followers when, at this moment, I have around one hundred. (I’m really thankful for each reader and follower. This really is a lot of fun.)

I have lots and lots of notes about all kinds of things. Now, since I can’t write with a pen or pencil anymore, I do all my writing on a tablet or laptop. So, taking notes about something and then printing it is a pain. So usually, my notes are only two or three words. More like thought prompts to remind myself of something. For example, “Dr 10:00”.

I had no idea how much I have taken hand-writing for granted. It was always there, hiding in the shadows, ready to use at any moment. For thirty years, all my sermon notes were written by hand. I knew all my scratches, arrows, underlining, explosion marks, exclamations, question marks, and doodles. They all meant something important. Not any more. When I retired I threw files and files of my notes away. When I was a pastor I never used sermon notes more than once. Certainly the same topics, but not the same notes.

Notes are important. If we keep notes we might be able to keep ourselves out of trouble. If we look back over our notes when trouble comes, we can read about what we did last time and not make the same mistakes again. Someone said, “If we don’t learn from history we’re doomed to repeat it.” That is not just true for a country, it’s true for individuals.

Ah, here’s a note I wrote to myself earlier today. “Drink another cup of coffee.” Good idea. I think I will.

Discovery Prompts Day 21: Instruments

As I said in my Discovery Prompts Day 20 post, music has always been a very important part of our lives. Music has also played a huge role in our children’s lives.

When our three sons were in fifth grade, they began playing instruments in the school band. One played drums, even though two of them wanted to. One played the trumpet because I said it would be a good instrument for him. I’m not sure why. The third played the saxophone. We purchased instruments and they played in the band through high school.

We had one other instrument in the house. It was a classical guitar I purchased for my wife as a present for our first Christmas together. One of the boys picked it up and began to teach himself to play. It seemed like no time at all and he was in his room playing along with his favorite music. He and his brothers and a friend decided they were going to start a band. The only problem was, the only instrument they had was the classical guitar.

One of the smartest things I ever did was to go into a music store and purchase a set of drums, an electric bass guitar, and an electric lead guitar. On Christmas Day, we presented the instruments to our boys and said, “There you go, it’s all up to you now.”

Our son who wanted to play drums now had his chance. One played the bass, the other the guitar. The three of them literally taught themselves how to play. In a very short period of time, their band was beginning to sound pretty good and they were getting invitations to play at church youth events.

I also surprised myself with a new Rhodes electric piano which I still play.

The boys began writing music which they performed with their band. They recorded a couple of CDs and sold them at their concerts.

When our sons graduated from high school they attended a Christian college and became involved in the music program. They traveled all four years with a musical ministry group representing the college at youth events as part of a student recruiting program. They regularly played for chapel and student events at the school.

The boys have continued to do incredibly well in music. They have all upgraded their instruments several times since that first Christmas. For five years, our son who plays guitar traveled with a Christian rock band. They performed in huge events and shared the stage with many famous groups. He and his wife are now worship and arts pastors at a large church in Nashville.

The drummer has played with various groups and often plays with artists needing a drummer, also in Nashville. He and his wife are both incredibly talented. They write music together, his wife plays guitar and sings.

The bassist plays with the worship team at his church, and often plays with other musicians as opportunities arise.

One of the greatest joys we ever had was playing and singing with our sons and daughter for two years as we led worship at our church. I took the time for granted and it passed all too quickly. When the boys left for college they left a huge hole, both in our music and in our hearts.

Four instruments. Christmas presents. It really wasn’t a lot of money but the results changed the boys’ lives and ours.

Discovery Prompts Day 20: Music

Music has always been important to our family. From my earliest memories we had music in the house. Since I have been in church my entire life, I have always been surrounded with church music.

I started playing my grandmother’s piano when I was five years old. I began taking lessons when I was seven. Slowly but surely, I began to learn how to play, but very early, frustration set in because I couldn’t play the kind of music that I loved.

My parents used to attend what was called the “all night sings”. They didn’t really last all night, but almost. The performers were Southern Gospel quartets. During those days it was usually just four singers and a piano player. No drums, guitars, or synthesizers. Just a guy on the piano who could really play. My dad bought records every time they went, and I listened to them for hours and would try to play what I heard.

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was one of the earliest groups I heard. Another group that was very popular during the 1960s was The Statesmen Quartet with Hovie Lister. Hovie Lister was a fantastic pianist and I wanted to play just like him. I had the privilege of meeting him in person at a Christian Booksellers Convention in Atlanta many years ago. I wish I had taken the time to sit and talk with him for a while. He has since passed away.

The church we attended at the time used to invite Southern Gospel quartets in periodically for concerts. The Weatherford Quartet was one of the earliest groups I heard. In the video, the man standing on the far right, the bass singer, is a very young Armond Morales. Many years later, Armond would have a very successful career including Grammy Awards with The Imperials. The man standing on the far left is Glenn Payne, who sang for many years with The Cathedral Quartet which began its long career at the Cathedral of Tomorrow in Akron, Ohio.

As the years past, my frustration continued. Even as I was learning to play better and do more on the keys, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be. I spent hours and hours copying what I heard, note for note. While I was in college I mastered a song by The Oakridge Boys back when Tommy Fairchild was their pianist before the group became stars in Country music.

After my wife and I were married we began performing concerts together. During the late 60s and early 70s, the Jesus People movement was gaining numbers very rapidly. Andre Crouch and the Disciples quickly became a favorite, and Andre’s piano playing captured my attention. In fact, his playing, even though he passed away five years ago, still fascinates me. For many years my wife and I performed his songs including, “Oh, I Need Him”, “The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power”, “My Tribute”, “I Don’t Know Why Jesus Loved Me”, and others. Of course, that meant, in my mind anyway, I had to play Andre’s songs just like him. I did my best.

In all of our concerts and performing in churches throughout the years, the songwriter who’s music we used most often was Bill Gaither. He has written hundreds of songs and his music is known throughout the world.

When I was very young I said one day I would play for a Southern Gospel quartet. Well, I never had that privilege. But I have had the honor of playing for my wife and I, for choirs, churches large and small, in concerts, old-fashioned campmeetings, and we have literally performed in front of nearly ten thousand people in huge conferences. All of the people I copied over all these years have helped me tremendously. They say imitation is the highest form of compliment.

Here I am, many years ago, rehearsing on a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano at the Omni Center in Atlanta, Georgia before a conference. Six degrees of separation came pretty close when I got to accompany a Grammy winning artist, and also a famous TV preacher, both of whom will remain nameless. It was fun.

Music has been good to us, and actually still is. We don’t perform as often as we used to but we still enjoy it. My struggles with essential tremors make it very difficult for me to play in public. I miss it.

Music has been with us all these years. So has coffee. In fact, I need some now.

Discover Prompts Day 18: New Skill Needed

Many years ago, we bought a vintage metal table and chairs. We have never repainted it, and this year the wear and tear is really showing. Rust is beginning to take over, so it’s time to take action.

I bought a sand blaster, which is actually a walnut shell blaster. I was sure it would quickly take all the rust and loose paint off. Didn’t happen. No matter how I tried and how I went over the same areas again and again, the blaster just wasn’t doing the job. Time to do something more drastic.

I went to the local big-box buy-everything-here-including-stuff-you-didn’t-think-we-would-have-and-you’ll-never-need store. Sure enough, they had what I needed. A grinder. This isn’t just any grinder, this thing will remove paint, rust, dirt, skin, and cut steel, wood, and fingers.

It has taken me three days of work to get the chairs ready for painting. I found that with each chair, I removed more, which made the previous chair unacceptable. I had to go back and redo the first and second chairs I worked on. I used the grinder on every part of the chairs I could reach with the wheel. For the areas I couldn’t reach, I used my Dremel tool with a small grinding wheel. Ready for paint!

I have a nice spray painter, but I’m going to use spray cans because I purchased them before I bought the sprayer. I could take the spray cans back, but that would mean a trip back to the big-box-buy-everything-here-store. I’m going to use the cans. My finger will hurt when I’m done, but that’s okay.

Now that the chairs are ready to paint, it’s time to tackle the table. It’s a heavy piece that’s hard to handle, especially with the glass on the top. It really is amazing the glass has never been broken. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

There is actually a lot more rust on the table than I thought. And I forgot about the ornate scrolling just under the glass. It’s going to be a tough job.

We bought this vintage table and chairs at the Up North store that was in Standish, Michigan for many years. The store was a favorite stop of ours on our trips up north. By the way, up north in Michigan always begins in reference to Saginaw. Up north does not begin until you are past M-61, which is the east-west highway that begins in Standish. Now, I know there will be those who say I’m wrong. They’ll say up north doesn’t begin until you cross the Mackinac Bridge. That is way the heck up north. Lovely, but north begins long before the Mighty Mac.

For example, people in the Detroit area talk about Otter Lake as being up north. Now that is just ridiculous. Otter Lake is not up north any more than Oxford is up north. Look at a map of Michigan. Real up north begins after Saginaw.

Now that we have settled that, it’s time for more coffee.

Discover Prompts Day 15: The Scent of Lilacs

In my mind, there is nothing more rewarding, after a very long, cold, dreary, mind-numbing, blustery, bone-chilling, limb-freezing, lip-cracking, brainless, heartless, endless, blizzard-loving winter than the scent of lilacs. Lilacs are the gift of spring. Lilacs call to us with welcoming words, “I’ve been waiting for you! You’re finally here! This amazing fragrance is just for you!”

In our area, lilac buds begin to open around the third week of April. It’s a dangerous time for them because the night temperatures can easily dip below freezing and damage the young blossoms. I have tried placing plastic over the bushes to protect them but found the plastic did more damage than the cold. Now I just leave them and hope for the best.

We have four young lilac bushes in our yard. We have taken lilacs with us when we moved in the past, as long as the plants weren’t too big. We were successful with most of them. At our last house we had a beautiful lavender color bush that produced gorgeous blossoms every year. We had moved it from our previous house, but it became so large we had to leave it when we moved again.

When lilacs are young they have to be watered often. It’s important for the small roots to stretch out thoroughly. Soon the plant will thrive and be able to gather enough moisture without constant care. The leaves are beautiful, but nothing matches the beauty and scent of the flowers.

The sad part about the lilac blossom is that they do not last very long. Once the clusters are fully open, the flowers will last about a week, maybe a little longer. We carefully cut some to enjoy indoors.

Our favorite flower colors are white and lavender. There are several different varieties of lilacs, and I can’t name them. I just know the ones we like best, not by the name, but by the appearance of the blossom. There is a variety with a deep lavender and white blossom that does not have the strong fragrance of the lighter lavender and the white. Even the white does not have the rich fragrance of the lavender, but it is still amazing.

Lilac bushes love to spread, and depending on the variety can grow quite tall. If you do not want the bush to spread out, you will want to clip or move the young plants that begin to appear in the ground around the main bush. You can dig out the young shoots and replant them. With plenty of water and good soil, they will develop roots and grow.

Of course, nothing goes better with the incredible scent of lilacs than a delicious cup of coffee. Coffee is the gift of every day like lilacs are the gift of spring.

Discover Prompts Day 14: Book

“The Good, The Bad, and The Funny.” That was the name I gave to the first book I ever wrote. I’ve written four.

People have a great capacity to believe all kinds of things. Belief is a stretch into the unknown with a hope of something better. Sometimes the things people believe make no sense to anyone else. Hindsight perspective should be available beforehand. But, if it were available before, it wouldn’t be hindsight, would it? Others who have believed the same things but no longer do can warn or try to help those with present belief, but if the believing ones don’t hold fast, that may be seen as a lack of belief. Unfortunate. In some cases, tragic.

Sometimes belief becomes so strong all common sense is lost. Reason is tossed away like an old pair of shoes. Even in the face of undeniable evidence, which at some point becomes an enemy, nothing turns the believing one around. At that point, to some he is a hero. To others, he’s a lunatic.

The book was an exercise in self-therapy. I did try to get it published but was turned down many times. I received a letter from a secretary of a publishing house to whom I had submitted the manuscript. She said, “I’m not supposed to do this, but I wanted to tell you your manuscript really shook them up. You hit some nerves. I just thought you should know that.” The manuscript is still in my filing cabinet. Typewritten.

“One Plus One Equals Three” is the story of our life with four children. In 1984, we were blessed with triplet sons. Totally unexpected, we found out my wife was carrying three a week before they were born, ten weeks early.

The boys came home from the neonatal intensive care unit after 6, 8, and ten weeks of constant care. During that time we visited the hospital every single day, sometimes twice in the day. We didn’t find out until a month after our last son finally came home the doctors didn’t expect him to live through the first weekend. He did. They are thirty-six years old.

I have read more books in the last four years than I read in the past forty, which doesn’t speak well of my dedication to reading early on. Books can be a wealth of imagination and discovery.

“Camp’s Over, Now What?” I wrote this manuscript as a result of many years of youth work. Young people are incredibly emotional people. It’s a shame we tend to lose that enthusiasm and emotion as we get older. I wrote a column many years ago (I had a weekly column in a small-town newspaper for two years) about how we need to put our jammies on again. Life is wonderful, anything is possible, people can fly when they’re wearing their jammies.

The book is about young people being overcome with emotion, declaring they will change their school, their friends, and never be the same again. They soon discover the emotion doesn’t last, and they’re convinced nothing has changed at all. Someone should have told them, (us), the emotion wouldn’t last. However, decisions can last forever.

“Smivey Stepward” is my first middle grade novel, book one of my Smivey Stepward series. Smivey is a red haired, freckle faced, 7th grader, in love with Elizabeth since first grade, a girl he has never spoken to. Gretchen (Smivey calls her “Gretch”) drives him crazy.

Smivey lives in an old house that was a funeral home owned by his maternal great grandparents, Ira and Irvina Hipplemeyer. He thinks the house is haunted. His dad and mom are weird. His dad is co-owner of Stepward & Sons Hardware with his grandfather, Archie Stepward. His dad thinks only of the store and believes Smivey does too. He’s wrong.

Smivey’s best friend, Larry Murfin, is everything Smivey wants to be. He lives on a dairy farm, has a dog, a truck, and his mom can whistle really loud. Larry wishes he could change places with Smivey. The two boys have been inseparable since 2nd grade when they both threw up on their desks at the same time.

I’m working on finding a literary agent. She’s out there just waiting for this one.

I need coffee.

Discover Prompt Day 8: It’s a Curve

He hates grocery shopping with his mother. He never tells her she’s weird, but she is. She buys the same stuff every week. He knows what she’s going to buy before she even leaves the house. Bread, milk, eggs, coffee, bran cereal, and worst of all, baloney. When his mother orders the meat she always says, “One pound of baloney, sliced thin. If it’s sliced too thick, it gives my husband gas, and we don’t want that.”

He comes up with a plan he is sure will work. His mom won’t let him stay home, so he’ll say he has to go to the bathroom and he’ll stay in there until she’s done shopping. Brilliant!

“I have to go to the bathroom, mom.”

“Okay, I’ll wait for you right here, dear”, she says.

“No, mom, you go ahead and get the groceries and I’ll meet you at the front”, he answers.

“Oh, no, dear. I’ll wait right here. I love grocery shopping together. You go ahead, I’ll wait right here.” She didn’t get it, and he couldn’t tell her.

Now he’s stuck. He doesn’t have to use the bathroom, but now he has to fake it. He goes in the stall, locks the door, and waits. When it’s been long enough, he tries to open the door. It won’t budge. He bangs on it. Nothing. He takes a pen from his pocket and uses it to force the lock. The pen snaps in half and spills black ink all over his hands. He wipes his hands on his pants, totally forgetting he is still wearing his school clothes.

“Why does this stuff always happen to me?!!” He quietly screams to himself.

“Mom!” He says just loud enough so she might hear him.

“Mom!!” He says just a little bit louder.

“Mommmm!!!” He finally screams in total frustration.

“What is it, dear?” she calls through the door.

“I can’t get the door open! Come in and help me, please!” he yells.

“Oh, no, dear, I can’t come in there. It’s the men’s bathroom” she calls.

“Mom!! There’s no one in here but me!! Please come in and help me!!”

“I’ll get the manager, dear.”

“No! Mom! Just come and help me!!”

“Don’t you worry, dear. I’ll be right back.”

He sits down on the toilet, wondering what he did to deserve this.

Soon he hears someone come in. “Son? Are you in there?”

“Yes, I can’t get the door open”, he answers.

“Your mother tells me you don’t like going grocery shopping. Why is that?” he asks.

“What? Please! Just open the door! It’s locked!

“Oh, it is? I thought you didn’t want to come out” the manager says.

“No! The door won’t open!” he says.

“Well, why didn’t you say that?! I’ll go get something to open it.”

“Finally!” he whispers to himself. As he’s waiting, he can hear the faint sound of sirens. They’re getting closer.

Suddenly, two firemen burst into the bathroom. “Son!! Are you in there?!” One of them yells, even though he’s right outside the stall door.

“Yes, please open the door.”

“Ok, son, you need to calm down. Take a deep breath. Say this with me, I’m going to be alright,” the fireman says.

“Please, just open the door.”

“Why don’t you want to go grocery shopping with your mother, son?”

“What?!! Pleeease!! Just open the door. It’s locked! It won’t open!” he yells.

The fireman answers, “What? It’s locked? Why didn’t you say that. Stand back!”

Soon a motor starts, and sparks begin flying. Suddenly the stall door swings open.

“Thank you! Thank you!” he says, and tries to walk past the firemen.

“Oh, no, son. You’ve been through trauma. We need to take you to the hospital.”

“What?! No! I just want to go home!”

One of the firemen takes him by the arm and lays him down on a stretcher. He is pushed through the store as he continues to yell.

“Mom!! Don’t let them take me!! I’m fine!! I just want to go home!”

He is pushed into a waiting ambulance. The doors are closed and soon they are speeding to the hospital. When they arrive, the doors swing open and he is wheeled into the emergency room.

“This looks serious!” a doctor says. “We’re going to have to operate immediately.”

“Operate?! No! I’m fine! I just want to go home!”

He is wheeled into a bright room. A mask is placed over his face and the room begins to spin.

“Mommm!! Don’t let them…”

“Wake up! Wake up!”

He opens his eyes and is shocked to see his own bedroom.

“You were yelling in your sleep, dear. Get your hands washed, dinner is ready.”