Paper Bag Mask by Brock Heasley Blog Tour with Excerpt & Giveaway @UnboundTours @brockheasley @PenNamePublish

Paper Bag Mask

By Brock Heasley

Publisher Pen Name Publishing

Published October 23rd

Pages 252

At the same moment he catches his teacher giving illegal drugs to a student, Redmond Fairweather loses his friggin’ mind and steals Mr. Street’s prized possession—a stupid wooden sword with round edges that will never, ever cut through anything—“The Whomper.”

Redmond has no idea why he stole the Whomper. He guesses his extreme dislike (okay, hate… so much hate) of the school’s most popular teacher probably has something to do with it. To his surprise and delight, the hottest girl in school, Elodia Cruz, hates him too.

Soon, Redmond’s small band of misfit friends joins up with Elodia and the most popular kids on campus to hold the Whomper for ransom, pull off an elaborate, broad daylight heist to steal something even bigger from Mr. Street, and expose their teacher for the scumbag he really is.

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Deep laughed an explosive, heavy laugh that silenced the entire cafeteria. Forks hit plates with a clink and tiny cartons of milk tilted forward for eyes to peer over rims. Everyone looked at Deep, and then at Redmond, then back to Deep. Even the band geeks judged them. Redmond looked like he’d have welcomed the sweet, cold mercy of death. Deep, struggling to contain himself and wiping tears from his eyes with the napkin under his spork, couldn’t have cared less.
“Shh!” Redmond whispered. “Will you shut up?”            
Deep absolutely would not. This was glorious. “So, you kissed her. So what? She’s not your girlfriend. Alice isn’t . . . she’s not the girlfriend type.”                    

She so was not. In Deep’s estimation, it was entirely possible Alice was secretly a nun. She wore makeup once, back in 9th Grade, got made relentless fun of (mostly by
Redmond and Deep, admittedly), and then never again. Her clothes lacked the plunging necklines and ultra-tight pants so essential to high school mating. Plus, she wore brown. And orange. A lot. Lots of Earth tones, and super baggy pants that looked like deflated tents. What was up with that? If Deep was being charitable, he’d describe Alice as a late-bloomer still arriving. At best.
“What do you know about any of this?” Redmond said. “You’ve never even had a girlfriend.”
“Neither have you!”

“That’s not true! Monica Reyes—”

“Monica Reyes was your kissing buddy for one week four years ago. Not a girlfriend. Did you ask Alice to be your girlfriend?”
“Just come out and ask?” Redmond sat back in his chair and searched the table with his eyes. “That’s stupid. That’s not how it works.”
“That’s exactly how it works.” Deep finally started eating, proudly pouring more salt on his calzone than should be allowed by law, but less than he actually wanted. Healthy living. “Women love to define the relationship. You so do not have a girlfriend.”
“Fine. You know what? I’m gonna text her right now. I’m gonna text Alice and—”
“You’re gonna do it over text? Seriously?” Redmond could be so uncouth.
“I’m gonna text her and ask her to be my girlfriend and she’s gonna say yes. Or she’ll laugh cuz she already is.”            
“Oh, she’ll laugh.”

“Shut up. Watch.”

Deep leaned over the table to get a better look, almost (but not quite cuz Deep got skills) getting his one-size-too-big t-shirt in the red sauce on his lunch plate. Redmond deleted his opening message several times before finally settling on:
Redmond: How r u?
25 seconds later (during which Redmond looked
like he was gonna vomit), Alice came back with: Alice: Feeling better. U?
Redmond: That’s good. I’m good.
Deep whacked Redmond on the shoulder. He was so very bad at this. If Deep had kissed a girl the night before he’d be giving her personalized sonnets written on parch- ment delivered via stork with a velvety carry pouch tied to its leg.
Redmond: Do u want to be my girlfriend? Ugh. Terrible.
Alice: Yes, stupid. Redmond: Cool.
Deep’s whole world was falling part in front of him in the dorkiest way possible and it was like Redmond and Alice didn’t even care. All of this was just beyond disturbing. High School relationships are so mercurial. The odds Redmond and Alice, after years of friendship, would be hating each other inside of a week were disturbingly great. And where would that leave Deep? What happened when his only two friends stopped talking to each other? He’d probably end up with Redmond in that divorce, which was too bad. Alice was way cooler.            
Deep refused to let Redmond know any of this. He was nothing if not skilled in the art of making like every- thing was okay, always. Did it bother him he was one of only five students of East Indian descent in the school, and everyone thought he was from the Middle East? Absolutely not. Did it bother him that the other Mormons never invited him to come sit with them at lunch even though they were all (supposedly) buddies at church? No way!
After lunch, Redmond and Deep dumped their plates and headed, like always, for 6th period. Mr. Street’s class. On the way, Redmond revealed he was about to do the lamest thing he had ever done in his life.      


Brock Heasley is a writer and artist who, to the shock of absolutely no one visiting this site, was a member of such prestigious high school organizations as “The Nerd Herd,” “Last Picked for Teams,” and “They Who Eat Alone.” He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, the creator of the online comic The SuperFogeys, and the award-winning filmmaker behind The Shift.

Brock lives with his wife and three daughters in California where they enjoy Pixar movies, dancing in the living room, and eating breakfast for dinner.


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