Read Man Made Boy Online

Authors: Jon Skovron

Man Made Boy

VIKING

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

USA / Canada / UK / Ireland / Australia / New Zealand / India / South Africa / China

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group visit www.penguin.com

First published in the United States of America by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013

Copyright © Jon Skovron, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

Skovron, Jon.

Man made Boy / by Jon Skovron.

pages cm

Summary: Tired of being sheltered from humans, seventeen-year-old Boy, son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein, runs away from home and embarks on a wild road tripthat takes him across the country and deep into the heart of America.

ISBN: 978-1-101-61290-3

[1. Monsters—Fiction. 2. Human beings—Fiction. 3. Runaways—Fiction. 4. Science fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.S628393Man 2013   [Fic]—dc23   2012043217

Designed by Kate Renner

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility
for author or third-party websites or their content.

For
my mother, Gini Kelley, who chose the road less traveled
and taught me to do the same.

Table of Contents

PART 1: The Show

1: A Boy Named Boy

2: Snakes, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

3: Three Women

4: Magic Numbers

5: This Is Not a Date

6: Rage for the Machine

7: Disconnecting

PART 2: The City

8: Hello, World!

9: Beautiful Freaks

10: The Glamourous Life

11: It’s Alive

12: Escape from New York

PART 3: The Road

13: Rest Stop for the Wicked

14: Iron City Adam

15: Sophie, So Good

16: Follow the Yellow Dotted Line

17: Bad Lands

18: Wild Things

19: Vortexes

20: Oh, Brother

PART 4: The Studio

21: Worth It

22: The Measure of a Man

23: If California Didn’t End

PART 5: Home

24: Curtains

25: Release Candidate

Acknowledgments

1

A Boy Named Boy

IN THE BEGINNING, there was zero. And then God said, let there be one.

Computers, Internet, phones, text messages—our entire digital lives can be broken down into code. And code can be simplified into binary. And binary is nothing but a string of ones and zeroes. At each moment, a choice. Yes or no. Everything we create, everything we do, everything we are, comes down to that. It is so simple. And so beautiful.

That’s where I was happiest. In my room, at my computer, creating amazing things with the beautiful simplicity of code.

“Boy.”

The outside world intruded. I pretended not to notice.

“Boy!”

This time, it was loud enough that there was no way I could pretend not to notice. I unplugged and turned around. A massive figure filled my bedroom doorway. He had to angle his shoulders and stoop his head just to fit through. He looked at me with watery, mismatched eyes that glared beneath patchy hair and a protruding brow. Black, uneven stitches zigzagged across mottled skin without any pattern or regularity. He lifted one massive,
stitch-and-scar-covered hand and pointed a thick finger at me.

“Did you eat?” he asked in his rough, deep voice. Even after living in the States all these years, he still had a heavy accent. Somewhere between German and French.

“Yeah,” I said.

“What?”

“I had some Pop-Tarts for dinner.”

“That was last night. You haven’t even had breakfast?”

“Oh…”

He raised one bristling eyebrow.

“So you didn’t sleep, either?”

“I guess I lost track of time.”

“This is not good, Boy. Not healthy.”

“I’ll take a nap this afternoon,” I said. “Promise.”

“No. Your mother has made you some lunch. You will eat it. And then you will take a break from your computer and do something else.”

I sighed. He’d been doing this to me more and more lately. “Like what?”

“Why don’t you…” He lifted his palms up and smiled, like a brilliant idea had just popped into his head. “Help Charon in the box office.”

“Really? The box office?”

“You used to love helping out in the box office!”

“When I was twelve…”

“Boy! Now!”

“Okay, okay, I’m going.”

You didn’t argue with my dad when he got that tone of voice.

“I THINK I’M going to change my name,” I said.

“Oh, yeah?” Charon didn’t bother to look up as his ancient hands worked quickly, stuffing tickets into envelopes.

“I’m seventeen,” I said. “And my mom finished upgrading all my kid parts to adult parts last year. So technically, ‘Boy’ isn’t really an accurate name anymore.”

“But your father isn’t exactly ‘
the
Monster,’” Charon said. “And I love your mother dearly, but it’s been a long time since anybody thought of her as a ‘Bride.’”

I swiveled back and forth in my chair, as much as the room would allow. Like most box offices, the space was small, with just enough room for two computer terminals, a filing cabinet, and us. I’m a big guy, but Charon was basically a skeleton with leathery skin, so it wasn’t too cramped. Besides, when you’ve lived your entire life inside a Broadway theater, tight quarters don’t bother you much.

“So?” I chugged the rest of my Mountain Dew and tossed the bottle in the trash. “Maybe we should
all
change our names.”

Charon’s tight, brown skin crinkled into a smile.

“Okay, you’re right, they’d never do that. But I want to change
my
name.”

“To what?”

“I don’t know.” I stared for a moment at the names on the tickets as they printed from the machine. “What about Henry? Or William? Something that sounds…”

“Human.”

“Well…yeah.”

Charon set down his stack of tickets and looked at me. “Your argument is that ‘Boy’ doesn’t suit you anymore. But a human name wouldn’t suit you any better.”

“But—”

“That’s what your parents would say, and you know it.” He handed the stack of tickets to me. “Now, make yourself useful and rack these.” Then he turned to the filing cabinet and began flipping through the last-minute house seat requests.

I sighed and began to slide the tickets into alphabetical slots above the customer window. My clunky patchwork hands made me a lot slower than Charon.

“What’s your infatuation with humans, anyway?” he asked.

I shrugged. This was a topic we couldn’t agree on.

“You’ve never even met a human. Watching them on TV doesn’t count.”

Other books

Mr. Darcy's Dream by Elizabeth Aston
Thorn by Sarah Rayne
Wytchfire (Book 1) by Michael Meyerhofer
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
The Silent Room by Mari Hannah
The Necrophiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop