Title: STEVE AND AUSTIN
Word Count: 44,000
Genre: MG Adventure w/light sci-fi
Eleven-year-old Jackson Solis lost his legs when he and his bicycle tangled with a fast-moving SUV. Now he’s a test case for state-of-the-art bionic replacements. They’re faster and stronger than his old legs, but he’s not impressed -- he just feels like a robot freak boy.
He keeps the bionics a secret so no one will know how different he really is. Only his parents and best friend know the truth -- everyone else believes he wears ordinary prosthetics. But keeping secrets is exhausting and so is the recovery from his accident. The only fun he’s had lately was deciding to name his legs “Steve” and “Austin” after the main character of an old TV show about a bionic man.
Then Jackson overhears that someone’s trying to sabotage the high tech helicopter spy gear that his father, an Army colonel, is testing. If the tech is destroyed, his dad’s career will nosedive, and they’ll probably have to move. Jackson would lose his best friend and everything he has left that’s normal. He knows the adults would never agree to his plan, so he decides to keep one more secret -- he’s going after whoever’s behind the trouble. After all, no one else can chase a bad guy faster than the kid with bionic legs.
Back when I was in second grade, my class went to see Slim Goodbody. You know, the guy with the stage show about taking care of yourself and being healthy? Where he wears that shirt that shows all his internal organs?
Well, he said this one thing I can’t get out of my head now: “If you hurt yourself, you can’t just go to Buddy’s Body Shop to replace your parts.”
Shows you how much he knows. Because that’s exactly what my parents were talking about right now, while they thought I was sleeping. In the last few days, it’s all they EVER talked about.
“But what if his body rejects them?” My mother was asking the doctor more questions from her endless list. She can’t help it; she’s a journalist, and for her, asking is like breathing. She says it helps her make sense of crazy things – and I guess this definitely qualifies as crazy. “He’s only eleven years old. Isn’t he too young for something this experimental?”
“We don’t believe he will reject them, Mrs. Solis,” answered the doctor. “We will grow skin and nerve grafts from stem cells. The process is extremely successful at reducing the chance of rejection.”
Gross. They were talking about growing skin. But, also, kind of cool. For a minute, I forgot they were talking about my skin and wondered whether I could watch them do it.