Happy Release Day to
Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis!!
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Happy Book Birthday, Charles!
Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.
Dad looked at me over his glasses and raised his eyebrows as the corners of his mouth turned up. He threw down his napkin and got up hastily. “I was going to wait until your birthday in February, but I think you need an early present.” He opened the front door and walked out. I looked at Mom, who motioned me to follow him.
I followed him out to our spacious backyard. He held a device in his hands and pressed a button. I heard the garage door open and the sound of wheels screeching as whatever it was rolled out to where we stood. The light of dusk bounced off the gleaming surface as a machine as tall as I was stopped right in front of me.
It was a robot that sort of looked like a football player in a suit of steel armor.
Beneath the enormous football helmet on its head, I could see red, unblinking eyes staring back at me. A screen on its chest read, “Happy birthday, Alex!” It had arms and hands covered with yellow gardening gloves. I looked down at its feet to see the same kind of treads as a tank.
“I know it’s been rough moving and leaving your friends behind, and I know I don’t have any athletic skill, so I made you this. Call for the ball,” Dad said.
I held out my hands as if I was ready to catch a pass. “Throw it here.” Still, nothing happened. I tried something different—calling out a cadence as if I was a quarterback. “Red 80 … set-HUT!”
The robot’s screen shut off and the chest opened up—and a football shot straight at me. The speed surprised me as it went right through my hands and knocked me down.
Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.
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