Gary continues to stare at his friend, expecting him to wake, but Lincoln does not. A bit remorseful, Gary loses his grin. He does not understand why Lincoln is so tired in the mornings sometimes. They often go to bed at the same time, yet Lincoln is always more tired in the mornings than he is. Finding it even funnier that Lincoln is so used to the pothole that he can now sleep through it, Gary lets out a puff of a laugh and shakes his head before returning to his rhino to give it a dirt-orange color.
A few moments later, the bus comes to a stop in front of their school. Gary prepares to nudge Lincoln, but before he can do so, Lincoln opens his eyes and lifts his head.
Again, Gary lets out a puff of a laugh and shakes his head. The two boys then gather their things and exit the bus.
English is first period, in their homeroom. The door to the classroom is open, and seventh graders drag their feet inside. As students take their seats, the English teacher writes on the chalkboard. Lincoln and Gary sit in the third row, next to one another. Lincoln has his arms and head down on the desk, on top of his notebook, with his eyes closed.
Gary, with orange colored pencil in hand, puts the finishing shades on his drawing. It’s done! He looks over at Lincoln and pokes his arm.
Lincoln lifts his head without alarm, as if he was only resting. He looks forward, sees the teacher still writing, then glances over at his friend with a questioning look.
Gary hands over his drawing.
Lincoln takes the sheet of paper and looks down at the expertly crafted rhino. What he sees is majestic, nothing but talent on the paper, and he appreciates it with a smile on his face. The rhinoceros looks like an armored, monstrous beast; however, its stance and humble color compels the feelings of a docile, peaceful creature. “This is awesome,” Lincoln says as he hands the drawing back to his friend.
As Gary lays his drawing flat on his desk, with a huge, satisfied smile on his face, Jacob Miller, the biggest kid in the classroom, walks down the aisle between them. He sees the drawing, picks it up, looks at it for quick second, then rips it in two, four, then eight. The huge boy drops the pieces of paper, the rhino crumbs, back on Gary’s desk and smiles smugly, as if to commend himself for a job well done. He then continues toward his desk, four rows behind Gary’s.
The two friends are aghast. They can’t believe what just happened, why it happened, and why it happened to them. With broken faces, they look up from the scattered pieces of paper and at one another. Lincoln sees it in his friend’s eyes: defeat and humiliation mingled with rage.
Gary’s eyes begin to look shiny, shimmering with potential tears. He looks away, then down at his artwork that is no more. His body shivers from disgust, from pain, from sorrow. He begins flipping over the pieces of paper, trying to put them in the right order, like a jigsaw puzzle.
“Don’t,” Lincoln says, touching Gary’s shoulder. Gary eyes Lincoln, fighting back tears, a battle he
wins. Not one salty, bitter droplet rolls down his face; he won’t give Jacob that satisfaction.
Lincoln reaches down and grabs the pieces of paper off his friend’s desk and crumples them all up into a ball. He then rips a clean sheet of paper out of his own notebook and places it on Gary’s desk. “He hasn’t taken anything from you,” Lincoln consoles, looking over at a mortified face. “This one will be better.”
Genre: YA Fantasy
Lincoln and Gary are best friends planning a simple trip to the night rock in the sky. However, they quickly find out that “easier said than done” is far more than just an outdated adage; it is a reality, for the dreamers face obstacle after obstacle in trying to gather the materials they need to build their ship. Not only that, but when their plan is discovered, their two-man field trip becomes much more than that. Now, the captain and the general will have to lead a rescue mission, one of far greater importance than they ever imagined. What would you do? Save only yourself or risk it all to save the lives of others as well as your own?
Rocket Ship is the miraculous, thrilling story of two friends, a tale of two hopefuls, two dreamers, two rescuers and the extremes they go through to save one another and others like them, before the world they live in destroys them all.
Rocket Ship is C.O.B.’s first young adult novel, but his third book overall. His first book, Hope(less), was a literary fiction about the journey a young couple endures for love. C.O.B.’s second book was a collection of works that included poems, short stories, and even a heartwarming tale told via screenplay.