Square Peg, Round World


Dawn Skye is a senior at Nixon High. She’s the smartest kid in her class — quite likely on the planet — but has never allowed that fact to be detected by a standardized test. Ever gaming the system to maintain a GPA just under the radar, she is dismissed by her teachers as just another low-achieving pothead.

This deception can be attributed to her mom, Carrie, a topless dancer at a local truck stop, who has been all up in Dawn’s shit since she was five, extolling the virtues of mediocrity, and poised with a hammer and punch to pound down and countersink any and all evidence that might betray her daughter as “special.”


A few years back, in a bold response to this dysfonctionnement, Dawn adopted the trappings of a genus of disaffected postpubescent girls who are inclined to: (1) embrace the sartorial stylings of Johnny Cash, broadened to include Doc Martens, leather minis and fishnets, (2) draw two crayons out of a hat each morning to inform their daily selection of hair chalk and lipstick, and (3) achieve a solidarity of appearance, via the artful application of mascara and eye shadow, with the world’s extant population of sleep-deprived raccoons.

Not that she’s totally succumbed to that flavor of Kool-Aid.

For example, she’s gone light on tats and piercings, with just enough in the right places to maintain her street cred without jeopardizing a future shot at working for Google, NASA, or the State Department.

thAnd while she’s been known to tolerate bands like Dead Kennedys and Rancid, she much prefers The Carpenters.

Dawn’s best friend at school is Angela Huggins: Nixon’s head cheerleader and reigning homecoming queen. To uphold her standing at the top of the social bonfire, Angela, who’s not the smartest tie on the rack, is often reduced to defending this cross-pollination of cliques by conceding that Dawn has done all her homework since fifth grade. This cynical portrayal of her relationship with Dawn makes Angela, who’s really a nice person, feel downright icky. It’s just that to most everyone who knows her, or even loves her…

Dawn has always taken a lot of explaining.

At least until last Tuesday when she cut fifth period to meet a new internet friend named Clarence at the local bowling alley.

Who’s Clarence?

Stay tuned.

© 2016 Ron Dulaney



  1. Favorite character so far. Now I realize the people you were writing about were characters in your novel. Not sure how that fact escaped me.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Crayolas in a hat. Great way to select makeup combos. Thanks for the beauty advice. No need for hints from Vogue today. You may have started a trend.


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