Excerpt from One Shark, No Swim available Sept. 21, 2013


Jay and I were putting the finishing touches on our awesomest project ever: a cardboard sled shaped from Hari’s tv box. It was huge. We were sure we’d break land speed records racing down grass hills. We might even catch air.

Char Siu pranced over the curb and struck a pose, hands on her hips and one shoe delicately balanced on its point. “What do you think?”

Jay didn’t glance up. “We’re busy, Char Siu.”

She thrust her lip out. “You never even looked.”

“You’re wearing your Mom’s old church shoes. Why? Did ‘Ilima eat one of your slippahs?” Jay yawned.

“I gotta practice, Jay. Lisa Ling told me all the girls wear heels at Ridgemont.”

Jay turned to me. “You ever see Lili wear heels to school?”

I shook my head. “No.” Our sister Lili was going to be a junior at Ridgemont next year.

“Her friends?”


“Sounds like Lisa-kine shibai to me,” Jay said.

“You just don’t know, Jay,” Char Siu said. “We’re not in elementary any more. All the girls our age wear ‘em. You’ll see.”

“Good thing we’re not girls,” I said. “I wouldn’t last a minute walking around in those shoes. Pohō, that.”

“Hard for run li’dat,” Jay said. He looked up at her. “Hard for see li’dat, too.”

“It’s called make-up,” she said.

“I’ve seen make-up. My Mom wears make-up. Lili, too. Her stuff is all over the bathroom. But make-up doesn’t make mempachi eyes li’dat. That’s something else.”

I looked a little closer. Char Siu’s eyes did look bigger, rounder, like she’d opened the door and giant spiders jumped out. One eye twitched and then stuck half open-half closed.

“What’s wrong with your eye?” I asked.


“Then why is it sticking to your face like that?”

“Ho!” Char Siu reached up and peeled something off her eyelid. “The stupid Scotch tape won’t stay. I told Lisa it wasn’t right.”

One eyelid looked normal now and the other still looked like it was keeping track of a man-eating bug. She reached up and peeled something off the other eyelid and suddenly she looked normal.

Well, normal for Char Siu.

Excerpted from One Shark, No Swim by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2012 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Makena Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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