WORD LISTS

"Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus" by Dusti Bowling, Chapters 1–6

October 30, 2019
When her parents take jobs at a western theme park in Arizona, Aven gets caught up in a local mystery — and tries to adjust to a new school.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–6, Chapters 7–10, Chapters 11–16, Chapters 17–26, Chapters 27–39
whimper
As she drove us home that day, I sat whimpering in my car seat and asked her what had happened to my arms and why they’d fallen off.
wail
I wailed in despair, and she told me to stop crying because having arms was totally overrated.
despair
I wailed in despair, and she told me to stop crying because having arms was totally overrated.
hilarious
I got so tired of telling them the same boring story about being born without arms that I started making stuff up. It was stinking hilarious.
traumatize
So I kind of traumatized her and had to have a meeting with my parents and the teacher later about my story.
privy
I wasn’t completely sure why an eighty-six-year-old woman who lived in a trailer in Kansas was the only person privy to this top-secret information, but she clearly was.
deliberately
My parents discussed it with me one night over a dinner of buttered noodles, my favorite meal. Oh, man—I just realized they deliberately buttered me up with buttered noodles.
scowl
I scowled. “Arizona is really far away.”
grimace
“What’s the summer like?” I asked.
Mom grimaced. “I’ve heard it’s kind of like the surface of the sun.”
entice
“Come on,” said Dad. “You’re such a pro, you could play soccer anywhere.”
“Stop trying to entice me,” I said.
skitter
A lizard skittered across the dirt in front of me, and I jumped back.
trudge
As we trudged toward our new living quarters, which were apparently located right over the steakhouse, Dad asked, “So when do we get to meet Joe Cavanaugh?”
humble
Mom and Dad had described the apartment as a cozy but humble little place.
artifact
The museum was actually more like a room—just one room with picture-covered walls and a few “ artifacts” in glass cases.
spur
These artifacts included a collection of stone arrowheads, some broken Navajo pottery pieces, a pistol from the 1800s, a pair of old spurs, and a genuine dead tarantula with an information board that shared facts like, tarantulas have no teeth, so they use their venom to liquefy their prey and suck up the liquid nastiness directly into their stomachs.
liquefy
These artifacts included a collection of stone arrowheads, some broken Navajo pottery pieces, a pistol from the 1800s, a pair of old spurs, and a genuine dead tarantula with an information board that shared facts like, tarantulas have no teeth, so they use their venom to liquefy their prey and suck up the liquid nastiness directly into their stomachs.
reassure
I got out of the car, swung my bag around to my side, gave Mom a reassuring smile, and slammed the door shut with my hip.
dexterous
I lifted my foot and opened the book with it, using my dexterous toes to turn the pages until I got to page twenty-three.
tendency
I sometimes wondered if people had a tendency not to give me their names or ask me for mine because of their fear of getting too close...too close to something so different.
secluded
I went outside, found a secluded spot under a tree, sat in the grass, and read my science book.
senile
He’s like a hundred years old and completely senile, but he always remembers my name for some reason.
chronic
I already had Dad arrested for chronic farting, and I didn’t have to pay for it either because my parents run the place (VIP here).
tumor
Across from the soda shop is a petting zoo with three goats, two sheep, four rabbits, two chickens, and Spaghetti, an extremely old mutant llama with a giant tumor growing out of his head.
psychic
You can have your palm read by Madame Myrtle, the park’s psychic.
callus
She had a hard time figuring out my future, though. I asked her to read the bottom of my foot, but all she told me was that I had a lot of callouses and she liked my blue sparkly nail polish.
forlorn
The rest of Main Street is littered with empty "buildings and storefronts that used to house things like a photography studio for taking old-fashioned portraits and a mechanical bull ride you could pay five dollars to try. The mechanical bull still sits in the room, broken down and looking forlorn.
interrogation
I dreaded going home and being subjected to more of the interrogation about my day Mom had started in the car.
vaguely
Through the film of dirt, I could vaguely make out stacks of boxes and what looked like old props.
rummage
“Why is your whole lunch in here?” Mom asked as she rummaged through my school bag.
dementia
I laughed. “I don’t know. Why would he tell me that?”
“He has dementia, sweetheart. He doesn’t think clearly anymore. Who knows what might have been going on in his mind when he said that?”
sneer
Mom let out a big sigh. “Now I’ve got to get over to that stupid gold mine and talk to Bob.” She said his name with a sneer.
exasperation
“You know he actually smacked a gold pan out of a four-year-old’s hand today because he kept picking the quartz out instead of the gold. Dad had to give the whole family free ice cream and T-shirts.” She threw her hands up in exasperation.
foretell
Her eyes grew huge with alarm like I was Madame Myrtle and had just foretold the actual future.
sufficient
I giggled as she stormed out of my room, having sufficiently worked herself up to lay into Bob, mumbling something about how he better get his butt in line or she’d be putting her foot in it.
nimble
I sighed as I wrote out a math problem, nimbly holding the pencil between my toes.

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