“And finally, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be handing out boxes of chocolate bars to sell for the league. We really need everyone to pitch in so the league can buy new equipment and pay the refs. Mrs. Patel will be in charge of keeping track of the sales. So start thinking about who might buy some candy from you. See you all at practice next Thursday!”
Selling stuff! Oh no! Grown-ups are always having kids sell things. In second grade I had to sell greeting cards and wrapping paper for a school fundraiser, and it had been a complete disaster. Nobody on my street wanted to buy anything, and my mom only bought one roll of wrapping paper with candy canes on it because she felt sorry for me. I sold the least in my class, and of course Samantha Grunsky, who is ALWAYS in my class and ALWAYS ANNOYING, sold the most in the whole school and won a bicycle.
Eating candy bars is a wonderful idea. Selling them is not.
On the Saturday morning of our first game, I woke up really early with butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous, but I couldn’t wait to get to the field.
When I dress for a soccer game, I have a very particular method, which I invented last year. First, I put on my shorts (well, after my underwear, great big duh!), then I spread my shirt out smoothly on the bed with the front side facing down and the bottom of the shirt hanging just off the edge. I put the shirt on by wriggling my arms and head in at the same time.
Next comes my left shin guard, then my right. I put on my left sock, then my right, and pull them all the way up over the shin guards. After that I put on my shoes, first the left one, then the right. The last thing I do is tie each lace, left then right, with a double knot.
The first time I used my special method, I scored two goals. I’ve dressed that way ever since.
It doesn’t always work.
But I still do it.
I was eager to find my team. It was my first year in the ten-and-under league, and by some miracle, my two best friends, Hector Adélia and Tommy Kasten, were on my team. They were both excellent players. And my mom said that our coach, Mr. Carmody, had been a college soccer coach, so I figured he knew everything.
The Pirates were going to rule the soccer season. We would score a million goals.
Or at least fifty.
“This year is going to be awesome!” Tommy said. “Can you believe we’re on the same team?”
“The Pirates,” Hector said.
“More like the Proud Pirates!” Tommy said.
“The Proud Punishing Pirates,” I said.
“The three of us together,” Tommy said solemnly, raising his hand, “will be known as the Pirates of Doom. Arrrrrr!”
Charlie Bumpers vs. the Puny Pirates available everywhere September 1, 2016
“And that brings me to the next point,” Mom said. “Aunt Sarah and Uncle Brandon and Tilly are going to stay at the Village Inn with Pops and Gams. But they’d like Chip to stay here.”
She paused for a second and gave me a little smile.
I didn’t like that little smile. It meant something.
“Chip’s a very nice boy,” Mom said. “And I think he’s grown up a lot. Sarah says his teacher calls him ‘the perfect little gentleman.’”
World’s most annoying little cousin
Perfect little turkey, I said to myself. Even though the adults don’t seem to realize it, Chip is a turkey. His real name is Brandon, but that’s also his dad’s name, so everyone calls him “Chip.” He’s a giant pest. Last summer we spent three days with their family at a lake house, and every time I turned around he was right there, buzzing around like a little gnat, telling me what to do, and saying he could do it better. Even though he couldn’t.
I had tried to be nice to him, but it’s hard to be nice to someone who drives you bonkers. My mom told me he followed me around because he wanted to be just like me, and said I should be patient.
Sometimes grown-ups are completely clueless. Even mothers.
Gams (Mom’s mom)
Pops (Mom’s Dad)
Aunt Sarah (Mom’s sister)
Uncle Brandon (Aunt Sarah’s husband)
Bradon aka Chip aka the perfect little turkey
Tilly (Chip’s baby sister)
Mrs. Walcott (one of Mom’s patients)
Mrs. Gritzbach (neighbor)
Mr. Gritzbach (neighbor – hates Ginger)
Uncle Ron (Dad’s brother)
15 people – “Too many!”
Lots and lots of food
There are lots of good things about Thanksgiving. Like no school. And my grandparents coming. And the stuffing my mom makes. And the rolls my grandmother always brings, which are the absolute best food on the planet. But this year was going to be even better because on Thanksgiving evening a Buck Meson special was showing on TV.
Buck Meson, Detective from Andromeda, is my absolute favorite superhero. He has his own TV show and he’s got this electron stare that paralyzes bad guys in their place so they can’t move.
I know he’s not real, but he should be. That would mean electron stares are real, and I would have many uses for them. Like paralyzing brothers and sisters.
I’m not the Evil Sorcerer Kragon.
I’m not the Slimy Snake of the Swamp.
I’m not the fox or one of the mice or even the Magical Rabbit of Gorlandia.
I’m the Nice Gnome. The really nice gnome. The really, really boring gnome.
There has got to be a way to convince Mrs. Burke that it would be better if I wasn’t the gnome. I just have to figure out how.
Every year, each 4th grade class does a special project. Mrs. L’s class designs an obstacle course for the whole school to run through. Ms. Lewis’ class makes a special lunch with food from all around the world. And Mrs. Burke’s class does a play.
Last year the play was “The Elephant’s Surprise” and it was pretty good even though the elephant’s trunk fell off halfway through the play. This year we’re doing “The Sorcerer’s Castle” and it’s really great.
The best part in the whole play is the Evil Sorcerer Kragon. He has all of these great lines and laughs like “Mwa-ha-ha-ha!” It’s the part I want and I know that I’ll be great – if Mrs. Burke let’s me.
My Dad announced that we all had to have special chores. Matt is in charge of carrying out the garbage and recycling and getting dinner started when Mom and Dad are going to be late. The Squid is in charge of setting the table, sweeping the kitchen and straightening the family room.
My job is to feed Ginger twice a day and walk her every afternoon. I know that Ginger is mainly my dog and I like playing fetch with her and she sleeps in my room, but it doesn’t seem fair. Matt and the Squid play with her too. Why can’t they walk her sometimes?