Guest Post: Welcome Author: Deb Gardner Allard:
Her book, “ Izzy and the Real! Truth About Moose Boy,” is now published and you can read the first chapter here.
MOOSE BOY THE PAIN
The most annoying boy in the universe and the meanest teacher in the Midwest almost ruined fourth grade. This is how I remember the whole wacky year:
The very first day of school, a boy climbed my bus steps, rapping, “Putt, pachew, putt, putt, pachew.” His hair poked out the sides of his head like antlers. I’d never seen him before.
Boink. “Move out of the way,” he croaked. He pushed down the aisle with his head towering above the other kids in line, and his backpack whacked my elbow.
“Ouch.” I said.
“Shoulda mooooved,” he mooed. His lips parted and a gap, wide enough to collect mail, appeared between his two front teeth. The boy reminded me of the silly moose picture hanging on my bedroom wall. He slid into the empty seat behind Chloe and me.
“Stop pulling my ponytail,” I said.
“Quit bothering her,” my best friend, Chloe, snapped.
The moose kid leaned forward. “Uh—are you two in fourth grade?”
“None of your beeswax,” I mumbled, scooting near Chloe.
The bus lurched forward then creaked to a stop. Mrs. McMillan, our bus driver, shouted, “We’re here boys and girls!”
The glass doors swung wide, and Chloe and I raced to the steps. Mrs. McMillan shouted, “Walk next time!” She and her black beehive hairdo waved.
Inside Homer Hayes Elementary, students plastered the hallways like noisy wallpaper. Chloe and I hurried to the fourth grade wing. Rounding a corner, we smacked into a mob of kids crowding the fourth grade doors. “I’m glad we’re in the same room,” I said.
“Me, too,” Chloe agreed.
Rows of silver lockers clanged open and shut. I nudged Chloe and pointed along the right wall. “Let’s get ours side by side.”
Chloe stuffed her gear inside a locker while I unzipped my backpack.
“What’s this?” someone howled. A hand reached into my backpack and snatched my stuffed bunny. I watched floppy ears sail through the air. A familiar voice sang, “Pet baby Fwuffy everyone, he needs wuv!” The voice belonged to you know who.
“No!” I cried, stretching for an ear, a foot …anything. “Give him back! His name is not Fwuffy; it’s Pupie!”
Kids in the hall burst out laughing. Parker, a boy from class last year, threw my bunny higher. I wanted to disappear.
The moose boy caught Pupie and dangled him over my head. “Come and get your wittle Poopie!”
Sweat dripped from my forehead and my yellow tee sagged. I swiped the air and almost touched his tail. “His name is Puuupie with a u!” I shouted.
The loud squealing, laughing, and yakking came to a stop. A man with feet the size of speed boats and hair scattered in sixty-one directions hurried through the crowd. Pupie dropped to the floor midair.
“Hello, students, my name is Mr. Overly. I’m one of the fourth grade teachers,” the man said when he reached the classroom doors.
He didn’t look like a teacher. Mrs. Togglemeyer from third grade wore buttoned up fancy clothes with a fancy hairdo. This teacher looked like a kid out of high school.
His tan pants and plaid shirt screamed, “Stylish,” but his brown loafers shouted, “Rejects from Sasquatch.”
Moose Boy dove for Pupie, but Mr. Overly planted his monstrous feet. “How about returning the bunny to that darling young lady, pal?”
“Who, me?” Moose Boy’s ears turned fiery red. He dropped Pupie into my locker, and I slammed the door faster than warp speed.
“Okay, students, line up beside your classrooms,” Mr. Overly said.
We formed two lines–one line for Mr. Overly and one for the other fourth grade teacher. Mr. Overly opened his door, and kids stampeded past him. The happy herd included Moose Boy. I headed the other direction, but Chloe grabbed my arm and dragged me inside.
The room didn’t look much different from third grade. Charts and posters covered the walls, bookcases lined the back of the room, and desks with chairs lined the tiled floor, same as last year.
“Okay, everyone, choose a seat…” Mr. Overly began.
I wondered if I had heard correctly. Most teachers assigned seats.
Mr. Overly continued, “When you’re comfortable, we’ll review the class rules.”
Students scrambled like twenty-nine kids fighting over the last candy bar on earth. I snagged a desk behind Chloe. The remainder of the class tucked themselves into seats and waited for the rules. Everyone except Moose Boy. He struggled, wedging himself into the desk behind me. His long legs and knobby knees barely fit, and his metal chair scratched across the floor with an ear splitting screeeeeeeech. I watched in disbelief. Why did he sit behind me?
Once he packed his parts, he leaned forward.
“Poooopie,” he whispered.
For Pete’s sake. I covered my ears.
Mr. Overly strolled to the front of the room and flumped onto the edge of his wooden desk. “Okay, if everyone is satisfied, I’ll read the class rules:”
“Blah, blah, blah.”
“Blah, blah, blah.”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
The rules sounded the same as last year. Then Mr. Overly reached rule number four: “If the class gets too noisy, everyone must whistle, “Whistle While You Work”, and anyone who cannot whistle must sing it in front of the class.”
My brain’s weird rules detector shot a message to my mouth: “What the heck?”
“And rule number five is the last one,” he said. “If you pass notes, you must read them to the class.”
I couldn’t believe what I heard. Passing notes topped my list of favorite school activities last year. I made a mental note: No more passing notes!
When Mr. Overly finished reading, he hummed and shuffled his feet in a tap dance. The musical number ended when he opened his hand toward us like, your turn.
Chloe peeked at me. I shook my head. No tap dancing for me.
“Okay then, how about each student tell the class your name, what you did during the summer, and something special about yourself,” Mr. Overly said.
Ugh! All teachers made kids do that. My stomach rumbled and my legs wouldn’t keep still. Seconds later, twenty-eight pairs of eyes shifted my way. I opened my mouth and out popped a squeak. “Mieeee, uh, my name is Isabelle Caldwell. Friends call me Izzy.” Sweat-drenched clothes clung to my armpits and I wiggled and squirmed. “I went to day camp this summer and goofed off,” Icontinued. “Something special about me is that I like writing stories. Mom says I have a vivid imagination. That means I write cool stories.”
Everyone clapped and I finally breathed.
The moose boy went next. “My name is Conrad Canolli,” he croaked. His head ducked between his
shoulders, like a turtle’s head disappearing into its shell, and then he grabbed his neck, coughed, and cleared his throat. “My family went camping every weekend this summer.” He talked okay after the first croak. “I ate one hundred S’mores!” he added, rubbing his belly with both hands. “Something special about me is that I can shoot a whole wad of anything through the gap in my front teeth, see.”
He squeezed a mouthful of spit through his chompers, and it splattered his desk.
The girls covered their faces. “Ewwwww!”
The guys cheered, “Way to go, Conrad!”
Mr. Overly shook his head. “Ahem, that’s a biohazard, Conrad. You may clean your water works with the special spray from the back of the room. We must keep body fluids to ourselves.”
Moose Boy found the special bottle and a paper towel then squirted and wiped his desk. Afterwards, he slithered into his seat. I almost felt sorry for him until I remembered Pupie.
I knew a few kids from third grade, like goofy Joey, Chloe, Parker, Maria from Mexico, and Leilani with the shiny black hair, but I had no clue where Conrad came from. What an antler head.
When the speeches ended, Mr. Overly grabbed a stack of papers from his desk. “Now that we know each other, let’s take a little test,” he said.
Yuck! The last thing I expected on the first day of school was a test. Mr. Overly passed three pages to each of us. Chloe dug in writing. Joey closed his eyes and whispered a prayer. Moose Boy eyed the paper of the girl behind him, and my pencil needed sharpening for—about ten minutes.
After what seemed like a year, Mr. Overly said, “Time’s up!”
Half of my test didn’t have answers, but I passed the crummy thing forward. I figured I flunked it.
“Next on our agenda for today is lunch!” Mr. Overly announced.
I worried that we might see the other fourth grade teacher, mean old Mrs. Boomholler. The meanest teacher in the Midwest.
BIO: Deb Gardner Allard is a retired nurse and full time writer who loves kicking back with kids. You are invited to visit her website at http://www.debgardnerallard.com/
email: [email protected]
Her book: IZZY and the REAL! Truth About Moose Boy is now published and available for readers to purchase at: