Okay, let’s just get this over with. My name is Otis Dooda.
Go on. Laugh. I’ve heard it all before. People call me all sorts of things. When I was in kindergarten, kids called me Otis Doo-Doo. But as I got older, they got more creative. I’ve been called:
Finished laughing? No?
That’s very mature of you.
Well, get it out of your system.
Done? Okay, let’s move on.
Except for my name, I’m pretty “sort of.” I’m sort of skinny and sort of short. I’m sort of good at soccer and sort of bad at math. In other words, I’m sort of average. I lived a sort of average life, too. But then, this summer, my father started a new job, which meant we all had to move to New York City. That’s when my life became sort of crazy.
Everything I’m about to tell you is true.
Strange but true.
HOW I KNOW THAT MY BROTHER IS A DOOFUS
When our moving van pulled up in front of Tidwell Towers my mouth popped open. The apartment building we were going to live in was thirty-five stories tall and made of shiny white blocks. It looked exactly like it had been built out of giant white Lego bricks.
My older brother, Gunther, sneered at me. “You think it looks like it’s built out of giant white Lego bricks, don’t you?”
“Admit it, Lego Nerd,” he said. He placed his foot on mine and started to press down.
“You’re wrong,” I said.
Gunther squashed my foot even more.
“Because you remind me of a Clydesdale horse, with those big hairy feet of yours,” I said.
Gunther’s foot pressed down harder and he grinned. His teeth are really tiny. It’s like his baby teeth never grew into his teenaged body. Much like his brains.
“Remove your hoof,” I told him.
He pressed harder until I almost started to squeal.
Luckily, at that moment our dad said,
I grabbed my backpack, which was stuffed with Lego bricks, comics, and Pokémon cards. I carried my most valuable item in my hand: a Lego lie detector, which I had just finished building the week before. It’s made with Legos, a motor, and a wire connected to a tinfoil finger strap. It really works, too. The reason that I know this is that I tried it out on my mother. I hooked her up and asked her if she secretly thought Gunther was a giant doofus. She said, “Of course not,” but the lie detector buzzed,
which means she was lying. Then she turned all red in the face and took off the finger strap and said, “Let’s not call each other doofuses, shall we?”
Mom examined Gunther and me before we went into the building. She mashed down my hair and she made Gunther put a cover over the cage of his pet rat, Smoochie. She’s all excited about moving to the city, but she’s worried that people will think we’re a bunch of hillbillies. That’s because we come from a dinky little town called Hog’s Head. Plus, I think we may be hillbillies, because Gunther and I whiz off the back porch when the weather is nice.
The apartment building’s glass doors slid open as we walked up to them. That was kind of cool, like we were moving into a Price Chopper Supermarket. In the building’s lobby was a doorman. He was as burly as a football player. His head was totally bald and he had an earring in one ear. He looked like a nicely dressed pirate. Frankly, he was a little scary. But when my dad told him we were the Doodas he smiled. It was a wide flash of smile. I decided that I might like him.
“Welcome,” he said. “My name is Julius. And these”—he held up a pair of shining keys and shook them—“are for apartment 35B.”
“You mean we’re going to live on the thirty-fifth floor?” I cried.
“Yup,” Dad said.
“We were keeping that part a surprise,” Mom said.
“Sweet!” said Gunther.
I think they were glad to see Gunther excited. When Dad first told us he got a new job in New York City and we were all moving, Gunther wasn’t too happy about it. He has this girlfriend back in Hog’s Head. Her name is Pandora. She picks at her scalp. Gunther picks at his pimples. They’re like Romeo and Juliet, only more disgusting.
As for me, I was happy to be moving away from Hog’s Head. A few months ago something really bad happened to me there. I’m not sure if I’m going to tell you about it or not.
We’ll just see how things go.
Text copyright © 2013 by Ellen Potter.
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by David Heatley