MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
THIS IS 100% NOT A LIE
One thing you should know about me is that I don't lie. Not very much, anyway. I don't have anything against lying. It's just that I'm bad at it. Whenever I tell a lie, I sweat like a pig in a bacon factory. Plus, I start talking like an eighty-year-old man.
The reason I'm telling you this is because you are probably going to think this book is made up. It's not. It's all 100% true. The thing is, some weird stuff has happened to me since I moved to New York City this past summer. You might have heard about some of it.
But now there's more.
Digging in the Treasure Box
If there's one thing I can't stand, it's the morning of the first day of school. You wake up all tired and wobbly because you've been staying up late the whole summer. Then you have to go to the bathroom and brush things that you haven't brushed for a while and get dressed before you've even watched any TV.
That morning, my older brother, Gunther, and I sat slumped at the kitchen table, looking miserable while shoveling cereal into our mouths.
Mom was in a great mood, though.
"Aren't you guys excited?" she said. "A new school in New York City!"
"No," we both said at the same time.
But she sure was excited. You know why? Because she was finally going to get rid of us for a few hours. I know that's true because I saw it in her text message to Dad. Mom and Dad text-message when they want to tell each other things they don't want us to hear. Then later, when Mom goes to the bathroom, I look at her cell phone and see what's really going on.
Gunther looked at me over his cereal bowl with this cheesy smile on his face.
"You know what happens to new kids, don't you?" he said.
"What?" I said. I knew I shouldn't ask, but I couldn't help myself. I'd never actually been the new kid at a school before.
"The only person who'll sit next to you is the kid who digs in the treasure box," Gunther said.
"What does that mean?"
"Digging … in … the … treasure … box." Gunther demonstrated by pretending to pick his nose.
The funny thing is, I have never seen Gunther actually pick his nose. Since he's a pretty disgusting guy in general, this always seemed strange to me. I once asked Mom about it.
"Maybe it's because he has good manners," she said.
But we both knew that was ridiculous. So she gave me a stern look and said, "Let's not talk about it, okay? It's very upsetting to Gunther."
That's why I like to bring it up every once in a while.
"Hey, that reminds me, Gunther," I said, "why don't you pick your nose? Are you afraid of the boogeyman?"
Gunther threw a Cheerio at me and hit me right in the eyeball. I flicked a spoon of milk at his head. Mom walked back in, took one look at us, and started text-messaging Dad like mad.
I hate to admit it, but Gunther was right!
The lady at the school's main office told me to go to Room 214. I was one of the first people there, so I grabbed a two-seater desk in the back of the room. I like to be as invisible as possible in class.
A few minutes later all these kids come pouring into the classroom. Nobody sat next to me. I even smiled at a couple of them to encourage them. I got the Stink Eye from those kids. After a while I gave up and just read the stuff that people had written on the desks. Let me tell you, some of it was pretty bad. Parents are always so worried about what kids watch on TV. But if they knew what was written on the classroom desks, they'd never let their kids step inside a school.
I made a mental note to try this argument out on Mom.
Suddenly I heard the chair next to me scrape against the floor and I looked over to see—
You'll never guess.
I'll give you a hint.
He's the most annoying person on the planet.
Not counting Gunther.
That's right. Boris! Boris who lives on the fourth floor of my apartment building! I couldn't believe he was in the third grade. He practically looks like a grown man. Seriously, you could carpet a bedroom with all his leg hair.
"Well, if it isn't Thinny McSkelebones!" Boris said as he sat down next to me.
"Hi, Boris," I muttered.
"Lucky for you I'm in your class, huh?" he said. "I heard Mrs. West is really strict, so don't be too chummy with me or she'll separate us."
"Good to know," I said.
If I had to kiss Boris in order to get Mrs. West to move me, I would.
Just then Cat walked in. She lives on the same floor as I do in Tidwell Towers. She spotted us right away and walked to the back of the room. There were two girls sitting at the desk next to ours, but Cat pointed at one of them and said, "Take a hike, sister."
And you know what? The girl did.
Cat weighs about as much as a paper bag, but she's very scary.
"Good news," Cat said to us. "Mrs. West was attacked by a duck over the summer and she broke her hip. We're going to have a new teacher."
"Yes!" Boris pounded his fists on the desk.
I snorted. "A duck? Really?"
"Don't laugh, man," Boris said, his eyes wide. "Ducks are the most dangerous form of poultry."
Suddenly, the whole class got quiet. A man had walked into the room. He was a young guy with longish brown hair and he was wearing round glasses.
"Hey, Room 214, what's sizzling? I'm your new teacher this year. My name is Mr. Koslowski. But because I like you, you can call me Mr. K."
Boris's hand shot up in the air.
"Yes?" Mr. K said to Boris.
"You can call me Big Chunks," Boris told him.
"Will do, Big Chunks," Mr. K said.
I couldn't believe what a sucker this guy was!
Boris's hand shot up again.
"Yes, Big Chunks?" Mr. K said.
"You can call him Little Chunks," Boris said, pointing to me.
I started shaking my head and mouthing, No, no!
"Hmm." Mr. K looked at me and tipped his head to one side. "He looks more like a Captain Mayhem to me."
"I think I like this guy," I whispered to Boris.
But he wasn't paying attention.
He was too busy digging in his treasure box.
Text copyright © 2014 by Ellen Potter
Illustrations copyright © 2014 by David Heatley