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TOP FIVE REASONS WHY EVIL SCIENTIST SUMMER CAMP IS GOING TO BE AWESOME …
5. It’s an Evil Scientist Summer Camp! We learn evil stuff they don’t teach (or aren’t allowed to teach) at regular school, like traps, disguises and some basic Evil Henchmen 101 stuff. Plus there’s evil tennis and swimming and stuff too.
4. There are no annoying little brothers around.
3. There are no annoying zombie goldfish around.
2. My best friend, Sanj (who is an Evil Computer Genius), is going too.
(Well OK, maybe it’s a stretch to call Sanj my best friend. One time he trapped me in a booby trap with an actual blue-footed booby [I mean the bird]. He’s zapped me with a Supersonic Nicifying Helpful Minion Ray. He’s tricked me, cheated me, lied to me and generally betrayed me most of the time, but hey, when you’re mostly evil, you don’t have a lot of friends to choose from, you know. Maybe I should call him an Evil Colleague. Like if we were both working in an evil job somewhere, he would be in the next evil cubicle. Yeah, that’s probably right.)
And 1. I’m smuggling my truly evil pet vampire kitten, Fang, into the camp.
* * *
Fang prowled around all my stuff for camp that I had laid out on the bed. She circled and clawed at my Evil Scientist coat and then started swatting at the buttons.
“Fang!” I grabbed it off her, but she clung to the hem of the coat. “Let go. You’ll mess it up.”
“Meeeeooooooowwww!” she replied as she pulled in her claw and let herself drop inside my bag.
“I gotta put the other stuff in first, Fang.” I scooped her out, and she strutted around the bed, scratching at all the rest of my stuff. Which I think in Cat is kinda like her marking all my stuff as her stuff.
“I have to make sure I got everything they said to bring to camp. Then you can get back in.”
1. White Evil Scientist coat—check
2. Protective laser, hypno- and radiation-proof glasses—check
3. Evil Plans Notebook—check (Sanj and I have already been working on some super-evil plans to show the Evil Scientist Summer Camp leaders)
4. Evil disguises, props, traps, secret-code stuff, chemicals, wire, paper clips and tape (it’s amazing how many times a decent evil trap needs tape)—check
5. Swim trunks and a towel—check
And I’ll just add one.…
6. Evil Scientist sidekick pet that, according to the rules, you are totally not allowed to bring at all—check!!!
I can’t believe the Evil Scientist Summer Camp doesn’t allow pets. I mean, yeah, so some people have allergies and stuff, but seriously, we’re working with toxic chemicals, explosives and lethal robo-drones (probably—oh, please, let there be lethal robo-drones). But pets are the worst things they can think of?
I’m just saying that if you’re gonna start sneezing or breaking out in hives if you get near a little pet fur, then maybe world domination is a little ambitious, don’t ya think? Maybe just take over the parts of the world with good air filters.
I looked down at Fang and stroked her behind the ear. “Why would they be so worried about a stupid cat?”
Fang swiped at my hand. “Meeeeeooowwww.”
“Owwww! Sorry, Fang,” I said, shaking my scratched hand. “I wasn’t calling you stupid.”
* * *
“Mark, honey! Time to go!” Mom yelled up from downstairs. “We’re supposed to be at your Eco-Scientist Camp in two hours, and it’s a long drive!”
Oh, yeah. I didn’t mention that, did I? Sanj put a filter on the website for the camp so it looked like it’s an “Eco-Scientist Camp” for, like, green, nature-friendly science. Result!
Both my mom and Sanj’s mom fell for it. They filled out the form and paid up straightaway.
“I’m so pleased you’re taking an interest in environmental issues, Mark,” Mom had said.
“What issues?” I’d asked before Sanj elbowed me. “I mean, yeah, of course. I’m totally green, right.”
“You know, this might be a lovely thing for Tom and Pradeep to do as well,” Sanj’s mom had suggested. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have an adventure with your younger brothers?”
“Noooooo!” Sanj and I had yelled at the same time.
“They would totally wreck it,” I’d said. Fang jumped on my shoulder and meowed her agreement.
Sanj took a deep breath. “Tom and Pradeep might lack the maturity to participate fully in the intense discussions and activities of the camp,” he’d said with his evilest smile.
It had taken me a second to figure out what Sanj had said, but once I did, I said, “Yeah, that.”
“I suppose you’re right. You are older,” Mrs. Kumar had said. “It will be lovely for you boys to discuss the impact of global warming on the environment, and maybe your young minds will find a solution.”
“And get cold polar bears ice hats too,” Sami, Sanj’s little sister, had said, tugging on the sleeve of my white coat.
“Polar bear ice hats?” I’d asked.
“TV said polar bear ice hats are too small.” Sami frowned. “They need bigger hats.”
Sanj had leaned over. “It’s the polar ice caps that are shrinking, Sami. Not ice hats that the bears wear…,” he’d trailed off. “Never mind. Yes, yes, we’ll get hats for the bears.”
And that was it. We were signed up for Evil Scientist Summer Camp faster than you could say “Evil Scientist Water Polo, anyone?!”
Text copyright © 2018 by Mo O’Hara
Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Marek Jagucki