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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Fly on the Wall

Remy Lai

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)




The night before the greatest adventure everrr

In my bedroom

The greatest adventure everrr isn’t just not allowed. It’s FORBIDDEN. Like, Entry into this Radioactive Building is FORBIDDEN.

In my case, it’s: Twelve-year-old is FORBIDDEN from Flying Halfway Across the World on His Own.

It’s also: Twelve-year-old is FORBIDDEN from Doing Anything on His Own Because His Family Thinks He’s a WAH-WAH-WAH Baby.

Do not copy this plan, fellow kids!

I’ll be like the lone wanderer in my grandma’s martial arts TV dramas. Popo isn’t an actor; she just yells at the wuxia actors on the screen from her ancient, squishy armchair.

As the lone wanderer, I’ll traverse the lands and face dangerous trials and tribulations.

The lone wanderer usually travels on foot or horseback, because wuxia dramas always take place in the time before Toyotas and Jeeps. But I’ll be on an airplane.

I’ll meet a martial arts master.

I will star in a montage showing off all my hard work.

I’ll run into my nemesis during my journey, and we’ll face off in a final duel. At first, I’ll be losing. But just when you think I’m bye-bye, I’ll spring to my feet and …

But before THE END, I’ll do something kind.

That will prove I’ve gained wisdom that’s much, much deeper than

Of course, all good wuxia dramas have something else …

It’s an old book fought over by everyone in the wuxia world, where wanderers stride, nemeses hide, shifus guide, sworn brothers confide, kicks and fists slide, and evil and justice collide.

Within the pages of a secret manual is life-changing wisdom, such as the steps of an ancient technique to POW! your nemesis. Similarly, my notebook will contain all the knowledge Mom keeps promising I’ll have when I’m older, like the words to WOW! more friends.

I’ll reach my destination in victory. I’ll make an international call back to my family in Perth, Australia, and ask to be put on speakerphone.

If you’re a grown-up, why

are you still



Not that I have anything against grown-ups.

But you might think it’s not a big deal

to be treated like a baby.

That it’s not worth this much trouble.

That it’s not worth traveling halfway across the world for.

If you’re a kid,

you’ll understand.

There was once a boy

of medium height, medium weight, medium IQ,

medium handsomeness, medium everything.

So unremarkable is he

that his middle name is Meh.

The only remarkable thing about him is

his crying.

He does it a bit more often than other kids do.

But that’s not a thing you want a trophy for, is it?

One fateful day last December,

his sister dragged and dumped him

at an after-school program,

Poetry for Kids.

He was a baby

who had to do as he was ordered.

The dictator-poet-teacher said, Create poems!

But all this kid’s poems

turned out to be meh,

just like this one.

If you ever knew a kid

who felt as meh

as this kid,

you’d understand

why he needs this


Copyright © 2020 by Remy Lai