PUNK'D AND SKUNKED
Dudes, here’s a spelling lesson,” I told my friends. “How do you spell excitement?” Belzer scratched his head. “Does it start with an X?” I patted him on the back. “Nice try.” Belzer grinned his lopsided grin. “It was a lucky guess,” he said. “Yo, Belzer,” Feenman said. “Do big noses run in your family?” “I’ve heard that joke,” Belzer said. Feenman grinned. “Who’s joking?” “Give it a rest,” I said. I pulled Feenman, Crench, Belzer, Nosebleed, and Billy the Brain into the Common Room. “This is how you spell excitement,” I said. “B-E-R-N-I-E” That’s me, see. I’m Bernie Bridges. Some people call me Grandmaster Dude, King of All the Fourth Graders. But I’d never say anything like that. I’m waaay too modest. But when I have news, I have NEWS. That’s why I dragged all my guys into the Common Room. It’s a big room with couches and chairs, a TV, and a game table. It’s like our living room. You probably go home every day after school. But Rotten School is a boarding school. That means we live here, in a dorm. It’s actually a falling down, old house called Rotten House. It’s the best dorm on campus—mainly because Bernie B. lives here. Oops. There I go, being modest again! My friend Beast was chewing a couch cushion. It took three guys to pull him away. Beast is a good guy. But we’re not sure if he’s really human. He’s too hairy to be a human. And last week he got caught chewing his initials into a tree trunk. I like him. But I keep my fingers away from his mouth. I stood at the head of the game table. “Dudes, I know you’re wondering why I invited you here,” I said. Crench rolled his eyes. “Bernie, we know why,” he said. “You want to have a poker game tonight. But we can’t.” “We’re broke,” Feenman said. “You already took all our money. I swear!” I made a spitting sound. “Forget poker games,” I said. “That’s small potatoes. I’ve got something BIG. Something exciting with a capital X!” Now I had their attention. I pulled open my school blazer so they could see my T-shirt. They all stared at it. Belzer sounded out the letters. “Bernie, what’s your problem?” Nosebleed asked. “Why does that say PPP on it?” Beast tossed his head back and hee-hawed. “P-P-P. Get it? Get it?” Crench tugged the front of my shirt. “If you have to go pee-pee, why wear a shirt about it?” I pushed his hands away. “Crench, what did I tell you about trying to make a joke? Do you want to strain your brain for life?” “Well, what does PPP stand for?” Billy the Brain asked. YES! I even stumped the class brainiac! “I’ll tell you,” I said. But it’ll take a whole chapter to explain it. Keep reading, everyone. . . .
I tapped the letters on my shirt. “PPP stands for Preppy Prep Prep,” I said. “You guys heard of it?” Belzer scratched his greasy hair. “You mean you don’t have to go pee-pee?” “Preppy Prep Prep,” I repeated. “That snooty prep school across town?” Billy asked. I flashed him two thumbs-up. “You got it, ace. You heard about this school, right? It’s wall-to-wall rich kids. They have servants to carry their fat wallets for them!” Beast hee-hawed again. “P-P-P. Get it?” “I heard about that school,” Crench said. “The kids all have butlers to dress them in the morning.” “They drive to class on Ferrari motor scooters,” Feenman said. “Every room has a Jacuzzi. And they have steaks every day for lunch and dinner!” “I heard they have steaks for breakfast, too!” I said. “They’re filthy rich! Filthy rich! And soon we’re gonna be filthy rich, too!” I couldn’t help myself. I started chanting: “Filthy rich! Filthy rich! Filthy rich!” I guess I lost it a little. I was hopping up and down, my tongue hanging out, drooling on my shirt. Feenman and Crench had to hold me till I started breathing normally again. “Big B, I don’t get it,” Nosebleed said. “How are we going to get to Preppy Prep Prep?” I stared at him. “Haven’t you heard about the contest?” I asked. That’s another whole chapter. You’d better keep reading, dudes. I’m getting to the good part.
How Do You
Beast started chewing the couch cushion again. It was a problem—because three guys were sitting on the couch. “Listen up, dudes,” I said. “Haven’t you heard about the Make-a-Great-Invention Contest?” They stared at me. “All three dorms at Rotten School have to make a great invention,” I explained. “The winner goes to Preppy Prep Prep to compete with five other schools.” “Is there a prize or something?” Crench asked. “You bet there’s a prize,” I said. “The winning inventors get five thousand dollars in cash. Did you hear me? Cash. That’s spelled $$$$! And you also get to be on TV on MTV-6.” “Wow!” “Awesome!” “Totally rad!” “No way!” That got ’em excited. MTV-6 is the best MTV channel of all. They don’t play music videos, and they don’t talk about anything. They just mess around all day, looking cool. “We’re gonna be on TV and win HUGE bucks,” I said, rubbing my hands together. “And we’ll stay at Preppy Prep Prep and live like spoiled rich kids for a whole week!” “YEAAAAAA!” I finally got them totally worked up. They began to chant, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! ” And they picked me up and carried me on their shoulders around the room five or six times. Finally I got dizzy and had to hop down. I raised a fist into the air. “On to Preppy Prep Prep!” I shouted. “We RULE! Rotten House RULES! YEAAAAAA!”
“Bernie?” a tiny voice whispered. I turned to see Chipmunk, the shyest kid at Rotten School. He was wedged in a corner.
He had his hands covering his face. That’s just how shy he is. “Bernie, we have a small problem,” he muttered into his hands. “Problem?” I said. “What kind of problem?” “We don’t have an invention.”
Punk’d and Skunked, Copyright © 2007 by Parachute Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved. HarperCollins Publishers