THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE VERY SLIMY
A Brand-New Bernie
You are probably wondering why I--Bernie Bridges--decided to change my behavior, change my personality, and become a whole new kid.
A new Bernie Bridges! It’s a frightening thought--isn’t it?
Especially since the old Bernie Bridges was perfect!
Well, the new Bernie Bridges had to be even perfecter. You’ll see why.…
Don’t get me wrong. I think life is great here at the Rotten School. I think all kids should go to boarding school and live away from home.
My buddies and I live in an old house at the back of the campus, called Rotten House. No parents! It’s a terrific life.
Of course, we do have some problems with those goody-goody kids who live in the dorm across from us. It’s called Nyce House. What kind of geek would live in a place called Nyce House?
But, I’m getting away from my story. And I know you’re very eager to hear my story—since it’s all about me.…
It started one night after dinner in the Student Center. That’s where my guys and I go every night to shoot some pool, play video games, and hang out.
I was hurrying to the game room. Tuesday night is slug race night, and I was late. I had Sluggo, my racing slug, wrapped up safely in my shirt pocket.
I carried Sluggo into the game room and started to unwrap his little velvet blanket. The guys were waiting around the pool table.
I saw my pals Feenman and Crench standing behind me. They were holding up signs to cheer
“Hey, Bernie, you’re late,” Feenman cried.
“No problem,” I said, rolling my big slug around in my hand. “Sluggo is feeling strong tonight. And fast. Aren’t you, Sluggo?”
He oozed a warm liquid into my hand. I guess he was trying to answer me.
That spoiled brat, Sherman Oaks—my arch- enemy—grinned across the table at me. He was
petting a fat, silvery slug.
He had his buddies from the Nyce House dorm with him.
The big, beefy hulk, Joe Sweety, leaned over the table, putting his slug through its warm-up exercises. Wes Updood stood next to him, tossing his slug up in the air and catching it.
My friend Beast flashed me a thumbs-up. Beast is very big and very hairy. He grunts a lot, and sometimes he walks on all fours. But we’re pretty sure he’s human. (At least 80 percent human.)
Nosebleed, another kid from my dorm, leaned against the wall with his head tilted back, trying to stop a nosebleed.
I set Sluggo down on the table and started to give him a rubdown. We all train our own slugs. We race them from one end of the pool table to the other. Sometimes the slugs forget they are in a race. So we poke them with toothpicks to keep them moving. (They don’t seem to mind.)
I turned to Sherman. “Sluggo has won five races in a row,” I said. “He’s going to leave your new slug in his slime trail.”
Sherman shook his perfect, wavy blond hair. “I don’t think so, Bernie. I brought a secret weapon tonight.”
He plopped a white paper bag on the table—and pulled out a big hunk of raw meat. “Hamburger,” he said. “It’s gone rotten. See? It’s turning green and purple. My slug, Godzilla, loves it. I put the spoiled meat at the end of the table. And Godzilla races his heart out to get to it.”
“Yuck! It STINKS!” Feenman and Crench both cried. They covered their noses. “It’s covered with MAGGOTS! Get it out of here!”
“This is top-grade sirloin,” Sherman bragged. “Nothing but the best rotten meat for Godzilla.”
I shook my head. “Sluggo still wins,” I said. “He’s a vegetarian. He doesn’t care about rotten meat.”
I lined Sluggo up at the edge of the table. The big guy was eager to race. “Put up your money, dudes,” I said. We each bet five dollars. It’s winner-take-all—and we know who the winner will be!
Sherman plopped the pukey hunk of beef at the far end of the pool table. Then he placed his fat slug next to mine. Now all six slugs were lined up.
“Ready…,” I called out. “Set…”
The game room door burst open.
We all spun around.
There stood Mrs. Heinie, our teacher, hands on her hips, her eyes bulging in horror behind those two-inch-thick glasses she wears.
“What on earth are you boys doing?” she shrieked.