THE TEACHER FROM HECK
MEET MR. SKRULOOSE
My name is Bernie Bridges, and you might wonder why I’m running so hard.
Normally I’d take time to enjoy the morning sunshine on the Great Lawn—to smell the sweet trees and flowers, to feel the warm breeze on my handsome face.
But this morning I am running full speed across the Rotten School campus.
I don’t want to be late.
We have a new teacher. He is taking the place of our old teacher, Mrs. Heinie, and
I want to be there early to welcome him. And to let him know that, yes, I’m a leader at this school. But I’m a leader who is willing to listen to my teacher once in a while.
In other words, I want to suck up to the new guy before Sherman Oaks and his pals get there.
You see, the Rotten School is a boarding school. We all live here on the campus.
I live with my friends in the coolest dorm—an old house called Rotten House.
That rich, spoiled brat, Sherman Oaks, lives in the dorm called Nyce House.
Yuck. Who would want to live in a place called Nyce House? We hate every kid who lives there!
My feet pounded the grass. The School House rose up in front of me. That’s
what we call our classroom building.
A few seconds later, I slipped into my fourth-grade class.
Uh-oh. The room was full. Kids were already in their seats. They turned to watch me as I closed the door behind me.
I stared at the new teacher. Whoa! The dude was a monster! Give me a break! He was at least eight feet tall and built like a truck on top of a truck!
His Rotten School blazer stretched tightly across his massive chest. It looked ready to pop its buttons. I could see muscles rippling up and down his arms.
His name was written in chalk behind him.
I flashed him my best smile, the one with the adorable dimples
“Welcome, sir,” I said. “I know I speak for everyone when I say how happy we
“SHUT UP!” he boomed, so loudly the windows rattled.
I swallowed my gum. He was kinda rude, don’t you think?
His steel blue eyes narrowed in a hard stare. “You’re in trouble,” he growled
I glanced all around. “Huh? Are you talking to me? I’m in trouble?”
What was his problem? What did I do?
He glared at me. “You’re ALMOST late to class.”
“Almost?” I whimpered. “Almost late?”
Was this dude a little weird?
Mr. Skruloose pointed to the floor in front of me. “Soldier, drop down and give me ten,” he ordered.
“Soldier? But my name is Bernie!”
He pointed to the floor. “Drop down and give me ten.”
I blinked. “Ten what?”
“Soldier, give me ten push-ups.”
“I was afraid of that,” I said. I turned to my friend Belzer at the next desk. “Belzer,” I whispered, “drop down and give him ten push-ups for me.”
“No problem,” Belzer said.
Where would I be without good ol’ Belzer?
The kid does everything for me. Brings me breakfast in bed . . . carries my backpack to class . . . It took weeks to put Belzer through his obedience-training. But it was worth it.
Belzer hit the floor and began straining to push his chunky body up. “One . . . uh . . . one and a half . . . one and three-quarters . . .”
“GET UP!” Mr. Skruloose boomed at Belzer. Two of his blazer buttons popped off and flew across the room. He gave me a cold stare. “In my class we do our own push-ups,” he snarled.
I had no choice. I dropped to the floor. “It’s kinda dusty down here, sir,” I said. “Maybe I’d better not do this. Dust always makes me sneeze.”
“SHUT UP!” he roared again. “Give me ten!”
“Could we compromise on three?” I asked
He didn’t answer in words. Just growled.
I took that for a no. I dropped down and started giving him ten.
Skruloose marched back to his desk. Some kids saluted him, and he saluted back.
From down on the floor, I saw Sherman Oaks jump up from his seat in the front row. His parents pay extra so he can always sit in the front row. And they bought him a leopard-skin pillow to put on his chair so his butt doesn’t get tired. I told you Sherman is a spoiled, rich brat.
Sherman walked up to Skruloose and pressed a few hundred-dollar bills into his hand. “Just a welcome present from me and my friends in Nyce House,” Sherman said.
Sherman’s blue eyes twinkled. He handed Mr. Skruloose a shiny, silver pen. “That’s another gift for you. You can use it to write down my name. For when you make the Honor Roll list. It’s Sherman Oaks.”
Mr. Skruloose crinkled up the hundred-dollar bills and shoved them into Sherman’s mouth. “Are you trying to bribe me, soldier?” he boomed.
“MMMMPH-MMMMPH,” Sherman replied.
“You might want to write down my name,” Skruloose said. “My name is Mr. Skruloose. No one from my class ever makes the Honor Roll. I don’t believe in giving good grades.”
Sherman swallowed the hundred-dollar bills with a loud gulp. “You—you can’t do this!” he sputtered. “I’m TOO RICH and too HANDSOME to be treated this way!”
I think that made Skruloose angry. His eyes bulged out of his head, he gritted his teeth, and his face turned the color of a tomato. He waved his meaty fists in the air.
Sherman took the hint. Shaking his head, he slunk back to his seat.
“NINE . . . TEN!” I shouted. I climbed into my seat. Actually, I only did two push-ups—but no one was looking.
Skruloose turned to the class. He loosened his school tie. Even his Adam’s apple had muscles!
“Listen up, soldiers. I’m just a farm boy,” he said. “I come from Heck, Indiana. I guess you could call me The Teacher from Heck.”
A few kids snickered at that. I groaned.
“But you’d better not call me that,” Skruloose said. “I don’t allow jokes in my classroom. And here are a few other things that I don’t allow . . .”
He pulled out a long list and started to read:
“No glancing from side to side. No burping. No yawning. No blinking.
“No pencil-tapping on desks. No eraser-chewing.
“No sneezing. Always breathe through both nostrils.
“Never come almost late to class . . .”
I shook my head. I suddenly knew how to spell Skruloose . . . N-U-T-S!
No lie—he really was The Teacher from Heck!
How did this HAPPEN to us?
How did we lose Mrs. Heinie and get the toughest teacher in the world?
Well . . . it started a few days ago. It was all because of the Water War.
The Teacher From Heck, Copyright © 2006 by Parachute Publishing, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved. HarperCollins Publishers