The sun was shining. Birds twittered in the apple trees. As I trotted across the sparkling, green lawn, I sang to myself, my new favorite song. . . .
“I love Bernie Bridges,
Bernie is the one who has fun.
Go, Bernie! Go, Bernie!
La-duh-da-duh-da whatever rhymes with Bridges.”
Yes, I was making it up as I went along. I always write songs in my head. And they’re usually about one of my favorite people in the whole world—ME.
Come on, dudes—if you were popular and good-looking and smart—who would you sing about?
And today I had a lot to sing about.
For one thing, I love being at Rotten School. You poor thing. You probably have to go home every day after school. But Rotten School is a boarding school. I get to live at school in a dorm with all my friends—and NO PARENTS!
Cool enough for you?
Another reason I was singing: I was on my way to the girls’ dorm to find April-May June. April-May June is the hottest, coolest, dreamiest, drooliest, babe-alicious girl on campus.
She’s my girlfriend. Only she doesn’t know it yet. She doesn’t have a clue that we were meant for each other. But she definitely can’t resist me.
Who can resist Bernie B.?
“Go, Bernie! Go, Bernie!”
La-la-la something that rhymes with Bernie . . .”
Don’t you wish you could write songs off the top of your head like that?
Another reason I was singing? It was almost time for the party of the year. The All-Nighter. One of the great Rotten School traditions. Maybe you guessed from the name—the party goes ALL NIGHT LONG! We don’t go to sleep till the sun comes up.
“Go, Bernie! Go, Bernie!”
I knew April-May wanted to spend that special night with only one special person—Bernie B.
So I was trotting across the Great Lawn. I sang to myself and watched the girls come out of their tall, white dorm.
Suddenly I heard a deafening cry behind me:
I stopped singing and hit the ground hard.
I landed on my stomach. My breath shot out in a painful whoosh! With a groan, I spun around and glanced behind me.
I saw my friend Feenman running across the grass. He was hugging a big, brown duck in his arms. The duck was quacking its head off and snapping at Feenman’s ears.
“Duck, Bernie!” he shouted.
I pushed myself to my feet. I brushed off the knees of my khakis. “Feenman,” I said, “where did you get that duck?”
“I found it,” he said.
The duck honked and chewed off a big hunk of Feenman’s brown hair.
“You’d better set it free,” I said. “It doesn’t like you.”
Feenman’s mouth dropped open. “Set it free? But I found it! It’s mine!”
Feenman is not the brightest candle on the cake. If we are talking brains, the duck would win.
Feenman squeezed the duck a little too hard. It dropped a disgusting mess onto his shoes.
“Bernie, are you going to the hard-boiled-egg-eating contest Friday?” Feenman asked. “Are you gonna bet on Beast?”
Our friend Beast can eat anything. Last year he ate forty-two hard-boiled eggs before he barfed his guts out.
I made a ton of money betting on the dude.
“I don’t have time for the contest,” I said. “I’ve got to find April-May. I want to go with her to the All-Nighter.”
“It’s a girl-ask-boy party,” Feenman said. “If a girl doesn’t ask you, you can’t go!”
“April-May is desperate to ask me,” I said. “She just doesn’t know it yet.”
The duck snapped off another hunk of Feenman’s hair. “Did you hear what they are planning?” he asked. “A huge barbeque. A soccer game on R.U. Dumm Field—boys against girls. Then a three-legged race across Pooper’s Pond. And a treasure hunt in the dark for BIG prizes.”
I rubbed my hands together. “I gotta get to that party,” I said. “I have a special reason. I’ll show you why.”
I saw my buddy Belzer staggering under the two huge cartons he was carrying for me. You don’t expect Bernie B. to carry two fifty-pound cartons, do you?
“Belzer—come over here!” I shouted.
He stumbled forward. “Hunh-hunh-hunh.” He was gasping for breath. “Hunh-hunh.” Sweat poured off his pudgy face.
“Okay. You can set ’em down for a minute,” I said.
Belzer lowered the cartons. Then he fell facedown onto the grass in a dead faint.
“Feenman, put down the duck,” I said. “Check this out.”
He hugged the duck tighter. “Maybe we can cook it,” he said.
“Feenman, we’re kids—remember? Kids don’t cook duck.”
He nodded. “Yeah. You’re right. I don’t wanna eat duck, anyway. All those feathers would get stuck in my teeth.”
“Drop it,” I said. “Before it drops another pile of plop onto your shoes.”
Oops. Too late.
Feenman finally opened his arms and set the duck free. It tore across the grass, flapping and squawking.
“Feenman, come over here,” I said. I tugged open one of the cartons. “This is why I’ve gotta get to the All-Nighter. Check this out. . ..”
Party Poopers, Copyright © 2006 by Parachute Publishing, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved. HarperCollins Publishers