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Authors: Frieda Wishinsky

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BOOK: Dimples Delight
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“You're right,“ I said. “I can do it! I will do it! Starting tomorrow!”

Chapter Three
Wherever You Go

Today I will ignore Joe, I told myself all the way to school the next day.

Today, no matter what mean, gross names Joe calls me, I will be cold like an iceberg, deaf like a mummy, silent like a grave. Today I will do it!

I strode into class like a cowboy, ready to face the bad guys.

I looked around. No sign of Joe or Andrew.

I bent down to toss my schoolbag in my cubby. Something greasy touched my head. It was Joe. His hair dangled above me like black spaghetti.

He laughed.

“How wide are those dimples?” he said.

I ignored him.

“Come on, Andrew,” said Joe. “Let's measure Lawrence's dimples.”

Joe pulled a ruler out of his schoolbag.

“Voila!” he said, aiming his ruler at me like a sword.

I stood up and, cool as an iceberg, walked to my seat.

Joe was right behind me.

“Scared?” he said, waving his ruler in my face.

Deaf as a mummy, I said nothing.

“Dimple Boy is a chicken,” sang Joe.

Silent as a grave, I did not answer.

Joe began clucking and circling me. He flapped his arms like a crazy chicken. Andrew clucked and flapped too.

I was still deaf and silent, but the cool was going. Fast. No matter how hard I tried not to let it, my face was burning.

The more they clucked and circled, the redder I got.

Lilly and Frank, who sat beside Joe, began to laugh. Sweat poured down my face like hot sauce.

I didn't know how much more I could take.

Ms. Parks walked in. The clucking and flapping stopped.

For the next two hours I was safe.

Then it was recess.

As soon as the bell rang, Stewart dashed over to me.

“Follow me. Run!” Stewart whispered.

Stewart and I ran as fast as we could to the back of the schoolyard. We crawled under some bushes near a big shady maple.

We dropped to the ground.

“Stay here,” said Stewart. “I'll see if we're safe.”

Stewart crawled out to peek. He came back.

“No sign of them,” he said.

“Phew,” I said.

“Want to hear a dinosaur joke?” asked Stewart.

“Sure,” I said.

“Why did the dinosaur paint his toenails ten different colors?”

“I don't know.”

“To hide in the jelly-bean jar,” said Stewart. He began to laugh.

I laughed too. I laughed harder and louder than I'd ever laughed at any dinosaur joke before. Soon Stewart and I were rolling on the ground, laughing.

“What's the matter with Dimples? Has he got ants in his pants?” said a voice.

Stewart and I stopped rolling and laughing.

Joe and Andrew crawled through the bushes.

“Hiding, Dimples?” asked Joe.

“From us?” asked Andrew.

We didn't answer.

“Don't try to hide, Dimples. Wherever you go, we'll find you,” said Joe.

“We'll find you on top of the highest mountain. We'll find you at the bottom of the deepest ocean. We'll find you on the moon. We'll find you in... in...” said Andrew.

“We'll find you in your own room,” said Joe, in a deep gangster voice.

Just then the school bell rang. Recess was over.

Stewart and I stood up.

We began to walk.

Joe and Andrew followed us.

We kept walking.

Joe and Andrew kept following.

We walked down the yard.

We walked up the stairs.

We walked into our classroom.

I sat in my seat and opened my math book.

Ms. Parks began the lesson. No matter how hard I tried to think about division, all I could think of was Joe and Andrew.

I had been cool. I had been deaf. I had been silent. I had ignored all the rotten, mean, disgusting things they had said.

But it hadn't done any good.

Chapter Four
Phone

That night the phone rang.

“Hi, cutie,” said a high voice.

“Who is this?” I shouted.

“Want a kiss?” said the voice, cracking a little. A screechy kiss hissed through the phone.

I slammed it down.

Joe had said he would find me even in my room. And he had.

The phone rang again. I let it ring. Once. Twice. Three times.

“Please answer the phone,” my mother called from the basement.

“I'm sure it's a wrong number,” I called back. The phone rang again.

“It might be important. I can't go to the phone now,” said my mother. “Eloise stuck a wad of toilet paper down the toilet. It's running over.”

The phone rang again. And again. And again. Joe wasn't going to stop.

“Lawrence!” called my mother.

I had no choice. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” I said.

No one answered. I could hear someone breathing.

“Who's there?” I asked.

The breathing got louder. Creepier.

“What do you want?” I shouted.

“You,” said the voice, laughing so loudly that I had to hold the phone away from my ear.

I hung up.

Joe was trying to drive me crazy. Well, he wouldn't. I wouldn't let him. The next time he called, I'd tell him off but good.

“Who was it?” called my mom.

“Wrong number,” I said.

The phone rang again.

Okay. Here goes. I took a long, deep breath. I picked up the phone. “Hello,” I said calmly.

Someone coughed into the phone.

“I know it's you, you big creep,” I said and slammed the phone down.

The phone rang again.

I picked it up.

“Lawrence, what's the matter with you?” said the voice.

The voice did not belong to Joe.

It belonged to my Aunt Molly.

“Did you just call?” I asked.

“Yes, I did, and you called me a creep. How could you? How could you?”

“But Aunt Molly,” I said.

It was too late. She hung up. She called later and told my mother. Mom was angry with me.

“But Mom, please listen,” I said.

At last she did.

“Oh,” she said. “I see. Well, ignore Joe.”

“I have,” I said. “But it's not helping.”

“Give it a little more time. Believe me. He'll grow tired of bugging you.”

Yeah, sure. Maybe when I'm ninety, I thought, but not now. Now he's having too much fun.

Chapter Five
The Rash

When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I thought of was Joe. I didn't want to think about him. But there he was. His face hung over me like a black cloud. His screechy voice rang in my ear like a fire bell.

I blinked and shook my head to get his voice and face out of my mind.

It helped a little, but what helped more was the clock.

Nuts! It was 8:30! I had fifteen minutes to get out of the house and dash to school.

“Breakfast, Lawrence,” my mother called.

“In a minute,” I answered.

I leaped into my jeans and pulled a T-shirt over my head.

I ran to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Then I glanced in the mirror.

”Yikes!” I shrieked.

“What's the matter?” called my mom. She dashed into the bathroom.

I couldn't talk. I could just point to my face.

There, where my dimples usually are, were two large dots, two fire-engine-red dots.

“Eloise!” I gasped. “How could she? How did she?”

“Eloise,” said my mother, “come here, please.” Eloise hopped into the bathroom in her bunny pajamas.

She looked at me and giggled.

“Eloise,” said my mother, “you are never to draw on anyone's face.”

“But Lawrence looks cute like that,” said Eloise. “And I didn't wake him up. He was asleep the whole time.”

“Lawrence does not think he looks cute like that,” said Mom.” Faces are not for drawing. Use paper next time ”

“I didn't have any paper,” Eloise said. She giggled again.

“Ask for paper,” said Mom.

“I couldn't,” said Eloise. “You were sleeping.”

“Mom!” I said. “I'm late. I have to get this stuff off my face.”

Mom handed me a wet washcloth with soap on it.

“It should fade in time. Rub,” she said.

I rubbed. I rubbed up. I rubbed down. I rubbed across. But the more I rubbed, the worse my face looked. The red dots smeared into a mess. I looked like an alien. I looked worse than an alien.

“Hurry up, Lawrence,” called Mom. “It's almost nine.”

I had no choice. I had to leave. I grabbed my bag and ran.

The bell rang as I slid into my seat.

Chapter Six
It's Nothing

“Our first lesson this morning will be science,” said Ms. Parks. She held up a huge picture of a plant. “This is the stem and these are the petals and...

Lawrence, what happened to your face?”

“Nothing, Ms. Parks,” I said.

“You look terrible, Lawrence. I think you should see the nurse.”

“I feel fine. It's nothing,” I said.

“Lawrence, go to the nurse,” Ms. Parks said right back.

As I walked out of the class, I could hear Joe and Andrew laughing.

The nurse's office was down the hall. I walked slowly. I looked at every picture on the wall between my class and her office.

I knocked.

“Come in,” she said.

The nurse was sitting at a desk, writing on cards.

She looked up. “What seems to be the problem?” she asked.

“I have a little rash. It's nothing,” I said.

“Let me take a look,” she said.

She stood up and walked over to me. She peered at my face.

“What did you have for breakfast?”

“A glass of milk,” I said.

“Chocolate milk?”

“No. Plain.”

“What about last night? Potato chips, pretzels, French fries—peanuts?”

“Nothing special or different,” I said.

BOOK: Dimples Delight
6.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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