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Authors: Todd Strasser,John Hughes

Home Alone (2 page)

BOOK: Home Alone
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"It comes to a hundred twenty-two dollars, sir," the kid said, trying to hand Harry the receipt.

"Sorry," said Harry. "But I don't live here."

"Just here for the holidays?" the pizza boy asked.

"Yeah, in a way," Harry said with a smile.

Someone upstairs Yelled "Bombs away!" and a green duffle bag crashed to the floor near Harry.

"Hope you live through it," said the delivery boy.

A fat bald guy came down the stairs. Harry wondered if he was the man of the house. "Excuse me, sir," Harry said. "If I could just—"

"In a minute," Frank said as he took the pizza boxes. "We have an important transaction to accomplish first."

"Yeah, it's a hundred and twenty-two bucks," said the pizza boy.

"My brother'Il get it. This is his house," said Frank. Then he turned toward the stairs and shouted, "Pizza's here!"

A stampede of kids emerged from every corner of the house, followed by a chubby lady.

"Excuse me, ma'am," Harry said, smoothing his hair back. "Are you Mrs. McCallister?"

"Yes," squeaked Aunt Leslie, "but I'm not the Mrs. McCallister who lives here." She went into the kitchen.

"I don't know about you," the pizza delivery boy said to Harry, "But I'm not leaving without my money."

Harry just smiled. With any luck, he'd be back for his tomorrow.

December 21
Oak Park
6:45 P.M.

Kevin didn't hear Uncle Frank's call for pizza because he was in Buzz's room. Buzz was his big brother and he always played his Guns n' Roses tape loud. Buzz was a real teenager with big muscles and a three-inch waxed flattop.

Buzz's room had posters of Bo Jackson and Axl Rose on the walls, and all kinds of weights and baseball gloves and football equipment lying around. On one of Buzz's shelves were a dozen ceramic figurines of famous sports heros like Don Mattingly and Joe Montana.

At that moment Kevin was sitting in the corner because Buzz had told him to sit there and not speak until Buzz gave him permission. Meanwhile Buzz was packing a suitcase and talking to their cousin Rod. Rod was kind of skinny and had pimples. Kevin had heard Megan call Rod a nerd behind his back.

Right now Rod was looking in a glass terrarium at Buzz's pet tarantula, Axl.

"Who's gonna feed your spider while you're gone?" Rod asked.

"He just had a bunch of mice guts," Buzz said. "That should hold him till we get back."

Kevin wondered if Buzz would let him speak now, but Buzz had something else on his mind.

"Hey, Rod," he said. "Is it true that French babes don't shave their pits?"

"Some don't," Rod said.

"And they go to nude beaches?" asked Buzz.

"Not in the winter," said Rod.

"Darn," said Buzz.

Kevin raised his hand.

"Did I tell you to raise your hand?" Buzz barked.

"I have a question," Kevin said.

"Okay, what?" Buzz sighed.

"Can I sleep in your room tonight?" Kevin asked. "I don't wanna sleep in the family room with Fuller because if he has a Pepsi he wets the bed."

"I wouldn't let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my arm," Buzz snapped. He was about to tell Kevin to get lost when he noticed something outside his window.

"Hey, check this out." Buzz pressed his face against the glass. "It's old man Marley."

Kevin felt a shiver of fright. Old man Marley had stringy white hair and a scraggly beard and lived across the street. He wore tattered clothes, shuffled with a limp, and always carried a snow shovel. Just the thought of him made Kevin want to hide in his mother's bed. But he decided to be brave and listen to what Buzz told Rod.

"Who is he?" Rod asked, joining Buzz at the window.

"Ever heard of the South Bend Shovel Slayer?" Buzz asked.

"No."

"Well that's him," said Buzz. "About thirty years ago he murdered his whole family and half the people on his block with a snow shovel. He's been hiding out in this neighborhood ever since."

"If he's the slayer," Rod said, "how come the cops don't arrest him?"

"Lack of evidence," Buzz said. "They never found the bodies. But everyone around here knows he did it. It's just a matter of time before he does it again."

Buzz turned and gave Kevin a scary look. "Right, Kev?"

Kevin backed into the corner and didn't answer.

"What's he doing?" Rod asked, pointing out the window. Marley was standing at the street curb, using the shovel to clear a clogged sewer grate.

"Maybe he dumps the bodies in the sewer," Rod said.

"Naw, he's just trying to fake people out. He hides the bodies in his basement," Buzz said. He turned to Kevin. "You know all those mannequins Mom keeps in our basement?"

Kevln nodded.

"I bet Marley's basement looks just like that," said Buzz. "Except instead of mannequins, they're . . . real . . . dead . . . bodies!"

Kevin's eyes went wide. That was it! He'd heard enough! He was going to find Mom! He ran out the door . . . and ran right into his father. Kevin grabbed his father's leg and held tight. Back in the room, Buzz and Rod were laughing.

Why did everyone laugh? Kevin wondered.

"You look like you've seen a ghost," Peter said.

Kevin just trembled. Peter stuck his head into Buzz's room. "If you played the music lower You'd know the pizza's here."

"Pizza!" Buzz shouted. He and Rod burst out of the room. Peter looked down at Kevin, who still clinging to his leg.

"Hey" there's nothing to be scared of," Peter said.

Kevin shrugged and held tighter to his father's leg.

"I'm looking forward to the day when you're as big as Buzz," Peter said.

"So am I," answered Kevin.

Harry looked at his watch. It was going on forty-five minutes and he still hadn't spoken to an actual responsible head of the household. Two teenagers had recently run past, but neither looked very responsible. Next to him the pizza boy was getting impatient.

"Don't they know time is money?" he asked.

I've got the time, Harry thought, looking around. And they've got the money.

A responsible-looking gentleman now started down the stairs, accompanied by a little kid.

"Excuse me," Harry said. "Are you the Mr. McCallister who actually lives here?"

"Uh, yes," said Peter.

"Great," the pizza boy cut in before Harry could continue. "Because someone owes me a hundred-and-twenty-two bucks."

Kevin stared up at Harry in wonder. He'd never seen a gold tooth before. Harry noticed the kid staring at him funny. It gave him the creeps, but he had to keep up the charade.

"And I need a word with you sir," Harry said.

"My wife will be down in a second," Peter said. "She'll take care of both of you."

Peter and Kevin left. For the first time that evening Harry didn't mind being left alone. He was glad to get rid of that kid.

December 21
Oak Park
7 P.M.

By the time Kevin got to the kitchen, there were open pizza boxes all over the place. Everyone was taking slices and cups of soda.

"Use paper plates, everyone!" Aunt Leslie squeaked. "And don't give Fuller any Pepsi."

Kevin grabbed a plate and headed for the nearest pizza box, but Uncle Frank put out a fat hand and stopped him. "
Parlez-vous fran çais
yet, squirt?"

Everyone stopped talking and stared at Kevin.

"My name isn't squirt," he said. "It's Kevin."

"Yeah," said Frank. "Know what they're gonna call you in France?"

"What?" asked Kevin.

Frank reached around his waist and grabbed hold of his pants. "Yank!" Uncle Frank shouted, yanking down Kevin's pants. Everyone laughed. Kevin quickly pulled up his pants. He was so angry he wanted to punch Uncle Frank in his fat face. But he was hungry so he went for the pizza instead. In the meantime everyone started talking again.

"What time do we have to go to bed?" little Fuller asked, his face smeared red with pizza sauce.

"Early," said Uncle Frank,
his
face also smeared with pizza sauce. "We're leaving at nine A.M. On the button."

"I heard on the news there's a cold front moving in accompanied by high winds," Aunt Leslie squeaked. "I hope the planes aren't delayed."

"Are we taking the cars to the airport?" Heather asked.

"No, the airport limos are going to pick us up," said Peter. . "It's cheaper than leaving three cars in long-term parking."

Kevin wasn't listening. The first pizza box was on the kitchen counter, stuck in among the family passports and a plastic half-gallon milk container. He looked inside, but it was empty. As Kevin headed for the next box his mother came into the kitchen.

"Is everyone drinking up the milk?" she asked. "I want to use it up so it doesn't go bad while we're away."

"Does Santa have to go through customs?" asked Kevin's cousin Brooke, who was six and still sucked her thumb. No one answered her. Peter waved at Kate.

"Honey? The pizza boy needs a hundred and twenty-two bucks," he said.

"For pizza?" Kate looked shocked.

"Ten pizzas times twelve bucks," Uncle Frank said, trying to be helpful.

"Frank?" squeaked Aunt Leslie. "You have money, don't you?"

"Uh, it's all in traveler's checks," Frank said. He popped open a can of Pepsi and poured it into Fuller's glass.

"It's okay, we have cash," Kate said.

By now Kevin had searched all ten pizza boxes. It seemed as if the impossible had occurred.

"Didn't anyone order me a plain cheese pizza?" heasked.

"Yeah," said Buzz, his mouth Packed with pizza. "But if you want any, somebody's gonna have to barf theirs up because it's all gone."

Kevin glared at Buzz. The girls at the table were giggling. Laughing at me, Kevin thought. All they do is laugh at me.

"Hey, Kevin, got a plate?" Buzz asked. Then he opened his mouth and crossed his eyes like he was going to barf.

The girls giggled louder. Kevin felt his cheeks start to burn. That was it!
That was just it
. Kevin charged Buzz and knocked his plate of

pizza slices off the table. As Buzz lunged to catch the slices his elbow hit the plastic milk container on the counter. Milk spilled all over the family's passports.

"The passports!" Peter shouted, jumping up to grab them.

Kevin felt someone grab him, too. It was his mother.

"Napkins," Aunt Leslie was squealing. "Get napkins!"

Everyone was shouting. Uncle Frank slipped and got milk all over his shirt. Peter was holding the passports over the sink, letting the milk drip off them. Kevin tried to fight his way out of his mother's grip, but she held on tight and started to shake him angrily.

"What's the matter with you?" she shouted.

"He started it!" Kevin pointed at Buzz. "He ate my pizza on purpose. He knows I hate sausage and onions and—"

"Look what you did, you little jerk!" Uncle Frank shouted, holding out his wet shirt.

"You get upstairs!" Kate yelled and shook Kevin. "Right this minute!"

"Why?" Kevin shouted back.

"Because you're a disease!" yelled Tracy.

"Shut up!" Kevin yelled at her.

"Get upstairs!" Peter yelled.

Kevin felt his mother yank him by the collar out of the kitchen. He hated them. Every single one!

* * *

"Sounds like a real war," said the pizza boy. Harry nodded and looked at his watch. He was gonna have a war of his own if he didn't get back in the van pretty soon.

Just then an attractive lady came toward them dragging that creepy kid. Harry smoothed his hair back.

"I'm so sorry you had to wait," Kate told the pizza boy. With one hand she kept a firm hold on Kevin. With the other, she handed the boy the pizza money.

"Nice Tip," said the pizza boy. "Have a merry Christmas." He left.

"Uh, ma'am," Harry said, trying to sound super polite.

Kate turned to him. She had a lot on her mind and couldn't deal with anything extra right now. "Look, I'm awfully sorry," she said, "but if it's for some police charity I'm afraid this just isn't the right time. We're all going out of town tomorrow and it's just crazy around here. My husband's brother was transferred to Paris during the summer and his daughter goes to college here and his son is finishing high school and is staying with my brother-in-law"

"l understand, Harry said. I just—"

"So as a Christmas present," Kate continued, "my husband's brother gave us a trip to Paris so we can all be together for the holidays. Anyway we're leaving for Paris in the morning . . ."

"No kidding?" Harry smiled. "All of you? How nice."

"Yes," said Kate. "And I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to go to Paris for the holidays and . . . oh . . . it's Christmastime, what am I saying?"

Still holding on to Kevin's collar, she reached into her bag and came up with twenty dollars.

"Here," she said, handing the money to Harry. "May you and the police department have a merry Christmas."

"Uh, thanks, Mrs. McCallister." Harry stared down at the bills in his hand.

But Kate was already dragging Kevin upstairs. "And now I'm going to have a word with you."

Harry let himself out of the house and strolled across the lawn toward the Van, loosening the collar on his fake police uniform, As he pulled open the door of the van he noticed that Marv was sitting in the driver's seat, shivering.

"Why didn't you keep the heat on?" Harry asked.

"Cause the carbon monoxide seeps in when you just sit," Marv said through chattering teeth. "So it was either die of carbon monoxide poisoning or freeze to death. Now how about telling me why you took so long?"

"They're crazy in there," said Harry. "But the good news is tomorrow morning they're all going to Paris."

"All of 'em?" Marv asked.

"Yeah. So now we know five families on this block are gonna be gone for the holidays," Harry Said. "Only that weird guy Marley's gonna be around and he looks pretty flaky to me."

"So we can rob houses and there'll be no one around to notice," Marv said happily.

"And let me tell you," said Harry, feeling the twenty dollars in his pocket. "That McCallister house is gonna be a good one."

BOOK: Home Alone
9.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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