Authors: L. Bob Rovetch
L. Bob Rovetch
For Niko, who started it all,
and for Kia, who finished it—L.R.
To Maria and Zachary—D.W.
The day I met Hot Dog was just like every other day at Lugenheimer Elementary School. Right up until lunchtime, that is.
“Yum! A cookie, salami, french fry and banana sandwich with chocolate syrup, ketchup and mayo,” said my best friend, Clementine.
“You make the grossest sandwiches,” I said.
“They’re not gross,” said Clementine. “They’re creative. Maybe you should try being a little more creative with
lunch sometime, Bob.”
“No, thanks,” I said. “I’m happy with my—”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t tell me,” said Clementine. “Your peanuts and pizza. You’ve had the exact same lunch every single day since first grade. I just don’t get why you won’t ever try anything new.”
“Some people like new stuff, and some people like the same stuff,” I explained. “I’m a samestuff kind of a guy. Besides, peanuts are cool. And pizza? Well, just one slice of pepperoni pizza contains—”
“I know, I know,” Clementine interrupted me again. “Exactly blah-blah vitamins and blahblah minerals and blah-di-boring-blah, blah, blah!”
Our friend Marco laughed so hard that milk came squirting out of his nose.
On top of being a same-stuff kind of a guy, I guess you could say I’m also a useless-facts kind of a guy. I remember all kinds of useless stuff, like how many teeth great white sharks have (about 3,000). And how much of the Earth is covered by deserts (about one-fifth). My parents say I have a memory like an elephant. I say that’s why I always need to keep plenty of peanuts handy.
Right about then, somewhere between Marco’s nose squirting milk and me totally losing my appetite, I heard it.
“Hey, buddy!” a strange voice called. “Would ya hurry up and open this thing? I could use a little air in here.”
“What did you say?” I asked Clementine.
“I didn’t say anything,” Clementine replied.
“Was that you?” I asked Marco.
“Was what me?” Marco asked, wiping milk off his shirt.
“That voice,” I said. “Where did that weirdsounding voice come from?”
“In here!” the voice shouted. “Open up your stinkin’ lunch box!”
“Whoa! That was a good one,” I said to Marco. “How’d you learn to talk without moving your mouth like that?”
“Dude, I told you I didn’t say anything,” said Marco.
I knew no one could actually be talking to me from inside my lunch box, but I opened it anyway. And that’s when my life changed forever. Someone actually
talking to me from inside my lunch box. And that someone was a hot dog!