How to Get the Friends You Want (12 page)

BOOK: How to Get the Friends You Want
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I carried him up to the front and put him gently on the judges' table.

I explained that he was a house rabbit, so he was used to being around people.

‘He's very tame,' said Mrs Mayhew-Carter, stroking his ears.

Rory MacAteer hesitated, but then he reached out and stroked Dennis too. I could see that they liked him but they didn't say how beautiful he was or anything like that, so I decided to take a chance.

‘He can do tricks,' I said. They didn't look convinced.

I had some rabbit treats in my pocket. They were in a tin so Pookie wouldn't be able to smell them. I gave one to Dennis and he gobbled it up. Then I took out another one and placed it gently on his nose. He sat completely still. He didn't try to eat it.

Way to show up poor old Pookie the pig!

Chapter 17
The First Cabbage Cake and the Friends you Want

You know when something so incredible happens that you actually can't believe it's true?

But then your family and friends come round your house for a celebration tea and, sitting down to eat the world's first cabbage cake, you suddenly realise it is?

Well that's what happened to me when Dennis won Best in Show at the Polgotherick Pet Parade.

I thought the game was up when the judges awarded Best Small Pet to Gilligan the hamster but I didn't mind. Dennis had done his best and I was proud of him.

But then Mrs Mayhew-Carter said, ‘So now we come to the top prize, Best in Show, and we have decided to award it to Dennis the rabbit, who we feel could teach certain other animals rather a lot about nice manners!'

She shot Pookie a dirty look and Rory MacAteer glared at Heavenly Honeybun.

‘Dennis is also the only rabbit we have ever seen who can do tricks, so we find him a most intelligent rabbit.'

It was nothing to do with intelligence, of course, it was just his rabbit nature, but I wasn't going to point that out. We went up to collect our prize. It was a silver cup with ‘Polgotherick Pet Parade – Best in Show' engraved on it and a red rosette.

Mrs Mayhew-Carter handed me the cup and Rory MacAteer tried to rest the rosette on Dennis's front paws for the photographer. Dennis grabbed it in his teeth and started to eat it. I tried to get it off him, but he wasn't going to lose it like he did his good luck card. The photo in the Three Towns Gazette later in the week was of me trying to wrestle it off him.

Sasha, Tammy and Abina came up to congratulate me.

‘Everyone's coming back to my house for tea,' I said. ‘Would you like to come?'

They looked at each other in embarrassment.

‘We've got tickets for the new Vampire Girl movie,' Sasha said. ‘Sorry we forgot to tell you.'

I didn't mind – I was really glad! I didn't want to see Vampire Girl 2. I wanted to take Dennis home and make a fuss of him. I wanted to talk about the day with Toby and Jess, and find out how much money Becky had made for the RSPCA on her stall.

Mum said she had already made a special celebration cake because she had always been sure Dennis was going to win. It was a cabbage cake.

Gran remarked that she had never heard of cabbage cake and Mum said it was her own recipe, like carrot cake, but with cabbage.

‘I've got three more cabbages to use up,' she said. ‘You can take one home if you like.'

‘Ooh, lovely!' goes Gran, but you could tell she didn't share Mum's enthusiasm for winter vegetables.

So there we all were, squashed in around the kitchen table, me, Becky, Jess and Toby, Mum and Dad, Primrose and Matt, Gran, Jane and
Mr Kaminski, eating cabbage cake and toasting Dennis's victory with fizzy lemonade.

And it suddenly hit me that this wasn't just a wonderful dream. Dennis really had won the top prize, we really were eating a cake made with cabbage, and I really had somehow managed to get all the friends I had offended back again.

‘Have you missed your conference call with the agony aunts now, or are you doing it later?' Gran asked Dad. He shook his head.

‘I don't think I'll be doing any more conference calls,' he said. ‘The agony aunts are lovely, but they've got people skills and stuff, which I can't do at all, so we just don't really fit as friends.'

Dad said he reckoned friends were like shoes. You could have lots of pairs in the cupboard – your favourite trainers you wore most days and all the other ones you only wore sometimes like suit shoes, deck shoes or sandals.

But the point was, all your shoes had to fit. The ones you bought by mistake thinking they might stretch or your feet might get used to them – you always ended up taking them down to the charity shop.

Dad said he thought he had worked out how to get the friends who fit. Just be yourself, and then you would attract people who liked you the way you were and enjoyed the same sort of things.

We stared at him in astonishment, and then Gran said what we were all thinking.

‘It looks like some of those people skills might have rubbed off!'

Will Primrose manage to squeeze into her
dress? Will Dad cope when Ed tells him he's got
to write a book? And will Peony get fit enough to
go on a big adventure with Toby and Jess?
Find out what happens next in:

How to Get the Body you Want by Peony Pinker

And don't miss Peony's first two stories:

First published 2011 by
A & C Black
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP
www.acblack.com

This electronic edition published October 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Text copyright © 2011 Jenny Alexander Illustrations copyright © 2011 Ella Okstad

The right of Jenny Alexander and Ella Okstad to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work respectively has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

ISBN 978-1-4081-6589-8

A CIP catalogue for this book is available from the British Library.

All rights reserved.You may not copy, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (including without limitation electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

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BOOK: How to Get the Friends You Want
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