Authors: Dan Gutman
“Election Day is coming up,” said Mr. Klutz, who has no hair at all. “To help you learn about democracy, we're going to have elections at Ella Mentry School! Each of you will get to vote for one of your classmates to be president of your grade.
Doesn't that sound like fun?”
“Yes!” shouted all the girls.
“No!” shouted all the boys.
Then Mr. Klutz told us about democracy.
“In a democracy,” he said, “all people have an equal say blah blah blah blah equality and freedom blah blah blah blah liberty blah blah blah blah Constitution blah blah blah blah majority rule blah blah blah blah the right to vote blah blah blah blah freedom of speech blah blah blah blah and whoever gets the most votes is the winner.”
While Mr. Klutz was talking, kids started making faces, doodling in their notebooks, and shooting rubber bands
at each other. I thought I was gonna die from old age.
But you'll never believe who came running into the door while Mr. Klutz was talking.
Nobody! It would hurt if you ran into a door! But you'll never believe who came running into the
It was Mayor Hubble!
“I thought Mayor Hubble was in jail,” whispered Andrea.
. What happened was that gold had been discovered in our playground, and Mayor Hubble tried to steal it. But he was caught and sent to prison. We were all surprised to see him. He came bounding up onto the stage followed by three bodyguards. They were big guys with necks that were almost as thick as their heads.
“Mayor Hubble!” said Mr. Klutz. “To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?
I thought you were in jail.”
“I got time off for good behavior,” Mayor Hubble said. “So I'm running for mayor again. I hope all the parents of your students will vote for me.”
He made peace signs with both hands and waved them in the air while everybody clapped.
“Why is Mayor Hubble making the
shut-up peace sign?” I asked.
“That's not the shut-up peace sign, Arlo!” Andrea said, rolling her eyes. She calls me by my real name because she knows I don't like it. “He's making the V-for-Victory sign.”
It looked just like the shut-up peace sign. If you ask me, they should have three different signs for “peace,” “victory,” and “shut up.” It would be a lot less confusing.
I made a peace sign and stuck it in Andrea's face. But it didn't mean “peace” and it didn't mean “victory.”
Later, we were having lunch in the vomitorium. That's a room that used to be called the cafetorium until some first grader threw up in there last year. Andrea and her girlie girl friends were sitting at the table next to us. Me and the guys let Alexia sit at our table because she's cool.
“Guess what?” Andrea said really loudly, so everybody would have to hear. “I decided that I'm going to run for president of the third grade!”
All the girls were hugging her and telling Andrea that she would make a great president.
“After I win the election,” Andrea said, “I was thinking that we should have a dress code at Ella Mentry School. If we all wore uniforms, it would be easier to pick out our clothes in the morning.”
“That's a great idea!” said Emily, who thinks all of Andrea's ideas are great.
“I really think we can make this school a better place,” said Andrea.
“Hey, if you want to make the school a better place,” I yelled to her, “why don't you switch to another school?”
“Oh, snap!” said Ryan.
“That's mean, Arlo!”
After lunch we went outside for recess. The guys and Alexia pulled me over to the corner by the monkey bars, where Andrea and her girlie girl friends couldn't hear us.
“The president rules the school, y'know,” said Michael. “I don't want Andrea being in charge.”
“I don't want to wear a uniform,” said Alexia.
“Andrea will probably turn the school into a prison,” said Ryan.
“It's gonna be horrible,” said Neil the nude kid. “We need somebody to run against Andrea.”
“Yeah,” everybody agreed.
I looked around. Michael was looking at me. Ryan was looking at me. Alexia was looking at me. Neil was looking at me.
was looking at me!
“What are you looking at me for?” I asked.
“You should run for president of the third grade, A.J.,” said Alexia.
“Yeah!” everybody agreed.
“Why?” I asked. “I don't want to be president. That's for nerds.”
“A.J., if you don't run, Andrea will become president,” said Michael. “She's going to make us wear uniforms and turn the school into a prison.”
“She'll probably close the boys' bathroom
and make us hold it in all day,” said Ryan.
“So why don't one of
guys run?” I asked.
“You're the only one who can beat her,
A.J.,” said Neil the nude kid.
“Well, I don't want to run,” I said.
“A.J.,” said Michael, “if you don't want to run against Andrea, that means you must be in love with her.”
“That's right,” everybody agreed.
“What?” I shouted. “It does not! It just means I don't want to be president.”
Ryan said. “A.J. doesn't want to run against Andrea. They must be in
“When are you and Andrea gonna get married?” asked Michael.
I said. “Okay! Okay! I'll run for president of the third grade.”
If those guys weren't my best friends, I would hate them.
We needed to have a meeting in a place where Andrea and her girlie girl friends couldn't spy on us. Ryan has a cool tree house in his backyard, so we decided to meet up there. Michael, Neil, and Alexia came over to Ryan's house after school.
“I don't know anything about elections,” I told the gang. “How am I going to beat Andrea? Does anybody have any ideas?”
“You need a slogan,” suggested Alexia. “Like, âA.J. Puts the
“You should get the No Bell Prize for that,” I said.
“How about, âA.J. Puts the
in School'?” suggested Michael.
“That doesn't make any sense,” said Ryan. “There's no
in the word âschool.'”
“We should make a commercial and put it on TV during the Super Bowl,” suggested Neil the nude kid.
“The Super Bowl is in January,” said
Michael. “It's too late. The election is in November.”
“How about we make one of those Batman signs and project it on the sky at night?” suggested Ryan.
“That's dumb,” I told him.
“Hey, nobody likes to floss, right?” said Alexia. “So what if we knock on people's doors, show them how to floss correctly, and tell them to vote for A.J.?”
“That's the dumbest idea in the history of the world,” said Neil the nude kid.
“Well, I'm stumped,” said Michael.
“Your legs were amputated?” I asked.
“No, dumbhead,” he replied. “Stumped meansâ”
But he didn't get the chance to finish his sentence. You'll never believe in a million hundred years whose head popped up into the tree house at that moment.