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Authors: Dan Gutman

Ms. Coco Is Loco! (2 page)

BOOK: Ms. Coco Is Loco!
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3
Sit Around and Do Nothing Month

The next morning at the school store, they were selling cool pens that light up. I counted the coins in my pocket—just enough money to buy lunch and nothing else. Bummer in the summer! I wish I brought my lunch from home, like I did in the good old days. Then I could use
my lunch money to buy a pen. But if I brought lunch from home, I wouldn't have lunch money at all.

Well, anyway, all I had was enough money for lunch. And if I didn't eat lunch, I'd starve and die.

When I got to Miss Daisy's class, guess who poked his head in the door? Nobody! Because if you poked your head in a door, it would hurt. But Mr. Klutz poked his head in the door
way
. He is our principal, and he has no hair. Mr. Klutz's head is so shiny, you can
see
yourself in it. He must polish it or something.

Mr. Klutz is nuts.

“I have exciting news!” he said.

“Mr. Klutz said he has an exciting nose,” I whispered to Neil Crouch, who we call Neil the nude kid even though he wears clothes.

“April is National Poetry Month!” said Mr. Klutz. “I thought of a great way to celebrate. If the students of Ella Mentry School write a thousand poems in April, I'll invite a real live poet to visit us. Isn't that exciting?”

“Yes!” yelled all the girls.

“No!” yelled all the boys.

A real live poet? I thought poets all died a long time ago.

“How about five hundred poems?” Michael asked.

“One thousand poems,” Mr. Klutz said. “That's my final offer. Deal or no deal?”

“Deal!” yelled all the girls.

“No deal!” yelled all the boys.

Mr. Klutz loves challenging us to see what we can accomplish.

After he left, it was time for me and Andrea to go to Ms. Coco's room.

“Arlo, did you know that a beaver can hold its breath for five minutes?” Andrea asked as we walked down the hall. “And that bats sleep upside down in trees?”

Ugh. She must have finished the letter
B
in her encyclopedia.

“Sure,” I lied. “Any dumbhead knows that stuff.”

Ms. Coco came running in just as we reached the G and T room.

“Sorry I'm late,” she said. “I had to fix my hair.”

“Why, was it broken?” I asked.

“That's mean!” said Andrea.

“I think it's clever,” said Ms. Coco. “To fix hair is to comb it, and you fix a machine when it breaks. A.J. thought creatively. That's why I selected him for the gifted and talented program.”

“Thank you!” I said, and then I stuck my tongue out at Andrea.

“I'm so excited about National Poetry Month!” said Ms. Coco. “Did you two write your homework poems?”

“I did!” Andrea said, all excited. “My poem is called ‘The Happy Hippo.' I worked on it all night.”

Andrea loves animals. She read her
poem about some hippos that have a dumb tea party. It was totally lame.

“Lovely,” said Ms. Coco when Andrea finished. “Let's hear your poem, A.J.”

So I read my poem:

 

“I like to sit 'round and do nothing.

Just sit and do nothing at all.

I don't want to talk. I don't want to walk.

I don't want to play with a ball.

I don't want to eat or play with my feet

Or work up a sweat or fly in a jet.

If I could just sit and do nothing

Just sit there and clear my head

I'd be the happiest person

Except that, of course, I'd be dead.”

I wasn't sure if Ms. Coco would like the ending or not. Teachers don't usually go for dead stuff. But when I looked up, there were tears running down her cheeks.

“That's the saddest poem I've ever heard!” she said, grabbing a tissue to wipe her face.

“Huh?” I said.

“A.J., your poem was simple, yet it was so moving. So honest. So free.”

I didn't know what she was talking about. It was just a dumb poem. I wrote it in five minutes during the commercials while I watched TV.

“What about
my
poem?” asked Andrea.

“Yours was nice too, Andrea,” said Ms. Coco. Then she took another tissue and started crying again.

Miss Smarty Pants Know-It-All crossed her arms and looked all mad. I guess she was angry because Ms. Coco liked my poem better than her dumb hippo poem.

Well, nah-nah-nah boo-boo on her.

4
Shakespeare Was a Dumbhead

When I got to school the next day, there was a big
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
tote board on the front lawn. It said the kids of Ella Mentry School wrote two hundred poems already!

I didn't get it. I mean, I could see writing lots of poems if we were going to get
a chocolate party or a video games night or something cool. But to have a poet visit our school? No thanks.

After we pledged the allegiance, Miss Daisy said our homework for April was to write one poem everyday. Ms.

Coco was going to publish a
National Poetry Month book with some of our best poems in it.

“Isn't that exciting?” Miss Daisy asked.

“Yes!” yelled all the girls.

“No!” yelled all the boys. Just the thought of writing something every day made me wrinkle up my nose like I smelled something bad.

“What's the matter, A.J.?” asked Miss Daisy.

“I hate poetry,” I said.

“‘Hate' is not a nice word,” Miss Daisy said. “You shouldn't say that.”

“Then I strongly dislike poetry,” I said. “I despise poetry. I detest it. I loathe it. I—”

“That's enough, A.J.,” said Miss Daisy.

Just then, a poem popped into my brain:

 

I hate poetry.

Poetry is dumb.

It's hard to write poems

When you're chewing gum.

 

Genius poems like that come into my brain all the time. I can't stop them! I guess that's why I'm in the gifted and talented program.

I was going to think up another verse, but it was time for me and Andrea to go see Ms. Coco again.

“Arlo, did you know that camels have
three eyelids?” Andrea said as we walked to the G and T room. “And cats see six times better than humans at night. And all clams start out as males, but some of them become females later.”

Ugh. She must have finished the letter
C
in her encyclopedia.

“Any dumbhead knows that stuff,” I said.

When we got to Ms. Coco's room, she was crying again. Nobody had even read her a poem. I figured Ms. Coco's dog must have died or something.

“What's wrong?” asked Andrea.

“When I woke up this morning, I saw the most beautiful sunrise,” Ms. Coco
said. “I don't know what came over me. It just made me want to cry.”

Man, that lady will cry over
anything
. She's worse than Emily.

“What's so sad about a sunrise?” I asked.

“Wouldn't a beautiful sunrise make
you
cry, A.J.?” Ms. Coco asked.

“No,” I said.

“A sunrise could make
me
cry,” said Andrea, who always agrees with everything grown-ups say.

“I might cry if I woke up and the sun
didn't
rise,” I said.

Then the weirdest thing in the history of the world happened. Ms. Coco started singing!

“‘Feelings,'” she sang, “‘nothing more than feelings…'”

Ms. Coco is loco!

Andrea must have known the song too, because she started singing along with Ms. Coco. It was horrible. Neither of them is gifted or talented when it comes to singing, believe me. I thought I was gonna die.

Finally, they finished the song.

“A.J., I want you to explore your feelings,” said Ms. Coco. “It will make you a better poet.”

“Boys don't have feelings,” Andrea said. “They
just like to play sports and punch each other.”

“Of course boys have feelings,” said Ms. Coco. “They just hide them sometimes. You have feelings, don't you, A.J.?”

“Sure I do,” I said. “The other day some kid stole my football, and I felt like punching him.”

Andrea rolled her eyes.

“I have an idea,” Ms. Coco said. “Let's write poems about feelings!”

Ugh! What is her problem? Every time I say anything about
anything
, Ms. Coco makes me write a poem about it.

She gave us each a piece of paper and a pencil. I didn't have any genius ideas.
So this is what I wrote:

 

My feelings are written on the ceiling.

But the paint is peeling off the ceiling.

So my feelings are not that revealing.

It's hard to have no feelings,

But I'm dealing.

 

At that point, I ran out of words that rhymed with “feelings,” so I stopped writing.

“You know, A.J.,” Ms Coco said as she took a book off her shelf, “poems don't
have
to rhyme.”

“They don't?”

“No,” Ms. Coco said. “Listen to this.”
And she read a poem from the book:

“To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,

To smooth the ice, or add another hue

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light”

Ms. Coco sighed.

“That was beautiful!” said Andrea. “Who wrote it?”

“William Shakespeare,” replied Ms. Coco.

“Who's he?” I asked.

“Only the most famous writer in the world!” Andrea said.

“Well, he was a dumbhead,” I said.
“That poem made no sense at all.”

“Poems don't always have to make sense,” said Ms. Coco. “Sometimes they just paint a word picture.”

What?! Poems don't have to rhyme
and
they don't even have to make sense? That just proves my point—poetry is dumb. You could put a bunch of words in
any
old order and call them a poem.

Suddenly I got the greatest idea in the history of the world.

But I'm not going to tell you what it was.

Okay, okay, I'll tell you. But you'll have to read the next chapter.

Ha-ha. In your face!

BOOK: Ms. Coco Is Loco!
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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