Read Ms. Coco Is Loco! Online

Authors: Dan Gutman

Ms. Coco Is Loco! (3 page)

BOOK: Ms. Coco Is Loco!
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My Secret Poetry Writing System

I knew you'd keep reading.

When I got home, I looked through my closet for the big box of spelling flash cards my grandma gave me for my birthday.

You know what flash cards are, right? Each card has one word on it. You're
supposed to use the cards to help you remember how to spell. I used them to build a tower instead. It was cool. Then I put them in the back of my closet.

I opened the box and took out a stack of cards. I figured if poems don't have to rhyme, then it's easy to write one. And if poems don't even have to make sense, you can just take any words and put them in any order and call it a poem.

So I took the stack of flash cards and threw it up in the air.

The cards flew all over the place and fluttered to the floor. I scooped up a bunch of them and wrote the words down in order:


Underground idea still afraid,

Bright holiday promise,

Grandfather curious,

Pretty puddle discovered seem asleep,

Think lucky picnic,

Pretend deep secret.


Hey! Not bad! It sounded like a real poem. I called it “Deep Secret.”

That was easy! I had made the most important discovery in the history of the world—any dumbhead can write poetry.

What a scam. I finished my poem of the day in a few minutes. That left more time to do the important things in life—like playing video games, watching TV,
and sitting around doing nothing.

Teachers always love it when you do extra homework. So I scooped up a bunch of flash cards and wrote another poem:


Someone only fired

Should soft become hammer,


Because awkward autumn

Sudden neighbor remain,


Glow shadow oatmeal

Tomorrow window people.


I called that poem “Tomorrow's Window People.”

Wow! Writing poetry is a piece of cake! I should get the No Bell Prize. But I decided not to tell anybody about my genius discovery. It would be my secret.


The Kindergarten Trolls

The next morning the tote board said we were up to five hundred poems. Miss Daisy was surprised when she collected our homework and I handed her two poems. Michael said he couldn't think of a poem, so he didn't do his homework. Ryan didn't turn one in either.

“Miss Daisy,” said Mrs. Patty over the loudspeaker, “please send Andrea and A.J. to Ms. Coco's room.”

As we walked down the hall, Andrea said, “Arlo, did you know that elephants are the only animals that have four knees?”

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

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

“Soon I'll know everything in the whole world,” Andrea bragged.

Yeah, everything except how not to be annoying.

We finally got to Ms. Coco's room, so
Andrea had to stop telling me how smart she is.

“I have a great idea,” Ms. Coco said. “I'm going to send you two into the kindergarten class to read your poems! It will show the kids that in only a few short years, they'll be reading and writing just like you.”

“That's a great idea!” said Andrea, who never misses the chance to brownnose a teacher.

It sounded like a dumb idea to me. Those little kindergarten trolls are weird. Michael has a brother in kindergarten who picks his nose and puts it on the wall.

Ms. Coco handed each of us one of our poems and walked us to the kindergarten class. The trolls were sitting on the floor. Michael's brother, Andrew, waved to me. Man, kindergarten kids are
! A few of them looked like they could fit inside my backpack. They were all wearing name tags.

“Aren't they adorable, Arlo?” Andrea whispered. “I just want to hug them.”

Ugh. I didn't want to touch them. They'd probably wipe their snot on me.

“Children,” said the kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Chan, “we have two special visitors in our class today. Say hello to Andrea and A.J.”

“Hello, Andrea and A.J.,” the kids
repeated, like they were robots.

“In honor of National Poetry Month,” Ms. Coco said, “Andrea and A.J. are going to read you poems they've written. Someday, when you're older, maybe you'll come back to kindergarten and read to the class, just like Andrea and A.J.”

Ms. Coco and Mrs. Chan said they had to step out in the hall for a few minutes to talk to each other. The trolls stared at me and Andrea like zombies.

“A.J.'s real name is Arlo Jervis,” Andrea told them.

“Andrea's real name is Underwear Face,” I said, and all the kids laughed.

Andrea made a mean face at me, and then she read a poem to the kids about bunnies. It was lame, of course, and a total rip-off of
Peter Rabbit
. The trolls were barely paying attention anyway. They were poking each other, rolling around on the floor, and drooling. Andrew was just sitting there playing with his face. What is his problem?

After Andrea finished, the trolls clapped. But they were only clapping because they know you're supposed to clap when somebody finishes reading something.

It was my turn. The grown-ups were still out in the hall. I looked at the poem Ms. Coco gave me to read. It was my
poem about sitting around and doing nothing. But I decided not to read it.

“Did you like Andrea's poem?” I asked the trolls.

“Yes!” they all said.

“Well, I wrote a poem about a bunny too,” I said. “Do you want to hear it?”

“Yes!” they all said. So I made this up on the spot:


“Hippity-hop, hippity-hop.

The bunny hopped into its bed.

But we set a trap, and that was that.

And soon the poor bunny was dead.

Then we ate it.

The end.”


“A.J.!” Andrea yelled.

I didn't think those trolls were paying any attention, but as soon as I finished the poem, they were all crying.

“You ate the bunny?” this girl named Julie asked, tears running down her face. “That's a mean poem!” a boy named Mark yelled. “I'm going to tell on you!”

“Look what you did, A.J.!” Andrea said. “You got them all upset!”

“Okay, okay,” I told the trolls. “Listen, if you don't tell on me, I'll give you all candy.”

“Yay!” the trolls cheered, and they stopped crying right away. What a bunch of fakers!

Kindergarten kids will fall for anything. The only problem was, I didn't have any candy. But I figured all I had to do was distract them, and they'd forget all about it.

“Hey,” I said, “do you kids know what you get when you add two plus two?”

This kid named Robbie raised his hand, so I called on him.

“I like cheese,” he said.

I slapped my head. These trolls were really dumb!

of you know what two plus two is?” I asked.

Some girl named Madison raised her hand, and I called on her.

“Yesterday I ate a booger,” she said.

I couldn't believe how dumb these trolls were. There's no way I was that dumb when I was in kindergarten.

“Math is hard for little kids, Arlo,” Andrea said. “But I'll bet they're learning how to spell. Can any of you spell the word ‘cat'?”

“I have a cat!” Andrew said.

“Me too!” some girl said.

“My cat's name is Pumpkin,” some other girl said.

“My fish died,” some boy said, and he started to cry.

Soon all the trolls were yelling out the names of their pets and telling stories about them. I was starting to get a headache.

Luckily that's when Ms. Coco and Mrs. Chan came back in the room.

“So, how did it go?” Ms. Coco asked.

“Great!” Andrea said.

“When do we get our candy?” asked Robbie.

“What candy?” asked Mrs. Chan.

“We need to get back to class now,” I said as I headed for the door.

Man, I was sure those trolls would
forget about the candy! Maybe they aren't such dumbheads after all.

“We want candy!” the kids started chanting. “WE WANT CANDY!”

It looked like they were going to start a riot! We got out of there just in time.

Me and Andrea were going to walk back to Miss Daisy's class together, but Ms. Coco stopped me in the hall.

“A.J., may I talk with you in private?” she asked.


Andrea stuck her tongue out at me.

“You're in trouble, Arlo!” she said.

The Worst Poem in the History of the World

Ms. Coco took me back to the G and T room. She didn't say a word as we walked down the hall. She must have been really mad.

I knew I was in big trouble. Ms. Coco must have found out that I made up a poem about eating bunnies. She must
have known that I offered the kids candy to keep them quiet.

But when we got to the G and T room, the most amazing thing in the history of the world happened. Ms. Coco put her arms around me and gave me a hug!

“A.J.,” she said, “I think you're a genius!”


“I've been looking over the poems you wrote for Miss Daisy's class,” Ms. Coco said, “and they are incredible! They moved me to tears! In all my years of teaching, I have never met a child with such raw talent!”

“Huh?” I said.

“Miss Daisy gave me this,” said Ms.
Coco, handing me a sheet of paper. “You wrote this, didn't you?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” It was one of those dumb poems I made up by throwing flash cards in the air.

!” Ms. Coco cried. “I never thought someone so young could write such brilliant poetry! You need to share your gift with the world, A.J. You should become a poet when you grow up.”

“I want to be a dirt bike racer,” I said.

“You can be a dirt bike racer who writes poetry!” said Ms. Coco. “You are a young flower. I must water you and give you sunshine to help you grow and bloom.”

Then she hugged me again and started to cry.

Ugh! Gross! I thought I was gonna die. Ms. Coco was sure to tell everybody what a great poet I was. Do you know what that can do to a kid's reputation? If the guys started thinking I was a great poet, they wouldn't let me play football with them anymore. They wouldn't let me play roller hockey with them anymore.

I wouldn't be cool A.J. anymore.

I'd be Arlo the Poet.

There was only one thing I could do—run away to Antarctica and live with the penguins. Penguins are cool, and they wouldn't care that I was a gifted and talented nerd who wrote poetry.

But wait! That's when I got another great idea. If I could write really
poetry, then I could write really
poetry too. I could write a poem that was
bad, Ms. Coco would change her mind about me.

All I had to do was write the worst poem in the history of the world!

That night I sat down at my desk and made a list of words and stuff that grown-ups hate. Then I put all the words
together into a poem. It was hard work. But finally I was finished:


Butt cheeks and belly button lint,

Fart burgers on toast.

I like to eat toenail clippings

And earwax the most.

Dumbheads and idiots

And morons I hate.

Armpits and dog doo

And snot on my plate.


There were a few more verses like that, but you get the point. I did it! I had written the worst poem in the history of the world!

The next morning, while the other kids were hanging around the school store, I went to Ms. Coco's room. She was looking in a mirror and putting stuff on her face.

“I wrote a new poem last night,” I told her. “Will you read it?”

“Of course!” she said excitedly.

I handed her the poem. Ha-ha-ha! My troubles would soon be over. Ms. Coco would probably kick me out of the gifted and talented program. Maybe with a little luck, I'd even get kicked out of school. Then I really could sit around and do nothing all day!

Ms. Coco finished reading the poem. She looked at me.

“I love it,” she said.


Then she started singing that “Feelings” song again.

“This is exactly what I was hoping for!” she said when she finished singing. “A.J., you're finally letting your true
inner feelings come out. You're expressing yourself.”



Then she started crying and singing and hugging me again.

Man, what was I supposed to do? No matter what I wrote, Ms. Coco loved it.

My life was over.

BOOK: Ms. Coco Is Loco!
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