Authors: John Paulits
Tags: #adventure, #mystery, #children, #humor, #short story, #series, #boys, #gypsy shadow, #brotherhood, #john paulits, #trash, #philip, #emery
Philip and the Sneaky Trashmen
All rights reserved
Copyright © April 3, 2014, John
Cover Art Copyright © 2014, Charlotte
Gypsy Shadow Publishing,
Names, characters and incidents depicted in
this book are products of the author’s imagination, or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
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and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
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Published in the United States of
First eBook Edition: May 1, 2014
For Jennifer Eagen
Philip Felton sprawled on the grass in
the backyard of his house. What a miserable beginning to summer
vacation. He had gotten through fourth grade successfully and now
looked forward to almost three months of glorious . . . well,
glorious anything he wanted. So why did things have to start out so
badly this morning?
~ * ~
Philip, your room is a
disgrace. I want it clean and neat by the end of the
Mom, I . . .”
Mom, I nothing. Clean and
neat. Or else. Your Aunt Louise will be here tomorrow, and if
there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s my sister looking down her
nose at my housekeeping.”
Philip tried to look down his nose.
“Why don’t you just let her? It only hurts your eyes.” He tried
again, and it hurt again.
By the end of the
He watched his mother stalk
away and scratched his head. Why would his aunt even go
his room while she
was here? Glumly, he made his way to the backyard lawn.
~ * ~
Philip heard a noise, lifted his head,
and saw his best friend Emery Wyatt walking his way.
What are you doing back
here?” asked Emery. “Your mother said you were cleaning your room,
but I knew you weren’t. You never do.”
Philip glared. “And you do?”
No, I don’t clean your
room. Why would I clean your room?”
Philip rested his head back
on the grass. “Not
room, dummy. Your room. You don’t clean
I do when I have to. I
know when it gets messy enough to make my mother
Philip raised his head again. “Your
When my room gets messy
I don’t even know what
It means I clean it before
she goes from twitchy to screamy.”
Philip rolled his eyes and lay back.
“Twitchy to screamy,” he mumbled. Aloud he said, “I gotta clean my
room or else.”
Or else what? Twitchy to
So clean it.”
I hate cleaning it! After
I clean it, I can’t find anything.”
Don’t tell me that’s
Leon,” said Philip.
Yup. It is,” answered
Emery’s unlucky, clumsy cousin Leon
came into the backyard, his wide smile showing off his chipped
front tooth. He had once been jumping up and down on his bed,
missed his landing, and went flying off into his bureau, leaving
behind a pool of blood and a piece of his tooth.
I thought I heard you guys
talking. No school till September. Ain’t it great?”
Yeah, great, Leon,” said
Leon stared at Philip lying on the
grass. “What’s wrong with him? Got no bed?”
His mother said to clean
Who’d she say it
Philip lifted his head and looked at
Leon. “She said it to me, Leon. To me. Who else would she say it
My mother never says it to
me,” Leon said proudly. “I’m a good cleaner. I heard my teacher
tell my mother I can’t do much, but I’m a good cleaner. Mrs.
Furfman let me do all the classroom closet cleaning this
Emery gave a snort. “So you got 33% in
spelling and 100% in closet cleaning?”
Leon gave his goofy laugh.
don’t give marks for closet cleaning. The spelling, though . . .
Doesn’t matter. Mrs. Furfman passed me, didn’t she? You want me to
help you clean your room?”
Philip sat up. “You mean
Sure. I’m a good cleaner.
I already told you, didn’t I?”
Philip got to his feet.
Emery slid next to him and whispered,
“I wouldn’t let Leon help me do anything. He’s a jinx, a
disaster-maker. You know that.”
Yeah, but I hate
cleaning,” Philip whispered back. “Sure, Leon. You can be my
Leon started toward the back of the
house. As he walked, his head went from side to side as he sang,
“I’m gonna be Phil-ip’s cleaner. I’m gonna be Phil-ip’s
Philip and Emery shared a
You’ll be sorry,” said
Emery left for home, telling Philip he
couldn’t bear to watch. As Philip led Leon into the kitchen, he
heard the front door close. He walked into the living room, and
through the window he saw his mother carrying his baby sister Becky
toward the car. He watched his mother put the baby into the safety
seat and drive off.
Come on upstairs,
What are you
Philip’s mother had left the vacuum
cleaner leaning against the sofa. Leon pushed it across the rug
making vacuum cleaner noises.
I like to play cleaning
sometimes, too. It lets you make neat noises. Listen.
Oh, Leon. Stop it! Never
Come up and clean my room room room.”
That’s pretty funny. Room room room. I get
Philip felt his stomach
clench like it did when Emery acted stupid. Leon would be worse, he
knew. Way worse. But if it got his room cleaned, it would be worth
it. Leon followed him upstairs repeating
all the way.
Leon, shush. No more room
room room. Here’s the real room.” He pushed his bedroom door open,
and Leon took a step inside.
Holy macaroni,” Leon
muttered. “I can’t hardly even see the floor floor floor in your
room room room. It’s so messy messy messy.”
Yeah, well the floor’s
down there. We’re walking on it, aren’t we? Can you clean this
place or not?”
Philip watched Leon tiptoe through the
mess to his dresser and pick up something. Philip recognized it as
the jacket-thing his mother wore when she did serious cleaning
around the house. Leon lifted it with two fingers and held it away
This what you sleep in? I
wear pajamas. This doesn’t have any legs even, and it’s awful
short.” He threw Philip a suspicious look.
Leon, don’t be stupid.
That’s my mother’s.” Philip grabbed it out of Leon’s hand, balled
it up, and tossed it behind him. “She must have been in here. She
always wears that to clean.”
You wear pajamas, right?
Of course I wear pajamas.
See them over there on the floor in the corner? What about
Leon glanced at the pajamas and then
looked over the room. Philip followed his gaze. Two pillows sat on
the floor, along with a crumpled up sheet. Socks and shirts were
sprinkled around like overgrown snowflakes. Toys lay everywhere.
Sneakers and shoes, never a pair together, were tossed sideways and
upside down. Crumpled construction paper and some scattered crayons
added color to the mess.
I didn’t feel the
earthquake on my block,” Leon said softly.
The one that shook up this
You’re not funny, Leon.
Can you fix it?”
Sure. I’ll throw the shoes
over there; I’ll put the socks over there; the shirts’ll go there.
I’ll separate everything first except what looks like junk. You
want to save the junk?”
Philip threw his arms up. “No! Why
would I want to save the junk?”
How about food? You want
to save the food?”
I see a half a sandwich
No, throw out the food,
Leon. Just be sure to get this place neat.”
I need a trash
I’ll get one.” Philip ran
downstairs to the kitchen closet and pulled a large white trash bag
off the roll. When he got back to his room, Leon had a twelve inch
ruler in his hand, one of Philip’s socks dangling from the end of
What are you doing?” asked
Philip grabbed the sock off the end of
Just give it here. Any
clothes you find I’ll put in the hamper. Start cleaning. Anything
that’s junk put in the trash bag.”
Broken . . .”
Junk, Leon, junk. The
room’s gotta look like nobody lives in it.”
Gotcha.” Leon made a
circle of his thumb and index finger and poked it at Philip. Then
he pushed an imaginary vacuum cleaner. “
roomroomroom. Yuk yuk.”
Philip moaned. “Get started,
Did I tell you about my
new friend? He likes to . . .”
Never mind your new
friend. Take care of me, your old friend.”
Leon shot another OK sign toward
Philip. “You do all the socks. They scare me.”
The boys got to work.
Philip bustled in and out
of the room, taking any clothing Leon discovered to the bathroom
hamper. Leon scoured the room exclaiming “
at finding all kinds of things
he never expected.
Stop making all those
noises,” Philip finally shouted.
I can’t help it. It had
ants on it.”
Philip didn’t want to know what had
ants on it. He simply grabbed another sock and rushed off to the
bathroom with it.
An hour later, the trash
bag could stand up by itself, so Philip twisted it closed and put
it outside the bedroom door. When he turned back to his room, he
stared in amazement. Now,
he could see was floor. Nothing, not socks,
shoes, shirts, pillows, broken crayons, crumpled toys, or
half-eaten sandwiches spoiled the view.