Authors: John Paulits
Tags: #humor, #childrens, #child, #superstition, #gypsy shadow, #superstitious, #john paulits
Philip and the Superstition Kid
By John Paulits
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © August, 2010, John Paulits
Cover Art Copyright © 2010 by Charlotte Holley
Gypsy Shadow Publishing
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For Becky Lee
Philip looked out his bedroom window and
smiled. Splashes of sunshine glinted off the windows of the houses
across the street. The summer breeze blew gently through the window
screen, just strong enough that his hair tickled his neck a little
as the breeze ruffled it. Philip usually associated good smells
with chocolate and bakeries, but right now the sweet aroma of
somebody’s newly mown lawn made Philip inhale deeply. Today was the
first official day of summer vacation; fourth grade was a thing of
the past; and the long, beautiful, wonderful-smelling summer lay
ahead, day after endless joyful day.
Below and to his right Philip saw his best
friend Emery step out of his front door. Philip hurried from his
room, dashed down the stairs, and bolted outside. He waved to Emery
and crossed the street. Emery walked toward him.
Emery.” Philip smiled and
opened his arms wide. “Welcome to summer vacation.”
Emery glared at him unresponsively.
Philip lowered his
he wondered. “Summer vacation, Emery,” he reminded his
I dreamed a dream last
night,” Emery said gloomily.
So what? Everybody does
Not like this they don’t.
There goes the summer.” Emery moved his hand like he was shooing
away a fly.
Mrs. Logan lived at the corner, and there
was an empty space inside the thick bushes near the back of her
house Philip and Emery used as a hidden clubhouse. Mrs. Logan
rarely left her house—Emery insisted she was a hundred and four
years old, but Philip said that was impossible—so no one bothered
them when they sat in the shady coolness, unknown to the world.
They were on their way there now out of habit.
Emery, vacation just
started,” Philip said impatiently. “How could a dream spoil the
summer? It’s only the first day for Pete’s sake.”
You know those stupid
rabbits’ feet we all got at Kevin’s party last week?”
They’re not good
Whoever said they
Emery looked at Philip
knows that a rabbit’s foot is supposed to bring luck. That’s
why people chop off the rabbit’s foot—to get good luck.”
Philip winced at Emery’s description.
That’s just make
believe,” Philip argued.
It’s not. Look it up. Why
would people keep chopping off rabbits’ feet just for
Stop talking about
chopping off feet, okay?” Philip said, his voice rising.
I carried my rabbit’s
foot around since the party, and I didn’t have any bad
Philip waited. Then he asked, “Did you have
any good luck?”
Emery shrugged. “I got promoted,” he
Philip could feel his
exasperation beginning to build as it always did when Emery started
acting weird. “I got promoted, too, and I don’t even know where my
stupid rabbit’s foot got to. And I didn’t have any bad luck this
week either. And
The babies didn’t cry as
much this week,” Emery argued. Emery had two infant
They’re getting older.
They’ll cry less anyway. What about the dream?”
I figured that if I got
good luck during the day carrying the rabbit’s foot, then I was
wasting it at night just leaving it on my bureau, so last night I
decided to put it under my pillow to get good luck when I was
Philip shook his head and in a loud voice
cried, “What kind of good luck can you have when you’re asleep?
Nothing happens when you’re asleep.”
I didn’t fall out of
bed,” Emery said.
Did you ever fall out of
Emery thought a minute. “I don’t remember
that I did.”
So there. You wouldn’t
fall out of bed anyway. I didn’t fall out of bed. My mother and
father didn’t fall out of bed. A zillion million people didn’t fall
out of bed. What did the rabbit’s foot have to do with
The dream?” Philip said
The boys had reached the corner and, with a
quick look around to assure themselves that no one was watching,
ducked alongside Mrs. Logan’s house and crawled into their
It was weird,” Emery said
reluctantly, looking at Philip. The boys sprawled on the sparse
grass in the deep shade.
Philip pressed his lips together as if he
was going to burst. When Emery saw Philip’s eyes widening, he said,
“Okay, I’ll tell you. I dreamed that me and you . . .”
I was in the
Emery nodded. “I told you it was awful.”
Philip frowned. “What
Me and you were somehow
on a bouncing boat. I don’t know how we got there. But we were
going up and down and up and down.” Emery moved his hand in time
with his description.
Philip grabbed Emery’s hand and lowered it.
“Up and down, yeah?”
Suddenly we were crashed
up onto an island and it got dark. We were alone in the dark. We
didn’t like it because we knew we would never get off of that
island forever. And it was dark.”
Dark, yeah, you already
said it was dark. What happened then?”
Then the worst thing
happened. We weren’t alone anymore.”
Philip felt something give a tiny jump in
his stomach. “What was it?” Philip asked. He gave Emery all of his
This . . . this thing
started making a loud noisy clomp, clomp, clomp, like big footsteps
coming at us. We both turned and looked and I said to you that we
would be stuck on that island with whatever was coming at us
forever. You started crying . . .”
Wait a minute. You sure
started crying? Are you sure it was me at all?”
It was you.”
You didn’t start
No,” Emery answered, as
if astonished at the possibility.
Philip made a disgusted face. “What was the
Well, it was . . . you
won’t believe this . . .”
Emery, what was it?”
Hey guys,” came a voice
close to the two boys.
Ahhhhh!” both boys
Don’t worry,” replied a
voice followed by a goofy laugh. “Yuk yuk. It’s just
The bushes shook and rattled and into the
empty space crawled Leon Jakoosawitz, Emery’s unlucky cousin, a boy
who brought bad luck and disaster with him like a black cloud
wherever he went.
Leon,” Emery cried
angrily, “what are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.
How’d you know we were here?”
Philip gave Emery a look that said he’d
better take care of this and get rid of Leon quickly.
I saw you now, and I saw
you come here before.”
Well, go away,” Emery
ordered. “We didn’t invite you here.” The only time Emery was
polite to his cousin was when the grown-ups were nearby and
Yuk yuk yuk,” Leon
laughed in his deep and slow laugh. “Don’t kid me. I know I can
stay.” Leon jangled three rabbits’ feet hanging from the belt of
What’s that supposed to
mean?” Emery asked.
Means I’m lucky. No more
bad luck for me. ’Member how I used to have bad luck?”
Philip and Emery glanced at one another and
Emery said, “We remember, Leon.” He and Philip had seen Leon trip,
fall, get hurt, knock things over, break things, step in things,
lose things, forget things . . . the list of Leon’s bad luck was
It just means you’re
superstitious,” Philip chimed in. “How can the foot of a dead
rabbit bring luck? It didn’t bring the rabbit much luck and he had
four of them.”
Yuk yuk yuk,” Leon
laughed. “That’s funny. Bring the rabbit much luck.”
Philip rolled his eyes and looked
threateningly at Emery.
You gotta go, Leon,”
This is my lucky day.
Wanna know why?”
Neither Philip nor Emery answered.
Okay, I’ll tell you. My
parents are going on vacation tomorrow and didn’t want to take
Philip went “Ha.”
I’m not surprised,” Emery
mumbled loud enough for Leon to hear.
Leon gave the two boys a hurt look and said,
“I was supposed to go to Ohio to my Aunt Marie’s house, but now . .
. ” He jangled his rabbits’ feet again. “ . . . I don’t have to
because Aunt Marie said she was going away, too.”
There’s a surprise,”
Emery mumbled again.
Leon ignored him and sang, “So I don’t have
to go-o. I don’t have to go-o.”
Leon, be quiet,” Philip
ordered angrily. Nothing annoyed Philip more than Leon making up
one of his ridiculous jingles and singing it over and over and over
again. “Nobody knows we’re here. If they find out, we’ll get chased
and this is a good place.”
In a quieter voice Leon sang, “I don’t have
to go-o. I don’t have to go-o.”
Leon, shut up!” Emery
Leon’s mouth snapped shut and he smiled
What?” Emery asked
Leon’s mouth began to move. The boys could
tell he was singing something again but no sound came out.
Philip felt his stomach began to shrink into
an aggravated ball. Then he read Leon’s lips.
Oh no!” Philip cried.
What?” Emery asked in
alarm. He stared at Leon and read his lips, too. “Philip, that was
the dream! The thing on the island was Leon! A gigantic Leon coming
out of the trees, and we were going to be stuck on that island with
Leon’s voice got louder. He smiled, looked
straight at Emery, and sang loud enough for him to hear, “I’m gonna
stay with you-u. I’m gonna stay with you-u.”
You’re gonna stay—in my
house—in my bed—with me—for how long?” Emery cried.
Yep. No Aunt Marie in
Ohio for me. For a week, I guess.” Leon jangled his three rabbits’
feet and laughed his deep, strange laugh. “Yuk yuk.”
How come you got luck?”
Emery asked, fuming. “I used my rabbit’s foot all week and didn’t
get any special good luck. I put it under my pillow last night and
He glanced knowingly at Philip.
Leon explained. “Because there’s only so
much good luck around, and three rabbits’ feet beats one. All the
good luck came to me.”