Authors: John Paulits
Tags: #humor, #childrens, #child, #superstition, #gypsy shadow, #superstitious, #john paulits
Leon, let go of your
nose,” Emery ordered. “You sound stupid.”
I can’t. I can’t. I saw a
man walking with a limp.”
What’s that got to do
with anything?” Emery demanded.
If you see a man with a
limp, you get bad luck unless you hold your nose until you see a
dog. I can’t find a dog. I was just having good luck and now this,”
Leon cried in his twangy, nose-holding voice. “Ahhhhhhhhh.” And off
he charged, looking for a dog.
Philip and Emery pulled their heads back
inside the window, and Emery lowered the screen.
He’s running around the
neighborhood holding his nose and screaming while he’s looking for
a dog because he saw somebody limping,” Philip repeated as if he
were in a daze.
That’s Leon,” Emery said,
And you don’t think
Leon’s superstitious enough for us to fool him into never leaving
Emery nodded slowly. “I think you may be
right. What’ll we do?”
Turn on your computer and
let’s look up superstitions. I’ll bet we can find some good
ones—ones that will have Leon holding his nose and screaming the
whole time he’s here.”
After finally agreeing on how to spell
“superstitions,” Emery hit the Search key.
Wow!” Emery said. “So
Pick the first one,”
Philip ordered impatiently. “Before Leon sees a dog and comes up
From outside they heard,
There he goes,” said
Philip in quiet amazement.
Those two dogs from
before must have left the neighborhood, I guess.”
Pick a site,” Philip
Emery tapped the keyboard, and Philip
crowded in to look over his shoulder.
superstitions,” Emery said, glancing at the list.
Philip nodded. “’Cause everybody knows that
one. Go down further.”
,” Emery read next. “I heard of that
Don’t go under a ladder
Everybody knows that one, too,” said Philip.
Hey! Look at the
says seven years bad luck unless you bury the pieces of broken
Philip knew what Emery was thinking. “Emery,
this is all just make-believe.”
Yeah, he found money and
now he’s running around the neighborhood holding his nose and
screaming for a dog,” Philip argued impatiently.
Seven years is a long
time—until I’m sixteen.”
didn’t break the
mirror. Why would you get the bad luck? Just look for
Emery stabbed the screen
with a finger. “Look.
Step on a crack and
break your mother’s back
Your mother didn’t break
her back,” Philip said, his voice rising as it often did when he
discussed things with Emery. “And I stepped on cracks and my
mother’s back didn’t break.”
Emery . . .” Philip
Look, look, look.” Emery
stabbed the screen with his finger again. “Read it.”
Philip read aloud.
If you drop a fork it means a man is
coming to visit. If you drop a knife, a woman is coming to visit.
If you drop a spoon, a child is coming to visit.
I dropped all those
things last night. I dropped spoons. Lots of spoons. Must have been
seven spoons because Leon’s coming to visit for seven days! Stupid
Philip thought a moment. “No man or woman
came to visit from the knives and forks.”
The front doorbell rang and the boys heard
Mrs. Wyatt call, “Emery, will you get that please?”
Emery and Philip shared a leery glance.
Come on,” said Emery.
“Let’s go see.”
The boys went downstairs. A small tinny
clank sound came from the kitchen. Emery and Philip peeked in. Mrs.
Wyatt was staring dismayed at a baby spoon lying on the kitchen
floor amid a splash of what looked like creamed spinach. Amy was
joyfully slapping her hands on the tray of the high chair.
Want that spoon, Mom?”
His mother nodded wearily.
Emery picked up the spoon and handed it to
her. “You got spinach in your hair, Mom.”
I love my family,” Mrs.
Wyatt mumbled. “I love my family. I love my family.”
The doorbell rang again.
Uh, I’ll get the door,”
What’s the matter with
her?” Philip asked.
She’s like that a lot. I
don’t know.” Emery opened the front door.
Hello, Emery. Can we see
Philip and Emery stared. There on the step
were Mr. and Mrs. Reid from across the street.
She’s in the kitchen,”
Emery said blankly. The Reids walked by, and Emery turned to
Philip. “A man and a woman. Uh, oh, hear that?”
Hear what?” Philip asked,
wondering what else could go wrong.
Philip cocked his head and heard what Emery
heard. A faint chorus of “I saw a dog-gie. I saw a dog-gie,” came
Amy’s spoon,” Emery
echoed in dismay.
Then Leon came into sight. He was smiling
and singing, “I saw a dog-gie. I saw a dog-gie.” He turned up the
path toward Emery’s front door.
Yuk yuk,” came his laugh.
“I saw a dog and made the bad luck go away. And I found another
penny.” Leon reached into his pocket and suddenly a look of alarm
crossed his face. “Hey, where’s my money?”
Check your other pocket,”
Leon rifled through all of
his pockets. “I lost my money,” he said with a note of despair. “I
lost my money. All the money I found. How could I lose my money?
Maybe it bounced out of
your pocket while you were running around holding your nose,”
Philip said sarcastically.
Leon stepped inside the house and Emery
closed the door. Leon moaned and put his hand up to his forehead.
“Oh, no. The sneeze. The sneeze.”
What sneeze? What are you
talking about?” Emery snapped.
Before I saw the doggie I
had to sneeze. I let go of my nose to sneeze because if you hold
your nose and sneeze, your ears explode and all your ear gunk comes
After a pause Philip said, “Ear gunk?”
Gunk from your ear,” Leon
We can figure out where
ear gunk comes from, Leon,” Emery said in exasperation.
I let go of my nose to
sneeze before I saw a doggie. Now I’ve got my bad luck back. Ohhh,”
Leon moaned. “I should have just shot my ear gunk into the air.”
Leon tossed his left hand out showing what the explosion might look
like, and then he lowered his forehead onto his right
Philip and Emery exchanged a disgusted look.
Then Philip nodded to Emery.
Uh, we’ll help keep you
out of bad luck,” Philip promised. “I’m your friend.”
Yeah, you can depend on
us. I’m your cousin,” Emery reassured Leon.
No, no,” Leon disagreed.
“My bad luck is back. And I may have a disease, too.”
A disease?” Emery cried
as he and Philip took a step back. “What disease?”
I can’t tell you. I have
to go to my therapist this afternoon, and he’ll tell me whether I
have it or not.”
Emery shook his head in confusion.
What therapist? What are
you talking about, Leon?” Emery asked.
He’s my doctor and he
helps me try to get rid of my bad luck. You remember, I always used
to have bad luck?”
Philip and Emery rolled
their eyes and Emery said, “Yeah, you
He’s the one who told me
to carry lots of rabbits’ feet.”
The doctor’s prescription
was rabbits’ feet?” Philip repeated in amazement, thinking of the
pills and the needles he usually got when he went to
And it was working. I was
luck. But now—the sneeze. Oh, the sneeze. One little, stupid,
Why don’t you go and get
ready for your appointment?” Emery suggested, opening the front
door again and giving Leon a gentle push. “You need it and you’re
probably late already.”
Like a well-oiled robot Leon walked outside
and started down the path. “Oh, the sneeze,” he kept repeating.
This time, though, he wasn’t singing.
How can I put up with a
whole week of that?” Emery moaned as he and Philip went back
upstairs to his room.
Yeah, but we know what to
do now. Let’s go check those superstitions. They must have some
that Leon didn’t hear of yet. Where’d you stop before?”
Emery returned to the
computer and pointed at the screen. “I stopped here.
Cross your fingers for good
. Everybody knows that
Move. Let me look.”
Philip replaced Emery in the computer chair. “
Cats have nine lives. Eating fish makes you smart.
My grandmother told me that one.”
Maybe we can get Leon to
eat a cat so he’ll think he has nine lives,” Emery
Philip turned to look at
his friend and just shook his head. He looked back at the monitor.
Singing before breakfast
gives you bad luck all day
Where? Let me see.” Emery
read where Philip pointed. “Yeah, good. Only we’ll tell him
singing, mmm any
singing . . .” Emery paused to think.
I got it!” Philip cried.
“Any singing on a day that’s spelled with a ‘d’ means bad luck all
Emery thought a moment.
day,” he laughed. “Yeah, yeah, that’s good. That should take
care of Leon’s singing. I saw a dog-gie. I saw a dog-gie,” Emery
Philip laughed and the two boys slapped
Find more,” Emery said
This is a good
Wearing a dress inside out will bring
you good luck
Philip and Emery looked at one another and
burst out laughing.
He’d do it,” Emery said
in between breaths.
He would. He would,”
Look at this one,” Philip
Emery wiped the tears from his eyes, he had
laughed so hard.
If you go to bed naked, then you’ll wet
the bed that night
Emery stopped laughing abruptly. “What?”
Emery read the superstition and said, “I’m
gonna make Leon wear two pairs of pajamas when he goes to bed.”
Tell him wearing a diaper
to bed will bring good luck.”
The boys looked at each other and burst into
Never say good-bye to a friend on a bridge if you want to see
that friend again
Did we ever say good-bye
on a bridge?”
Philip racked his memory and shook his head.
“I don’t think so.”
That one might really
work,” Emery said thoughtfully. “Is there a bridge around here we
can take Leon to and say good-bye on?”
We’ll look for one later.
How about this one?
If three people are in
a photo, the middle one will soon be hurt.
Emery nodded. “That’s a good one. We can get
my mother to take our picture and then show Leon the
Yeah, tell him he can’t
get hurt if he just stays in the house.”
Philip read down the list.
It’s unlucky to sit at a table
unless one foot touches the floor
Emery nodded. “Yeah, we can use that. I’ll
get a big chair for him to sit on and eat and then tell him the way
to break his bad luck is to . . . uh . . . ”
How about the way to
break his bad luck is to keep one foot on the floor all
Emery laughed and nodded. “And wear a dress
inside out while he’s doing it. He won’t be able to walk, and he’ll
be too embarrassed to leave the house.”