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Authors: R. L. Stine

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Say Cheese - and Die Screaming!

BOOK: Say Cheese - and Die Screaming!
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SAY CHEESE AND
DIE—AGAIN!

 

Goosebumps - 44
R.L. Stine
(An Undead Scan v1.5)

 

 
1

 

 

“Greg Banks!”

A shiver ran down the back of my neck as Mr. Saur called my name. I had been
slumping low in my seat in the last row of the classroom. I tried to hide behind
Brian Webb, the big gorilla of a kid who sits in front of me.

And I folded my hands and prayed that Mr. Saur wouldn’t call on me to give my
report next.

“Greg Banks!” he called.

I felt another cold shiver. Then my legs started to shake as I climbed to my
feet. Then my throat tightened until I could barely breathe.

I hate giving reports in front of the whole class.

Especially when I haven’t had much time to practice. Especially when we’re
not allowed to have notes. Especially when
half
of our grade in English
depends on how we do on this report.

I cleared my throat and made my way up to the front of the classroom. I was
halfway there when Donny Greene stuck his big white sneaker into the aisle and
tripped me.

I stumbled—but didn’t fall. The whole class exploded in laughter, anyway.

Mr. Saur frowned at Donny. “Donny, do you have to trip
every
person
who walks by you?” he demanded.

“Yes,” Donny replied with a straight face.

And once again, the whole class burst out laughing.

Everyone thinks Donny is a riot. Everyone but Mr. Saur.

Mr. Saur doesn’t think
anyone
is funny. That’s why we call him
Sourball Saur. He probably wouldn’t think
that
was funny, either!

Mr. Saur is tall and thin and nearly bald. He never kids around. He never
smiles. His mouth is always puckered, as if he’s just bitten into a lemon.

Sourball Saur.

He’s sort of a legend at Pitts Landing Middle School. Everyone tries not to
get him. My best friends—Michael, Bird, and Shari—were lucky. They’re in
Miss Folsom’s class. I was the only one who got stuck with the Sourball.

I stepped up beside his desk and cleared my throat again. I wondered if
everyone could see my knees shaking. My face felt burning hot. My hands were cold as ice.

Does
everyone
get this nervous when they stand in front of the class?

Mr. Saur folded his pale, skinny hands on his desk and cracked his knuckles.
“Okay, Greg, let’s hear your true story,” he said.

I cleared my throat for the thousandth time. I took a deep breath. Then I
started to tell the story of what happened to my friends and me last summer….

“I was hanging out with my friends. Bird, Michael, and Shari. We had nothing
to do, and we were kind of bored. So we dared each other to do something
exciting. We dared each other to sneak into the Coffman house.”

Mr. Saur raised a hand to interrupt me. He frowned his sour frown. “What’s
the Coffman house?”

“It’s a haunted house!” Donny Greene called out.

“It’s where Donny lives!” Brian Webb mumbled, loud enough for everyone to
hear. It got a big laugh.

Mr. Saur raised both hands for quiet and gave everyone his lemon expression.

“It’s a deserted, old house in my neighborhood,” I told him. “We went inside.
Down to the basement. And we found an old camera. And that’s what my true story is about. Because the camera had evil powers.”

Mr. Saur groaned and rolled his eyes. Some kids laughed. But I took another
deep breath and continued my story.

“It was an instant camera. The picture popped right out. But it was never the
picture we snapped. It always showed something terrible happening.

“I took the old camera home. I snapped a photo of my dad’s new station wagon.
The photo slid out. In the photo, the station wagon was totaled. Completely
wrecked. And then, a few days later, my dad was in a terrible accident. The
photo came true.”

I glanced around the room to see how my story was going over. A few kids were
laughing. Others were staring at me hard. Trying to decide if I was for real.

Brian Webb tried to make me lose it. He stuck his two pointer fingers into
his nostrils and twirled them around. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s just gross.

“I took a snapshot of my friend Bird Arthur,” I continued. “At his Little
League game. Bird smiled and posed for the camera. But the photo showed him
lying unconscious on the ground.

“Then, a few minutes later, a kid hit a line drive. It smacked Bird in the
head. And Bird fell unconscious on the ground. Just like in the photo.”

I heard some nervous giggles from the back of the room. I glanced up to see
puzzled expressions on a lot of faces. Brian still had his fingers in his nose.
I turned away.
No way
was I going to laugh at that.

Mr. Saur had his elbows on the desk and his round, bald head buried in his
hands. His face was hidden. So I couldn’t tell if he liked my report or not.

“Then something even more scary happened,” I continued. “I brought the camera
to Shari Walker’s birthday party. I snapped Shari’s picture, standing next to a
tree.

“When the photo popped out, it showed the tree—but no Shari. It was like
she was invisible or something. And then, a few minutes later, Shari
disappeared.”

A few kids gasped. Some others laughed. Mr. Saur still had his face buried in
his hands.

“A couple of days later, Shari came back,” I told them. “But now we were too
frightened to keep the camera. So we took it back to the Coffman house. And we
met this strange guy, dressed all in black. He was the inventor of the camera.
He told us that the camera had a curse on it, and—”

To my surprise, Mr. Saur jumped to his feet. “That will be enough,” he
snapped.

“Excuse me?” I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly.

The room went silent.

Mr. Saur shook his head. Then he narrowed his watery brown eyes at me.
“Greg,” he said, “I have some very bad news for you.”

 

 
2

 

 

The lunch bell rang.

“We’ll hear more reports tomorrow,” Mr. Saur announced. “Class dismissed.”

Chairs scraped the floor as everyone stood up. I watched the other kids
gather up their books and backpacks and head for the door. Freedom.

I had an urge to run after them. But Mr. Saur kept his eyes locked on me,
holding me in place with those cold eyes.

I waited until the classroom had emptied out. Then I turned to the
lemon-faced teacher. “What’s the bad news?” I gritted my teeth.

“I’m giving you an
F
,” Sourball said.

“Huh?”

“I’m failing you on that report, Greg.”

I felt my knees give. I had to grab the chalk tray to keep myself from
collapsing in a quivering heap on the floor. “B—but—but—
why?” I
choked out.

He crossed his bony arms over the front of his yellow alligator-shirt. I wished the alligator would reach up and bite him.

“You didn’t do the assignment,” he said.

“But—but—but—” I still gripped the chalk tray. My legs were shaking too
hard to stand up.

“Greg, you were supposed to share a
true
story,” Mr. Saur scolded.
“Instead, you came in here with that wild tale. It was completely silly. I don’t
know what you were thinking!”

“But it’s
true!”
I wailed. “The camera—”

He waved a hand in my face. “Silly,” he repeated. “You came in here with a
wild, silly story. Something you probably read in a comic book.”

“Mr. Saur—!” I started. I let go of the chalk tray and balled my hands into
tight fists. “You have to believe me. The camera is real. I didn’t make up the
story.”

I took a deep breath. Then I struggled to keep my voice low and calm. “You
can ask my friends,” I told him. “They’re in Miss Folsom’s class. They’ll tell
you it really happened.”

“I’m sure they will.” He smirked at me. “I’m sure your friends will tell me
whatever you want them to tell me.”

“No. Really—!” I protested.

Mr. Saur shook his head. “You didn’t take the assignment seriously, Greg. You
treated it like a big joke. So I have to give you an
F
.”

I raised my fists and let out a loud groan.

Greg, get control, I warned myself. Get control.

But how could I get control? The grade was so unfair. And it meant so much to
me.

It was a matter of life or death!

“Mr. Saur—you
can’t
give me an
F
!” I wailed. I felt like
dropping to my knees and begging for mercy. “You will ruin my life!”

He stared coldly at me. He didn’t say a word.

“If I don’t get better grades, I can’t visit my cousins this summer,” I
explained. “You see, my cousins live near Yosemite. In California. And my
parents said that if I get a better grade in your English class, I can spend the
summer with them.”

He didn’t move. His cold frown didn’t budge. His eyes didn’t blink.

“If you give me an
F,
I’ll be stuck all summer in Pitts Landing!” I
cried.

Finally, Mr. Saur moved. An unpleasant smile spread over his face. His wet
brown eyes flashed. “Then you’ll have plenty of time to make up more crazy
stories,” he said.

He turned away from me and started scribbling notes in his black grade book.

“Mr. Saur—please!” I begged. “You’ve got to believe me. My story is true. I
didn’t make it up. Please—”

He raised his eyes from the grade book. “Okay. Prove it.”

My mouth dropped open. “Huh?”

“Bring in the camera,” he said. “Bring it in and prove that it’s evil. Prove that your story is true—or else I have to fail
you.”

I stared at him, studying his face. Was he serious?

He stared back for a moment, daring me with his eyes. Then he shooed me away
with both hands. “Go to lunch, Greg. Maybe next time you’ll take my assignment
seriously.”

I gathered up my backpack and slung it over my shoulder. Then I slumped out
of the room, thinking hard.

Could I go back to that creepy old house and dig out that camera?

No. No way.

The camera was too dangerous. Too frightening. Too
evil.

But I needed a good grade. I needed it desperately.

What should I do?

 

 
3

 

 

I found my friends at our usual table in the corner of the lunchroom. I
dropped my tray down with a sigh, and spilled half my drink.

“Greg—what’s your problem?” Bird looked up from his sandwich. He had egg
salad all over his chin and cheeks.

“Are you eating that sandwich or wearing it?” Shari asked him.

“Excuse me?” Bird didn’t understand.

Michael inflated his brown paper sandwich bag and popped it between his
hands. Then he crushed his chocolate milk carton flat. He always gulps his milk
down first, then crushes the carton. We’re not sure why.

Michael is a little weird.

I dropped into my chair. I didn’t start to eat. I didn’t even look at my food
tray. I just stared at the wall until the tiles became a green blur.

“What’s your problem?” Bird repeated. Now he had egg salad on his forehead, too! I don’t know how he does it.

Bird’s real name is Doug Arthur. But he looks so much like a bird, everyone
calls him Bird. Even his parents.

He has small, birdlike brown eyes, close together over a long, beak-shaped
nose. And he has a short tuft of feathery brown hair on top of his head. He’s
tall and thin and sort of bobs up and down like a flamingo when he walks.

Michael poked a finger through his sandwich. He always makes a hole in the
center of his sandwich and eats it inside out. “Bad day, Greg?”

“For sure,” I muttered. I sighed again.

Shari wore a pale blue T-shirt over faded jeans. She tossed back her black
hair. She was busy pulling the bright red pepperoni off her pizza slice. “Come
on, Greg. Spill,” she urged without looking up.

I took a deep breath. Then I told them what had happened to me in English
class.

Bird dropped his sandwich onto the table. “Sourball didn’t believe you?” he
cried. He slapped his forehead. When he pulled his hand away, his fingers were
smeared with egg salad.

“Well, we could all go tell him it’s true,” Shari suggested.

I shook my head. “He won’t believe you, either,” I moaned.

“But we all saw it!” Michael protested. “We all know it’s true.”

“Yeah. It’s four against one,” Bird added. He was wiping egg salad off the
front of his shirt. “He’ll
have
to believe us.”

“He won’t,” I sighed. “You know Sourball. He said I have to bring in the
camera and prove to him that it’s evil.”

“But you
can’t
!” Michael and Shari cried together.

I glanced over their shoulders. Brian and Donny were grinning at me from the
next table. Brian and Donny are the two biggest guys at Pitts Landing Middle
School. We call them Sumo One and Sumo Two—because they’re both shaped a
little like sumo wrestlers.

BOOK: Say Cheese - and Die Screaming!
10.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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