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Authors: Sigmund Brouwer

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BOOK: Timberwolf Chase
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“Yes,” Johnny said. “That half.”

“I'm not worried. What's the time and place?”

“The place,” Johnny said, “is Veteran's Park. You know where that is, right?”

“In a town this small,” Tom said, “it took only a day to know where everything is. I don't know how you can live here without going crazy.”

“Easy. We find new kids from Toronto who promise to wear dresses to hockey games.”

“Hah, hah,” Tom said. “What time am I going to make your friend Stu look like a turtle?”

“Funny you should say that,” Johnny said. “There is that story about the tortoise and the hare.”

“It's a fairy tale,” Tom said. “This is real life. What time?”

“Seven o'clock,” Johnny answered. “Tonight.”

Johnny knew the forecast was for a cloudy night. That would help Stu.

“Tonight?” Tom frowned.

Johnny shrugged. “Unless you're afraid of losing.”

“Tonight,” Tom said. “Seven o'clock. You better bring a big towel.”

“Why?” Johnny said.

“For you and the whale boy to cry in,” Tom said.

“This is going to be like beating a blind man.”

Johnny smiled. “I suppose you could say that.”

Chapter Nine

Tom and Stu stood side by side where the path went into the woods. Johnny and the rest of the team were nearby to witness the race. But it was quite dark and they knew they would not actually be able to see what happened.

“Ready, set, go!” Johnny yelled.

“Out of my way, whale boy!” Tom said. He pushed Stu to the side and ran down the path.

Stu followed him into the trees.

Immediately, Johnny heard a loud
thunk
. Next came a loud
thump
.

“The first sound would be Tom hitting his head on a tree,” Johnny said to the kids beside him in the park. “Then I think he fell.”

“Maybe it was Stu hitting a tree,” someone said. “Not Tom.”

They heard a big “Oooooffff.”

“Sorry, Tom!” they heard Stu say. “Didn't see you on the ground.”

“Does that give you the answer?” Johnny said. “Stu stepped on Tom.”

Next came a loud howling.

“That would be the thorn bushes,” Johnny said to his friends. “The bushes are about ten more steps down the path. If Tom doesn't watch out, he's going to fall into the—”

A splash and more yelling reached them.

“Yup,” Johnny said. “Right about there is where the path turns and if you miss the turn, you fall down the bank into the creek.”

“How do you know this?” someone asked.

“Oh,” Johnny said, “did Stu and I forget to mention that Stu has spent the last two weeks learning how to run down the path blindfolded?
Running here at night is easy for Stu.”

They all heard more howling. Johnny had to wait until it was quieter to continue talking.

“That was probably the next set of thorn bushes,” Johnny told them. “I hope Tom figures out that the faster he tries to go, the more trouble he will get into. There's another turn, and if you miss it you will—”

There was another big splash and yelling.

“Poor guy,” Johnny said to the team. “Ahead of him is another big branch, four sets of thorn bushes and three more places to fall into the creek.”

Chapter Ten

Johnny Maverick got to the dressing room early for the next hockey game. So did his friend Stu.

They were both wearing dresses. Johnny wore a blue dress. Stu wore a red dress. But they wore blue jeans underneath the dresses.

“Look,” Stu said. He lifted his dress. He pulled out the front of his pants. “These are getting looser. I think I'm going to keep training every night after school. It seems to be helping.”

“Good,” Johnny said. He put his hockey bag on the floor. He sat on the bench. “I'll train with you. It really is making you a better player.”

Stu put his hockey bag down and sat on the bench beside Johnny.

“Do you think Tom will wear a dress?” Stu asked Johnny.

“Yes,” Johnny said. “I think he's the kind of guy who keeps his word. He's just a little too concerned about winning. And not concerned enough about being on a team.”

“Thanks for helping me,” Stu said.

“No problem,” Johnny said. “I owe you one for dropping that bowling ball on your foot in the summer.”

“I thought you said it was an accident.”

“It could have been,” Johnny answered. “But if you remember, you were winning before I dropped the ball on your foot. And after, you lost.”

“Are you saying it wasn't an accident?”

Johnny grinned at his friend. “I'm saying that I like to win too. And I'm saying I'm glad I helped
you with Tom to make up for hurting your toe.”

Before Stu could answer, the door to the dressing room opened. It was Coach Smith.

Coach Smith stared at Johnny and Stu in their dresses.

“Is it Halloween and I forgot?” Coach Smith said.

“No,” Johnny answered.

Coach Smith sighed. “Then whatever it is, I don't want to know.”

Coach Smith pointed at Johnny's hockey bag on the floor. “Johnny, did you check your hockey bag for mice today?”

“Yes, I did,” Johnny said. “How many more times are you going to ask me that?”

“Every practice and every game,” Coach Smith said. “Who would think a mouse could poop so many times in a person's shirt?”

The door opened again.

“Hello, Coach,” Tom said as he carried his hockey bag in to the dressing room.

Coach Smith stepped backward in surprise. “You're in a dress too?”

It was a dumb question, of course. Because the answer was yes. Tom was in a dress. This one was green. But he wasn't wearing blue jeans. It was quite a short dress with short sleeves. It showed the skin of his legs and arms. His legs were scratched. His arms were scratched. His face was scratched. And he had a big bump on his forehead.

“What happened to you?” Coach asked.

“The tortoise beat the hare,” Tom said.

“Huh?” Coach said.

“You see, Johnny made a bet with me and—”

Tom stopped. He noticed that Stu and Johnny were wearing dresses too.

“Huh?” Tom said. “You guys didn't lose the bet. I did.”

“Yes,” Johnny said.

The door opened again before Johnny could finish answering. Two more guys on the hockey
team entered. They were wearing dresses too.

“What is going on around here?” Coach Smith said. He looked at Johnny. “Whatever it is, it's your idea, isn't it?”

“Coach,” Johnny said. “Tom lost a bet and had to wear a dress to tonight's hockey game. But we don't want anyone to laugh at him. So everyone else agreed to wear a dress to the game. So if they laugh at him, they laugh at the whole team.”

“Everyone on the team?” Tom said.

Two more guys stepped into the dressing room. They wore dresses too.

“Everyone,” Johnny said. “After all, we are a team. And that includes you, doesn't it?”

Tom thought about it for a second. He stepped forward and shook Stu's hand.

“Yes,” Tom said. “And you guys were right. It is great to be on this team.”

Sigmund Brouwer
is the best-selling author of many books for children and young adults. He has contributed to the Orca Currents series (
Wired
,
Sewer Rats
) and the Orca Sports series which also debuts this fall.

Sigmund enjoys visiting schools to talk about his books. Interested teachers can find out more by e-mailing [email protected]

Also Available:
Timberwolf Revenge

The Howling Timberwolves are at it again. And there's plenty of action both on and off the ice. At a big tournament in Calgary, teammate Tom Morgan plays a practical joke on Johnny Maverick, so naturally Johnny feels he has to pay him back. The rivalry escalates. After he scores a hat trick, Johnny is given a hockey stick signed by all the members of the Calgary Flames. He worries that Tom will do something to this prized trophy and decides he will not let it out of his sight. But in the end Tom outsmarts him one more time, and Johnny learns that revenge is never a good idea.

BOOK: Timberwolf Chase
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