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Authors: R. L. Stine

Young Scrooge

BOOK: Young Scrooge
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About the Author

Copyright Page


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For Dylan,
Who will never be a Scrooge.



My name is
Rick Scroogeman. I'm twelve, and you might say I mainly like to have fun. I like to tease kids and goof with them and give them a hard time and mess with them a little. You know. Just to be funny.

Some kids at my school, Oliver Twist Middle School, call me Sick Rick. Behind my back, of course.

I don't get that.

I think maybe they're jealous because they don't have as good a time in school as I do. Or maybe because I'm bigger than them and more grown-up. I had a growth spurt last summer, and now I'm the tallest one in my grade.

Pauly Stimp, who plays forward on the Twisters basketball team, only comes up to my chin. Seriously. I call him Stimp the Shrimp.

I'm tall and I'm big. Yeah, I know it looks like I have a big belly hanging over my cargo jeans. But it's all muscle. Go ahead and punch me in the gut. Punch me as hard as you can. You'll see. But be careful—because I punch back. Ha!

Before I go any further, I want to warn you about something. I want to warn you that this is a ghost story.

Maybe you don't believe in ghosts. Or maybe you think ghosts can be friendly and nice, or maybe sad, or maybe they need love, or something icky like that.

That's not what I learned. I learned that ghosts can be
. And cold. And cruel. And vicious. And did I mention

So, that's my warning.

Maybe you thought you were going to get a sweet story about Christmas joy and sparkling snow and good cheer. If that's what you want, go read
Frosty the Snowman

Seriously. No one stands around singing Christmas carols all day in the Rick Scroogeman story.

I guess I should also say that I'm afraid of ghosts. But that's the
thing I'm afraid of. Don't believe me? Test me. You'll see.

I've been afraid of ghosts since I was a little kid. I saw a dark shadow moving on the kitchen wall. And there was
no one in the kitchen
who could have made that shadow.

Whoa. Creepy, right?

But enough about scary stuff. Being scared is not how I roll.

Here's a good way to get to know me. You can read an essay I wrote for Miss Dorrit's class. She made us all write essays on “What Christmas Means to Me.”

Gag me, please.

Yes, it's almost that sick time of year, time for my least favorite holiday. Why do I hate Christmas so much? Well … don't just sit there asking questions. Read my essay …


By Rick Scroogeman

I hate hate hate Christmas for two reasons.

One: They make us watch this terrible old movie in school every Christmas. It's called
A Christmas Carol
, and it seriously sucks.

It's about a really old guy who is stingy and grouchy and mean to everybody. And three ghosts come to take him away and show him how mean and rotten he is, and they tell him why he should change and be nice. And why he should like Christmas.

The movie is bad because it's in black and white. Also, the ghosts aren't scary at all. The special effects totally suck. But there's something even worse than that.

The mean old guy is named Ebenezer Scrooge.

Like …

As everyone knows, my family name is Scroogeman. So every year after we watch this dumb film, the kids in my class think it's a riot to start calling me Scrooge.

Ha-ha. Do I look like I'm laughing? I don't think so.

But that's not the main reason I hate Christmas. I hate it because I was born on December 25. That's right. Christmas Day is also my birthday.

And does anyone ever remember to celebrate my birthday? No way.

They're all too busy putting up lights and decorating the tree and singing carols and getting ready for the Big Day.

Do you know the dumbest thing about Christmas? Decorating a tree. Because you spend
hanging stuff on the tree. Hours. And then you just have to take it all off. Talk about a waste of time.

Besides, Christmas trees make me sneeze. I'm allergic to them, and I can't breathe when we have a tree in the living room. But does anyone care if I breathe or not? Of course not. It's Christmas.

Because of Christmas, I've never had a birthday party like every other kid I know. I've never been taken to Disney World or someplace cool. I never get to choose what's for dinner on my birthday. We always have to have a Christmas goose. Yuck all. Who eats

And do I get birthday presents like every other kid?

Of course not. I only get Christmas presents. And no one even talks about how old I'm getting and what an awesome guy I am.

See? I get cheated. Cheated out of my birthday every year.

And that's why I say,
Bah, Humbug
, like the old guy in that movie. And that's why I HATE HATE HATE Christmas.

Can you blame me?



Let me tell
you. I don't mean to brag, but Oliver Twist Middle School would be dull without me. Ask anyone. And if they say something bad about me, just remember what I said—they're totally jealous.

I hate to say it, but there are a lot of losers in this school. And losers give me a pain.

There's that loser Davey Pittman, leaning over the water fountain. Ever since they showed that Christmas movie yesterday, Davey has been calling me Scrooge. What a fun guy.

Watch me have a little fun with
. When Davey bends his head to get a drink, I cup my hands under the water. I fill up my hands—and then I send a big splash of water onto the front of his pants.

Davey makes a gulping sound and steps back, staring down at the big wet spot on his pants.

“Oops,” I say, and then I laugh. Ha-ha.

When Davey walks into class, everyone will see the dark spot on the front of his pants and think he had an accident.

Funny, right?

But now Davey is stepping away from the water fountain, red-faced, scowling angrily at me. The kid has no sense of humor. That's

“No hard feelings.” I slap him hard on the back. He goes sprawling into the yellow tile wall. “Oops,” I say again. What else can I say? Sometimes I don't know my own strength.

The hall is really crowded. Everyone is heading to class. Some kids saw me push Davey Pittman into the wall. They probably think that was mean. They don't realize I was just having fun with him because he called me Scrooge.

I see another friend of mine across the hall, closing up his locker. Jeremy London is a short, pudgy guy with curly blond hair, freckles, and a goofball smile. He looks frightened when he sees me coming. But we're actually good friends.

“What do you want, Scrooge?” Jeremy asks as soon as I step up to him.

Uh-oh. He shouldn't have said that. I don't think he meant to. But it slipped out of his mouth anyway.

“Would you like a dancing lesson?” I say.

He tries to back away from me, but his locker is in the way. “A dancing lesson?”

“Yeah,” I say. And I tromp down on the top of his sneaker as hard as I can with the heel of my shoe.

“Owwwww!” He lets out a cry.

That must hurt.

He starts to hop up and down on one foot.

I clap my hands in rhythm as he hops on one foot. “Dance! Dance! Go, Jeremy! Go, Jeremy!” I shout.

It's so funny to watch him hop like that. I love giving dance lessons. It's one of my favorite jokes.

I wave good-bye to Jeremy and make my way down the hall to Miss Dorrit's class. I have a big smile on my face. I'm thinking about Davey's wet jeans and how embarrassed he looked. And Jeremy hopping up and down like a one-legged kangaroo.

Hey—does anyone have as much fun as I do?



In Miss Dorrit's
class, I sit on the end in the back row near the window. Lucy Copperfield sits next to me. Lucy is really nice. I've known her since first grade.

Lucy is all about her hair. That's all she cares about. No joke. She has perfect straight black hair parted in the middle and flowing like waterfalls down both sides of her face. She is constantly smoothing down her bangs and running her hands through her hair and making sure it falls perfectly in place.

So whenever I see Lucy, what do I do? I can't help myself. First, I take my thumbs and smear the lenses on her glasses. Then I take both hands and ruffle her hair as hard as I can.

I try to make it stand straight up. I destroy the part and push her hair this way, then that way, until she looks like she has a furry cocker spaniel on her head.

Ha-ha. Funny, right?

Her face turns red and she acts totally annoyed. But I know she thinks it's funny, too.

I look around. No one else is laughing. Am I the only one with a sense of humor in this school?

Lucy shakes her head hard and struggles to smooth her hair into place. “Rick, don't do that again,” she says, squinting at me through her smeared glasses.

“Rick, don't do that again,” I repeat, imitating her high, squeaky voice.

“Stop it!” she cries. “I mean it!”

“Stop it!” I repeat. “I mean it!” A few kids laugh at my imitation of her shrill little mouse voice.

Lucy raises her hand, trying to get Miss Dorrit's attention. But Miss Dorrit has her back turned, writing on the whiteboard.

“Rick, why are you so juvenile?” Lucy says.

“Ooh. Big word,” I say. I slip her phone from her backpack and start pushing things on the keypad.

“Give that back. What are you doing?” Lucy cries. She tries to grab it but I swipe it out of her reach.

BOOK: Young Scrooge
2.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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