Here is a small excerpt of Chapter One – Enjoy!
I could only eat nineteen peas for dinner – nothing else. The nineteenth pea almost came back up. Christmas was only one week away and I was sure things couldn’t get any worse. Today I had flunked my spelling test, found out that Alex Lemmon liked Judy Young, I discovered two new freckles, got my school pictures back (yuck) and I stopped believing in Santa Claus. Green pea puke at the dinner table would have pushed me right over the edge.
“How’d you do on your test today?” my older brother asked as he got a second helping of beef stew.
Thanks a lot Ben! I wished Ben would zip it. Why did he always have to stick his nose in my business anyway? We both have our grandfather’s famous hazel eyes, but our resemblance ends there. I had hoped I wouldn’t have to tell anyone about the test. Mom might have forgotten if Ben had kept his big mouth shut.
“Not so good.” I mumbled.
“Oh, Rebecca.” Mom said, “What’re we going to do about your grades?”
I guess I was wrong before because things could get worse. Mom only called me Rebecca when I really screwed up.
“I’ll try harder next time.” I said.
She didn’t look like she believed me, but I couldn’t tell her the real reason I flunked.
After dinner, Mom, Dad, and Ben left the table. It was my night to clean up. I looked at the stack of dirty dishes in the sink and groaned. I was going to have plenty of time to think about my miserable day.
There was a good reason why I flunked my spelling test and the reason was Michael O’Donnell, the meanest boy in fifth grade. Michael O’Donnell was not a boy you want in your grade, let alone in your class. I think even the teachers were afraid of him. In second grade, he pushed me into the mud in front of the whole school on Field Day. My heart was too bad to do much running, but I was allowed to be in the long jump. He ruined the only event I could even participate in. He swore to the principal it was an accident, but he flashed me a sly grin as I got back on my feet.
Today, right before our spelling test, I was minding my own business and reviewing my letter to Santa Claus. Michael saw me and grabbed the letter out of my hands. I knew better than to tell on him; I just wanted him to leave me alone.
“What’s this, Shepherd?”
“Santa Claus. You’re kidding me. You still believe in Santa? Hey everybody, listen up.”
I tried to get the letter back, but Michael pushed me down into my chair. Mrs. Herron had to leave the classroom to get Mandy Ray to the nurse before the test because Mandy had stapled her thumb and was about to faint. As soon as they were out the door, Michael walked to the front of the room with my letter.
“Dear Santa…” he said in a baby-like voice.
He read the whole thing in front of the class. All I could do was sit and watch. When he was finished reading, he cackled like a hyena and pointed at me. I thought I’d die when the rest of the class laughed too! I tried so hard not to cry.
“Here’s your letter, Baby Becca,” he said as he crumpled up my letter and threw it at my face.
The letter hit me right between the eyes and everyone laughed harder. I bolted for the door the second the bell rang. I left my supplies all over my desk; I even forgot my coat. I didn’t care. I wanted to be as far away from everyone’s laughter as possible.
Before dinner, I sat in my room and pretended to study, but Santa Claus was heavy on my mind. Could push-me-in-the-mud Michael O’Donnell be telling the truth? I don’t even know how many times the school has held him back, but maybe he knew something I didn’t because he was older. I realized that I probably was the only ten-year-old who still believed in Santa, but I really wanted him to be real.
*Copyright © 2009 by Mary Elizabeth Robinson
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This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher.