Read Flying Feet Online

Authors: Patricia Reilly Giff

Tags: #Ages 6 and up

Flying Feet (2 page)

BOOK: Flying Feet
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harlie counted in his head.
Three. Two. One.


The three o’clock bell.

It was time for Afternoon Center.

Everyone was going outside today. Some kids were playing basketball. Some kids were doing a potato race.

Charlie had a new invention.

Wait until everyone saw it. They’d be yelling,
“Char-lie, Char-lie!”

He was even wearing his brother Larry’s good luck T-shirt.

Larry was in high school now. He’d gone to the Zigzag School, too. He’d read every book in the library. Even the boring ones.

The teachers still remembered him.

Larry’s shirt said
on the collar.

Charlie was wishing, all right.

Wishing his invention would work.

Charlie grabbed his bag. “Come on, guys,” he yelled. “Invention time.”

He raced downstairs and outside. A bunch of kids raced, too.

“Wait up, Charlie,” Destiny called. Today she had braids and beads all over her head.

Beebe, a new girl, was with her. Her hair was the color of a carrot.

“I don’t hear very well,” she told Charlie.

She flipped up her curly hair.

He could see little tan circles in her ears.

“Hearing aids,” she said. “They help me hear better.”

Charlie leaned against the wall to wait. The school was long and yellow. The bricks were warm.

Beebe was still talking. “My name is Beebe. Like two ‘B’s.”

Charlie nodded. He could see Ramón, the college helper. Ramón was bouncing balls at the handball court.

Sumiko burst out the door. “I’m here.” She had a book in her hand. It had a bunch of Japanese words.

Habib came out next. He was juggling two Popsicle sticks. “Me too.”

“I hope your invention is good,” Mitchell told Charlie.

“Did you ever see anyone walk up a wall?” Charlie asked.

“You’re going to do that?” Mitchell asked.

“You’ll see.” Charlie tapped his bag.

“Hey, Ramón,” Mitchell called. “Charlie’s going to be a human fly.”

Charlie’s heart began to pound.

If only this worked.

He’d be a hero.

His picture would be on the wall. Right next to Zelda A. Zigzag’s. She had been the first principal of the school.

Charlie opened the bag. He took out his Flying Feet.

He’d been working on the feet for days.

It had started with a buzz in his head.

That was the way all his inventions began.

Buzz! An idea!

He’d taken Larry’s thrown-away sneakers. They were huge.

He’d found suction cups on his father’s workbench.

He’d glued.…

Painted the sneakers bright red.…


Now he took off his socks. His toes had to hold on.

He edged his feet into them. Perfect. Flying Feet!

Ramón frowned. “Are you sure you can do this?”

Charlie wasn’t so sure. He had to do it, though.

The whole Afternoon Center was watching.

“Stand back.” He made swimming motions with his arms. “I need room.”

Mitchell’s sister, Angel, shook her head. “We’re going to need an ambulance,” she told Ramón.

“I’m right here,” Ramón said. “Don’t worry.”

Charlie wanted to tell Angel to be quiet. But she remembered his last invention.

The Breathe-Underwater Box.

He’d nearly drowned.

Charlie wiggled his toes in the Flying Feet. Larry’s sneakers were a lot bigger than his feet.

He hoped they’d stay on.

“Go, go, go, go,” Mitchell and Habib yelled.

“Stop, stop,” Angel said.

Charlie took a look at the handball wall.

He took five steps back. Then he began to run.

He could see Angel. Her hands covered her eyes.

The wall was in front of him.

He took a giant step. Up. The sneaker stuck to the wall.

It was going to work!

Charlie, the greatest inventor in the Center.

His foot slipped out of the sneaker.

“Bonk!” he heard Mitchell yell.

Charlie hit the ground.

“I knew it,” Angel said. “Call the ambulance.”

Ramón helped him up. “He’s all right. I have him.”

What Charlie had was ten sore toes.

shirt was ripped.

Worse than all that, his invention had failed.


harlie looked under his desk at his feet. His mother had cut out the front of his sneakers.

Band-Aids were stuck on his toes.

Too bad he couldn’t invent an Instant Stop-Scratches Pill.


Outside there was an explosion of noise.

“A UFO has crashed!” someone screeched.

“Nonsense,” said Ms. Katz.

Charlie stood up. He could see Jake the Sweeper’s truck. A huge pile of stuff had fallen off the back.

Jake jumped up and down. He pulled at his hair.

The end-of-the-day bell rang.

Some kids headed for home. But almost everyone headed for the stairs. They were going to the Afternoon Center.

There’d be snack, and climbing in the gym, and a bunch of other things to do.

Charlie limped down the hall as fast as he could. He had to get outside.

He wanted to see what had happened to Jake’s truck.

Sumiko walked next to him.

Her ponytail bounced. Her sneakers slapped on the floor.

She had great feet for running, Charlie thought.

“Your invention was a good try,” she said.

Charlie swallowed.

His brother, Larry, didn’t think it was a good try. Charlie had to give Larry his allowance. Maybe for the rest of his life.

It was because of Larry’s ripped

Someone clapped.

It was Mrs. Farelli, the art teacher.

She was tough. Almost as tough as Zelda A. Zigzag, the school’s first principal.

Was she calling him?

“Charles,” she shouted. “And Sumiko.”

Charlie looked at the door.

He was almost there.

Lucky Sumiko. She dashed outside.

Mrs. Farelli clapped her hands. “I’ve been looking for someone from the Afternoon Center,” she said. “Anyone.”

Charlie took turtle steps to the Art Room.

“I have a great idea,” Mrs. Farelli said. “Your brother, Larry, would have loved this. Too bad he’s not here anymore.”

Charlie looked up at her.

He was getting a little sick of Larry.

Mrs. Farelli rushed on. “We’re going to have a Come as a Character Day,” she said.

The hall was empty. Everyone must be scarfing up cheese poppers in the lunchroom.

“Isn’t that grand, Charles?”

Charlie could see Sumiko’s ponytail around the edge of the door.

She was hiding at the end of the hall.

She had come back to wait for him.

“We’ll dress as book characters,” Mrs. Farelli said. “We’ll tell everyone a tiny part of each story.”

Mrs. Farelli drew herself up. She squinched one eye shut. “Yo-ho-ho. I’m a pirate from
Treasure Island,
” she boomed. “And this is how my story begins.…”

She unsquinched her eye. “Know what I mean?”

Charlie gulped.

“It’ll be a blast,” Mrs. Farelli said. “We’ll invite the parents to come next Monday. And Mr.
Randolph, the principal, of course. And maybe Zelda Zigzag.”

She tapped his arm. “You could ask your brother, Larry. He loves to read.”

Larry again! “I don’t think—”

Mrs. Farelli tilted her head. “You might even be Peter Rabbit.”

Charlie could see himself with long paper ears. He’d have a round cotton tail.

Larry would be laughing his sides out.

What could be more horrible?

“Get all your friends,” she said. “Meet me in the art room tomorrow afternoon.”

He gave a half nod.

“We do things together at the Zelda A. Zigzag School,” she said.

Charlie limped out of the art room.

Sumiko was right outside the door.

Charlie hopped down the hall on one foot. The one with three Band-Aids. His toes hurt.

Sumiko began to laugh. “You really look like Peter Rabbit!” she said.

BOOK: Flying Feet
9.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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