Read Flying Feet Online

Authors: Patricia Reilly Giff

Tags: #Ages 6 and up

Flying Feet (5 page)

BOOK: Flying Feet
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“You could make a tie,” Beebe said.

Beebe was a nice girl. But a tie? He wouldn’t wear a tie in a million years. “Sorry,” he said.

He looked out the door.

The pile of junk was still there. Jake was trying to cover it.

He flapped a big gray tarp.

Charlie wanted to help. But Mrs. Farelli would be waiting. Charlie walked to the art room. Slowly.

The door was locked.

Ms. Katz came along. “Mrs. Farelli has a cold,” she said. “She’ll be out for the rest of the week.”

“Too bad,” Charlie said.

Wait. Did that mean—No Peter Rabbit!

He raced down the hall. He jumped up. How close could he get to the lights?

Not very close.

He and Sumiko went outside.

On top of the junk pile was an old mirror. Charlie could see Mrs. Thomas in it.

She was taking a nap under the three-legged tilting chair.

Charlie and Sumiko helped Jake flap the tarp over the pile. Fourteen flaps!

The tarp sailed over the three of them: Charlie, Jake, and Sumiko.

“Mr. Randolph wants a clean schoolyard by Monday,” Jake said. “Something special is going on.”

“Not anymore,” Charlie said.

“Special or not,” Jake said. “Mr. Randolph said that the pile goes.”

Charlie squinted at the pile. “We could dig a hole. Bury the whole thing.”

“It would have to be huge. The size of China.” Jake closed his eyes. “I’d have to work on Saturday.”

“Muda,”
Sumiko said. “That’s ‘no good’ in Japanese.”

“How about a zoo?” Charlie said. He picked up a metal bar. “We could use these.”

“Ii,”
Sumiko said. “That’s ‘good.’ ”

Was that a buzz in Charlie’s head?

“We could start with Mrs. Thomas and Tree Stump,” Charlie said. “We could add a monkey.”

He thought about it. “Maybe we could get the real zoo to lend us an ele—”

“Mr. Randolph would fire me,” Jake said.

No buzz after all,
Charlie thought.

“Time to sweep the halls,” Jake said.

It started to rain.

“Time for a snack,” Charlie said.

In the lunchroom no one was eating.

No wonder.

The snack was soup.

It was the red kind, with lumps.

“It’ll warm you up on this rainy day,” the lunch lady said.

Destiny and Beebe were helping the lunch lady. “Get your soup crackers here!” they yelled.

Sumiko backed away. “I might be allergic to soup.”

“I’m allergic to lumps,” Mitchell said.

“Me too,” said Habib.

A couple of kids grabbed crackers. Then they slid out the door.

The lunch lady looked disappointed.

How could Charlie hurt her feelings?

He tried a sip. He kept his teeth closed.

It was the worst.

“Hi, everyone.” Ms. Katz was at the lunchroom door.

“How about some soup?” the lunch lady asked her.

“No, thanks,” Ms. Katz said. “It’s the red kind with lumps.”

The lunch lady nodded. “I don’t like it, either. But Charlie loves it.”

She filled Charlie’s bowl again.

Charlie began to shake his head.

“Don’t worry,” the lunch lady said. “I have tons of it. I’ll freeze the rest.”

Charlie took half a lump.

It would take a hundred spoonfuls to get to the bottom of the bowl.

Ms. Katz sat down at the table. “Poor Mrs. Farelli,” she said to everyone. “She was excited about Come as a Character Day on Monday.”

Charlie and Sumiko looked at each other.

“Too bad,” Habib said.

“She invited Zelda A. Zigzag. And the parents. And Charlie’s older brother, Larry. He’s read a million books.” Ms. Katz poked at her glasses. “He’s a great boy.”

“Great. Like red soup with lumps,” Charlie said.

“Told you,” the lunch lady said. “Charlie loves this soup.”

Ms. Katz shook her head. “We have to call off Come as a Character Day. “There’s no time to make costumes. No time to practice.”

She pushed her glasses up on her hair. “Too bad. Mrs. Farelli always says we do things together at the Zelda A. Zigzag School.”

Charlie made himself eat another lump.

“Some ideas are good,” Sumiko said. “Some are not so good. That’s what my mother says.”

Charlie’s mother had said that just last night.

He’d been working on his Pop Out a Potato invention.

He’d left a bag of potatoes in the yard.

In the rain.

By accident.

The potatoes had turned to mush.

His mother’s potato pancakes had no potatoes.

They were as horrible as the soup.

Charlie knew how Mrs. Farelli must feel.

“Poor tough-as-nails Mrs. Farelli,” Sumiko whispered to Charlie.

“We should have helped her,” Habib said.

“Yes,” Charlie said.

He pushed his bowl away.

He couldn’t eat any more.

T
he rain stopped.

A pale sun came out. Everyone ran for the yard.

Ramón blew his whistle. “Who’s ready for a race?” he called.

“A race!” Destiny told Beebe.

“Me!” Beebe yelled.

“Me too,” Sumiko said.

Charlie watched Sumiko run in place. She was warming up.

A bunch of kids sloshed through the puddles.

Charlie sat on the wall.

The stones were wet.

So what? They felt good.

Trevor and Clifton hopped along the wall. “Great hoppers, right?” Trevor yelled.

“You’d make great Peter Rabbits,” Charlie said.

Clifton stopped hopping. He wiggled his nose.

Habib juggled an old ball. “I found it in Jake’s junk pile,” Habib told Charlie.

“I found this, too.” Mitchell waved a horn. “It doesn’t toot. I might take it home anyway.”

Ramón stood at the other end of the field. He raised his arms high.

Then he snapped them down.

Everyone began to run.

Beebe was running hard. She passed Sumiko.

Her face was red.

She was beating some of the fifth graders.

Clifton jumped off the wall. He just missed Beebe.

“Yeow!” Beebe yelled.

Clifton landed on a box in Jake’s pile.

“They’re work gloves.” Clifton held up a green one.

Charlie felt a buzz.

It was a little buzz.

Still—

Another invention?

He had no time to think about it.

Ms. Katz sat down next to him. “The wall is a little damp,” she said. “But it feels good.”

Beebe passed him for the second time.

Habib came flying by.

Trevor threw a glove in the air.

Big gloves.

Thick gloves.

Gloves with lots of room.

The buzz in Charlie’s head began again.

Jake came along. “Go, guys,” he yelled.

“Can I have those gloves?” Charlie asked Jake.

Jake waved his hand. “Take anything. Take it all.”

“I feel terrible,” Ms. Katz said.

Charlie looked over at her.

She didn’t look sick.

She shook her head. “I’m thinking of Mrs. Farelli. She was sad about Monday.”

Charlie thought about Mrs. Farelli.

He thought about the feather in her hair.

She had twirled around, singing
tra-la-la.

She’d looked happy.

“I hate to call Zelda A. Zigzag tomorrow,” Ms. Katz said. “She’ll be sad, too.”

Ramón held up his finger. “Sumiko came in first.”

He held up two fingers so Beebe could see. “Beebe second.”

“Whew.” Sumiko leaned close so Beebe could read her lips. “My feet are falling off.”

Charlie felt that buzz again. Louder now.

An invention was on its way, Charlie thought.

Ramón blasted his whistle two times.

The buses were there.

Mrs. Dover, the bus driver, honked her horn.

Charlie grabbed the box of gloves.

He began to run to the bus.

So did some of the other kids.

“What’s that box for?” Mrs. Dover asked.

“I don’t know yet,” he said.

“I hope it isn’t Flying Feet,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t have a mousetrap.”

Charlie ducked his head.

“Or an Underwater-Breathing Box.”

Charlie went to the back of the bus.

Sumiko slid in next to him. “The bus driver knows a lot about you,” she said.

“She’s pretty smart,” Charlie said.

Sumiko wiggled her legs around. “My feet need a rest,” she said.

Charlie nodded.

He wasn’t thinking about her feet, though.

He was thinking about a new invention.

He was thinking about poor Mrs. Farelli, too.

BOOK: Flying Feet
13.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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