Authors: Megan McDonald
Stink counted his garage sale money at the kitchen table.
Clink. Clink. CLINK.
“Stink, you’re counting that money out loud on purpose,” said Judy.
“I can’t help it!” said Stink. “Mom, tell her. Money makes noise. When you have so much of it.” He grinned.
Judy crumpled up the newspaper that had their garage sale ad in it. She stuffed it angrily into the trash.
“Recycle, please,” said Mom.
“Whoa,” said Stink. “The recycle queen put paper in the trash?”
“Can I use it to line Mouse’s litter box?” asked Judy.
“Good idea,” said Mom.
Judy uncrumpled the paper and spread it on the floor to flatten it.
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! . . .
GARAGE DOOR SALE! . . .
FAMOUS PET CONTEST! . . .
KISS BAD BREATH GOOD-BYE!
Wait! Did that say
? Judy went back and read it again:
Judy could not believe her eyes. “Where’s Mouse?” she asked.“Upstairs,” said Mom.
“Here, Mousey, Mousey,” Judy called. Mouse came down the stairs and strolled into the kitchen, looking for some lunch.
Judy scooped up her cat and kissed her on the nose: “
Mww, mww, mwww.
You, the best, most wonderful cat in the whole wide world with tuna fish on top, are going to make
Visions of blue ribbons and certificates with fancy writing danced in her head. “
I get my picture in the paper.”
“Hey,” she said to her family, “does anybody feel like a piece of toast?”
When Judy hurried into Fur & Fangs with Mouse and Stink that Saturday, it was packed.
Clutching a piece of bread, she said, “Everyone in the entire state of Virginia must own a pet that can do a trick. Hey, there’s Frank!”
“And there’s Rocky,” said Stink.
“You guys! Frank! Rocky! Over here!” Judy called.
Frank’s dog, Sparky, sniffed a purple dog bone. Sparky sniffed Judy’s ankle. Sparky sniffed a ferret.
“What trick does Sparky do?” Stink asked Frank.
“He jumps through a Hula-hoop, don’t you, boy?” said Frank.
“I brought Houdini,” Rocky said, showing them his iguana. “If you scare him, like with a loud noise or something, he can make the end of his tail drop right off.”
“Rare,” said Judy.
She looked around at all the other pets. There was a rabbit and a turtle, a white rat named Elvis, and a striped salamander. Judy saw a hamster racing on a wheel, a snake so still it looked fake, and a shell that was supposed to be a hermit crab. Someone had even brought a stuffed monkey.
“Time for the contest!” yelled the pet store lady over all the squeaking and squawking, growling and yowling.
All the people with pets formed a circle. First was a dancing cricket. Then a turtle that rolled over and a rabbit that drank from a straw.
Polly the parrot sang the first five notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Judy caught herself clapping.
When it was Frank’s turn, Sparky jumped through the Hula-hoop three times and everybody clapped. Then Rocky could not get Houdini’s tail to drop off. “Dogs make him nervous,” Rocky explained.
Three pet tricks later, Polly was still singing.
Emily from school had a ferret named Suzy who brushed its own teeth. Stink liked it the best.
“But all it did was eat the toothpaste,” said Judy.
When it was Judy’s turn, she set up a toaster on the floor, dropped a piece of bread into the slot, then took Mouse out of her cat carrier.
“This is Mouse,” Judy told the audience. “She’s going to make toast.” The audience clapped. Judy stood Mouse on the table. “Don’t be nervous,” she whispered.
Mouse sat down and began licking her paw.
“Look at the toaster, Mouse,” whispered Judy. “The toaster!” Judy pushed it toward Mouse.
Mouse swatted the toaster. Mouse swiped at the toaster. Mouse pushed the toaster away with her paw. Everybody cracked up. Judy held out a Tasty Tuna Treat. Mouse stood up. Mouse saw herself in the toaster!
Judy held her breath.
Mouse swiped at the toaster one more time. This time she pressed down the button with her paw. The slice of bread disappeared! The red coils heated up.
The crowd got quiet. A minute later, the toast popped up.
“Ta da!” called Judy.
“Hooray!” Everybody clapped and cheered.
“Mouse, I’ll be famous at last!” Judy squeezed her.
“And now, last but not least,” said the pet store lady, “a chicken that plays the piano.”
Up stepped David, a boy with a chicken on a leash.
“This is Mozart,” said the boy. Mozart pecked out three notes on the toy piano with his beak. “‘Three Blind Mice’!” someone yelled. The crowd went wild.
Judy felt a familiar twinge, the tug of a bad mood. She, Judy Moody, would never be as famous as a piano-playing chicken.
For the grand finale, everyone paraded their pets, marching in a circle.
“What a great contest this year,” said the pet store lady. “I’d like to thank all of you for coming. Now, for the prizes,” said the pet store lady. “If I call your pet’s name, please step into the center of the circle.”
A man stepped up to the circle with a big camera.
“The newspaper! They’re here,” Judy announced.
“In third place, Suzy Chang, the tooth-brushing ferret.”
Judy wished silently.
“Second place is Mouse Moody, the cat who makes toast!”
“That’s you!” said Frank and Rocky, pushing Judy into the circle.
“Mouse, we won!” cried Judy. “Second place!” At last her time had come. At last her chance to be famous.
“And first prize goes to Mozart Puckett, the piano-playing chicken! Let’s hear it for all the famous pets!”
The crowd went wild. Each pet got a blue ribbon to wear and a gift certificate to Fur & Fangs. The winners lined up to have a picture taken! Judy was on the end, holding Mouse, but Mouse squirmed and leaped out of Judy’s arms. Flash! Judy blinked. The newspaper man snapped a picture faster than lightning.
“Thank you, everybody! That’s it!” yelled the pet store lady.
“That’s it?” asked Judy.
Judy’s fifteen minutes of fame lasted only fifteen seconds. Fifteen seconds of fame, and she, Judy Moody, had blinked.
The following morning, Judy ran outside to fetch the paper. She whipped through the pages. Her heart beat faster.
“Here it is!” Judy cried. She could not believe her eyes. There were David Puckett and Emily Chang with mile-wide smiles. There were Mozart the chicken and Suzy the ferret.
“Let me see!” said Stink. “Hey, there’s Mouse!”
“I’m not even in the picture!” yelled Judy.
“There you are!” said Stink, pointing to an elbow.
“I’m not famous!” Judy wailed. “I’m an elbow!”
“Let’s see,” said Dad. He read the caption. “Blah-blah,
winners of the Famous Pet Contest,
blah-blah. It says your name, right here. See?
Mouse and Judy . . . Muddy.
“WHAT!” said Judy. “
? Let me see.”
“Judy Muddy! That’s a good one,” said Stink.
“Judy Muddy! No one will ever know it’s me,” said Judy.
“We’ll know,” said Dad.
Judy frowned. “I guess your name is Mud,” Dad said, laughing.
“ROAR!” said Judy.
“At least it says Mouse won the contest,” Mom said. She cut out the picture and hung it up on the fridge.
“Great,” said Judy. “Even my cat’s in the Moody Hall of Fame.”
Mom kissed the top of Judy’s head. “And you have one very famous elbow.”