Authors: Megan McDonald
Judy studied her famous elbow in the mirror. She squished her elbow into a wrinkled happy face. She squinched her elbow into a mad face.
If Judy ever hoped to be more famous than an elbow, she needed some help. Judy called all members of the Toad Pee Club. “Meet at the clubhouse,” she told everybody.
Rocky, Frank, and Judy crowded into the blue tent in her backyard. Last was Stink, who carried Toady, their mascot, in one hand, and walked while reading a book.
“Stink, you better watch out or you’ll renew your membership.”
“OH!” said Stink. He tossed Toady into the bucket before the toad famous for peeing in people’s hands did it again.
“Now,” said Judy, “how can we make me famous?”
“Let’s think,” Rocky said.
“Stink, you’re not thinking,” said Judy.
“Getting famous is boring,” said Stink, leafing through his book.
“Stink, what book could be soooooooooo interesting?”
Stink held up the
Guinness Book of World Records.
Judy looked at Frank. Frank looked at Rocky. Rocky looked at Judy. “Brainstorm!” the three yelled at the same time. Then they cracked up.
“Stink, you are a genius. The secret to getting famous is right there in your hands.”
Stink checked his hands.
“Don’t you get it?” said Judy. “I could break a record and get in that book! Then I’d be superfamous.”
“Famous. Famous. Famous. YOU are a broken record,” Stink told her.
“Hardee-har-har,” said Judy.
“You know how you collect stuff, like Band-Aids?” said Frank. “You could break a record for collecting something. Like the most pizza tables.”
“Or scabs!” said Judy.
said Stink. “There’s a guy in here who collects throw-up bags from airplanes. He has two thousand one hundred and twelve. One bag even has a connect-the-dots drawing of Benjamin Franklin on it.”
“That’s way better than scabs,” said Judy.
“Hey, look,” Rocky said, reading over Stink’s shoulder. “World’s longest word. Spell that and you could be the next Jessica Finch.”
The word was:
“Whoa. Forty-five letters,” said Frank, counting.
“Not even Queen Bee herself could spell that!” said Judy.
“It says here it’s an ucky disease from volcanoes,” Rocky said. “No lie.”
“Wait! I got it. There’s a guy in here with the longest neck,” said Stink. “We could all pull on your head to stretch your neck out!”
“I want to be famous, not a giraffe,” said Judy.
“With a giraffe neck you would be famous,” Stink told her.
“Let me see that book.” Judy grabbed the book of records and flipped through the pages. Longest gum wrapper chain? It took thirty-one years to make! Longest fingernail? No way; the guy hasn’t cut his thumbnail since 1952. Best spitter? Judy could spit.
Then she saw it. Right there on page 399.
The human centipede!
“Okay. Listen up. We’re going to be a giant creepy-crawly,” said Judy. “Let’s tie our shoelaces together, then walk like a caterpillar. The old record is ninety-eight feet and five inches. Rocky, remember last summer we measured with a string? It was one hundred feet to your house and back. So all we have to do is walk from here to Rocky’s and back to break the record.”
They sat in a line, one behind the other, like desks in a row. First Judy, then Frank, Rocky, and Stink.
“Hey, I’m always last!” said Stink.
“You’re the rear end,” said Judy.
“Tie one shoelace to the person in front, and one to the person in back,” she called.
“How are we ever going to stand up?” asked Stink.
“On the count of three,” Judy began. “One, two . . .” Judy took the first step. Frank’s foot shot up and out from under him. Like bowling pins, Frank toppled sideways, Rocky fell over on his ear, and Stink crashed on his elbows.
Frank snorted first. Rocky cracked up so bad he sprayed everybody.
“Hic-CUP!” said Stink.
When they were finally standing, without anybody falling or snorting or hiccupping, they each tried to take a step. One . . . two . . . three.
“The human centipede!” called Judy. She pictured the human centipede in her imagination — growing longer and longer, all wiggly and squiggly with tons of legs, and she, Judy Moody, at the head with biting fangs and poison claws!
“No hopping, Rocky,” called Frank.
“My lace is all twisted,” said Rocky.
“Hold up!” yelled Stink from the end of the line.
That’s when it happened.
Judy stopped, but the rest of the centipede kept going! They all began to fall.
Judy stepped on Frank’s hand. Frank’s other arm socked Rocky in the stomach. Stink’s foot landed in Rocky’s hair.
Three steps, and they had crumbled into a human pretzel.
“Hey! Watch it!” Stink yelled.
“I’m all twisted,” Rocky said.
“OWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Frank screamed. Frank was holding up his right arm with his left hand.
Frank Pearl’s right pinky finger looked all floppy. It looked all floopy. Frank Pearl’s pinky was twice as fat as normal and dangled down the wrong way.
“OOOH! What happened?” asked Judy.
“It hurts . . . bad,” said Frank, tears streaming down his face. “Real bad.”
“Stink, run and get Mom. Fast!”
What if Judy had broken a finger, not a record? If Frank’s pinky was broken, it was all Judy’s fault.
Judy no longer felt like a human centipede. She, Judy Moody, felt more like a human
“So which one of you’s the patient?” asked a tall man with a red beard in a long white coat.
Frank held up his little blue sausage of a finger.
“Ouch!” said the man. “How’d this happen?”
Frank looked over at Judy. Judy stared a hole in the carpet.
“We were playing,” Frank answered.
“We were making a human centipede so my sister could be famous!” said Stink. “And she stepped on Frank!”
Judy sent Stink her best troll-eyes stare, complete with stinging-caterpillar eyebrows. The man laughed. “Okay. Well. I’m Ron, the emergency-room nurse. I’ll take you back, and the doctor’s gonna fix you right up, Frank. Is your mom or dad here?”
“My mom went to call Frank’s mom,” said Judy.
“Okay. Tell you what. The children’s wing is right through those red doors. Why don’t you two wait in the playroom there. It’ll be more fun. I’ll tell your mom you’re there, when she comes back.”
Too bad Rocky went home. Now she was stuck with Stink. They pushed through the red doors and into a long hallway. At the end of the hall was a room marked THE MAGIC PLAYROOM. Judy and Stink went in.
The walls were papered with teddy bears in hospital gowns, holding balloons. Each bear had crutches or bandages or sat in a wheelchair. There was a couch, a table with crayons and paper for coloring, a plastic castle, and a bookshelf with books about going to the hospital. There was even a miniature operating table on wheels. The only kid in the playroom was a girl in a wheelchair.
“How come you’re in a wheelchair?” Stink asked her.
“Stink, you shouldn’t ask stuff like that.”
“It’s okay,” said the girl. “I got a new heart. They can’t let me walk around yet. They have to keep me at the hospital for a long, long time to make sure it works.”