The Get Rich Quick Club

BOOK: The Get Rich Quick Club
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Dan Gutman
The Get Rich Quick Club

Dedicated to kids
everywhere
who don't like to read

Contents

1
   Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

2
   A Simple Solution

3
   The Get Rich Quick Club

4
   The Fine Points of Business

5
   A Million-Dollar Idea

6
   Big Bikkies

7
   Undoubtedly Fake Flying Objects

8
   The National Truth

9
   The Big Payoff

10
Alert the Media

11
   Fame and Fortune

12
   Good Liars, Bad Liars

13
   The End of the Get Rich Quick Club

14
   The Secret of the Universe

15
   The Future?

We, the members of the Get Rich Quick Club, in order to form a more perfect summer, vow that we will figure out a way to make a

$ MILLION DOLLARS $

by September. We agree that neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will prevent us from achieving our stated goal, until death do us part. You tried the rest. Now try the best.

Signed,
Ms. Gina Tumolo, 11, CEO
Mr. Rob Hunnicutt, 11, Vice President
Ms. Quincy Biddle, 10, Creative Director
Mr. Edward A. Bogle, 8, Chief Drone #1
Mr. Theodore P. Bogle, 8, Chief Drone #2

I
t was a dream. I
think
it was a dream, anyway.

I'm just lying out there in the backyard one night, staring up at the sky. Then suddenly a dollar bill lands on my face. I pick it up. It looks real. I have no idea where it came from.

Then another one falls. And another. I look up and see bills fluttering down from the clouds above me. First they come in flurries, and then it turns into a snowstorm of money.

Tens. Twenties. Fifties. Hundreds. They're raining down on me, and
only
on me. It's more money than I could ever imagine. I am incredibly rich. I can buy
anything in the world.

The money is piling up high. I grab handfuls of bills and throw them into the air for the fun of it. There's a foot of accumulation on the ground now. I take a running jump into it, like I'm jumping into a pile of October leaves.

Then a blinding flash of white light illuminates the sky. It's so bright, I have to close my eyes. But I can still see the light through my eyelids. It hurts. I scream.

“Gina! Gina!” It's my mother's voice. “Gina, are you okay?”

I open my eyes. I'm in my bedroom now. No light. No money. I get up and rush to the window, half expecting to see the backyard covered in bills.

But there's nothing there. I guess it was just a dream.

1
Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

I,
Gina Tumolo, love money. So I guess it makes sense for me to dream about it.

I, Gina Tumolo, want to be a millionaire.

There, I said it. I know it's not cool to say it, but it's the truth, so I might as well admit it.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved money. In fact, the first memory I have is of money. I was sitting on the couch watching TV one day, and I found a dollar bill stuck inside the cushions. I must have been four years old.

I remember looking at those mysterious markings on the bill. The pyramid with that creepy-looking eye
floating through it. What did it mean, I wondered? It all seemed very mystical and magical and wonderful.

I realize that money is just pieces of paper and disks of metal. But from a very young age, I was aware that those papers and disks were powerful. They could be exchanged for
other
things. You could turn them into just about
anything
.

This was amazing to me. You could actually walk into a store, hand somebody some green pieces of paper, and then take something from the store to bring home with you. To keep!

Incredible! And the more of that green paper you had, I quickly learned, the more stuff you could bring home.

Wow! What a fantastic idea! I wanted to get as much of that green paper as possible.

I never had many toys when I was little. My parents didn't have much money back then. Whenever I asked for something, they would give me the old line “It costs too much,” or “Money doesn't grow on trees.” Maybe that's why all I ever wanted was to accumulate as much money as I could.

We learned in school that King Tut became the ruler of all Egypt when he was about my age, eleven. He owned all the treasures of the kingdom. Bill Gates, I know, started Microsoft when he was barely twenty, and it wasn't long before he became the richest person in the world.

Why not me? I asked myself. Why can't I, Gina Tumolo, accumulate a vast fortune at a very young age? What's stopping me?

Nothing. Other kids want to be in the Olympics, or they want to become rock stars or presidents. Good for them. I want to be a millionaire. My goal is to make my first million before I'm a teenager.

This is the story of the most amazing summer I ever had. It was the summer I started the Get Rich Quick Club.

2
A Simple Solution

I
live in Farmington, Maine, which is about thirty miles from Augusta. That's the state capital.

It was dreary the day after school let out for the summer. I was bored and lonely. There's a field out back behind our housing development with one big tree in it. I was walking around, trying to think of something to do with my summer, when I spotted something in the tree.

I went to get a better look. As I got closer, I realized the thing in the tree was Rob Hunnicutt. He lives a couple of houses over and goes to my school. Rob was in the other fifth-grade class.

Rob was sitting up in the tree, and sitting next to him was his pet pig, Chester. Not many kids own a pig, but Rob is a little…I guess you could say unusual. He has wild blond hair, and I'm not sure he knows what a comb is.

“Whatcha doin'?” I asked.

“Existing,” Rob replied. “Chester and I are inhaling air and letting it escape into the atmosphere.”

“Why are you doing it in a tree?” I asked.

“Well, I was thinking that one day this tree might get cut down and made into a fence or a cardboard box or somebody's garage. I wanted to enjoy it while it was still alive.”

“Okayyyyyy….”

Maybe “unusual” isn't the best term to describe Rob. In truth, most kids think he's a bit of a yo-yo. Sometimes when he says things like that, I think he's putting me on, but I know he isn't. Rob just sees the world differently from other people. He's probably a genius.

“Why don't you join us,” Rob suggested. “Chester likes company.”

I didn't have anything better to do. I found a low branch that I could dig a sneaker into and climbed up on the tree, giving Chester a pat on the top of his head. The pig oinked contentedly.

“Are you going to camp this summer?” I asked Rob.

“My folks don't believe in camps,” he replied. I remembered that Rob's parents were real back-to-nature types. “They say planned activity in an artificial environment stifles creativity.”

“I wish I was going to camp,” I said. “I waited the whole school year for summer to come, and now I have nothing to do. This is going to be the most boring summer ever.”

“You know, a person's average life expectancy is less than eighty years,” Rob informed me. “That's eighty summers of living. We've already used up eleven. More than one-eighth of our lives.”

I had never looked at it that way. Rob was always thinking of things that made you look at the world in a new way. In this case, it only made me depressed. It reminded me that I would be twelve in a year, and I wasn't even
close
to making my first million.

“G'day, mates!”

The voice came from below. Rob and I immediately knew it was Quincy Biddle. Quincy is a girl who moved here from Australia in the middle of fifth grade. “G'day, mates” is the way Australians say hello.

“Lovely arvo,” Quincy said. “Mind if I join the chin-wag? I had an appointment at the fang carpenter to adjust my railway tracks.”
1

Australians speak English, but sometimes it's hard to tell. They use a lot of words that don't exactly make sense in America. Like, when Quincy says the phrase “dead horse,” she's not talking about a horse that is dead. She means tomato sauce. It was a little weird the first time I went through the lunch line next to her on pizza day.

You know how Eskimos have about fifty different words to say “snow”? Well, Australians have about fifty different ways to say “stupid.” If somebody is stupid, you can call them a drongo. Isn't that a great
word? Or you could call them a boofhead or a ning-nong.

Here are some other words Quincy taught us to use in place of stupid: gumby, nit, alf, mug, deadhead, dipstick, wombat, dill, dag, and ratbag. You'd be surprised how often this comes in handy in everyday conversation.

Rob invited Quincy to join us, and she climbed the tree. Rob, Chester, and I moved over to make room for her.

“Any bities up here?” Quincy asked. “Cripes, I'm stroppy! I just got off the blower with my crumblies. They live out in woop woop, and they must have ear-bashed me for an hour! It seems they got into a bingle and their Toyota is jigged. Now it's not worth a crumpet and they can't flog it. Grandpa's as angry as a frog in a sock!”
2

Man, I could listen to Quincy talk all day.

“Blimey!” Quincy exclaimed. “Some ankle biters have lobbed over.”
3

I looked down to see two little kids. It was the Bogle twins, Eddie and Teddy. They're eight, and annoying. Eddie was holding a big wooden box in his hand.

“Whatcha doing in the tree?” Teddy asked.

“Trying to hide from you gerbils,” I replied.

“Can we climb up?” they asked simultaneously.

“No!” Rob, Quincy, and I replied. Chester oinked.

They didn't go away. I knew they wouldn't. The Bogle twins never go away. They're like those inflatable punching bags. No matter how many times you knock them down, they always come back for more punishment.

“What's in the box?” I asked Eddie.

“I'll tell you if you let us up.”

“It's against the law for second graders to climb trees,” Rob informed the twins.

“It is not,” Teddy countered. “I climb trees all the time.”

“The police haven't caught you yet,” I said. “Once they do, they'll throw you in jail.”

“I don't
wanna
go to jail!” wailed Eddie.

“Oh, come on up and have a pozzie,”
4
Quincy said, extending her hand to them. Eddie stopped crying immediately, the little faker.

“Okay, we let you up,” I said. “So what's in the box?”

Eddie opened the box. It was filled with clumpy dust, like what you'd find if you opened up a vacuum cleaner bag.

“It's from my mommy's clothes dryer,” he explained. “She lets me clean the lint screen.”

“You collect
dryer dust
?” Quincy asked, unbelieving.

“Sure!” Teddy said. “Soon we'll need a bigger box.”

Rob, Quincy, and I looked at one another. These Bogles were weird.

“My grandpa planted this tree, you know,” Eddie told us. “He throwed a seed into a hole in the ground right here and planted it himself.”

“Is that the fair dinkum?”
5
Quincy asked.

Rob and I rolled our eyes. We both knew the Bogle twins were compulsive liars who would make up any kind of nutty story that came to their minds. I had already heard that the Bogles' grandpa was the first man on the moon, the inventor of Silly Putty, and George Washington's photographer.

“Ain't that right, Teddy, about Grandpa planting this tree?”

“Yup. Our grandpa was Johnny Appleseed.”

Rob and I snickered. We could have told the twins that the tree wasn't an apple tree. We could have told them Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. We could have told them that photography wasn't invented until way after George Washington was dead.

But that would have spoiled the fun. Listening to the Bogle boys tell their tall tales was just about as entertaining as anything on TV, and somehow it helped us forget that we had two months of summer ahead of us with nothing to do.

“You sprogs are a cack,”
6
Quincy chuckled.

“What do you wanna do?” I asked when we had tired of teasing the clueless Bogles.

“I don't know,” Rob said. “What do
you
want to do?”

“We could go to the flicks,” Quincy said.

“I don't have any money,” I muttered.

“Bowling?” Rob suggested.

“That costs money too,” I reminded him.

“Why don't we go to the playground?” Teddy Bogle suggested. “Going to the playground doesn't cost anything.”

“Going to the playground is no fun,” I informed him. “If it was fun, it would cost money. Anything fun costs money.”

What a depressing thought. Money was the thing I wanted more than anything, and I didn't have any of it. I had spent my birthday money, and Christmas wasn't for months. This was a serious problem.

“Do you know what makes the world go around?” I asked the group.

“The gravitational pull of the sun?” Rob guessed.

“No,” I replied.

“Wind?” guessed Quincy.

“Oink?” oinked Chester the pig.

“A giant hamster?” guessed Teddy. “Running on a treadmill?”

“No,” I told them. “It's
money
. Money makes the world go around.”

They all looked at me.

“Money can't buy world peace,” Rob said.

I turned to him. “Who needs world peace when you can buy a piece of the world?”

“I've got a piggy bank at home,” Eddie Bogle announced.

“How much money do you have in it?” I asked.

“None,” he replied. “All I have is the piggy bank.”

I
told
you Eddie was annoying.

“Come on, blokes,” Quincy said. “Hit your kick.”
7

We emptied our pockets. I had a dime. Rob had a nickel, two pennies, and a half a pack of Life Savers.
The twins each had a penny that their mother had given them for good luck.

“I haven't a brass razoo,”
8
Quincy said, pulling out what she called a zack, which is some Australian coin that isn't worth much in Australia and isn't worth
anything
here. Together, we didn't even have enough money to buy a pack of gum.

“This is just shrapnel,” Quincy moaned, counting up the change. “You can't even buy an icypole with this.”
9

“We need to make some
real
money,” I told the group.

“Me and Eddie get ten dollars a month in allowance,” Teddy said.

“Allowance?” I laughed. “That's chicken feed! You know what you can buy for ten dollars? A bag of horse manure.”

To be honest, I had no idea how much a bag of horse manure cost, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.

“Ten dollars for a bag of horse poop?” Quincy marveled.

“Does the horse get to keep any of that?” Rob asked. “It's only fair.”

“Why would anyone buy horse manure?” asked Quincy.

“It's used for fertilizer,” I explained.

“I thought horse manure was free,” Quincy said.

“Free?” Rob twisted up his face as if he smelled it. “Somebody who has a lot of horse manure should
pay
you to take it away.”

“That's gross!” exclaimed the Bogle twins.

I was sorry I ever brought up horse manure in the first place.

“My point is,” I tried to explain, “ten dollars isn't
real
money.”

“So what's real money?” Teddy asked.

“A hundred dollars,” I said. “A thousand. A hundred thousand. A million dollars. Lots of zeroes.
That's
real money.”

“How are we gonna get that?” Teddy asked.

“We could rob a bank,” Eddie suggested.

“Illegal, dangerous, and immoral,” Rob responded.

“We could flog some cookies,”
10
said Quincy.

“Nah, too boring.”

“We could sell our blood,” I said.

“What?” everybody asked.

“You know, sell our blood to a blood bank.”

“Who's gonna buy blood?” Teddy asked.

“They use it in hospitals, drongo,” Quincy explained, “for transfusions.”

“My uncle got transfused,” Eddie said. “He had to move to Chicago.”

“Your uncle got trans
ferred
, ning-nong,” I noted.

“I wonder what costs more,” Rob wondered. “Blood or horse manure? It would be pretty incredible if the blood was cheaper.”

“I'm not selling
my
blood,” Teddy insisted. “I'd die without it.”

“You don't flog
all
your blood, boofhead,” Quincy said with a laugh. “You just flog a little.”

“I'm not flogging
any
of my blood,” Teddy insisted,
wrapping his arms around himself protectively.

“I've got it!” I said, snapping my fingers. “I know a way we can make some real money.”

They all looked at me.

“It's simple,” I said. “We'll start our own company.”

BOOK: The Get Rich Quick Club
2.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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