TITLE: REVENGE OF THE PINK GRANNY PANTIES
GENRE: MG Contemporary
I walked into math class and scoped out the sub. Easy prey.
What little life Mr. Thompson had was about to get a whole lot worse.
Our math teacher had finally had her kid and was home changing diapers for a month. We were on our second sub of the week, and Foster F. Finkman made it his job to upset subs.
I was his partner in crime.
Mr. Thompson was the victim of a bad brown toupee. It looked like Grunt, my guinea pig. This teacher wannabe was somewhere between thirty and fifty, had braces and smelled like there was roadkill in his grill. I'd had him as a sub since kindergarten and he hadn't changed a bit. Except for the braces.
Toupee Thompson knew all of us at Harly Middle School by name. It isn't a big school, since Harly isn't a big town. Okies say you can stand at one end of it and spit to the other. So when he noticed Finkman was new, the sub flashed a silvery smile and squeaked, "What's your name, young man?"
Finkman stood and squeaked back, "Foster Florentine Finkman, sir. And I hope you don't mind my asking, but has your hairpiece had its rabies shot?"
The class cracked up. Thompson turned pink and had this foamy spit at the corners of his mouth. "Finkman? What kind of stupid made up name is that? Is that the best you could do?"
Triple F had only lived in Harly a couple of months, but there's one thing everybody knew about him-you didn't make fun of his name. Someone had called him Farter Stinkman once, and had got a black eye. He was taller than the rest of us, and tough as jerky. With a name like that, I guess he had to be.
The room went quiet. Finkman stared at the sub, then smiled.
"Take out your books and turn to page fourteen." Thompson went to the board and wrote the assignment. His hand shook. "Do these problems."
Finkman turned and winked at me. My stomach tightened. Yesterday Coach Ames had subbed. To welcome him we'd tied pull poppers to the desk drawers and poured itching powder down his shirt. Any other sub would've snapped, but "Attaboy" Ames was a retired Harly High football Coach. He was pretty crusty. Ames cussed for a minute and then laughed it off. We didn't even end up in detention.
De-ten was one place I couldn't wind up again. Mom was a stress muffin already, and she'd had a complete conniption when I got detained for programming Haylee Kincaid's cell during science last week. Mom was scared I'd wreck my chances of getting into a decent college, even though I was only in the eighth grade. Haylee'd called me that night to thank me, and had been nice to me ever since, so it'd been worth it. She was a cheerleader with long, black curly hair. One hot habanero.
Finkman's folks, on the other hand, didn't seem to care about him getting into trouble. We had a deal: I set up the subs and he took the heat. It was a fine line between having fun and getting in trouble.
But this was risky. Thompson knew Mom, and he'd rat on me in a heartbeat. Besides, basketball started next week, and I couldn't be late for practices. I had to be careful.
After a few minutes, I raised my hand. "Mr. Thompson, can I ask you a question?"
Thompson headed toward me. He had no reason to expect trouble, since I'd never given him any before.
"How's your mom, Charles?" Thompson whispered as he leaned over my desk. I didn't like the look in his eyes. "I heard about the divorce. Sorry."
That was it. If there's one thing that makes me mad, it's guys stalking Mom.
"She's fine," I growled. "And it's Chuck, not Charles. I need help with number six." He bent way over to look at my book and I mouthed to Finkman, "Get him!"
It happened in a flash: Finkman snatched the toupee, then hopped on the teacher's desk. He slapped Thompson's rug on his head and started busting moves.
Everyone went ballistic. Thompson straightened up, felt his bald scalp, then shook, squeaked and spit.
Finkman shook, squeaked and spit. The decibel level rose like a rock concert.
Thompson charged down the aisle and lunged at Finkman, who ran around the room, waving the toupee.