TITLE: MIGHTY MIKE AND THE ALIEN PEZ DISPENSER
GENRE: MG Sci-fi/Adventure
Mike Adams crept toward the swings, one eye on Brutus, the keeper of The List of Chumps to Be Pounded After School. Brutus and his two cohorts leapt and hollered on the cement court, absorbed in the bloodiest game of basketball ever. For now, they focused on bruising themselves instead of their usual targets at Grover Cleveland Middle School.
The List wasn’t on paper, of course. It lived in Brutus’ head, the biggest kid in sixth grade. Failing to call Brutus by his self-chosen nickname guaranteed an entry on The List. Even the teachers found it easier to comply, just to maintain peace. Mike landed on The List the first day of fifth grade when he stumbled into a sixth grade classroom and fell onto Brutus’ lap, to the snorting glee of the rest of the class. Other kids rotated on and off The List, but unless someone else grabbed the spotlight, Mike’s name was carved in stone.
Mike peeked through the monkey bars, wishing fifth and sixth graders had different recess times. It wasn’t fair he never escaped The List. He wasn’t ugly, poor, or stupid. It couldn’t be his skin color: Brutus didn’t say a word when Jordan, a scrawny kid with the same dark skin as Mike’s, spewed milk from his nose. Instead of calling Jordan booger-breath, Brutus tagged Mike with a humongous, drippy spit wad.
No one picked on Mike’s best friend Carlos either. But then Carlos was always chosen first for team sports and had two older brothers.