No Lies NO Whoppers
Dear reader – the added fun of No Lies No Whoppers is to add the name of the person your reading to in all the blank spaces. Or use the name provided by tuck -- In this story it's fun to provide your own childs name in the blank spaces. Or, maybe a cousin or friend.
In Hillcrest, Oregon,
In Public School Number 4, on the fourth floor, in the fourth classroom, in the fourth row, in the fourth desk, ____Alec Brital listened carefully to Ms. Debra, his fourth grade teacher.
“Your homework assignment is to describe the most unusual, exciting, wonderful thing that has ever happened to you. No tall tales. No fibs. Your story must be true. Please write it as a story. Color your characters, your scenes, sunset and sunrise. Give us smells and noise.” Ms. Debra smiled a warm wave of a smile that ran up and down the rows of the classroom. As one, the kids smiled back.
____ Alec Brital was the exception. His eyes traveled out the window to the fire escape. ‘Help me. Let me out of here.’ Then like his eyes were linked to a tight rubber band they snapped back to the front of the classroom. I make up great stories, he thought. I love to make up stories. Whoppers. Big ones. Everyone loves my stories. Why won’t Ms. Debra let me make a great story? ___ Alec let his chin drop to his chest and he let out a big, “Ugh.”
The dismissal bell pealed at 2:02. ___Alec pushed out of his desk, bent his head, saddled his backpack and shuffled towards the door.
From behind him came a warm, loving voice. “Alec, I’m looking forward to your story.” Ms. Debra waved good-bye.
Minutes later, __Alec stood at the intersection of Elm Street and Hachet Avenue. He tried to wipe the frown from his face. He couldn’t . ‘I’m a kid,’ he thought. ‘I’m not a football quarterback, or a surgeon, or a pirate, or a cowboy or even an astronaut. At least not yet! . . . Nothing exciting ever happens to me.’ Almost all of the great things that happen to me are. . . Well, I think they are exaggerations. Okay, maybe lies… Little white lies.
___Alec stepped off the curb, then jumped backward as a sixty-two foot, hook and ladder fire truck sped by. The siren screeched like a cat when you accidentally step on its tail. Two firemen clung to the back of the rig. One of the men’s hats flew off. It flew like a rocket high into the air, spun around and whacked the ground just as the red truck disappeared down Hachet Avenue.
____Alec chased the fireman’s hat. Caught it. Twisted it in his hands, looked at it up and down, inside and out and finally placed it on his head. It slipped over his eyes, his nose and mouth. From inside the hat-cavern came a muffled, ”Cool.”
“I feel like a turtle,” he said as he pulled off the hat and ran after the fire truck.
It wasn’t much of a fire. Someone decided to burn a pile of stinky garbage.
Two firemen where dousing the blaze with a hose. Breathing hard ___ Alec ran up to the man without a hat. “Thanks,” the fireman said as slapped __Alec a high-five.
‘Wish I was a fireman,’ __ Alec thought. ‘Nothing unusual happens to me. But I could make up a good fireman story. A really good one. A hospital could be burning. And way up on the 11th floor a woman could be holding a baby and shouting from a window. . ..ah, But Ms. Debra said no lies.’
____Alec shuffled across the street, hurdled the hedge guarding the Johnson house, cart- wheeled over Mr. Wong’s lawn then froze in his tracks at the bottom of Wild Oak Grade, the steepest street in Wilburg. He stared upward.
From the crest of the hill, __Alec heard someone yell “Fermata! Fermata.” ___Alec squinted. A man with a straw hat appeared. His arms were flailing above his head. “Fermata!” It was Mr. DiBenedetto, the Ice Cream man. Several yards in front of him and gathering speed was his ice cream wagon. It was running away.
At the bottom of the hill a long, flatbed truck with a dirty, yellow bulldozer chained to the back, started up the grade toward the descending ice cream wagon.
“Fermata!” screamed Mr. DiBenedetto. ‘For an old guy, he’s pretty quick,’ thought ___Alec. Rolling from side to side down the hill towards the bull dozer truck came the ice cream cart. “But his ice cream wagon’s quicker.’
The truck blasted its air-horn. A loud wail like the scream of an angry elephant filled the avenue. The chains strapped to the bulldozer rattled angrily.
Mr. DiBenedetto ran knock-kneed down the hill after his cart. “Fermata, stop, stop” he shouted.
____Alec made a quick decision. Pumping his arms he sprinted up the grade ripping his backpack from his shoulders.
Down sped the ice cream cart like a crazy skateboard without a crazy skateboarder.
The truck slowed.
___ Alec scampered past the bulldozer and past the cab of the truck. The driver waved encouragement and screeched on his brakes.
Mr. DiBenedetto shouted, “Fermata.” Gathering moment every second, the ice cream cart veered to the left and then to the right. “Fermata! Stop, stop.”
Screamed Mr. Dibenedetto. “Stop.” The ice cream wagon turned toward
___ Alec smiled confidently and took a position near a fire hydrant. He grabbed the left strap of his backpack and whirled the canvas bag, books, pencils, erasers and all around and around above his head.
The chrome wheels of the cart flashed in the sunlight and slapped and clanked closer and closer. The truck driver yanked the chain of his airhorn and gave it a blast as his vehicle finally lumbered to a stop.
Like a bucking bronco, the ice cream cart bounced, jiggled and careened down the street right pass the front bumper of the bulldozer truck, right toward ___ Alec.
___Alec braced himself. He twirled his backpack above his head again and again and again like the lasso of a rodeo cowboy.
The compartment on the ice cream wagon flopped open and clopped closed. Clippity clop, clippity clop. Ping-ping. Bibbity bop. Bibbity bop.
The cart came faster. ___Alec waited.
From the open compartments, Eskimo Pies, Popsicles and Fudgsicles exploded like fire-works onto the street . The wheels blurred. Airborne the cart aimed straight toward __Alec.
Quickly, he dropped the right strap of the backpack over the top of the fire hydrant. He waited until the very last second and then like a kung fu expert, he hooked the left arm strap over the right handle of the cart. He dodged like a matador dodging a crazed bull, pulled tight and tugged. The backpack stretched but held tight. The bright yellow fire hydrant didn’t move and with a last bucking motion the ice cream cart came to a halt.
Gasping for breath Mr. DiBenedetto arrived and handed ___ Alec an Eskimo Pie and said, “Grazie. Grazie.”
The truck with the bulldozer rumbled up the hill with a congratulatory blast of the horn. “Nice going kid.”
‘That was kinda weird,’ ___Alec thought. ‘Kinda exciting. Unusual. But it would be better if the ice cream cart..... was a bus. Maybe a school bus. A kindergarten school bus! And the bus driver was really sick and fainted.......... No lies’, he told himself. ‘No whoppers.’ Alec put on his backpack and headed home.
There was a secret passage into his room. No one knew it. ____Alec climbed the first three branches of the Bay tree, pulled down the knotted rope, shimmed upward, scampered through the trap door to his tree house, climbed the ladder to the roof, monkeyed hand over hand down a thick tree branch, somersaulted through the open window to his room and came to a rest on his stomach in the middle of the floor.
‘I could write a story about rescuing the fireman’s hat,’ he thought as he lay on his Spiderman rug.
Alec heard the SLURP behind him. He snuffed his ears. He didn’t want to believe there was something behind him. Not in his room. Not something that could make such a horrible SLURPING sound.
‘It’s big’, he thought. ‘To make a SLURP like that - you’d have to be big. Really, really big. Should I turn around? Maybe one, small, peek?’
Sweat formed on his upper lip. ‘There’s a monster behind me I can hear it. If it doesn’t eat me this could be a really cool story.’
___Alec sniffed the air. ‘P.U. The monster needs a bath.’
’Weird. Really weird. What’s it doing? It must have seen me somersault through the window. Maybe it’s a blind monster. Or a Cyclops with a bad eye.’
‘What’s it slurping? There is nothing to slurp in my room. Nothing at all
except for ---- Mr. Flopper! My gold fish.’
___Alec leapt to his feet and spun round in his best karate pose. “Ayeeee!” He screamed.
Then he froze.
Four feet away, right beside Mr. Flopper’s gold fish bowl stood a purple and yellow and very thirsty, female dragon.
Like Ping-Pong balls ____Alec eyes popped out of his head.
The dragon twitched her head. Her nostrils flared. She sniffed.
___Alec’ smouth dropped open so wide you could see that little dangling thing deep inside his throat. ‘Wow,’ he thought. ‘Man this is so cool.’
The dragon rattled her purple scales.
___Alec pinched himself. “Ouch.” He was awake.
The dragon blinked copper eyes and looked ____Alec up and down.
‘How did a dragon get into my room? How do I get a dragon out of my room? If my mom comes in here she’ll be so mad.’
The dragon returned her attention to the water in Mr. Flopper’s fish bowl.
‘Oh, no,’__ Alec thought.
The dragon leaned over for a big SLURP. Mr. Flopper flopped frantically, crashing into the glass and swimming in an out of his castle.
‘How do you shoo away a dragon?’ ___
Mr. Flopper flapped his gills and pleaded with his eyes. The Dragon extended a long purple tongue. “If I shoo her away. . ..suppose she never comes back?’
Mr. Flopper swam lower and disappeared into a castle window.
Bending her neck the dragon dipped the tip of her tongue into the water.
“Hey. Hey you.” ___Alec shouted. “dragon?”
The dragon glanced at Alec with an uneven eye. “You can’t do that. Stop the slurping. That’s Flopper’s water.”
The dragon snorted and clawed a talon into ___Alec’s Spiderman rug.
____ Alec took a step forward and waved his arms. “That’s it, dragon. No more. If you want some water you’ll just have to go outside.”
The dragon snorted again. Louder. “We have a hose outside. Kind of looks like a snake.” The dragon really SNORTED. Oops, bad choice of words. Maybe dragon’s don’t like snakes. “I’ll fill up a bucket of water for you.” The Dragon snorted. “Yeah, as much water as you want.”
The dragon bent her head and blew out a short flame and a puff of smoke right at Alec. “Hey, what’s up. You can’t do that dragons are magical. You’re supposed to be nice. Aren’t you?”
The dragon stared at Alec. Alec stared back. ‘Just my luck,’__ Alec thought, ‘this could be the meanest dragon in the whole universe.’
Suddenly, the dragon clopped closer. With the tip of her nose she tapped ____Alec gently on his left shoulder and then his right. Her copper eyes blinked a smile and her purple tongue licked a long, slimy wet streak right up___ Alec’s cheek. The dragon snorted good-bye, leapt out of the bedroom window and disappeared into the sky.
“Wow!” ___Alec said as he crumbled to the floor. “She can fly dummy. She can fly! That’s how she got into my room.” But why was he drinking water from a gold fish bowl? Wow, if you could fly you could go anywhere and drink from lakes, rivers. . . Why a gold fish bowl?
Downstairs the front door slammed.
“Hi ____Alec, I’m home. Have you done your homework yet?”
“Hi Mom. I’m starting it right now.”
____Alec sat at his desk with a number two, yellow pencil and of a sheet of lined paper. On the left side, he wrote his name and the date. In the center at the top he printed neatly - THE MOST EXCITING THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME
He used the knuckle of his little finger to indent the paragraph and began printing.
I came home from school today and discovered a dragon slurping water out of my gold fish bowl.
____Alec stared at the sentence for a moment, that moment became a minute, that became two minutes and finally he scrunched up the paper and tossed it into his Spiderman waste paper basket. Chewing on his knuckle he looked out his window at his tree house and wondered, why is it sometimes it’s easier to tell a big lie, than it is to tell a little tale of truth?