Read Cauliflower Ears Online

Authors: Bill Nagelkerke

Tags: #rugby

Cauliflower Ears

BOOK: Cauliflower Ears
7.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Ears

 

 

 

 

More books by the same
author

 

Younger readers

Emily

s Penny Dreadful

Going bananas

Hippo Ears and the
Stargazer

 

Older readers

The Field

Hot money

Old bones
(Storylines Notable Book)

 

Young Adult

Demons

The Houdini
Effect

Sitting on the
fence
(Finalist, NZ Post
Awards)

 

Translations from the
Dutch

Eep!
(by Joke van Leeuwen)

Timeline
(by Peter Goes)

The day my father became a
bush
(by Joke van Leeuwen)

Who’s driving?
(by Leo Timmers)

Cauliflower
Ears

by

Bill Nagelkerke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This edition first
published in 2016 by Bill Nagelkerke.

 

 

Copyright 2016 Bill
Nagelkerke

 

 

 

The moral rights of
the author have been asserted. This book is copyright. All rights
reserved. Except for the purposes of fair reviewing, no part of
this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
permission in writing from the copyright owner and the publisher of
the book.

Chapter 1

 

Getting ready for the big game

 

All over town, members of
the Green Team, sometimes called the Cauliflower Ears, were getting
ready to play their final game of the season.

At Number 13 Lucky Street, I was eating
breakfast, wondering if Mum was going to make it back in time for
the kick-off.

At Number 54 Hoani Street, Sprigs was
inspecting his boots, holding them up by their lucky laces.

At Number 217 Templeton Drive, Grubber was
wondering if he could get his dad to wake up in time to take him to
the big game. He was also wondering if he could manage, for once,
to get his dad to stay and watch.

My name, by the way, is Wings. You’ll have
guessed that Wings, Sprigs and Grubber are our rugby nicknames, not
our real names.

It was Saturday.
The
Saturday, the day of
the big game, the Grand Final of the Junior Home World
Cup.

The game in which we, the
Green Team, were playing our arch rival, the Reds, sometimes known
as . . .the Devils.


It’s just a game,’ my dad
said as I wolfed down a great big plate of porridge.


You
don’t understand,’ I said. ‘It’s not just any game, it’s
the
game. It’s the Grand
Final. In more ways than one,’ I reminded him.

You see, Mum had got an important new job in
the capital, in fact she was already working there a few days each
week, and we would soon be moving cities. This was going to be my
last game with the Greens, ever.


I know it’s important . .
.’ began Dad, but I didn’t give him a chance to finish.


This is
the one game we
have
to win,’ I said.


Well, just remember
this,’ said Dad as he tidied away the breakfast things. ‘You’ve
always given it your best shot, one hundred percent plus. No one
can do more than that.’ He looked at me. ‘And don’t they say that
the most important thing isn’t winning or losing, it’s how you play
the game?’


Huh,’ I said. ‘Not when
it comes to the Grand Final of the Junior Home World Cup. No
way.’

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Lucky laces

 


Mum!’ yelled Sprigs. ‘One
of my lucky boot laces has just snapped.’


Snap back at it,’ said
his mother.


That’s not funny!’ said
Sprigs.


I thought it was,’ his
mother said. ‘Go and find another lace then,’ she
suggested.


I’ve looked,’ said Sprigs
frantically. ‘There aren’t any spares.’


Take one of the laces out
of your school shoes,’ his mum said.


They’re not the right
sort. They’re much too short!’

Sprigs’ mum sighed and glanced at her watch.
‘I’ll get the car. If we leave straight away we should have time to
stop off at the mall to buy a new pair.’

Sprigs looked unsure. ‘What if new ones
bring me bad luck?’ he said.


Don’t be so
superstitious,’ said his mother.


I can't help it,’ said
Sprigs. ‘These laces have taken

us right to the Grand Final of the Junior
Home World Cup. It could be disastrous for us if they miss the
game.’

Sprigs’ mum raised her eyebrows. ‘Get real,’
she said.

Sprigs took no notice. Instead, he poked the
broken lace into the turned-over top of one of his rugby socks.
‘There,’ he told it. ‘Now you’ll still be able to help us win the
game.’


My son who talks to
bootlaces,’ sighed Sprigs’ mum.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Butterflies

 

Grubber felt sickish. He always did before a
game. His stomach had gone swimmy, his head felt light and floaty
like a helium-filled balloon.


Maybe you’d better stay
home,’ said his mother.


No chance,’ said
Grubber.


But if you’re feeling
crook wouldn’t it be more sensible?’


It’s not that sort of
crookedness,’ Grubber explained.


Crookness,’ his mum
corrected.


Whatever. It’s
butterflies I’ve got. I can feel them dancing around.’


Are you sure that’s all
it is? If you’re not fit to go, then sit the game out. It’ll keep
your dad happy. ’


Course
I’m fit!’ said Grubber. ‘I
wouldn’t miss the game even if I really
was
sick.’


In that case, go and try
waking your dad again.’

Grubber went to the bathroom where his dad
was

fast asleep after doing his nine hours on
night shift.

Grubber shook his dad’s shoulder.


Come
on
,
Dad. The big game’s starting soon. I need you to run me
over.’

His dad groaned.


Hurry
Dad,
please
,
we’ve got to be there in less than an hour.’

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Jitters

  

Kick-off was at eleven. At
ten thirty both teams, the Greens and the Reds - the Cauliflower
Ears and the Devils - were warming up at opposite ends of the
playing field.

We needed the warm up, and not just to get
our muscles loose and supple. It was really chilly out on the
field. Our breaths were puffs of steamy white.


Just listen to that,’
said Grubber.


What?’ asked
Sprigs.


The roar of the
crowd.’

Sprigs and I looked round.
The single stand had several dozen people in it, their hands
wrapped round thermos flasks. There were also about fifty
supporters standing in little groups on the sidelines, marching on
the spot to keep warm. The Red Brigade and the Greenies. But you’d
hardly call it a crowd. And it certainly wasn’t roaring.


That’s not a crowd you’re
hearing,’ I said. ‘It’s

your heart drumming.’


That’s what it is,’
agreed Sprigs.


Is not,’ said Grubber,
but he clutched his chest all the same.


It’ll be because your
dad’s staying to watch the game,’ I said.

I was right, even though
Grubber wasn’t going to admit it. He’d managed to drag his dad out
of bed
and
make
him solemnly swear to stay for the whole game. Now, Grubber wasn’t
sure it had been such a good idea. He always felt queasy before a
game. Today he felt worse than usual. His lips were dry and his
stomach was doing flip-flops. His heart, now that he had his hand
over it, was definitely banging away like a jackhammer. Grubber
wouldn't have been surprised if Sprigs and I had heard it.
Actually, he’d never felt this bad.

BOOK: Cauliflower Ears
7.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Demands of the Dead by Justin Podur
Revolution Business by Charles Stross
The War Widows by Leah Fleming
Love Love by Sung J. Woo
Love in Straight Sets by Rebecca Crowley
Double Vision by Pat Barker