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Authors: Sue Stauffacher

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BOOK: Donuthead
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“It's not like you can set the mood when football players are jostling through,” I said to Sarah, keeping my voice low.

“We'll do it right after lunch, then. At that one by the gym. Nobody's over there after lunch.” Sarah ran her hand through her long blond hair and sighed. “Just meet me there, okay?”

I had my doubts about the bathroom by the gym, but as FDR said, “It is common sense to take a method and try it. It if fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

For now, it was important to push aside thoughts of a restroom break and prepare for health class, which was taught by none other than our youthful homeroom teacher. Currently, we were finishing up our unit on environmental hazards, a subject in which I am quite interested. In fact, I would be a lively
participant in health class if it weren't for Miss Mathews, who seemed to think that skirts above the knee, leotards, and low-rise khakis were appropriate teaching attire. It made me a bit wistful for Ms. Rita Linski, my fifth-grade teacher, whose polyester pantsuits just made me feel itchy.

I pulled my notebook with the color-coded vertical tabs that read T
AINTED
W
ATER,
A
IR
P
OLLUTION,
and P
ESTICIDES
out of my backpack. At my dining room table, I had assembled a similar notebook for Sarah Kervick while she amused herself trying to clamp a couple of chopsticks from Yen Ching, my mother's favorite takeout place, beneath her upper lip.

“Check it out,” she'd said. “I'm a walrus.”

“Where is your notebook?” I whispered to her now. “She's going to check it today!”

Sarah looked dreamily out the window, clearly in another world. Most likely it was a frosty one where figure skaters flew at dangerous speeds over the ice.

“What?”

“The notebook with all the handouts. It's worth fifteen percent of your grade!”

Sarah looked at me in confusion. Clearly, she
hadn't read over the syllabus in preparation for class.

“Look in your backpack,” I ordered her, yanking it out from underneath her chair. Unfortunately, it was not zipped and the contents spilled into the aisle between us.

“Sarah? Franklin? The way you two go on, I'm beginning to think a presentation is called for. Our next unit will be: How to Tell If It's Really Love.”

There was a burst of laughter and the sound of denim sliding over plastic as the entire class shifted in their seats to look at us. I lost all feeling in my fingers and my toes as the blood that belonged in other parts of my body rushed to my face. Ducking down, I yanked the notebook from the bottom of the pile and placed it on Sarah's desk.

All eyes, as they say, were upon us. Two of those eyes belonged to Glynnis Powell, a young woman of fine character whose attentions I hoped someday to enjoy. I imagined her pained confusion at that moment. Hadn't we exchanged tokens in the form of organic fruit rolls back in elementary school? What about those milk-money quarters I'd shined especially for her?

Sarah attempted to stuff the guts of her backpack
under her seat before returning to her slouched position and shooting menacing glances at the kids who were still watching her. A Sarah Kervick stare is very effective at making students turn around.

“Thanks for nothin',” she hissed as Miss Mathews began her speech on the ninety-eight toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke.

Published by Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children's Books a division of Random House, Inc., New York If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property.

It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Copyright © 2003 by Sue Stauffacher

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. For information address Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Yearling and the jumping horse design are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Visit us on the Web!
www.randomhouse.com/kids

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
www.randomhouse.com/teachers

eISBN: 978-0-307-52152-1

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BOOK: Donuthead
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