The Wild Culpepper Cruise

BOOK: The Wild Culpepper Cruise
13.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Thomas Rockwell
Thomas Rockwell
Thomas Rockwell
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Robert Newton Peck

are designed especially to entertain and enlighten young people. Patricia Reilly Giff, consultant to this series, received her bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree in history from St. John’s University. She holds a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University. She was a teacher and reading consultant for many years, and is the author of numerous books for young readers.

For a complete listing of all Yearling titles,
write to Dell Readers Service,
P.O. Box 1045, South Holland, IL 60473.

Published by
Dell Publishing
a division of
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
1540 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

Copyright © 1993 by Gary Paulsen

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.

The trademark Yearling
is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The trademark Dell
is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

eISBN: 978-0-307-80378-8



Amos was out of breath. He had forgotten his bicycle and had run all the way to Dunc’s—Duncan Culpepper’s house.

He pounded on the front door.

Mrs. Culpepper opened the door. “Hello, A—”

He raced past her and up the stairs to Dunc’s room.

“Amos.” She shook her head. “Strange boy.”

He burst through the bedroom door.

Dunc was reading the
Stock Market
journal. For once Amos didn’t notice Dunc’s overly neat
room. He usually hated neat. Neat bothered him. But not today.

“You’ll … never … guess!”

Dunc sat up. “Calm down, Amos. Catch your breath.”

Amos Binder was Dunc’s lifetime best friend. Dunc was used to his strange behavior.

Amos took a deep breath. “You’ll never guess what happened. Go on—try. Take a guess. Any guess. You won’t guess in a trillion years. Well, go on—guess!”

Dunc thought about it. “From the way you’re acting, I’d say … you won something.”

Amos’s face fell. “You guessed. How did you do that? I come over here with the best news of the century. The most exciting thing that will probably ever happen to me in my entire life, and instead of waiting for me to tell you—you guess.”

“I’m sorry, Amos. You told me to guess.”

“Okay. So you know I won a contest. But you don’t know what prize I won, do you? Just try and guess that! Go ahead!”

“You got me. I don’t know.”

“Aha! I knew you couldn’t guess. Get ready. Here it comes. Are you ready?”

“I’m ready already. What?”

Amos danced around in a little circle. “A cruise. I won a cruise—in the Caribbean. Can you believe it?”

“That’s really great, Amos. When do you go?”

Amos stopped dancing and put his hands on Dunc’s shoulders. “That’s the other great news. The cruise is in two weeks. It’s a seven-day cruise for four people. My sister Amy can’t go because she has cheerleading camp.”

Dunc looked puzzled. “I don’t understand. Why is that great news?”

“Get with the program, Dunc. Count: My dad. My mom. Me—and you. Four people.”

A smile touched the corner of Dunc’s mouth. “Me?”

“Of course you, dummy. Who else?”

Dunc beamed. “A trip to the Caribbean. Who’d ever have thought we’d wind up there?”

Amos took a travel brochure out of his pocket and spread it out on the bed.

“Here’s a picture of the ship. It’s
The Lady Anne
, with Duchess Cruise Lines. We go to a lot of islands, and to part of Mexico. Everything is paid for, except souvenirs and junk.”

“Amos, how did you do it?”


“Win. What did you do to win? You never even told me you were entering a contest.”

Amos folded up the brochure. “I don’t always tell you everything. Almost everything. Not everything.”

“Tell me how you won the cruise.”

Amos looked down at the floor. “I wrote an essay for a dog food ad.”


“And it won.”

Dunc cleared his throat. “Let me get this straight. You wrote an essay about dog food and won a cruise. That’s it?”

Amos nodded. “Actually, I was trying for the bicycle. But the cruise will do.”

“What did you write about?”

“You had to ask, didn’t you?” Amos sat on the edge of the bed. “The title was the same for everybody who entered—‘My Dog, Why I Love Him.’ ”

Dunc stared at him. “Amos, you
your dog! You and your dog have never gotten along. You try to give him away every chance you get. And Scruff hates you too. He bites you every time he sees you.”

“Details. The rules never said what you
wrote had to be true. If they assume that—well, that’s their problem. I won fair and square because of my ability to write believable fiction. Anyway, it’s about time that dog was good for something.”

“If you say so, Amos.”

“I say so. That dog doesn’t know it yet, but because of him I’m going to overwhelm Melissa.”

“How do you figure that?”

“When she sees my island tan and finds out I’m a world traveler, she’s bound to be impressed.”

Melissa Hansen was the girl Amos loved. He adored her, but she didn’t know he existed. He spent half his life trying to get her attention. Somehow, he never quite got it.

Amos stuffed the brochure back in his pocket. “I think she tried to call me again yesterday. I’m pretty sure it was her. I have her ring memorized.”

Dunc nodded. He knew Melissa wouldn’t be caught dead calling Amos. But he never told Amos that.

“It didn’t work out too well, though. She really shouldn’t call me when I’m at the dentist.”

“She called you at the dentist?”

“Yeah. But like I said, it didn’t work out so hot. I was leaning back in the chair, and Dr. Fulbright was filling a cavity way back here.” Amos opened his mouth to show Dunc the tooth.

“Anyway, he had the light in my face, like he always does, and that little table over me with all his tools and stuff. Lisa—she’s the new dental assistant—she was sucking up the spit in my mouth with that sucker thing, when I heard the phone.”

“What made you think Melissa was calling you at the dentist’s office?” Dunc asked.

“It surprised me too. I don’t know how she knew I was there. Maybe she followed me or something. But it was her ring, all right.”

“What happened?”

“Well, naturally when I knew it was Melissa, I jumped out of the chair to answer it.”

“Naturally,” Dunc said.

“I accidentally hit the tray of dental tools, and they flew up into the light. One long silver thing got stuck up in there. They got the fire out pretty fast, though.”


“That long silver thing made a lot of sparks.
They flew around the room and caught the fake plant in the corner on fire. It was really more smoke than fire. A lot of the patients thought it was a real fire, though, and ran outside hollering. But that’s not the bad part.”

“There’s more?” Dunc asked.

“Dr. Fulbright didn’t get the drill turned off, and he drilled right through his new dental chair. While he was doing that, Lisa got the spit sucker caught in his hair. I always thought that was his real hair. Didn’t you?”

Dunc nodded.

“By the time I made it out to the receptionist’s desk, Melissa had already hung up. She likes for me to get it on that all-important first ring. She doesn’t like to wait.”

Dunc nodded again.

“Dr. Fulbright asked my mom if we would please find a new dentist. I really hate to see a grown man cry like that.”

“Amos, you’re amazing.”

“What? Oh, you mean because I won the cruise. Yeah, sometimes I even amaze myself.” Amos headed for the door. “Well, I have to go. I’ll be back later to help you pack.”

“Where are you going?”

“I need to get home. Melissa may have heard about the cruise by now. She’s probably been trying to call.”

Dunc smiled.

“I can’t believe it. We are actually standing in the Miami airport. Tomorrow we’ll be cruising around in the Caribbean. It’s unreal. What’s the name of the hotel we’re staying at tonight?” Dunc asked.

Amos was watching the luggage carousel go around. “I don’t remember. It’s one of those big ones. The Tilton, I think.”

“There’s mine.” Dunc grabbed his suitcase.

“I wonder where mine went. I tied one of Amy’s new red hair ribbons on the handle so I’d be sure and recognize it.”

“It’ll turn up. Be patient. We have plenty of time. Your folks went to see if the cruise line sent a car for us.”

“There it is,” Amos said. “No wonder I didn’t see it before—the ribbon came off. Oh, well. Let’s go find my parents.”

BOOK: The Wild Culpepper Cruise
13.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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