Cheesie Mack is Sort of Freaked Out
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Cheesie Mack is Sort of Freaked Out
If books had sound effects, right now you would hear scary, eerie music and a super-spooky howl.
That’s because this adventure starts on a strangely quiet evening in October, just two weeks or so before Halloween, a holiday full of ghosts and ghouls and strange creatures from other worlds.
Twilight had turned to darkness, and outside an old house in the town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, a cold wind rubbed two tree limbs together with a high-pitched scraping sound.
Inside the house, an eleven-year-old boy lay on his bed in an upstairs bedroom lit by a single lamp, his dog curled up beside him. A laptop was on the boy’s belly, and he was tapping out THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE READING RIGHT NOW!
The boy glanced out his window, but everything was black. He looked back at his computer screen, and while one part of his mind thought about the next sentence in the book he was writing, another part wondered, Who is the person reading this right now? Who are YOU?
It was an eerie sound. But only a tree branch, he thought.
A soft ache in his belly told him dinner was already late. He glanced at the red numbers of his desk clock—7:13—and hit the Save command on his computer. His dog lifted herself and stretched. The boy set his computer down, then reached out and stroked her head.
Suddenly he became aware that something was very wrong . . .
You probably guessed the boy was me, Ronald “Cheesie” Mack. And while I hadn’t seen or heard anything, I sensed someone—or something—was nearby. Listening, waiting, watching . . .
Was it some evil demon, hideous and undead? Or perhaps a spirit reaching out to me from beyond . . .
(I have a very active imagination.)
I don’t actually believe in any of that junk. Most likely it was Goon, my terrible sister (actual name = June), in the hallway just outside my bedroom, booby- trapping my door. (She once rigged a whole pile of talcum powder to drop on my head!)
I snilently (sneakily + silently) slid across my bed and gently set my stocking feet on the carpet.
Suddenly something grabbed my ankles!
Whatever held me (hands? claws?) yanked me backward. In the instant before I hit the floor I thought of how often as a small child I had lain awake wondering if a monster lurked beneath my bed. Apparently, one did!
I kicked. I twisted. I struggled. But whatever held me was very strong. It pulled harder, dragging my feet under the bed.
The sound that came next was a laugh . . . and then the grip on my ankles let go.
“Georgie!” I yelled.
Deeb barked. I think she was also yelling “Georgie!” but in dog language.
He belly-scooted out from under my bed, laughing so hard his face was red.
I slugged him.
“You are massively lucky kids don’t get heart attacks,” I scolded. “You’d be guilty of murder.”
“Omigosh.” Georgie chuckled. “That was so worth it.”
I slugged him again. Not really hard, though. He’s a total goofball, but he is still my best friend.
“How long,” I asked, “were you under there?” My breathing was still ragged.
“I don’t know. A long time. I came up to see if you got invited to Diana’s Halloween party, but you were in the bathroom.”
“So you decided to scare the crapola out of me?”
“Yep.” He chuckled again and fell backward onto my bed. “So good.”
“Yeah, I got invited,” I said, picking up the en- velope on my desk. It looked exactly like what I would’ve expected an invitation from Diana Mooney to look like: pink and decorated with girly wiggles and flowers and junk. “But I don’t think I’m going. Are you?”
“Why not? Yeah, I am,” Georgie said.
“I don’t know.”
“Gotta have a reason,” Georgie said.
“Okay. First, I don’t have a costume.”
“Second, I’m too busy writing my next adventure.”
“And third, it’s gonna be a stupid kind of party, I bet. There’ll be stupid games—”
“Stop!” Georgie held a hand up to my face. “I know the real reason. Girls,” he said with a small grin.
I gave him a what-do-you-mean face.
“You, Ronald Cheese-Brain Mack, are totally, completely, and most definitely afraid of girls.” Now he was grinning big-time.
“Am not,” I retorted. “Are too!” he shot back.
We repeated this four or five more times, louder and louder . . . until I abruptly switched and yelled, “Are too!”
Instantly he responded, “Am not!”
And pretty soon I was yelling “Not too!” and he was screaming “Am are!” And then we both collapsed, laughing our lips off.
(You can laugh your head off. And laugh your butt off. So why can’t you laugh your lips off?)
After he caught his breath, Georgie said, “Yeah, well . . . I have three words that will convince you to go to Diana’s.”
He took a deep breath and then just stared, waiting for me to ask.
“What?” I asked.
“Massive . . . Halloween . . . Prank.” Last year Georgie and I pulled off our first-ever Massive Halloween Prank. We recorded a radio guy giving out free tickets to a rock concert by my sister’s favorite band. And when we played it back on the phone to her she thought she had won! It was so cool we promised ourselves we’d do a Massive Halloween Prank every year for the rest of our lives.
“Oh, yeah!” I said. “Diana’s party would be perfect. But who should we prank?”
“How about we come up with something that targets Eddie?” Georgie said, grinning goofily. Eddie Chapple is sort of Georgie’s main rival at school. He and Georgie are the two best players on the basketball team and also copresidents of the sixth grade. Eddie is tall and skinny, and when he moves, mostly what you notice is knees and elbows. Eddie is kind of like a tough guy but has lots of friends and would definitely be going to Diana’s party. She’s copresident, too. (If you read Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy! you know why we have three presidents.)
“What kind of prank?” I asked.
Georgie jumped off my bed and pushed his grinning face right up to mine. “I dooo nooot knooow,” he said. “I will start thinking about it right now!”
“You do that,” I said. “And, c’mon, I am not afraid of girls.”
“Are too,” Georgie said, clamping a hand over my mouth so I couldn’t contradict him.
He is much stronger than I am (he’s almost twice my size!), so at times like that I have to use strategy instead of strength.
I went totally limp.
If you do that, your opponent will almost always relax, too. And at that instant, you squirgle (This is one of my favorite made-up words: squirm + wiggle. It’s in two of my other books!) out of his grasp.
It worked, and I sprang into a ferocious ninja-karate-judo pose.
Then I heard a noise downstairs.
“Lucky for you I probably have to go down for dinner now,” I said in my fiercest warrior voice. “I was just getting ready to slice you into pork chops.”
“You wish,” he said, sliding into my desk chair. “I’ve already eaten. I’m going to play a game on your ’puter. Call me if you have dessert.”
I screamed, “Hai-yah!” then smashed a gazillion molecules of air with a vicious karate chop, zipped into the hallway, and trotted onto the stairs.
Halfway down I stopped.
Pranking Eddie would be good, I thought. But it’d be way better to drop our Massive Halloween Prank on one of the girls!
End of Book Four Excerpt – Order Your Copy
Read from Book One: Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything
Read from Book Two: Cheesie Mack is Cool In A Duel
Read from Book Three: Cheesie Mack is Running Like Crazy!
Read from Book Four: Cheesie Mack is Not Exactly Famous
Excerpt copyright © 2014 by Stephen L. Cotler. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Douglas Holgate. Published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.