See you later gladiator, p.1
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       See You Later, Gladiator, p.1
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           Jon Scieszka
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See You Later, Gladiator


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Dedication

  I

  II

  III

  IV

  V

  VI

  VII

  VIII

  IX

  X

  XI

  XII

  XIII

  LATIN FOR TIME TRAVELERS

  COULD THIS BE THE END OF THE TIME WARP TRIO?

  The gladiator stood over us and raised his trident overhead. He jabbed down at Fred, Sam, and me helplessly tangled in the net. The trident was heading right for us when ... when Sam thrashed around with his sword again ... and miraculously knocked the trident aside. It stuck harmlessly into the sand.

  The gladiator grunted in surprise and tried to stab us again. Fred swung his wooden sword and knocked the trident aside. The gladiator stabbed again. I knocked it aside.

  “Hold still,” yelled the frustrated gladiator. “Die like true gladiators.”

  “We’d really rather not die at all,” I said.

  “We use ancient fighting arts,” said Sam.

  “Yeah, give us your best shot, Gladiweenie,” said Fred.

  Fred’s last crack was, as usual, just a little bit more than really needed to be said.

  The gladiator grabbed the trident with two hands. Before any of us could even hope to knock it away, the trident plunged....

  THE TIME WARP TRIO®

  #1: Knights of the Kitchen Table

  #2: The Not-So-Jolly Roger

  #3: The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy

  #4: Your Mother Was a Neanderthal

  #5: 2095

  #6: Tut, Tut

  #7: Summer Reading Is Killing Me!

  #8: It’s All Greek to Me

  #9: See You Later, Gladiator

  #10: Sam Samurai

  #11: Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge?

  #12: Viking It and Liking It

  #13: Me Oh Maya

  #14: Da Wild, Da Crazy, Da Vinci

  PUFFIN BOOKS

  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

  Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England

  Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,

  Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

  Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,

  Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

  Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany Auckland 1310,

  New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank,

  Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England

  First published in the United States of America by Viking,

  a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2000

  Published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2002

  This edition published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2006

  Text copyright © Jon Scieszka, 2000

  Illustrations copyright © Penguin Putnam Inc., 2000

  Illustrations by Adam McCauley

  All rights reserved

  THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE VIKING EDITION AS FOLLOWS:

  Scieszka, Jon.

  See you later, gladiator / by Jon Scieszka ; illustrated by Adam McCauley.

  p. cm.—(The time warp trio)

  Summary: Joe, Fred, and Sam demonstrate some of their professional wrestling

  moves, including the “Time Warp Trio Blind Ninja Smackdown,” when they’re

  transported to ancient Rome and forced to fight as gladiators in the Colosseum.

  eISBN : 978-1-101-07779-5

  [1. Time travel—Fiction. 2. Gladiators—Fiction. 3. Wrestling—Fiction.

  4. Rome—Fiction. 5. Humorous stories.] I. McCauley, Adam, ill. II. Title.

  PZ7.S41267Se 2000 [Fic]—dc21 00-040431

  http://us.penguingroup.com

  To Eric “Wild Man” Hickey—

  one of the true greats in

  All-Out Big-Time Basement Wrestling.

  -J. S.

  For Shali, and for Eli,

  two great warriors from the hui.

  —A. M.

  I

  “You who are about to die salute me!”

  “You have got to be kidding,” said Sam.

  The big guy who had spoken waved a net and a long-handled pitchfork in front of Fred, Sam, and me.

  “He sure doesn’t look like he’s kidding,” said Fred.

  The fork-waving guy crouched in front of us. He wore a loincloth and sandals and a mean look on his face.

  “I swear I put The Book away in a safe spot so we wouldn’t get time traveled into any more trouble,” I said. “Maybe he isn’t a real gladiator, and maybe this isn’t really Rome two thousand years ago.”

  “Yeah,” said Sam. “And maybe I’m Santa Claus and maybe this is the North Pole.”

  I looked around for a way out. We stood in the middle of a little outdoor arena about the size of a small backyard. A tall wooden wall circled all around us. Our sneakers sank into deep sand. There was no way to escape.

  “Now fight,” said the gladiator, getting impatient.

  “I cannot believe I let myself get dragged into this time-travel-try-to-find-that-disappearing-Book thing again,” said Sam.

  “Ah, what’s the big deal?” said Fred. “It’s just a little accident. This could be a great chance to see some real wrestling.”

  “Just a little accident?” squeaked Sam, his voice rising like it does when he gets excited. “Then why don’t you explain the little accident to our friend with the trident.”

  “With the what?” said Fred.

  “With that big fork he’s getting ready to poke us with,” said Sam.

  “Oh yeah. I knew that,” said Fred.

  Sam pushed Fred forward. Fred looked up at the gladiator. He looked back at Sam. “I got it under control.” Fred took off his World Wrestling hat and bowed. “Greetings, gladiator guy. We have come from far away to see some real wrestling. See I was telling Sam that even I could whip this one guy named Gladiator back in our time, but I wasn’t talking about—”

  The gladiator twitched like a rattlesnake.

  One second Fred was holding out his hat. The next second his hat was speared on the end of the trident.

  “—about you... I wasn’t talking.” Fred stared at his suddenly empty hand.

  The gladiator flipped Fred’s hat off, then pointed the trident to three swords stuck in the sand. “Now fight.”

  Fred backed away slowly.

  “We’re not really the fighting kind of—”

  “Arrrrggghhh!” the gladiator yelled, and attacked. We all dove and grabbed a sword.

  “Oh man,” said Fred. “That’s not fair. These are made of wood.”

  Sam held his sword in front of him with two hands. “I don’t think our new friend really plays fair. Do some magic, Joe. Say something. Get us out of here!”

  I tried to think if I knew any gladiator knockout spells. I remembered reading some kind of gladiator spell in The Book. But as usual, that was our problem. We had to find The Book.

  “Excuse me, Mr. Gladiator,” I
said. I’ didn’t know exactly how you should talk to an ancient Roman gladiator. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to be polite. “My friends and I dropped in by accident. And we’ll be on our way just as soon as we find our Book.”

  The gladiator twirled his net.

  “I don’t think we’re getting through,” said Sam.

  “There’s three of us and only one of him,” said Fred, suddenly braver now that I was the one in front of the guy’s trident.

  I had to think of something, quick—before the guy poked all three of us like overdone turkeys. Gladiators. Romans. The ancient Romans spoke Latin. I remembered that the gladiator spell had something to do with Latin.

  The gladiator circled around us, moving in for the kill.

  “Ix-nay on the ork-fay,” I chanted.

  The gladiator jabbed at us. We all jumped back.

  “What the heck was that?” yelled Sam. “You’re only making him mad.”

  “That’s Latin,” I said. “Or at least the only Latin I know. Pig Latin.”

  The gladiator twirled his net overhead and dropped it on us before we even knew what had hit us. He yanked a line. We fell in a heap on the sand.

  “Ahhhh!” screamed Sam thrashing around with his sword, clonking Fred and me on the head.

  “Op-stay! Eeze-fray!” I tried.

  The gladiator stood over us and raised his trident overhead.

  “Oh-gay away-ay?” No good.

  The Time Warp Trio was about to be stuck through with one cruel blow. And no magic trick—Pig Latin or otherwise—could save us now.

  II

  But before we get poked full of holes and lose our first (and maybe last) match of Time Warp Trio vs. the Gladiator, I should probably explain how we got into such a fix ... again.

  I know it sounds funny, but it’s all because of a book. The Book. A dark blue book with strange silver writing and symbols. My uncle Joe, who is a bit of a magician, gave it to me for my birthday. But he forgot to mention that this book can send its readers anywhere in time and space.

  He also forgot to mention that after you go to these strange times and places, the only way to get back home is to find The Book.

  You readers out there who have followed us before know we found all of this out the hard way.

  We found you can be walked off the plank by pirates. We found you can be attacked by freaky monsters from Greek mythology. We found you can be chased by your own great-grandkids. We found you can even be terrorized by characters from other books (like Frankenstein and Little House on the Prairie, to name just two very scary books).

  The one thing we’ve never really found out is how the heck to control The Book. I had sworn to Fred and Sam that I would figure out how The Book works.

  But I never really got a chance to.

  We were over at my house after school, as usual. Fred was jumping around all hyper after school, as usual. So Sam and I decided to take him down.

  “Freak Fred takes on all challengers for the World Monsterweight Title!” hooted Fred, bouncing up and down on my bed.

  “Stone Cold Sam and Joe the Show, Tag Team Champions of the Universe, accept your puny challenge!” yelled Sam, launching himself off my chair, going for Fred’s head.

  “Three-Way Smackdown!” I yelled, diving at Fred’s legs.

  We smashed into a pileup. We brawled onto the floor. We jammed Fred into the corner by my desk.

  “Atomic Butt Squash!” Sam howled, sitting on Fred’s head.

  Fred rolled out with both arms over his head. “DQ! DQ for disgusting move!” He staggered around, pretending to be dazed. Then he suddenly charged and tried to ram me with a two-handed pile driver. I slid him off with a judo block.

  “Joe the Show knows ancient fighting arts,” I said. “Use your opponent’s strength against him. Ha!”

  I spun and pushed Fred past me, driving him into the side of my bookshelf.

  The bookshelf wobbled.

  “Hiiiiii-yah!” Sam piled on.

  The bookshelf teetered.

  “Oooooff!” Fred squirmed around and somehow twisted on top of both of us. “One, two, three, pin!” He jumped up and raised his arms in victory. “Your new Monsterweight Champion of the World—Freak Fred!”

  “Boooo,” said Sam, still slumped on the floor.

  Fred continued his victory lap around the room. “Freak Fred rules all wrestlers! The Hunk, Man Mountain, Killer Kowalski, the Exterminator, the Gladiator—I could pin ‘em all with one hand tied behind my back!”

  Fred bounced on the bed, which knocked against the desk, which bumped into the bookshelf again.

  And that’s exactly when a book fell off the top shelf. It dropped onto the bed and fell open to a picture of an ancient Roman gladiator, armed with a net and a trident, standing in a small, wooden-walled, sand-covered arena.

  Now this would have been a very amazing and funny coincidence if the book had been any other book. But because this book happened to be a certain blue Book with strange silver writing and symbols on it, this was a very unfortunate and not very funny coincidence.

  A familiar green time-traveling mist swirled around our Three-Way Smackdown. And before any of us even had a chance to say “Oh no,” or “Here we go again,” the mist had covered us up to the top of Fred’s World Wrestling hat, and body slammed us back in time to ancient Ome-ray.

  III

  The gladiator stood over us and raised his trident overhead. He jabbed down at Fred, Sam, and me helplessly tangled in the net. The trident was heading right for us when ... when Sam thrashed around with his sword again ... and miraculously knocked the trident aside. It stuck harmlessly into the sand.

  The gladiator grunted in surprise and tried to stab us again. Fred swung his wooden sword and knocked the trident aside. The gladiator stabbed again. I knocked it aside.

  “Hold still,” yelled the frustrated gladiator. “Die like true gladiators.”

  “We’d really rather not die at all,” I said.

  “We use ancient fighting arts,” said Sam.

  “Yeah, give us your best shot, Gladiweenie,” said Fred.

  Fred’s last crack was, as usual, just a little bit more than really needed to be said.

  The gladiator, completely furious now, grabbed the trident with two hands. Before any of us could even hope to knock it away, the trident plunged.

  “Arrrrrr!” moaned Sam.

  “I’m paralyzed!” I said.

  “Everything’s going dark!” said Fred.

  “Brutus,” called a voice. “The glory is yours. That’s a win.”

  Brutus, our gladiator pal, kicked a not-accidental spray of sand on us and walked off.

  We looked up and saw a very short bald-headed guy in a robe standing over us. He pulled the trident out of the sand between us. We sat up.

  Sam patted himself all over. “We’re alive.”

  I pulled the net off of us. “We’re not paralyzed.”

  Fred pulled his T-shirt down. “I can see.”

  The bald guy looked us over and shook his head, talking to himself. “May the glorious Roman empire forgive me for sending such blockheads.”

  “But how come we’re not dead?” said Sam.

  The bald guy held the trident up to Sam’s face so we could all see the blunt ends that had been buried in the sand between us and pinned nothing but our T-shirts. “Because if we use real weapons, I lose more fighters than I graduate.”

  “Graduate?” I said.

  The bald guy smacked himself on the forehead in disbelief. “Graduate. From Ludus Gladiatorius! My gladiator school! Where I try to teach meat-balls to become fighters. Look at you. How many times do I tell you—Trident fights short sword. Long shield fights long sword. Who are you supposed to be?”

  Sam, Fred, and I stood up, glad to be alive, and hoping to stay that way. I figured we had the best chance to look around, find The Book, and get back home in one piece by pretending to fit in as gladiators.

  “I’m Joe... um, Joe the S
how that is. These are my fighting partners, Freak Fred and Stone Cold Sam. We are actually a trio ... a Terrible Trio. We fight the Three-Way Smackdown.”

  The bald guy looked closely at us. He shook his head again. “Never heard of it. Must be some new thing from the provinces. You guys Picts? Gauls?”

  “Americans,” said Fred.

  “Barbarians? Figures.” The little guy rubbed his forehead. “What a headache. The emperor commands me to deliver eighty of my best fighters for the grand opening, and this is what I’ve got? A nice blocking move with the swords though....”

  “Judo,” I said.

  “Bless you,” said the gladiator school boss. “Now listen. I need all the fighters I can get for the opening games. To graduate, it would take you three ...” He drew figures in the sand: IV + IV + IV = VVVIII. He frowned, erased the answer, and drew more numerals: IIIVVV. He erased those and drew more: XIIIV VIIIX IXVII. He erased everything in the sand. “It would take you a very long time to graduate. But I do you a favor. You do me a favor.”

  “Sure,” I said. I couldn’t believe we were going to get out of this so easy.

  The gladiator boss looked around and lowered his voice. “I let you graduate. But swear by the gods you never tell no one you are here at Ludus Gladiatorius. It could ruin my good name. And one other thing—you never heard my name.”

  “Okay,” I said.

  “Okay,” said Sam.

  “Okay,” said Fred. “But what is your name?”

  “Dorkius,” said the gladiator school boss.

  Sam smiled, then bit his lip, trying not to laugh.

  Fred laughed and tried to turn it into a cough. “Dorkius.”

  Dorkius scowled at the three of us. He really was a short little guy. Shorter than any of us. And his name was ... Dorkius.

  I belched out a half snort, half cough and tried to get us out of there. “Yes, sir. That’s a deal. We never heard of Ludus Gladiatorius. And we never heard of ... um ... well ... uh ... Dorkius. Come on, Trio.”

 
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