Wayside school is fallin.., p.1
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       Wayside School Is Falling Down, p.1
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         Part #2 of Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
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Wayside School Is Falling Down


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  To Emily, Walker, Annie, Bill, Bobbie, and Corky

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  .

  Contents

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  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19 (first)

  Chapter 19 (second)

  Chapter 19 (third)

  Chapter 20, 21 & 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  About Louis Sachar

  Imprint

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  Chapter 1

  A Package for Mrs. Jewls

  Louis, the yard teacher, frowned.

  The school yard was a mess. There were pencils and pieces of paper everywhere. How’d all this junk get here? he wondered. Well, I’m not going to pick it up!

  It wasn’t his job to pick up garbage. He was just supposed to pass out the balls during lunch and recess, and also make sure the kids didn’t kill each other.

  He sighed, then began cleaning it up. He loved all the children at Wayside School. He didn’t want them playing on a dirty playground.

  As he was picking up the pencils and pieces of paper, a large truck drove into the parking lot. It honked its horn twice, then twice more.

  Louis ran to the truck. “Quiet!” he whispered. “Children are trying to learn in there!” He pointed at the school.

  A short man with big, bushy hair stepped out of the truck. “I have a package for somebody named Mrs. Jewls,” he said.

  “I’ll take it,” said Louis.

  “Are you Mrs. Jewls?” asked the man.

  “No,” said Louis.

  “I have to give it to Mrs. Jewls,” said the man.

  Louis thought a moment. He didn’t want the man disturbing the children. He knew how much they hated to be interrupted when they were working.

  “I’m Mrs. Jewls,” he said.

  “But you just said you weren’t Mrs. Jewls,” said the man.

  “I changed my mind,” said Louis.

  The man got the package out of the back of the truck and gave it to Louis. “Here you go, Mrs. Jewls,” he said.

  “Uhh!” Louis grunted. It was a very heavy package. The word FRAGILE was printed on every side. He had to be careful not to drop it.

  The package was so big, Louis couldn’t see where he was going. Fortunately, he knew the way to Mrs. Jewls’s class by heart. It was straight up.

  Wayside School was thirty stories high, with only one room on each story. Mrs. Jewls’s class was at the very top. It was Louis’s favorite class.

  He pushed through the door to the school, then started up the stairs. There was no elevator.

  There were stairs that led down to the basement too, but nobody ever went down there. There were dead rats living in the basement.

  The box was pressed against Louis’s face, squashing his nose. Even so, when he reached the fifteenth floor, he could smell Miss Mush cooking in the cafeteria. It smelled like she was making mushrooms. Maybe on my way back I’ll stop by Miss Mush’s room and get some mushrooms, he thought. He didn’t want to miss Miss Mush’s mushrooms. They were her specialty.

  He huffed and groaned and continued up the stairs. His arms and legs were very sore, but he didn’t want to rest. This package might be important, he thought. I have to get it to Mrs. Jewls right away.

  He stepped easily from the eighteenth story to the twentieth. There was no nineteenth story.

  Miss Zarves taught the class on the nineteenth story. There was no Miss Zarves.

  At last he struggled up the final step to the thirtieth story. He knocked on Mrs. Jewls’s door with his head.

  Mrs. Jewls was in the middle of teaching her class about gravity when she heard the knock. “Come in,” she called.

  “I can’t open the door,” Louis gasped. “My hands are full. I have a package for you.”

  Mrs. Jewls faced the class. “Who wants to open the door for Louis?” she asked.

  All the children raised their hands. They loved to be interrupted when they were working.

  “Oh dear, how shall I choose?” asked Mrs. Jewls. “I have to be fair about this. I know! We’ll have a spelling bee. And the winner will get to open the door.”

  Louis knocked his head against the door again. “It’s heavy,” he complained. “And I’m very tired.”

  “Just a second,” Mrs. Jewls called back. “Allison, the first word’s for you. Heavy.”

  “Heavy,” said Allison. “H-E-A-V-Y. Heavy.”

  “Very good. Jason, you’re next. Tired.”

  “Tired,” said Jason. “S-L-E-E-P-Y. Tired.”

  Louis felt the package slipping from his sweaty fingers. He shifted his weight to get a better grip. The corners of the box dug into the sides of his arms. He felt his hands go numb.

  Actually, he didn’t feel them go numb.

  “Jenny, package.”

  “Package,” said Jenny. “B-O-X. Package.”

  “Excellent!” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Louis felt like he was going to faint.

  At last John opened the door. “I won the spelling bee, Louis!” he said.

  “Very good, John,” muttered Louis.

  “Aren’t you going to shake my hand?” asked John.

  Louis shifted the box to one arm, quickly shook John’s hand, then grabbed the box again and staggered into the room.

  “Where do you want it, Mrs. Jewls?” he asked.

  “I don’t know,” said Mrs. Jewls. “What is it?”

  “I don’t know,” said Louis. “I’ll have to put it down someplace so you can open it.”

  “But how can I tell you where to put it until I know what it is?” asked Mrs. Jewls. “You might put it in the wrong place.”

  So Louis held the box as Mrs. Jewls stood on a chair next to him and tore open the top. His legs wobbled beneath him.

  “It’s a computer!” exclaimed Mrs. Jewls.

  Everybody booed.

  “What’s the matter?” asked Louis. “I thought everyone loved computers.”

  “We don’t want it, Louis,” said Eric Bacon.

  “Take it back, Jack,” said Terrence.

  “Get that piece of junk out of here,” said Maurecia.

  “Now, don’t be that way,” said Mrs. Jewls. “The computer will help us learn. It’s a lot quicker than a pencil and paper.”

  “But the quicker we learn, the more work we have to do,” complained Todd.

  “You may set it over there on the counter, Louis,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Louis set the computer on the counter next to Sharie’s desk. Then he collapsed on the floor.

  “Now watch closely,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Everyone gathered around the new computer. It had a full-color monitor and two disk drive
s.

  Mrs. Jewls pushed it out the window.

  They all watched it fall and smash against the sidewalk.

  “See?” said Mrs. Jewls. “That’s gravity.”

  “Oh, now I get it!” said Joe.

  “Thank you, Louis,” said Mrs. Jewls. “I’ve been trying to teach them about gravity all morning. We had been using pencils and pieces of paper, but the computer was a lot quicker.”

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  Chapter 2

  Mark Miller

  Mrs. Jewls rang her cowbell. “I would like you to meet Mark Miller,” she said. “He and his family just moved here all the way from Magadonia!”

  Everybody stared at the new kid.

  He stood at the front of the room. His knees were shaking.

  He hated having to stand in front of the class. It was as if Mrs. Jewls had brought him in for show-and-tell. He felt like some kind of weirdo. He just wanted to sit at a desk and be like everybody else.

  But worst of all, his name wasn’t Mark Miller.

  He was Benjamin Nushmutt. And he had moved from Hempleton, not Magadonia.

  But he was too scared to mention that to Mrs. Jewls. He was afraid to correct a teacher.

  “Why don’t you tell the class a little bit about yourself, Mark?” suggested Mrs. Jewls.

  Benjamin didn’t know what to say. He wished he really was Mark Miller. Mark Miller wouldn’t be scared, he thought. He’d probably have lots to say. Everyone would like him. Nobody would think Mark Miller was weird.

  “Well, I guess we’d better find you a place to sit,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  She put him at the empty desk between Todd and Bebe.

  “Hi, Mark,” said Todd. “I’m Todd. You’ll like Mrs. Jewls. She’s the nicest teacher in the school.”

  “Todd, no talking,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Go write your name on the blackboard under the word DISCIPLINE.”

  “Hi, Mark,” said Bebe. “I’m Bebe Gunn.”

  “Hi,” Benjamin said quietly.

  He decided he’d have to tell Mrs. Jewls his real name at recess. He cringed. He didn’t know why, but for some reason he had trouble saying his own name.

  “And what’s your name, little boy?” an adult would ask him.

  “Benjamin Nushmutt,” he’d answer.

  “What?”

  “BENjamin NUSHmutt.”

  “What?”

  “Ben-Ja-Min Nush-Mutt.”

  “What?”

  “BenjaMIN NushMUTT!”

  “What?”

  “Benjamin Nushmutt.”

  “Oh, nice to meet you, Benjamin.”

  He never knew what it was that made the person suddenly understand.

  When the bell rang for recess, everyone charged out of the room. Benjamin slowly walked to Mrs. Jewls’s desk. Somehow, he had to tell her.

  Mrs. Jewls was sorting papers. “Oh, hello, Mark,” she said. “How are you enjoying the class so far?”

  “Fine,” said Benjamin.

  “Good, I’m glad to hear that,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Benjamin shrugged, then walked out of the room. If I had told her my name, she would have thought I was weird for not telling her sooner, he realized.

  He stood at the top of the stairs and looked down. Recess was only ten minutes long. It didn’t seem worth it to go all the way down and then come all the way back up. He didn’t have any friends down there anyway.

  He had never been more unhappy in his whole life.

  He sat on the top step. “Mark Miller,” he said out loud. It was an easy name to say. Mark Miller probably would have made lots of friends by now, he thought.

  Suddenly he heard a low rumble. Then the stairs began to shake. It felt like an earthquake! This whole stupid school is going to fall over, he thought. He put his head between his knees.

  The rumbling got worse. I’m going to die and nobody will even know who I am, he worried. The new kid. Mark Miller. The weirdo!

  But it wasn’t an earthquake. It was just all the kids running back up the stairs.

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  “Hey, Mark, why are you sitting that way?” asked Deedee.

  “You look funny,” said Ron.

  Benjamin looked up.

  “How come you weren’t at recess?” asked Jason. “We looked everywhere for you.”

  “Couldn’t you find the playground?” asked Calvin.

  “It’s just straight down,” said Bebe. “You can’t miss it.”

  “But don’t go in the basement,” warned Sharie. “Whatever you do, don’t go in the basement.”

  “We’ll go down together at lunch,” said Todd. “That way you won’t get lost.”

  Benjamin smiled. He was glad everyone seemed to like him. Or at least they liked Mark Miller. He wondered if they’d like Benjamin Nushmutt too.

  “The bell has rung!” said Mrs. Jewls, standing in the doorway. “Now, everyone get inside.” She made Todd put a check next to his name on the board for being late.

  Mrs. Jewls handed a stack of work sheets to Dameon and asked him to pass them out to the rest of the class.

  Benjamin looked at his work sheet. At the top right corner there was a place to put his name. He didn’t know which name to put there, Mark Miller or Benjamin Nushmutt.

  He left it blank and started working on the first problem.

  Louis, the yard teacher, entered the room carrying a white paper sack. “Benjamin forgot his lunch,” he said. “His mother just brought it.”

  “Who?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  “Benjamin,” said Louis.

  “There’s no Benjamin in my class,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “Are you sure?” asked Louis. “It looks like a good lunch.”

  “I know the names of the children in my class!” Mrs. Jewls said indignantly.

  “Well, I’ll just leave it here until I figure this out,” said Louis. He left the lunch on Mrs. Jewls’s desk and walked out of the room.

  Benjamin frowned. He looked at the white paper sack on Mrs. Jewls’s desk. He couldn’t tell Mrs. Jewls his real name now. She’d think he was making it up just to get a free lunch.

  He wrote Mark Miller at the top of his work sheet.

  But one of these days, he knew, he’d have to tell her his real name.

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  Chapter 3

  Bebe’s Baby Brother

  Mrs. Jewls asked Dameon to pass back the homework.

  Bebe Gunn waited nervously. Except for art, her grades had not been very good lately. If she didn’t start bringing home better grades, her parents said they wouldn’t let her stay up past midnight. She did her best artwork after midnight.

  Dameon handed Calvin his homework, then Todd, then Joy.

  “Where’s yours?” asked Calvin.

  “I don’t know,” said Bebe.

  “Did you do it?” asked Calvin.

  “Yes, I did it,” said Bebe. “I worked extra hard on it! I hope Mrs. Jewls didn’t lose it.”

  Dameon finished passing out the homework. Bebe never got hers.

  “Bebe, will you come here, please,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  She pushed out of her seat, stood up, and nervously walked to Mrs. Jewls’s desk. “I did my homework, Mrs. Jewls,” she said. “Really!”

  “Yes, I know,” said Mrs. Jewls. She held Bebe’s homework in her hand.

  “Whew!” Bebe sighed with relief. “I was afraid you lost it!”

  “No, I didn’t lose it,” Mrs. Jewls said sternly. She showed the back of the paper to Bebe. Someone had written:

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  MRS. JEWLS IS AS FAT AS A HIPPOPOTAMUS!

  (AND SHE SMELLS LIKE ONE, TOO.)

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  “I didn’t write that!” exclaimed Bebe. “I love the way you smell.”

  Mrs. Jewls smiled. “But if you didn’t write it, who did?”

  “Ray!” Bebe instantly replied.

  “Who’s Ray?”

  “He’s my little brother. Ray Gunn. He must have snuck into my room after I was asleep. He’s always playing mean tricks on me. He knew how hard I worked on my homework.”

  “Well, we’ll show Ray,” said Mrs. Jewls. She gave Bebe an A+. “There. I don’t think he’ll try that again.”

  “Thanks!” said Bebe.

  “You may have a Tootsie Roll Pop, too,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  Bebe took a Tootsie Roll Pop out of the coffee can on Mrs. Jewls’s desk, then returned to her seat. She proudly showed Calvin her A+.

  The next day Mrs. Jewls asked Dameon to hand back another batch of homework.

  “How come Dameon always gets to do everything?” griped Kathy.

  “I’m sorry, Kathy,” said Mrs. Jewls. “Would you like to pass back the homework?”

  “No!” grumped Kathy. “I’m not your slave.”

  Dameon passed out the homework. Again Bebe didn’t get hers.

  Mrs. Jewls called her to her desk. On the back of her homework someone had written:

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  MRS. JEWLS HAS A HEAD FULL OF OATMEAL!

  (AND IT LEAKS OUT HER EARS.)

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  “I didn’t write it,” said Bebe.

  “Ray?” asked Mrs. Jewls.

  Bebe nodded.

  “Why don’t you start checking the back of your homework?” suggested Mrs. Jewls.

  “I did when I woke up!” said Bebe. “He must have done it after breakfast, while I was brushing my teeth. We had oatmeal for breakfast.” She shook her head. “I won’t brush my teeth anymore!”

  “You have to brush your teeth,” said Mrs. Jewls.

  “My parents think he’s such a little angel!” Bebe complained. “He’s always wrecking things, and then I’m always the one who gets in trouble. ‘Why can’t you be more like Ray?’ they say. Yesterday he threw all my underwear out the window. Then my mother yelled at me for it. She wouldn’t believe that her little darling son would do something like that!”

  Mrs. Jewls gave Bebe another A+ and another Tootsie Roll Pop.

 
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