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Tales from a not so tale.., p.3
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       Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star, p.3

           Rachel Renée Russell
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  But the strange thing was that MacKenzie hadn’t mentioned my dad again until yesterday.

  And she’s one of the biggest gossips in the entire school.

  I’ve heard other kids gush that MacKenzie is so rich, she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.

  NOT!! MacKenzie’s mouth is so big, she was born with a silver SHOVEL in it!

  That girl CANNOT be trusted! ☹!!


  HELP!! It’s only 7:30 a.m. and my day is already a


  I’m beginning to think transferring to a new school might not be such a bad idea after all.

  Which, BTW, would probably make MacKenzie


  I got up extra early this morning to finish my geometry homework.

  I was just chilling out, eating a big bowl of delicious Fruity Pebbles cereal, and daydreaming about BRANDON

  … when suddenly the telephone rang.

  I had a really bad feeling about that call, even before I answered it.

  Then, when I realized who it was, I just about had a heart attack right there on the spot!

  WHAT I SAID: Hello …

  WHAT HE SAID: Hi, this is Principal Winston. I’m calling for Maxwell’s Bug Extermination. We’ve recently started having an insect problem at the school, and I’m a little concerned.

  WHAT I SAID: (GASP!) Um … you’ve reached Maxwell’s Bug Extermination. We’re currently away from the phone. Please leave a message at the tone and we’ll return your call. Um … BEEEEEEP!

  WHAT HE SAID: Yes, Principal Winston here, from Westchester Country Day Middle School. We need your services for a serious insect problem. Could you stop by my office tomorrow during school hours? I’ll give you all the details when we meet. Thanks!

  Still in a daze, I hung up the phone, grabbed my lucky pen, and filled out a message sheet for Dad:

  That’s when the extreme AWFULNESS of the situation FINALLY started to sink in and



  I was like, OMG! OMG! OMG!

  My principal wants my DAD to come to my


  to take care of the BUG PROBLEM?!!

  My stomach got really icky like I had just eaten at Queasy Cheesy or something.

  And I thought I was going to faint.

  However, rather than waiting to DIE of embarrassment at school, I decided to take the initiative and end it all right then ☹!

  By DROWNING myself ☹!

  In my delicious bowl of Fruity Pebbles ☺!!!

  I know it sounds like an INSANE idea. But I’d already tried it on Miss Penelope, my sister’s hand puppet, and it had actually worked. Kind of.


  However, in spite of my efforts, I ended up STILL very much ALIVE.

  I felt so frustrated with my situation I wanted to SCREAM! Again.

  Mostly because I had a half cup of soggy Fruity Pebble thingies stuck up my nose.

  OMG! I must have sneezed Fruity Pebbles for, like, ten minutes straight.

  They were plastered all over the walls and ceiling like rainbow-colored boogers or something.

  I can’t believe Principal Winston is expecting my dad to show up at his office tomorrow for a bug extermination appointment!!!

  I’ll TRANSFER SCHOOLS before I let my dad HUMILIATE me by DANCING around in his red jumpsuit (which, BTW, has MY last name plastered across the back), ZAPPING BUGS in front of the ENTIRE student body ☹!!

  Everyone will think he forgot to take his meds or something.

  I’ve officially designated my school as a …



  It just AIN’T gonna happen!!

  After Dad misses that appointment, hopefully Principal Winston will just hire someone else to take care of the school’s bugs.

  I already HAVE the scholarship.

  So what is Winston going to do? Suddenly just kick me out?! In the middle of the semester?! NOT!!

  I think I’m going to wear my lucky socks tomorrow.

  Hey, I’m gonna need all the help I can get.



  All day I’ve been a NERVOUS WRECK!

  I felt superguilty about not giving my dad that telephone message.

  But more than anything, I was


  I was going to see PRINCIPAL WINSTON in the halls.

  I don’t have anything against him personally. He’s a little weird, yes. But so are MOST principals and teachers.

  I mean, who wouldn’t be TOTALLY INSANE after ten or fifteen years at a middle school?!!

  Just hanging around this place as a STUDENT for a couple of years can be psychologically damaging ☹!

  Anyway, I was afraid Winston was going to mention something to me about my dad’s appointment to exterminate bugs for the school.

  That’s when I decided it was superimportant for me to wear a very clever and cunning disguise so Winston wouldn’t recognize me.

  But unfortunately, I didn’t have much to work with. Just my not-from-the-mall hoodie (with lint balls on it), a little imagination, and a lot of desperation….

  Not only was it brilliantly simple, but comfortable and FREE!

  Luckily, my disguise worked just as I’d planned ☺!

  When Principal Winston saw me after French class, he couldn’t tell I was actually ME! And he never mentioned my dad or needing an exterminator, THANK GOODNESS ☺!

  He just looked a little freaked out. Probably because I was staring at him to test my disguise.

  Then Principal Winston did the strangest thing.

  He cleared his throat really loudly and told me to skip my next class and go STRAIGHT to the office to get a four-hour pass to visit the guidance counselor!

  At first I thought he was making a little joke or something.

  But then I realized he ACTUALLY believed I was a seriously mentally ill WEIRDO!!

  Now, how CRAZY is THAT?!

  However, the good news was that I was getting out of four hours of class! SQUEEEEEEE ☺!!

  Of course, I fixed my hoodie BEFORE I went to the guidance counselor’s office. I didn’t want HER to mistake me for a seriously mentally ill weirdo too.

  We talked about how my classes were coming along and reviewed my new class schedule for next semester.

  Then after lunch she made me watch this superboring video series about career planning.

  The four hours went by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, she handed me a pass to go back to class.

  I really wanted to find Chloe and Zoey to tell them the exciting news about Principal Winston sending me to the guidance counselor.

  But the school day was pretty much over, and it was time to go home. SQUEEEEEEE ☺!!

  The very best part was that Principal Winston NEVER mentioned my dad! And my dad NEVER showed up for that appointment!

  My flawless strategic planning, along with my very clever disguise, saved the day!

  Am I NOT brilliant?!!



  Today my mom came up with the stupid idea that we need to have “Family Sharing Time.”

  She patiently explained to us that “spending preplanned quality time together as a family would encourage love, mutual respect, and bonding.”

  I patiently explained to HER that she should STOP watching Dr. Phil.

  Since we were stuck doing Family Sharing Time, I suggested we try one of those cool EXTREME SPORTS they show on MTV.

  You know, the kind where you get to wear a helmet with cute designs on it, like hearts or rainbows.

  So you’ll look really cute when you break a leg or fracture your skull.

  I think it would be fun, exciting, and educational if our family went BUNGEE JUMPING together ☺!


  Okay, so maybe a family bungee-jumping trip is NOT such a good idea!

  As expected, my parents complained that extreme sports were way too dangerous.

  But that was a lame excuse, because Family Sharing Time can be ten times more DEADLY than all the extreme sports combined!

  Like the activity they’d planned for today.

  My parents excitedly announced at breakfast that we were going canoeing.

  I almost choked on my waffle!

  (It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that we were going canoeing. I just eat really fast and tend to almost choke on my food on a regular basis.)

  Anyway, my dad had purchased an old, beat-up canoe at a garage sale for $3.00.

  He had his heart set on trying it out before winter sets in and all the lakes freeze over.

  I was like, “Three dollars?! Dad, are you KA-RAY-ZEE?!! You spend more than that on your Egg McMuffin meal!”

  But I just said that inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  What IDIOT would risk taking his/her family out in deep water in a garage sale canoe that ONLY cost $3.00?!!

  Okay, let me rephrase the question….

  What idiot … OTHER than my DAD?! I love him and all, but sometimes I REALLY worry about that guy!

  Even a tiny, cheap, plastic pink canoe for Brianna’s doll costs MORE than $3.00!

  I’m just saying …!

  The really scary part was that Dad knew nothing whatsoever about canoes.

  And since his was from a garage sale, it didn’t come with a manual, instruction book, warranty, or ANYTHING!

  When I mentioned my concerns, Dad just rolled his eyes at me and said, “Hey! I don’t need to be a rocket doctor to locate the ON/OFF switch.”

  Anyway, Mom made PB and J sandwiches, Dad packed the car, and we headed out to this huge bay area that’s really popular with boaters.

  As I expected, the event quickly turned into a major DISASTER.

  Mainly because Dad didn’t figure out that a canoe required paddles until AFTER we got out on the water.

  And then he got an attitude about the whole thing because HIS canoe didn’t come with any paddles OR an ON/OFF switch (DUH!).

  Which was probably WHY it only cost $3.00.

  But I didn’t bother to remind Dad of all that stuff, because he was kind of in a really bad mood.

  So there we were, just floating around out on the bay for what seemed like FOREVER!

  Thank goodness it was an unseasonably warm day or we could have gotten hypothermia or something.

  Suddenly Dad’s face lit up, and I knew he was getting another of his WACKY ideas.

  He grabbed this large stick that was floating in the water. Then he took off his shirt, tied it to the stick, and let it flutter in the wind.

  I guessed that he was trying to convert our paddle-less canoe into a sailboat or something.

  But like most of his ideas, it didn’t quite work the way he expected.

  Whenever the wind blew, the canoe would just spin around in circles really fast like some kind of demonic amusement park ride.

  Of course we were all a bit grumpy about our situation.

  But thanks to Dad, now we were GRUMPY, DIZZY, and SEASICK ☹!

  And Mom was starting to get on my LAST nerve!

  Being the eternal optimist, she tried to cheer us up by making us sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”!

  That’s when I suddenly lost it and screamed, “Mom, has your reality check bounced?! Can’t you see we don’t have any PADDLES? How are we supposed to ROW, ROW, ROW the boat?!”

  But I just said that inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  And Brianna would NOT shut up! I had to restrain myself from trying to strangle her.

  She was whining NONSTOP about the STUPIDEST things….

  Okay, I love my family and everything. But sometimes I think they’re, um …


  Lucky for us, someone spotted Dad’s homemade sail and assumed he was signaling for help.

  Even though our Family Sharing Time activity got off to a really bad start, I have to admit it ended up being as exciting as any extreme sport.

  WHY? Getting rescued by that Coast Guard helicopter was thrilling.

  And being transported back to our car in that sleek, superfast police speedboat was a total RUSH!

  When we finally got home, I was surprised to hear a phone message from Chloe and Zoey.

  “Hey, Nikki, what’s up? It’s Chloe and Zoey here! We’re calling to see if you’re going to be available today or tomorrow to work on our act for the talent show. If so, give us a call. We can’t wait to get started!”

  I was like, Just great ☹! I really wanted to be in the talent show with them, but MacKenzie was going to make my life totally miserable if I did.

  Sooner or later I was going to have to tell my BFFs I wouldn’t be performing with them.

  But I was so exhausted from our canoe trip, I just wanted to take a hot shower and crawl into my comfy bed.

  I decided to tell them … LATER!

  I wonder if Dad has figured out yet that canoes DON’T have ON/OFF switches …?


  Mom and I are getting ready to go shopping to buy me some new clothes. I can hardly believe it!

  I guess I owe Brianna a big thank-you since she’s pretty much the person responsible for it.

  It all started when Mom gave Brianna a new paint set and easel. She said it would help Brianna develop her artistic abilities.

  So Brianna started painting, and Mom’s been plastering her artwork all over the house.

  The thing that really freaked me out, though, was this large portrait she drew of ME.

  I couldn’t believe Mom actually taped it up on our refrigerator like that.

  What if a total stranger just randomly wandered into our house and saw Brianna’s drawing up there?!

  Hey, it could happen!!

  But mostly that portrait was very damaging to my self-esteem.

  I realize I’m not supercute like the girls in the CCP clique at my school. But PUH-LEEZE! Does my face really look like it got run over by a bus?!

  And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, Brianna is a very messy artist. She splatters paint EVERYWHERE!

  I almost died when she actually got paint on my favorite shirt.

  OMG! I had a hissy fit right there on the spot.

  Okay, I’ll admit it. That spot of paint on my shirt WAS kind of small.

  But the last time I watched Judge Judy on television, she specifically stated, “Parents are responsible for the damage their child does to the property of other people. And that’s the LAW, you @#$%& IDIOT!!” Or something like that.

  Everyone knows Judge Judy is a very fair and impartial judge. She’s also supergrumpy and possibly a little senile!

  Of course, my mom took Brianna’s side like she always does. She said, “Nikki, I’m sure it was an accident. I’ll replace anything she gets paint on. Okay?”

  I just looked at my mom and rolled my eyes.

  “Yeah, right! And what if Brianna gets paint on ALL my clothes? Then you’re going to buy me a whole new wardrobe?!” But I just said that inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  Suddenly I had the most brilliant idea. That’s when I decided to inspire Brianna’s creativeness by finding stuff for her to paint.

  I gave her my shirt to get started on. Then I ran upstairs to my room and tossed most of my clothes into a big laundry basket.

  It felt really good helping my little sister develop her artistic skills.

  Mom was really shocked when she discovered that Brianna had painted almost all my clothes.

  Of course, I didn’t tell her the part about it all being MY idea ☺!

  Mom tried her best to weasel out of her promise to replace the clothes that Brianna got paint on. But I reminded her that as an impressionable young child, I was learning the impo
rtance of honesty, integrity, and keeping one’s word from the example being set by my parents.

  Which is the drivel I’ve picked up from all those TV talk shows.

  Anyway, Mom felt SO guilty, she finally agreed to honor her promise.

  Now I get to …



  BTW, I finally returned the call to both Chloe and Zoey.

  I let them know that even though we weren’t able to get together to practice over the weekend, we could meet to discuss our plans tomorrow in the library.

  Which means I have to make a final decision tomorrow!!

  What am I going to do???!!!

  I’m so CONFUSED! I feel like my brain is going to EXPLODE!!


  Every day during study hall, Chloe, Zoey, and I are excused to go work as library shelving assistants, or LSAs. We LOVE our job!


  After we finally got all the books reshelved, Zoey suggested that we decide what we were going to do for our talent show act.

  That’s when Chloe suddenly started doing what looked like the funky chicken.

  Which meant she had just gotten a REALLY GREAT idea for the talent show.

  “OMG! OMG! I just got the most FABULOUS idea! We can do a wicked cool dance routine about books. We’ll call ourselves the BREAK-DANCING BOOKWORMS!” Chloe gushed.

  “I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!” Zoey squealed. “We can make fuzzy lime green costumes that look like caterpillars. And we can rap, too! What do you think, Nikki?”

  I was like, “Actually, Chloe and Zoey, it sounds like a really fun idea. But is this supposed to be a TALENT show or a FREAK show?!”

  But I just said that inside my head, so no one else heard it but me.

  Chloe and Zoey are the BEST friends EVER! But they’re also the second- and third-biggest dorks in the entire school.

  So sometimes their ideas are a little … how should I say it … DORKY too.

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