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Authors: Wendelin van Draanen

Tags: #Ages 7 & Up

Meet the Gecko

BOOK: Meet the Gecko
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For more than forty years,
Yearling has been the leading name
in classic and award-winning literature
for young readers.

Yearling books feature children's
favorite authors and characters,
providing dynamic stories of adventure,
humor, history, mystery, and fantasy.

Trust Yearling paperbacks to entertain,
inspire, and promote the love of reading
in all children.

OTHER YEARLING BOOKS YOU WILL ENJOY

SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY,
Wendelin Van Draanen

SHREDDERMAN: ATTACK OF THE TAGGER,
Wendelin Van Draanen

SHREDDERMAN: ENEMY SPY,
Wendelin Van Draanen

SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF,
Wendelin Van Draanen

I WAS A RAT!,
Philip Pullman

THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE,
George Selden

NIM'S ISLAND,
Wendy Orr

BLACK-EYED SUSAN,
Jennifer Armstrong

BABE: THE GALLANT PIG,
Dick King-Smith

THE FLUNKING OF JOSHUA T. BATES,
Susan Shreve

WenDelin Van DRaanen

For my shredder-nephews, Bryan, Jefferson, and Kyle. And special thanks to Leslie Parsons for her help with research.

BRIAN BIGGS

For Cheryl and Michael, who never told me not to draw on things.

CHAPTER 1
Big News

I was in the middle of updating my Shredderman Web site when Dad barged through my bedroom door.

“Nolan!”

I shot straight up, banging my knee against the desk. “Da-ad!” I spun to face him. “Dad, you're supposed to knock!”

A month ago this would have been a mammoth problem. A month ago Mom and Dad didn't know that Shredderman—Cedar Valley's very own cyber-superhero—was just an ordinary fifth grader.

Me!

But my parents had discovered my secret
identity, which turned out to be okay. They
liked
having a cyber-superhero son. So Dad barging into my room as I was working on my secret Shredderman site wasn't a problem.

It was just painful.

I rubbed my knee. “You know—K-N-O-C-K?”

“I know, I know,” Dad said. His head was bobbing like it was on the end of a big, boingy spring. He stepped outside my room and started making big knocking motions on the signs taped to my door.

DO NOT DISTURB!

Knock-knock-knock.

KNOCK !

Knock-knock-knock.

Shhhh … CONCENTRATING!

Knock-knock-knock.

Sometimes parents can be so annoying. I rolled my eyes and called, “Come in!”

Dad charged back in and sat on my bed.

His eyes were big.

His smile was practically cutting his face in two.

And he was bouncing.

Bouncing.

“You'll never guess what,” he whispered.

I had to laugh. “What?”

Boingy-boingy-boingy.
He grinned. “I couldn't have come up with a better birthday present for you if I'd tried.”

“Stop!” I put up my hand. “I hate it when you tell me what my present is. It ruins everything!”

He froze, mid-bounce. “Even if that's how you get exactly what you want?”

“Yes! I'd way rather be surprised.”

“Oh,” he said, then started bouncing again. “Well, this isn't exactly your birthday
present.
It just happens to be happening on your birthday.”

“Da-ad!”

“Ready for a hint?”

“No!”

He picked up Sticky, my giant stuffed gecko, and shook it at me, saying, “Ay cha-wow-wow.”

“Da-ad!”

He bounced about two feet in the air, laughing like a madman. Then he whipped his sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on Sticky. “Hey,
hombre,”
he said in the worst Mexican accent ever, “Aaay'm comeeeeeng to your town. How would you like to meeeeeet me?”

“Da-ad! What are you
talking
about?” And then every hair on my body shot straight out. “Do you… ? You don't… I mean, they can't…”

Boingy-boingy-boingy,
went my dad and Sticky on my bed. “Oh, yes they can, and they are!”

“But why?
When?”

“That's my boy, asking the who, what, when, where, and why! A chip off the old block. A reporter's reporter! A fellow investigator! A man after my own—”

“Da-ad!”

“Sorry, champ. Sorry.” He cleared his throat and said, “The whole cast and crew of
The Gecko and Sticky
are coming into town to film back-to-
back episodes. They think Cedar Valley's Old Town will make the perfect setting and have rented the entire Historian Hotel for four days. And because I'm the
Gazette
's number one reporter, I get to cover the event!”

“Wow!”

“And,”
he said, leaning in, “I've arranged an interview with ‘The Gecko. ’”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh. On your birthday.”

“And I… I get to come along?”

“That's right! I told their publicity coordinator that it was your birthday and that you were a huge fan. She said, ‘By all means, bring him along. ’”

My jaw was dangling.

My eyes were bulging.

I looked at the giant
The Gecko and Sticky
poster on my wall and whispered, “I get to meet The Gecko?”

He put my super-sized Sticky aside and said, “Well, you get to meet Chase Morton, the boy who
plays
The Gecko.”

“Oh…oh, right.” I was still staring at the poster of him—blue jeans, T-shirt, baseball cap, shades—he was the coolest superhero ever. He didn't need some funny disguise. The Gecko was a regular kid just like me, only older.

Which had taken my parents forever to catch
on to. I'd been watching the show for at least six months when my mom asked, “The Gecko's the
boy
? I thought The Gecko was the
lizard.”

She was having this revelation in the middle of a really great episode.

“That's right,” I whispered, hoping she'd get the hint.

“But… why isn't the boy named Sticky and the gecko named The Gecko?”

“Mo-om!”

“I'm serious, Nolan! I don't understand this at all!”

I said really fast, “Sticky's named Sticky because he's a kleptomaniac. He steals stuff like crazy!”

“But I thought he was a
good
gecko.”

“He
is.
He's just got a bad habit.”

“But—”

“Mo-om! I'm trying to listen!”

“Okay, okay! I'll talk to you later.”

When she and Dad finally figured it out, they became fans, too.

Especially of Sticky.

You just can't help it!

“And Sticky,” my dad was saying as I stared at the poster, “well, I imagine he's largely computer-animated. I mean, there's no such thing as a talking gecko lizard, right?”

I looked at Sticky, grinning away on The Gecko's shoulder. I knew he wasn't real, but he sure seemed real on TV. And yeah, The Gecko's the superhero—he's the one with the magic Aztec wristband that gives him powers. Like walking up walls, or disappearing, or super-strength… that sort of thing. But Sticky's the one who found the power-band and gave it to him in the first place. He's the one who's funny and sassy and
smart.
It's easy to forget he's just… animated. Or a robot. Or…

BOOK: Meet the Gecko
6.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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