Authors: Vicki Grant
Tags: #JUV000000, #Young Adult
I hadn't worked that out yet.
I landed at the back of the building. I sneaked around to the front. I checked to make sure the coast was clear, then I ran to the bus. I yanked open the door. Stuff was all over the place. How was I ever going to find Ms. Creaser's purse?
I kicked things out of my way. A blue purse. A brown one. A green one! There it is.
I started rooting around through the front pocket like she said. No cell phone. I dumped some junk out. Which side pocket did she mean? The purse was covered in them. I was scared and I was mad again. I didn't need another problem right now.
The kitchen door slammed. The guy came out. He was clean and dressed in new clothes. He barely looked psycho. He looked like a farmer going on a date.
He must have managed to get the
kerosene off. There was nothing to stop him now. I didn't have time to find the cell phone! I was just going to have to go. I grabbed the purse and threw the strap over my shoulder. I'd look for the cell phone later. Right now, I needed a weapon. I did a fast scan of the bus.
Was I crazy? There wouldn't be any weapons here! Like a teacher was going to let us bring weapons on a field trip? No way. I'd have to find something in the barnyard.
No. I wouldn't have time for that either. The guy was almost at the log house. I had to stop him. I had to stop him any way I could.
I ran out of the bus.
“Yoo-hoo!” I said. “Yoo-hoo! Over here!”
He turned around and saw me.
“You!” he screamed.
Boy, if looks could kill.
The guy clearly wasn't thinking straight. He's got twenty-nine kids locked up in a building. He's standing right beside it with the kerosene and a box of matches.
You'd think he'd just light the place on fire while he could.
Instead he drops the matches and takes off after the one kid who's not locked up. Me.
I was really bugging him now. I could tell. He was wild. It wasn't just that I'd managed to get out. It was something more than that. He was running with his shoulders hunched up and his bottom lip pushed out and this look of pure hate on his face.
He started screaming at me. At first I couldn't understand him. I was halfway round the side of the barn before I realized what he was saying.
He kept going, “Where are your pants?” It was like that was all he could think about.
If I hadn't been running so hardâif I hadn't been so totally scared out of my mindâI probably would have laughed. He was mad at me for being outside in my underwear! Who knows what he
thought about the purse? It's like I'd insulted him or something. Like I was making fun of him.
I think that's what really got him. Here he was trying to be seriousâI mean, what's more serious than setting a house full of kids on fire?âand I was goofing around in my underwear! He was going to kill me when he got his hands on me. I barely even felt the rocks jamming into my sock feet. I was just flying. I skidded around the corner of the barn. I had this idea I could hide there and ambush him. Hit him over the head with a shovel or something when he came around the corner.
It wasn't going to happen. There wasn't going to be any ambush here. I couldn't see a shovel anywhere. The pigs were squealing so loud I couldn't think straight. I had to do something. The guy was going to be there any second.
With his gun.
I'd forgotten he had a gun. Suddenly this whole stopping him thing seemed
like a dumb idea. Why didn't I just stay in the bus while I had a chance? I had to do something fast.
I opened the pigpen and jumped in. Mud and manure and whatever else it was splashed up to my neck and splattered over my glasses. I dove to the back. I lay down flat. The pigs all crowded around me, sniffing and snorting. They were fascinated. I hoped they'd stay fascinated until he was gone.
The guy came tearing around the corner. He stopped. He looked around. “I know you're here somewhere,” he said. He had that jokey tone in his voice again. He started creeping toward the pigpen. I grabbed the only weapon I had.
I jumped up from behind this big porker and winged a handful right at him. It was gross. I got him right in the face. It must have come as a shock. He dropped his gun.
I couldn't let him find it. I just kept chucking stuff at him. He was cursing and
swearing. He put his arms up trying to cover his face. I was creaming him. Terror really gives you a lot of energy.
It also apparently gets pigs all wound up. They were squealing and shrieking and crawling all over each other like they were at a rock concert.
I was screaming too. I hope I was screaming like a warrior charging into battleâbut I know I wasn't. I was just screaming like a terrified kid. I was screeching and throwing as fast and hard as I could. I must have looked nuts.
I don't really know what happened next. I guess the guy just couldn't stand it anymore. He suddenly, like, growled and then just lunged at me.
There was one thing he hadn't counted on. To tell you the truth, I hadn't counted on it either. I don't know if it was because they liked me. Or if they were afraid of him. Or if they just noticed that the gate was open and decided to get out while the going was good.
But when the guy lunged at meâthe hogs lunged right back at him. There was this giant squeal and they charged. One little piglet got him just below the knees. The guy's feet went flying out from under him. He went, “AAAAAAAA!” His head hit the ground. There was this big splat of manure. And then nothing else.
The guy was out cold.
I grabbed the gun. I put it in Ms. Creaser's purse. I left this big porker practically sitting on the guy. I ran over to the log house. I banged on the door. I screamed, “Don't worry. It's okay. I'll be back.” I took the rope the guy used to tie me up.
I ran back to the pigpen. I rolled the guy over and tied his hands behind his back. I sat him up and tied him to the fence. I used about thirty knots. He wasn't
going anywhere. He moaned and opened his eyes. He started swearing at me like you wouldn't believe.
I ran. I was still scared of him, even tied up. I couldn't handle him screaming like that. I really didn't want to hear what he was going to do with me as soon as he got free. I went to the bus. I got my duct tape. I went back and taped the guy's mouth shut. After that, he didn't freak me out so much. I knew that duct tape would come in handy, sooner or later.
I was in front of the barn, rooting around through Ms. Creaser's purse looking for her cell phone when I heard this loud noise.
Sirens. Lots of sirens. The police were here.
I told them what had happened. They got the kids out. They arrested the guy.
We were halfway home before I realized I should probably put some pants on.
That 9-1-1 operator had figured everything out. She heard me say “van Wart,” found the address and sent the cops. There'd been a prison break that afternoon. The police were already looking for the guy.
Or should I say they were already looking for Archibald James Dobbinâ armed robber, car thief and general all-round psycho. He's alsoâthanks to our
little field tripâa lifer. He's never getting out of prison again.
His friendâKyle Jason Fiskeâis in trouble too. He was the guy who hid the gun and the cell phone on the farm. He got six years for “aiding and abetting” a criminal. The judge also gave him a few extra years for coming up with the whole “tragic accident” idea.
I managed to get my picture in the paper. The good part is that they made it sound like I was some big hero. The bad part is that they used this stupid headlineâ “Boy goes Hogg-wild!” They also had to mention, of course, that I was wearing underpants and a lady's purse. I found it really embarrassing, but my mother loved it. She said I did the Hoggs proud.
She bought me new glasses and a week's worth of boxer shorts. She threw my old briefs in the rag bag.
Mr. van Wart had to have his arm operated on, but it looks like it's going to work okay. He was really thankful for what I did. He gave my mother a whole
bunch of pork sausages. They came from one of the pigs that lunged at the guy. That didn't seem fair to me, but they tasted okay.
Mr. Benvie goes out on the weekends with a bunch of volunteers and helps keep the farm going. He's trying to arrange another field trip there for the spring. He thinks it would be good for us. Help give us “closure.” I told him I'm allergic to hay.
The bus driver retired. He and his wife moved to Florida.
Ms. Creaser had a concussion. She had to stay in hospital for a couple of days. We all went in to see her. She said she was going to quit teaching and go into something less dangerousâ “like working for the bomb squad, for instance.” We all laughed.
Shane doesn't bug me anymore. In fact he even thanked me for what I did. He usually calls me Dan now. He sometimes forgets and calls me Pigboy, but he says it in a nice way.
None of that means we're friends of course.
Why would we be? We don't have anything to build a friendship on. We lost the one and only thing we had in common.
Ever since that stupid field trip, neither of us hates Dan Hogg.
is the popular author of many books for young people, including
Dead End Job
The Puppet Wrangler
Quid Pro Quo
, winner of the 2006 Arthur Ellis award for best juvenile novel from Crime Writers of Canada, an Edgar Allen Poe Award nominee and New York Public Library Books for Teen Age list selection. Vicki lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Laggan Lard Butts
Queen of the Toilet Bowl
See No Evil
Dayle Campbell Gaetz
Michele Martin Bossley
for more information.
Laggan Lard Butts
by Eric Walters
“That was the bravest thing I ever saw in my whole life,” Tanner said.
“Not that brave.”
“You're like my hero,” Taylor agreed.
“Big deal. It doesn't mean anything. Now we just get to spend more time trying to get people to vote for something that has no chance of winning.”
“No chance?” Tanner demanded.
“Yes, no chance.”
“I don't believe my ears,” Taylor said. “Didn't you listen to the announcements today? A quitter never wins and a Lard Butt never quits. Go, Lard Butts!”
by Karen Spafford-Fitz
“Just one question, Turk,” Mom says. “Why didn't you tell us sooner?”
Mom must have read another parenting article. I can almost see the headline: Getting Your Teen to Open Up to You.
“Well, er...I wanted to get my business running before I said anything. And,” I put on my most innocent face, “I had this crazy idea you might think my business was something shady, stupid, or immoral.”
I can't tell for sure, but I think Mom and Dad almost look ashamed.