These stories are based on the fictional life and adventures of a twelve-year-old named Kevin Rooney

Earth to Kevin Rooney is copyright protected.

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Chapter One

"Hey, Looney," A deep voice whispered behind me, "Looney, do you eat the hot lunches here?"

Looney? Sure I was new here at Capitol Middle School, but I never heard of a kid with that kind of name. I looked around my desk to see where that voice was coming from. Then I looked behind me and my eyes went up. Sitting behind me was the biggest kid I had ever seen in my life. His huge mouth was formed into a sneer as he looked down at me with his arms folded across his chest. He looked like he needed a shave and by the smell of things a shower, hopefully, might be in his not-too-distant future. His legs were so long that his knees hit the top of his desk and tilted it up in the air. He was waiting for me to answer him. I wished I could remember what he had just asked me.

"What?" I asked. My head and neck were becoming tired from the strain of having to turn around and look up at him.

"What's the matter with you, Gooney? I said, do you eat hot lunch here or do you bring your own lunch?"

"I eat hot lunch," I answered, "Why?"

"Because I need my strength to grind little weasels like you into the ground and the extra energy that I will get from your cafeteria food will supply me with the nutrition that I need for a full day of pounding."

Well, wasn't this just my luck, did I have a sign on my back that read, "Bully needed here, space for rent"?. Well, at least he was considerate enough to let me know his plans for my lunch instead of taking it like other bullies I'd had in other schools.

"Well, class, did anyone do anything special over Christmas vacation?" Mrs Webber asked, looking around the classroom, "How about you, Steven?"

A kid on the other side of the class raised his hand in the air, "My parents and I went to Florida to visit my grandmother and grandfather." "That's great Steven, I hope you had a good time," Mrs. Webber smiled, "How about you, Sarah?"

Mrs Webber turned and looked down at a girl sitting in the front row. Sarah was sitting perfectly in her chair. She had perfect posture, perfect hair and perfect clothes. I think I hated her. She had all the makings of a teacher's pet.

"Well, Mrs. Webber," Sarah smiled back at Mrs. Webber, "My mom and dad and my brother, Nathaniel, and I all went backpacking down into the Grand Canyon. It was a very educational experience for all of us."

"How wonderful for you and your family!" Mrs. Webber exclaimed, "I'm sure that that is an experience that you and your familly will never forget!"

"How about you, Brian Davis?" Mrs Webber looked in my direction.

"I got to go visit my Uncle Sidney at the county jail," The bully's voice boomed from behind me, "My mother made his bail," He had added this last bit of news like we might be interested in hearing the outcome of his family's visit to the jail.

Mrs. Webber looked a little shaken at this news. Her smile waivered a little bit, "Well, Brian, I'm happy for you and your Uncle Sidney."

The class laughed. I didn't. He was sitting behind me. His family had criminal ties. Brian was probably on probation for some crime. I wondered how many kids before me had sat at this desk before they were taken to the hospital.

The whole class was looking at me and I wanted to crawl under the desk, "Well, we moved to our new house--hiccup--and I had to help unpack--hiccup."

I hoped Mrs. Webber was happy. Kids were snickering and I could feel Brian's desk sticking into the back of my neck as his knees elevated it around behind me.

"Do you want to go get some water, Kevin?" Mrs. Webber looked at me over her glasses, concerned.

"No, ma'am I'm fine--hiccup--if I don't talk the hiccups will go away," Upon hearing this observation, the teacher finally left me alone for the rest of homeroom.

The rest of my school day went a little better until I got to lunch which I had been dreading. In-between furtive glances for Brian, I had finally gotten through the long cafeteria line. The meatloaf looked disgusting but the banana pudding had promise as I studied it. I started looking for a place to sit but almost every chair was taken.

"So, Kevin Looney, what have you got for my lunch, today?" A familiar voice behind me made me jump, sloshing my banana pudding over the side of my tray and splattering the floor. Was banana pudding supposed to slosh?

"Well, "Brian," I said, turning around to face him, "The meatloaf looks like it's right up your alley. Here, take it with my blessing. And here, take my milk," The chocolate milk had a chunky look to it that had made my stomach turn when I had heard it thud against the side of the carton.

Brian looked surprised at my unexpected generosity as I started shoving my food at him. The only thing left on my tray was the banana pudding.

"How about that banana pudding, twerp," Brian, obviously, was hungry today. I didn't answer him as I turned around to continue my search for a chair. I wasn't going to give any more of my lunch to him.

"Hey you little--" that was the last thing I heard him say while he was upright. I heard a huge thud behind me that vibrated the whole cafeteria like an earthquake. I turned around to see Brian half-lying and half-sitting on the floor. He had slipped on the banana pudding that I had spilled. He was laying there with a surprised look on his face. The whole cafeteria was quiet except for a nervous giggle from the far end of the room. No one offered to help him. Then, one kid started laughing. Then another laughed. And another laughed. Soon, the whole cafeteria was pointing at Brian and laughing. I walked swiftly away to continue my endless quest for a seat.

"Hey, Kevin," I looked around me and saw a kid motioning for me to sit next to him, "This chair is empty. Sit here, if you want."

I gratefully sat down. My feet were tired of standing and walking.

"My name is Jason Harris, and that's John Laughlin over there," he motined to a kid across the table from us. This kid was big too. What is it with this school? I thought to myself. They have the biggest kids here that I have ever seen. Maybe it's something in the milk that makes these kids grow. Maybe I shouldn't have given my milk to Brian. Then, I remembered, Brian had my milk but it wasn't in him--it was all over him.

John waved his hand at me in a friendly greeting and a huge smile spread all over his face. I had a feeling that I was going to like John and Jason.

"Here," Jason shoved his meatloaf at me, "I'm full, and it looks like you didn't get much of a lunch. You can have my meatloaf."

I started to tell him that I didn't want it but I realized that he thought he was doing me a favor. I thanked Jason and slowly ate the meatloaf. It was hard on the edges. It tasted like the school cooks had cooked it before Christmas and let it sit over the holidays until it was just the right shade of green. I pulled a packet of catsup out of my pocket and opened it with a twist. John and Jason watched me curiously.

"Wow!" Jason exclaimed in admiration, "I've never seen anyone bring their own catsup before. The catsup here is awful. I think they water it down. When you pour it it runs all over the food, yuck!"

"So, Kevin," John had just finished eating his lunch, both trays of it, "Do you like sports?"

"Well," I said slowly," I like to play basketball," I waited. Neither of them laughed, "And I like to play deck hockey."

"What's deck--," Brian came up next to the table at that moment. Jason stopped talking and we all looked up at Brian as he cast a giant shadow over our table.

"Kevin Mooney, I'd like to have a little talk with your little body," Brian grabbed my shoulder. My chocolate milk had glued his hair to his skull and he looked like he was wearing a cap. He smelled like bananas and I could see a streak of my pudding going down the side of his pant leg. I wanted to laugh but I knew if I did then that would be my death sentence. I was already beginning to see my short life flash before my eyes as it was.

"Brian," John's voice was surprisingly soft as he spoke low, "If what you have to say is important enough to interrupt our conversation then by all means go ahead and speak with my good friend, Kevin, but I suggest that you do it in a civilized manner."

John's face didn't change at all as he spoke. Actually, he didn't even look up as he talked. His spoon was working on an empty dish of meatloaf. He was scraping up the last remains of meatloaf crumbs and purposely giving it his undivided attention.

Brian's hand on my shoulder tightened.

This would be something else, I thought. The Battle of the Titans. Bruiser Brian versus Gigantic John. "In this corner of the ring weighing in at two hundred fifty pounds, the Battling Bruiser, Brian Davis. And in the other corner weighing an impressive three hundred pounds is the Gigantic Gargantuan, John Laughlin." It would only take a minute and John would have him on the floor, knocked out cold. I would be John's friend for life. i would have Mom make a big pan of meatloaf just for him. Getting hit by Brian might be worth seeing someone pound him into the floor.

John looked up at Brian at that moment and met Brian's eyes. Brian's grip on my shoulder loosened. He slowly walked away, leaving us with the aroma of bananas in the air.

"That kid needs a bath," John observed, waving the air in front of nis nose. Everyone at the table laughed, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Jason told me that he had seen me in homeroom. I was surprised at that since I didn't remember seeing him. I asked him where he sat in the class and he told me he sat right behind Brian. No wonder I hadn't seen him!

"Does Brian ever bother you?" I asked Jason.

"He doesn't dare bother me," Jason said with a smug smile, "My father is a policeman."

Well, I guess that explained that.

Jason yawned and stretched his arms, "I didn't get a very good night's sleep. Those stupid geese woke me up early this morning."

I looked up, surprised, "Your have geese near you? So do I."

"Well, you can have these geese, too," said Jason disgustedly, "They honk all the time. Is it illegal to shoot geese around here?"

I started to tell him that it probably was when the bell rang. Lunch was over.

My first afternoon class was Art. I enjoyed drawing a lot but the only problem I had with art was having a mother who is an artist. Teachers and other kids expect me to be a really good artist and do these really great drawings--like I don't already have enough pressure on me as it is. I hoped that in this class no one would know my mother is an artist.

I walked into the art class. It was a big, bright, sunny room with lots of pictures of great artist's paintings around the wall of the classroom. There were several round tables throughout the room and we sat wherever we wanted to since the teacher wasn't in the room yet. I chose a table in the very back of the class. I was situating my bookbag under my seat when the familiar odor of ripe bananas came drifting over to me. I looked up and saw Brian Davis walking into the classroom. Oh, no! I groaned inwardly, and shrunk as low as I could into my chair. Is this what a migraine feels like?

Luckily, Brian didn't see me and he ended up sitting at a table at the other end of the room.

The bell rang and a tall, thin man with a beard and dark hair walked into the classroom and stood at the front of the class.

"Good afternoon, class," he said. He turned around and wrote on the blackboard talking at the same time, "My name is Mr. Shipstead."

He finished writing his name and turned around, "Now, does everyone understand how that name is spelled?"

The room was quiet except for a cough, "Okay, I just want to make sure that there are no incorrect spellings of my name like I had last semester, does everyone understand?"

There was a giggle from the girl next to me and I thought I heard Brian make a sound like a muffled snort but otherwise the class sat in silence.

"I hope that everyone had a enjoyable holiday?" Mr Shipstead smiled questioningly at the class. I groaned inwardly. I hoped that Brian didn't feel the need to tell this class about his uncle's vacation in the jail also. Brian didn't say a word. He was sitting there, picking his teeth with his comb. At least he practiced good grooming habits.

Mr. Shipstead walked around the tables with his hands behind him as he talked to the students, "In this class we are going to learn about painting with oils and pastels. However, we are going to start out by learning the art of origami. Does anyone know what origami is?"

I wanted to raise my hand but that would have brought me to Brian's and everyone else's attention.

A girl in front of me raised her hand, "Isn't that what happens when you are married more than once?"

Mr Shipstead looked stunned, then puzzled. His face cleared in understanding and he said with a half-smile, "oh, you mean bigamy? No, I'm afraid not, anyone else?"

Mr Shipstead was standing in front of our table during this conversation with the girl. He walked by me to a table next to ours. When he passed by I saw Brian's big ugly face leering at me. He had finally discovered that I was in his class. Oh, brother, this day just keeps getting better.

"Anyone else?" Mr Shipstead was asking again, "How about you, Brian Davis?" Mr Shipstead looked at a card in his hand to make sure he had the name right. It wouldn't take very long and he would have Brian's name and face firmly etched in his memory and his mind forever.

"Origami?" Brian thought about it for a few seconds. He stretched his big feet out in front of him, next to the table. He thought about it a few more seconds, tapping his finger on his chin like he was deep in thought. As if that could ever happen, I thought. Then, Brian popped straight up in his seat like a lightbulb had just come on over his head, "Say, isn't that what happened to my cousin Anthony's body when they found it in the county landfill a few months ago?

I thought Mr. Shipstead was surprised at the last guess to his question. This next answer really shocked him and he looked at Brian like he couldn't believe what he had just heard Brian say.

"I'm not quite sure--," he stammered, "What you mean--,"

Brian sat there, with a sinister smile on his face.

"Oh!" Mr Shipstead exclaimed loudly, "You mean rigor mortis! No, that isn't it!" he sighed audible and looked around the room in apparent desperation, "How about you, Kevin Rooney, do you know what origami is?"

Mr Shipstead looked at me hopefully. He really needed someone to set this class straight. I gave a glance at Brian the bully. He sat there, picking his nose and pretending to flick it at me with a half-smile on his face. He was daring me, I could tell, to give the right answer to the question. I took a breath and then said, "Origami is the art of paper folding."

I don't think that I have ever seen a teacher more relieved in my life. Mr Shipstead gave a sigh of relief and with a big grin said, "Thank you very much Kevin, that is correct."

I didn't even look at Brian. I knew he hated me at that moment. I didn't care. I felt proud at knowing the answer.

"I am going to give each of you a small sheet of origami paper and each of you will follow me as I give directions on how to fold it."

It wasn't very long before we were making small folds in the paper and trying to keep up with Mr. Shipstead's instructions. Mr. Shipstead had his back to Brian while he held his finished product in the air, "Now, you should all have a paper horse that looks like this."

Brian had given up a long time ago trying to fold the paper. Instead, he had wadded his paper up into a spitball that was fired right into the back of Mr. Shipstead's head.

Mr Shipstad felt the back of his head and turned around. He bent down and picked up the wadded up piece of origami paper, "Who threw this at me?"

The room was silent.

Mr Shipstead looked at all of our faces. It was clear that nobody was going to voluntarily give the name of the guilty party.

"Kevin," Mr Shipstead walked over and stood in front of me, "Can you tell me who threw that spitball at me? You were facing the direction it came from."

This was just great. He knew I knew who threw the spitball and if I gave him Brian's name then I was dead. If I didn't give him Brian's name then I would be in trouble with the teacher for withholding information. It was a no-win situation.

All the possibilities of this situation ran through my mind as I sat there with the teacher and the kids looking at me, "Well, Mr Shipstead--hiccup--I'm not sure--hiccup--"

The teacher had been watching me intensely and so had Brian. I could feel his eyes glaring at me. When I paused with my hiccups Mr. Shipstead turned around and said, "I have another idea. The person who threw that origami spitwad obviously was busy making that instead of their horse. I want everyone to show me their paper horses."

The kid's hands raced feverishly to find their origami creations. Everyone found theirs except for Brian. He knew he was in trouble and he looked like he didn't care. He sat in his chair with his arms folded over his chest and burped loudly, the smell of bananas grew stronger.

Brian ended up in the principal's office for the rest of the class. Funny, my hiccups left when Brian did.

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly compared to the first part of the day. Brian wasn't in any of my other classes. I saw him once in the hall and he looked like he was going to come after me. I made a fast turn and dodged in and out and around kids, heading the other direction. Sometimes it was convenient to be small.

Mom was waiting for me in the car at the end of the school day.

"Well?" She asked when I got in the car and threw my bookbag on the floorboard, "How was your day?"

I wanted to tell Mom all about the embarrassment and ridicule that I had felt during my first class. I wanted to tell her all about Brian the bully and how he got most of my lunch and how he fell on the cafeteria floor. I wanted to tell her about the art class and the spitwad.

"Did everything go alright on your first day?" Mom was looking at me inquiringly.

"Mom, how important is it that I have an education?" I asked hesitantly.

"Allright, Kevin, what's wrong?"

"I'm just joking, Mom, everything was fine at school."

Brian walked by my side of the car at that moment. He stopped a few inches away from my window and showed me his fist.

Mom was busy pulling the car away from the curb and didn't see Brian mouthing the words, "I'm gonna kill you" at me as he laughed and walked away.

Mom looked back at me as I watched Brian, "Is that a friend of yours, Kevin?"


Go to Chapter 2
Go to Chapter 3
Go to Chapter 4
Go to Chapter 5
Go to Chapter 6
Go to Chapter 7
Go to Chapter 8
Go to Chapter 9
Go to Chapter 10
Go to Chapter 11
Go to Chapter 12
Go to Chapter 13
Go to Chapter 14
Go to Chapter 15
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