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Pottymouth and Stoopid
 

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Pottymouth and Stoopid


  Copyright

  The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Copyright © 2017 by James Patterson

  Cover design by Tracy Shaw

  Illustrations by Stephen Gilpin

  Illustrations in excerpt by Jeff Ebbeler

  Excerpt copyright © 2017

  JIMMY Patterson Books is an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The JIMMY Patterson name and logo are trademarks of JBP Business, LLC.

  All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company

  Hachette Book Group

  1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

  littlebrown.com

  JimmyPatterson.org

  The Hachette Speakers Bureau provides a wide range of authors for speaking events. To find out more, go to hachettespeakersbureau.com or call (866) 376-6591.

  The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

  First ebook edition: June 2017

  ISBN 978-0-316-54570-9

  E3-20170503-JV-PC

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Part One: Before We Became Famous Chapter 1: Stoopid: The Origin Story

  Chapter 2: Stoopid: The Legend Continues

  Chapter 3: There Are Worse Things in Life

  Chapter 4: Pottymouth: The Origin Story

  Chapter 5: Michael’s House of Pottymouthing

  Chapter 6: A Few Years Later…and Nothing Much Has Changed

  Chapter 7: Air Stoopid

  Chapter 8: You Can Look It Up in Our Anna Britannica

  Chapter 9: Grandpas Are Always Right

  Chapter 10: Very Weird Science

  Chapter 11: The Blame Game

  Chapter 12: All Shapes and Sizes

  Chapter 13: How to Get Even

  Chapter 14: Science Fair–y Tale

  Chapter 15: When a Good Idea Goes Bad

  Chapter 16: Living Up to Our Names

  Chapter 17: Our Future’s So Bright, We Gotta Wear Chains

  Chapter 18: If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em…and Get Beat

  Chapter 19: Nicknames Run in the Family

  Chapter 20: Things Can Always Get Worse

  Chapter 21: Letting Grandpa Down

  Chapter 22: A Funny Thing Happened After Grandpa’s Funeral

  Chapter 23: Sharing Is Caring

  Chapter 24: Michael Nearly Gets a Sort-Of Girlfriend. Almost

  Chapter 25: Excuuuuuse Me for Living

  Chapter 26: The History of Failure

  Chapter 27: Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaat?

  Chapter 28: In Case You Missed It…

  Chapter 29: And Now, More Pottymouth and Stoopid!

  Chapter 30: School Dazed and Confused

  Chapter 31: Things Continue to Suck Weasel Eggs

  Chapter 32: Do Pottymouth and Stoopid for Us!

  Chapter 33: Principal Blerguson

  Chapter 34: Blerguson’s Big Surprise

  Chapter 35: Our New Homework Assignment

  Chapter 36: The Un-Wanted Posters

  Chapter 37: We’re Going Global!

  Chapter 38: Pottymouth and Stoopid Make the News!

  Chapter 39: Fan Club Fail

  Chapter 40: Taking Out the Trash

  Chapter 41: School’s Out…Forever

  Chapter 42: Hometown Heroes

  Chapter 43: Is This Real Life?

  Chapter 44: Bullies Beware

  Chapter 45: How Do You Know Ex-Dad’s Lying?: His Lips Are Moving

  Part Two: What Happens Now? Chapter 46: Say Buh-Bye, Ex-Dad

  Chapter 47: Where the Magic Happens

  Chapter 48: Based on a True Story. Lots of Them

  Chapter 49: Can Somebody Say Spin-Off?

  Chapter 50: Hot Dogs Taste Better in New York City

  Chapter 51: Thanks Giving

  About the Authors and Illustrator

  Jimmy Patterson Books for Young Readers

  A Preview of Laugh Out Loud

  Newsletters

  To Michael Thompson, PhD, and Dan Kindlon, PhD, coauthors of Raising Cain, who first got me thinking about the insidious nature and dire consequences of bullying boys

  Prologue

  Can We Have Your Attention, Please? Didn’t Think So

  Welcome to the big speech where the whole school has to listen to me, “Stoopid,” and my best bud since forever, “Pottymouth.”

  Actually, they don’t let Pottymouth talk too much in public. Especially not with a microphone.

  So, looks like you’re stuck with just me.

  And I bet you’re wondering why.

  Okay. Everybody here already knows us, right? We’re Pottymouth and Stoopid, thanks to all of you. Those have been our nicknames since you gave them to us, like, forever ago. We’re the class clowns.

  No, wait. We’re the class jokes.

  Well, today you’ll hear our real, true story. And we get to tell it our way. We might let some other people chime in, but it’s mostly going to be us because, come on, this is our story.

  I’ll apologize to your butts now, because they’ll be pretty sore from sitting here by the time I’m done. See, I’m going to start at the very beginning. Way, way back in the olden days when we were just little David and mini-Michael and our biggest problems were dirty diapers.

  Now, everybody pay attention. Even you teachers.

  You might actually learn some things you didn’t know about Pottymouth and Stoopid.

  You might also learn that some of the things you thought you knew are totally and completely wrong.

  PART ONE

  Before We

  Became Famous

  MRS. L. RABINOWITZ

  Pottymouth and Stoopid’s Preschool Teacher

  Oh, I remember Michael and David.

  They were both so squirrelly.

  Natural-born troublemakers.

  You know how one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel?

  Try dealing with two!

  Stoopid: The Origin Story

  Okay, the first time I met Michael Littlefield was in the second week of preschool. I remember that, even back when we were just four years old, Michael could crack me up like nobody else. What can I say? He always had a way with words.

  “Poop!” he said when I showed him the picture of blue squiggles I’d dribbled off the tip of my brush. “Blue poop.”

  That, of course, made me giggle. So I told him my name. “I’m David!”

  I’m Michael!”

  We toddled back to the art-supplies cabinet because I knew there was still some blue paint left in the jar.

  Our teacher, Mrs. Rabinowitz—who always had a headache—wasn’t really watching us or paying much attention to anybody. Except her favorite kid, Kaya Kennecky, a girl who came to pre-K every morning in matchy-matchy outfits complete with a matching bow in her curly blond hair.

  While Michael and I played with the paint, Kaya sat in Mrs. Rabinowitz’s lap reading a picture book about a caterpillar who was rid
iculously hungry. So Mrs. Rabinowitz didn’t see me dribble paint all over Michael’s shoes.

  “Poop!” he said. “Blue poop!”

  Yes, back then, Michael liked to talk about pee and poop and poopypants because, let’s be honest here, when you’re a kid in preschool, bodily functions are hysterical. Underpants too.

  “Booger butt!” Michael blurted and I cracked up.

  Still laughing, I put the blue paint jar back on the shelf. And, yes, I forgot to screw the lid back on.

  “Want red?” I asked.

  He stuck out his left foot. “Red poop!”

  I grabbed the jar of red paint. But the lid wouldn’t come off. It was kind of stuck to the dried-out paint. It was like trying to twist open an antique tube of toothpaste.

  I’d seen my dad, who was still living with us at the time, bang pickle jars on the kitchen counter when he couldn’t twist their lids open. So that’s what I did. I banged the jar of red paint against the wobbly steel shelf inside the art-supplies cabinet. I banged it so hard, the lid cracked and flew off. Paint sloshed out all over the place. And all that banging knocked the open blue jar off the shelf too.

  Every inch of my hands, face, and clothes that wasn’t already speckled red was splattered blue. Michael’s clothes were a mess too. But his shoes—squiggly blue and splotchy red—looked incredibly cool (to a four-year-old, anyway).

  “Awesomesauce!” we both yelled.

  Kaya heard us and saw the disaster we’d made. “Mrs. Rabinowitz!” she hollered. “That stupid boy did something stupid!”

  Since I was still holding the jar of red paint in my hand, it was pretty obvious who she was calling stupid.

  “You’re so stupid, David,” Kaya cried. “You’re just a stupid-head. You’re so stupid, stupid, stupid! You’re the stupidest boy ever!”

  Everybody in the class started laughing and pointing and chanting “Stoopid,” drawing out the oo sound. Mrs. Rabinowitz was busy trying to clean up my mess so she didn’t have time to remind everybody that name-calling was strictly against the rules.

  I, of course, wasn’t laughing. What I did with the paint jars might’ve been dumb, but that didn’t automatically make me stupid.

  Except it kind of did. It made me Stoopid. With a capital S.

  Well, to everybody except my paint-spattered partner in crime.

  “You’re not stupid, David,” Michael told me. “You’re my best friend!”

  Stoopid: The Legend Continues

  Things didn’t get much better when Michael and I moved up to kindergarten.

  Okay, they got way worse. I still did some dumb stuff, like calling the graham crackers we had for snack “grand crappers.”

  I remember the teacher, Ms. Stone, asked me if I could spell my mom’s name. I said, “Yes! M-O-M.”

  Kaya Kennecky was still in our class. “That boy’s name is Stoopid,” she told Ms. Stone. “A lot of boys are dumb, but he’s the stupidest boy in the whole world!”

  We don’t use that word in this class, Kaya,” said Ms. Stone.

  “Well, what do you call stupid people, then? Idiots?”

  I did some other dumb stuff that didn’t help my kindergarten reputation any. Once, when I needed Ms. Stone’s help tying my shoe, she asked me, “What’s the magic word?” I said, “Abracadabra.”

  When she asked me to try again, I said, “Shazam?”

  But does that make me Stoopid or just, you know, a normal kid?

  Actually, for a little while, I thought my teacher, Ms. Stone, might be sort of stupid herself. She kept asking us to name all the colors in the crayon box. Didn’t she know what they were called? The names were printed right on the wrappers.

  In kindergarten, I also had a lot of what they called “excess energy.”

  You know how some kids act at a birthday party after they eat ice cream and cake and chug soda to wash down all the jelly beans and Laffy Taffy in the goodie bags? That was me on a normal day. I just don’t like sitting still, and, unfortunately, a lot of school involves sitting and not fidgeting.

  I remember this time when Ms. Stone wanted us to sit on the alphabet rug on the letters of our first names.

  I started on the D, got bored, scooted over to the A, then rolled over to the V. Ms. Stone told me she’d meant “just the first letter of your first name.”

  “Then he should sit on the S,” said guess who. “For Stoopid!”

  She got sent to the corner for that one, which only made her more determined to call me Stoopid every chance she got—just not in front of Ms. Stone.

  I don’t know why Kaya hated me so much even back then, but I’ve got to hand it to her: she tried super-hard to convince all the other kids to call me that, and it worked. After kindergarten, the name just sort of stuck.

  KAYA KENNECKY

  Pottymouth and Stoopid’s Classmate

  Um, sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt this flashback sequence or anything, but I have to butt in and let people know that Stoopid has always been totally and completely stupid!

  I’ve known that dummy since pre-K when he used to go backward down the slide and do these crazy flips that could’ve hurt somebody.

  In first grade, he wouldn’t color things right. He made the sky green and the grass red.

  One time, he tried to eat an eraser because it looked like a mini-marshmallow.

  Duuuuuumb!

  So how come Stoopid gets to have his own stupid assembly with his demented friend Pottymouth? He’s totally making me sound bad with all of his lies about how I’m the one who started calling him Stoopid. I mean, even if I was, I obviously had a good reason for it!

  I should have my own assembly with my friend Tiffany. We could show everyone our cheers and then twirl batons and do cartwheels. Even if we just sat there and read the dictionary out loud, it would be way better than this lame-o assembly about Pottymouth and Stoopid’s life story!

  I hope I’m not coming across as mean, because I’m not. I’m just being honest.

  :)

  There Are Worse Things in Life

  After kindergarten that day, my mom picked me up in our clunker of a car, which I guess was further proof to my classmates (especially the ones like Kaya) that I was Stoopid!

  The car was a piece of junk, but it wasn’t our fault. My mom divorced my dad the summer before I started kindergarten, and he wasn’t big on paying child support. (I’m sorry, but that’s the truth, Ex-Dad, and I just told everybody I’d be giving them the real, true story of Pottymouth and Stoopid, so I can’t cut you any slack.)

  He was even worse at paying car support.

  “Whaddaya need a new car for?” he’d say to my mom.

  “To drive to the two more jobs I had to get so I can earn enough money to pay for everything you’re not paying for.”

  “Well, I can’t afford a new car for myself so I’m definitely not buying one for you.”

  “If you won’t buy it for me, do it for your son.”

  “What? Why does David need a car? He’s only four.”

  “Five.”

  “Whatever. He’s not getting a new car. He doesn’t even have a driver’s license.”

  “You’re crazy, Anthony; you know that, right?”

  “Of course I’m crazy. I married you, didn’t I?”

  (Hey, if you think my mom and ex-dad can bicker, wait till you meet Michael’s foster parents. My folks are amateurs compared to them.)

  As you can tell, things were kind of ugly back then between my mom and dad. I guess that’s what happens right after you get divorced. They’ve been split up for seven years now, so things have mellowed a little.

  Well, they had mellowed until, you know, the big surprise.

  More about that later.

  Anyway, I told Mom what happened at school. “All the kids are calling me Stoopid!”

  “Sorry, honey-bunny,” Mom said with a sigh. “But it’s not the end of the world. Trust me, there are worse things in life than being called stupid by some dumb clucks
in kindergarten.”

  I sat there and thought about that for a long minute.

  Finally I asked, “Like what?”

  Mom thought about it for only half a second. “Not being able to go to school because the car won’t start.”

  Well, if you’d asked me right then and there, having to stay home from school for any reason sounded pretty great.

  Pottymouth: The Origin Story

  Let’s jump ahead to third grade.

  Michael and I were still in the same class. One day, we had a substitute teacher named Mr. Chaffapopoulos. I remember his name because Michael said it sounded like Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.

  Anyway, we were doing math. I was up at the whiteboard.

  “Diana’s mom gave her sixty-five dollars to go shopping,” said Mr. Chaffapopoulos as I fidgeted with the dry-erase marker in my hand. “She bought a sweater for twenty-nine dollars, a T-shirt for twelve dollars, and a pair of shoes for fifteen. How much money does Diana have left?”

  I knew it was a multistep problem.

  I knew because those were, and still are, my least favorite kind.

  The first thing I needed to do was write down all those numbers. I remembered the girl in the word problem started with sixty-five dollars. So I wrote 65 and a minus sign on the whiteboard.

  “Um, how much was the sweater?” I asked.

  “Twenty-nine dollars.”

  I wrote 29 after the first minus sign and added another minus sign.

  “How much was the T-shirt?”

  “Twwwwelllve. Dolllllaaarrrs.”

  He said it real slow, like he thought that was the only speed my brain would understand. Kids started snickering.

  As I wrote 12, I started muttering to myself. “Short attention span, lack of focus, needs to develop better listening skills…”

  It was all the stuff my teachers had written on my report cards in first and second grade.

 
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