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Cartoon Kid--Zombies!, страница 1


Cartoon Kid--Zombies!

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Cartoon Kid--Zombies!








  JEREMY STRONG once worked in a bakery, putting the jam into three thousand doughnuts every night. Now he puts the jam in stories instead, which he finds much more exciting. At the age of three, he fell out of a first-floor bedroom window and landed on his head. His mother says that this damaged him for the rest of his life and refuses to take any responsibility. He loves writing stories because he says it is ‘the only time you alone have complete control and can make anything happen’. His ambition is to make you laugh (or at least snuffle). Jeremy Strong lives near Bath with his wife, Gillie, four cats and a flying cow.























  This is for Patric,

  who tells the best stories

  and keeps the best B&B in London.

  Many thanks!

  Those are just some of the noises we make when our teacher makes a special announcement, like he had just done. Mr Butternut is brilliant. (Well, most of the time, anyhow. Sometimes he gets moody or cross and then he is not so brilliant and I call him Mr Horrible Hairy Face. That’s because he has got a BEARD. Hairy, or what? Hairy, that’s what!)

  Anyhow, it was Wednesday afternoon at school and Mr Butternut made his announcement.

  Liam looked completely blank and said to me, ‘Casper, what is a Show and Tell day?’

  Honestly, Liam never understands anything.

  My best friend Pete and I call him Captain Weird. That’s his superhero name. In fact, we are all superheroes. Mr Butternut told us that when we first became his class.

  I am Cartoon Kid because I am always drawing stuff. Pete is Big Feet Pete because he has big feet. Obviously. Then there’s Curly-Wurly-Girly, Scaredy Pants, Exploding Girl, Big Bum Brain and all sorts of others. Big Bum Brain is really Sarah Sitterbout.

  Sarah is rather large, everywhere, ESPECIALLY her brain. She is incredibly clever and quite possibly the most intelligent girl in the school, if not the universe. She knows everything, even how to spell

  Anyhow, Liam was waiting for an answer, so I told him.

  ‘We each bring in something to SHOW the class and we TELL everyone why we brought it in. What will you bring in, Liam?’

  ‘I don’t know,’ he said, which is what he says to most questions.

  He’s a bit odd, but do you know what? I think that just about everyone is a bit odd in some way, so that being odd must make most of us quite normal. Does that make sense? Probably not. Do we care? No, we don’t. Shall I talk about something else? Yes, Casper, get on with it!

  Of course, there was MUCHO excitement about the Show and Tell day at the end of the week. We were all asking each other what we were going to bring in.

  Hartley Tartly-Green was almost jumping out of his trousers. (Jolly good thing he didn’t! That would certainly have been a Show and Tell day! Ha ha!)

  ‘I’m going to bring my new ebook! No, I’m going to bring my new socks that light up in the dark so you can see where you’re putting your feet!’

  ‘And I’m going to bring the biggest cork ever and stick it in your mouth, Hartley,’ snapped Noella Niblet, who is always moaning about something. That’s why we call her The Incredible Sulk.

  ‘Class! Class! Please!’ cried Mr Butternut. ‘Quieten down. Noella, that was an unkind thing to say. I’m sure you will all think of something interesting to show the others. If you can’t think of anything, come and talk to me about it during the week. I will help you.’

  Our teacher is like that. Sometimes he brings in things himself and secretly gives them to anyone who has nothing to show. That Mr Butternut is pretty amazing, if you ask me. And he’s still pretty amazing even if you DON’T ask.

  Pete and I walked home together after school. That’s because we live next door to each other. Plus, we are best friends, as you know.

  ‘What are you going to take in on Friday, my tiny ginger stick insect?’ asked Pete.

  He’s always calling me things like that because I am short and have knobbly knees and ginger hair. I don’t mind him calling me names. That’s because I call him Big Nose and Number One Twit Person and so on.

  ‘I don’t know. Maybe I could take in my big sis Abbie and show her. Then I could tell everyone how annoying she is and how her brain is missing and stuff like that.’

  Pete laughed and said that if I took Abbie in, he would bring Uncle Boring. (Who isn’t an uncle, but he is VERY boring. Pete’s mum and dad split up three years ago and now his mum has got Uncle Boring as a boyfriend. His real name is Derek.)

  Anyhow, we had a good laugh about that all the way home, but by the time we got to our houses we still hadn’t actually thought of what we could take in on Friday. It was a bit of a problem.

  The next day at school, half the class was talking about what they were going to bring, although it was to be kept secret. Hartley kept banging on about how he was going to bring in the Best Thing Ever, and what was I going to bring in because it couldn’t possibly be as good as his because his was the Best Thing Ever and there wasn’t anything in the world better than the Best Thing Ever.

  He went on and on until I thought, If Hartley Tartly tells me about the

  once more, I shall explode.

  So I told him I was going to bring something REALLY SPECIAL. (Gulp! It certainly was special – so special it was INVISIBLE because it wasn’t anything at all!)

  That made Hartley think. He turned to Pete and told him all about the B.T.E. Do you know what Pete said in reply? It was really cool!

  ‘Well, my thing comes from OUTER SPACE and it’s even better, so there!’

  I looked at Pete and wondered what it was he’d thought of to bring in. When we went out for break I asked him. ‘What have you got from Outer Space?’

  Pete looked at me as if I was completely crackers. ‘Nothing! I only said that to shut Hartley up!’

  Did I feel like an idiot? Yes, I did, but not for long because I suddenly realized that we were being approached by a bunch of zombies. Actually, it was Masher McNee and his Monster Mob.

  They are Bad News. They are always looking to make trouble, and now it seemed like they planned to make trouble with Pete and me.

  Masher rocked up with his arms outstretched and a dead look in his eyes. ‘We are zombies!’ he cried.

  Erin came over to see what was going on. Erin has got knobbly knees like me. Plus, she’s got a big black shaggy cat stuck on her head. It’s not really a cat – it’s just her hair. I don’t think Erin knows what a hairbrush is. She certainly hasn’t got one. She’s a walking mess. She had her jumper on back to front the other day and she didn’t even notice.

/>   Anyway, Erin took one look at Masher and said:

  Masher lowered his arms, utterly puzzled.

  Wow! That was pretty brave of her. Nobody, and I mean nobody, tells Masher McNee he looks like mashed potato. Erin hasn’t been in our class very long. Maybe she didn’t know what Masher was like.

  He took a step closer to Erin. ‘We are zombies, girly, and YOU had better watch out or I will zombify you!’

  ‘I am SO scared,’ said Erin. ‘You couldn’t zombifry an egg!’

  ‘I said zombiFY, not zombiFRY!’ yelled Masher.

  Erin folded her arms. ‘Do you know what the problem with zombies is? They don’t have brains.’

  By this time Masher was turning a dull purple colour. ‘We’re going to get you!’ he hissed.

  And that was when the whistle blew for the end of breaktime and we all went back into school. Masher looked menacingly at Erin and shook his fist. ‘We’ll get you!’ he yelled.

  Pete and I walked back with Erin.

  Erin stopped. ‘It’s what my dad says. When he sees a gang he goes: “Oh, look, it’s Sherman and the Sheep.” Dad says kids in gangs are like sheep. They follow one another round and copy each other, so basically they’re just sheep.’ She smiled, pointed at her head and put on a dopey voice. ‘You know – teenyweeny brains. Baaaaaa!’

  And with that she disappeared into class.

  Erin’s got a really nice smile, and dimples and smudges on her face. At least I think they’re smudges. They might be big freckles.

  Pete dug his elbow into me. He was grinning and making his eyebrows waggle up and down. ‘Casper’s in love!’ he declared.

  ‘No, I’m not! I think she’s brave, that’s all.’

  ‘Casper’s in – AAARRGGH! OK, I won’t say it again.’

  On the way home we chatted about the same old problem – what to take in for Show and Tell. We only had one day left to find something.

  ‘Why don’t you really take in Uncle Boring?’ I joked.

  ‘Good idea, then he can bore everyone to death,’ Pete nodded. ‘And then the police would arrest him for murder and that would get rid of him. Job done!’

  We had almost reached home when I spotted a small dark shape lying in the gutter. We went over and stared at it.

  ‘It’s a mouse,’ said Pete.

  I bent down and shook my head. ‘Wow,’ I murmured. ‘I think it’s a bat. It’s a dead bat.’

  ‘Oh, lovely. Can we go home now?’

  ‘Pete, it’s a bat! How many times do you see a dead bat – or even an alive bat?’

  ‘Well, actually, my strange twiggy pal, I don’t go around looking for them in the first place. Anyhow, you’d better not touch it. You could get some awful disease.’

  ‘I’m not going to touch it, Mr Know-It-All-with-Feet-Like-Skateboards.’

  I searched my bag for some paper. In the end I had to tear a page out of my maths book. (I hope Mr Horrible Hairy Face doesn’t find out!) I carefully picked up the bat with the paper, wrapped it round and put it in my bag.

  ‘Is that your supper?’ asked Pete.

  ‘Of course not. You are Mr Stupido! Tomorrow I shall take it into school for Show and Tell.’ I gave Pete a triumphant grin.

  ‘But you can’t take a dead bat into school!’

  ‘Why not?’ I demanded.

  ‘Because, because, because, because …’ Pete floundered.

  ‘It’ll be really cool,’ I suggested.

  A smile crept on to Pete’s face. ‘We found this bat together, didn’t we?’ he said brightly.

  ‘Um, well, sort of, I suppose.’

  ‘In that case we can both take it in!’

  ‘Huh! You are a Crafty Trickster and should be Commander-in-Chief of MI5.’

  Pete grinned, gave me a single nod, walked up his path to his front door, shouted ‘See you tomorrow, Bat-face!’ and went indoors.

  That left me with a dead bat in my bag. Hmmm, BIG PROBLEMO. I mean, when things die they start to smell after a while, don’t they. I decided that I had better put it in the freezer because that would keep it nice and fresh. So I did.

  That was the noise my big sis, Abbie, made when she went to the freezer to get an ice lolly and instead she got a frozen dead bat. Ha ha! She went screaming off to tell Mummikins. And then of course I was in trouble.

  So Mum flew off the handle for a bit, but eventually she agreed it could stay in the freezer. ‘But only until morning and only if it’s in a plastic box with a lid tight shut. Then you can take it into school and after that I never want to see it again,’ she added.

  Abbie just looked at me as if I was some kind of sluggy-beetley-wormy kind of creature from the Planet Snott.

  And, to tell you the truth, neither could I. It just seemed like a brilliant idea. I was sure nobody else would be taking a bat into school, dead or alive.

  The next morning I got up early and rescued the bat from the freezer. It was really beautiful. The fur was a chocolatey brown, almost black. The wings were so thin you could look through them and see how the bones are just like the ones in our arms and hands. It’s amazing!

  Pete and I went to school together, with the bat safely sealed up in a plastic bag. The class was very excited and they were all crowding round the door waiting for Mr Butternut to open up for the day.

  Hartley Tartly-Green was shouting the loudest, of course. ‘It’s got over a thousand books in the memory!’

  ‘Pity you can’t read, Hartley,’ teased Lucy, and several children laughed.

  ‘I can, I can read!’ Hartley shouted furiously. Of course he could. Everyone knew he could read. The whole class can read.

  ‘What have you brought, Lucy?’ asked Pete.

  ‘Those jewels glitter like your teeth!’ Cameron pointed out. It was true. Lucy wears a metal brace on her teeth. That’s why she can’t say the ‘s’ sound properly. Sometimes her brace flashes in the light. Lucy doesn’t like her brace, but Pete and I call her The Mighty Munch. When she’s a superhero she can eat ANYTHING with her steel teeth, which makes her mighty dangerous!

  Just then Mr Butternut turned up and let us all into class.

  ‘I see you’ve all brought something in to show,’ he said. ‘Let’s start with Mia.’

  And so we had our Show and Tell day. When it got to my turn I explained that Pete and I had found our special thing together. We stood at the front of the class and I slowly uncovered the plastic bag so everyone could see. Pete gently held one corner and I held the other. We lifted it up in view of the whole class.

  The screams! The shouts! Noella and Cameron both fell off their chairs. Hartley hid his eyes.

  But Mr Butternut beamed the biggest smile you have EVER seen.

  ‘My goodness, you certainly have got something wonderful there,’ he told us. ‘Well done, boys. That is amazing. Look, you can see the bones in the wings, just like our fingers.’

  That teacher of ours is Mr Cool!

  Pete and I spent the rest of the day painting pictures of the bat and writing about it and measuring it and finding out all sorts of things about bats. In fact, I am now a bat expert. I bet if you ask me a question about bats, I can tell you the answer. Go on, ask.

  See – I told you. I know everything (about bats). One day I might even be as clever as Sarah Sitterbout (but not as big).

  Anyhow, we had a brilliant day because at lunchtime we went out to play and everybody was talking about the bat. I went back to class and brought it out to show people. And that was just about the time there was a whole pile of screaming going on – and it wasn’t about the bat on this occasion. It was Masher McNee and his Monster Mob. They were being zombies again and they were heading our way.

  By this time Masher had terrorized about twenty children into being zombies with him, so there was a pretty big gang of them. In fact they looked SCARY SCARY SCARY! (That’s three times more than just plain SCARY.)

  Pete and Erin and I stood there while Masher and his mob surrounded us.

Look who it isn’t!’ sneered Masher. ‘There’s no escape this time!’

  Uh-oh! It was definitely time to go

  Do you like mint sauce when you eat lamb for dinner? I do. Yum yum. Unfortunately, Masher wasn’t a sheep. I didn’t have any mint sauce, either. The zombies were closing in on us and things were getting very hairy-scary, eyes-all-starey, when I suddenly remembered the plastic bag. I held it up, so everyone could see what was in it.

  So that got rid of them. Erin was very impressed.

  ‘You saved us! My hero!’ she said, and her smile went from one ear to the other.

  Meanwhile, I went red from one ear to the other.

  I scowled at my best friend. ‘You are SO dead,’ I warned him.

  ‘And you are SO sweet,’ tweeted Pete. ‘No! NO! I don’t want a dead bat down the back of my neck! Erin, stop him! Save me! Help! Mummy!’

  That’ll teach him. Huh!

  That was the noise we ALL made when our head teacher, Miss Scratchitt, introduced the team of inspectors to us at assembly. AAARGH! INSPECTORS! Exactly. It was very aaargh! if you ask me. They looked pretty scary too.

  ‘That one in the middle looks like Mr Potato Head,’ muttered Pete, and he was right.

  The teachers had been warning us about the inspectors for days and days.

  ‘But what are they going to inspect, Mr Butternut?’ asked Sarah Sitterbout when we were back in class.

  ‘Everything,’ sighed Mr Butternut.

  Liam waved his hand in the air. ‘Even our pants?’ he asked.

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