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Tekeyla Friday

Tekeyla Friday

Canada

Tekeyla Friday had two short stories published in R.E.A.L. Canadian Kids Magazine. She is a ghost writer on upwork.com, and she recently signed a contract with Tiny Readers Publishing House. She received a Sask Arts Grant to continue her illustration work with claymation art. She is a Prairie Quills Writers' Group Member. She loves writing a large variety of literature.

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About the author

Tekeyla Friday has written for as long as she was first able to hold a pen. Her imagination delights children and young adults. She is a member of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, and a Prairie Quills Writers' Group member.
 
She has a diploma in writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children's Literature.
 
Her first story, "Kadin and the Dragon," was published in 2010 in R.E.A.L. Canadian Kids Magazine. Her first book, "Bothers: Powers Of Archangel Michael," was published in February 2014. 

She ghost writes on upwork.com. She has recently signed a publishing contract with Tiny Readers. 

 
She was guest author for the Swift Current Sagehill Teen Writing Experience.
 
Tekeyla enjoys creating fantasy, mystery, and sci-fi stories. She loves claymation and hopes to illustrate a children's picture book using claymation pictures. She writes puppet scripts and works as the Children's Programmer for Chinook Regional Library.

Currently, she is working on a Young Adult novel. 
 
She aids self-publishing authors in cover design, ebook formatting, and website advice.

http://www.tekeylafriday.com
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Success! Thomas and Amani Series: Book 1 - Flatulent Poltergeist sold 30 pre-orders by Oct. 18, 2019, was pitched to 29 publishers, and will be published by Isabella Media Inc.
Isabella Media Inc logo

$5 Poster of the book cover

23 readers

Printed poster 11 X 14 copy of the book cover that is signed by the author.

1 copy

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$10 Polymer clay errings

0 readers

They look like Thomas’ super fart power guys.

1 copy + ebook included

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$10 Meet and Greet at Swift Current

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Meet and Greet the author at Swift Current. There will be a selected date when the author will announce a meet and greet social.

1 copy + ebook included

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$20 Copy of the Book

3 readers

Copy of the novel, Flatulent Poltergeist when it's published.

1 copy

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$25 Autographed copy of the book

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Autographed copy of the novel, Flatulent Poltergeist when it's published.

1 copy

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$25 Adventuring earrings

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Earrings that are hand made by Tekeyla and shown in the video.

1 copy + ebook included

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$35 Coffee mug

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Coffee mug with images from the book and cover on it!

1 copy + ebook included

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$50 Puppet Show written for your youngster

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Tekeyla writes and preforms puppet shows. She will craft a special show for your youngster and perform it over skype for your little one to watch.

Ebook included

$100 Skype Book Party

0 readers

One copy of the novel, the Flatulent Poltergeist, and a schedule skype book party. The author will skype in. A discussion of the book, tips and techniques.

1 copy + ebook included

$15 shipping

Thomas and Amani Series: Book 1 - Flatulent Poltergeist

What's that smell? A flatulent poltergeist haunts Thomas Jeramiah Brown. It causes all types of trouble for him. Thomas learns that his gas is a super power similar to spiderman's.

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Children Fiction Middle Grade
35,000 words
100% complete
7 publishers interested

Synopsis

When Thomas Jeremiah Brown eats and drinks Albert Archimedes’ experimental growth formula, the candida in his system is genetically modified. Similar to Peter Parker’s radioactive spider, the candida gives Thomas has a super power. But what superpower does GMO candida give him? Super fart powers.In the first book, The Flatulent Poltergeist, Thomas is haunted by his future and past selves who zipped to the present in order to save him from Doctors Santiago. They want to separate the formula from Thomas’ blood for their own, evil plans.

Thomas, with the unexpected help of a school bully, Eugene Williams, his best friend Amani and Albert with his friends Einstein and Rapunzel with a Mohawk take a dimensional portal to fairytale land,  where Albert had harvested he ingredients for his formula, and to hide from the Santiagos. The Santiagos follow them in an attempt to catch Thomas and extract the formula so the Santiagos can make their own anti-fart formula and prevent all humans and animals from ever passing gas again. Its Thomas’ super farts that save the day.

Outline

Warning Readers- Written in first person by Thomas Brown’s future-self who is sixteen. He warns readers that his story must?... I doubt it HAS to be told to anyone so should probably be changed to should be told to guys everywhere but that this book is not a book for adults...especially adult females. It covers farting ghosts, boogers and other yuckiness. Future Thomas is part of the F.A.R.T movement (Folks Against Restricting Tooting.) Flatulence is your friend. He explains that he must save the world with his super fart powers and answers the question about how he got his powers. 


Chapter 1 - This chapter opens with a fart battle between Eugene Williams and Thomas. Thomas doesn’t like to hang out with Eugene but his mom makes him. She thinks this will stop Eugene from bullying Thomas. They do their best farting to see who smells the worst. Thomas wins. Eugene’s mother walks in with a snack for the boys when she gets a whiff. She blames Eugene. Eugene tells her that it was Thomas. Mrs. Williams tells Thomas that she will have a word with his mother about his gassy issues.  After Mrs. Williams leaves, Thomas tries the snack she brought and gags on its healthiness. Eugene laughs at him and takes out the emergency snack supply. While eating their treats, Eugene tells Thomas that he isn’t cool because he hangs out with Amani. Eugene wants Thomas to choose between being friends with Amani or a lifetime of wedgies.

Chapter 2 – Thomas goes home. He is upset with Eugene’s proposition. He doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Amani. He goes upstairs and starts his new video game, Pickled Zombies His mom calls him downstairs. She tells him that Mrs. Williams phoned to tell her about Thomas’ gassy issues. Mrs. Williams gave Thomas’ mom two numbers for doctors that may be able to help Thomas with his issues. His mom informs him that he has an appointment with Dr. Santiago, a naturopath.  He isn’t thrilled about this. He tells his mom that his gas is a superpower. She argues that it's only a superpower if you’re a skunk. Amani comes over and they play the new video game together. While playing, a bad smell wafts through Thomas’ room. The curtains stand parallel with the floor. Amani uses Thomas’ skate board as a weapon and strikes at the curtains. They drop. There is banter between Thomas and Amani about ghost haunting him. Thomas’ sister, Jessica comes into his room. She has answered the phone. On the other end is Eugene demanding to know what Thomas’ answer is. He threatens Thomas. He also tells Thomas that his sister, Marla is on her way to see Jessica.Thomas goes to bed. A paper airplane floats out of nowhere and lands on him. When he unfolds the paper airplane the words, “Don’t Go To The Doctor”, are scrawled across the sheet. He goes to sleep.

Chapter 3 – When Thomas wakes the next morning, he finds himself covered in paper airplanes and sees a message written on his bedroom wall. He yells. His sister, Jessica, is first to the scene. She yells at the top of her voice that Thomas has written on his wall. He has to explain to his parents what has happened. He goes down for breakfast. At the breakfast table, a foul odor is smelt. Jessica accuses Thomas of farting. His dad wants him to apologize. Thomas refuses to take the blame and apologize. He leaves the table.Eugene starts to bully Thomas. First he gives Thomas a wedgie while he’s waiting for Amani and then again when he tries to get on the bus. Thomas is furious with Eugene’s behavior. Amani wants to help, but Thomas cannot bring himself to tell Amani why Eugene is bullying him.At school, Eugene gives Thomas one more wedgie at his locker. Thomas is so angry he tries to hit Eugene but ends up injuring himself on his locker door. The other students laugh, making Thomas feel silly. Amani gets the principal who breaks up the incident.While Thomas gets his books from his locker, he notices another warning.During class, a foul odor is released. The teacher and all the kids run towards the windows in the classroom for fresh air. They blame Thomas. He sneaks out of class and heads to the bathroom. While in the bathroom, another message appears on the stall door. A foul odor fills the stall and Thomas can see a couple of denim butts. Thomas runs, screaming out of the bathroom to the office. He explains to the secretary about the butts. The secretary laughs at him. A foul smell fills the office and causes Thomas to faint.He wakes in the nurse’s office. Amani is there. He tells her that he thinks he is being haunted by a farting ghost. Amani makes fun of him and calls the ghost a flatulent poltergeist. The nurse helps get Thomas on his feet. His mom comes to pick him up.

Chapter 4 – Thomas’ mom takes him to the doctor. The doctor recommends bed rest. Eugene turns up to play a board game with him. A foul smell fills his room. Eugene thinks that Thomas passed gas. The stink is so bad that Thomas scrambles to this window and opens it to air the smell out. Mom arrives shortly after and announces that Thomas has an appointment with Dr. Santiago, the naturopath.At supper time Thomas receives another message from the Flatulent Poltergeist. It’s branded on his toast.
Thomas meets  Mr.s Dr. Santiago. She finds out that Thomas has mutated candida. She recommends supplements and a candida cleanse. Thomas isn’t happy about the cleanse. He isn’t allowed cola or junk food.

Chapter 5 – Mom gives Thomas his first green drink. He thinks that the drink looks like zombie snot.Thomas goes to sleep. When he wakes up, there is a mess of chocolate bar wrappers. He hears two voices of the flatulent poltergeists talking about repercussions. Mom comes into Thomas’ room and sees the chocolate bar wrappers. He is accused of cheating on his diet. He denies it but Mom points out that the evidence is all over his face.When he goes to shower, he sees his face in the mirror. It’s covered in chocolate. When he goes down for breakfast, he hears the flatulent poltergeists talking about Albert Archimedes.Thomas tells Amani what he heard and that he’s on an all veggie and meat diet. Amani tells Thomas that she will do some research.

Chapter 6 – Thomas receives another warning, this time it reads: Beware of Dr. Santiago. Thomas wonders why the ghosts are warning him about the doctor.When Thomas comes does for breakfast, Mom accuses him of making a big mess in the pantry. She makes Thomas go clean it up. Thomas grabs a broom while Mom leaves to go sever Jessica and Dad breakfast. Thomas runs into the ghostly duel in the kitchen. They are eating eggs out of the frying pan. He sneaks up on the one holding the flipper and smacks him with the broom The so-called-ghost hits the floor and materializes. A small voice tells Thomas not to hit him. He’s only little. The small ghost materializes. It’s six-year-old Thomas from the past. Lying on the floor is Thomas’ future-self. They are there to save Thomas from Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Santiago. Unable to comprehend what’s happened, Thomas faints.

Chapter 7 – Thomas wakes up in his room. His parents moved him there. Mom informs him that she called Dr. Mrs. Santiago. The doctor will be over shortly for another blood sample.Amani shows up. She has news for him. She shows Thomas an old newspaper clipping about Albert Archimedes and his hunger formula. Thomas tells Amani that the article is also about him. He was the little boy who ate the formula by mistake and this is why he has mutated candida.He tells her about his future and past-self and about Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Santiago. They hear the doorbell ring. Feet thud up the stairs and the door to Thomas’ room is thrown open. Thomas screams.

Chapter 8 – Eugene laughs and tells Thomas that he screams like a girl. Eugene gives Thomas the choice between Amani and wedgies. Thomas chooses Amani. Eugene attempts to give Thomas a wedgie but Amani gets in between them. She tells them that they have bigger issues to deal with, such as Thomas’ life being in danger. Eugene agrees to help.The doorbell rings and it’s the Santiagos. Thomas’ future-self and past-self shows up. They help Thomas, Amani and Eugene escape out the window. They provide a decoy for the Santiagos.Thomas, Amani and Eugene escape to Eugene’s house. Thomas figures out that Eugene is spoiled. He has everything Thomas would ever want except for the attention of his parents. Amani uses the laptop to look up Albert’s address. They find out that Albert lives near Regina, SK.Meanwhile the Santiagos are going door to door, looking for Thomas.Amani and Eugene disguises Thomas as a girl. The plan is to take a cab to the library. , Eugene’s dad’s friend, Brian, will pick them up and take them from the library to Regina.The Santiagos intercept them..They suspect that Thomas is with Eugene and Amani but they can’t prove it. They follow the children to the library.Chapter 9 – Once the children get in the vehicle with Brian, they enjoy a smooth ride to Regina. They are dropped off at the mall. They encounter the Santiagos waiting for them. Eugene becomes the decoy while Amani and Thomas escape.Amani and Thomas run into Albert’s future-self. He gives them the address to Albert’s place and the secret password to get in. They call a cab.While Thomas and Amani are making their way to the cab, the Santiagos catch up to them. Eugene tackles the doctors so Thomas and Amani can escape.

Chapter 10 – They arrive at Albert’s estate. Albert is suspicious of them at first until Thomas gives him the secret password. Albert lets them in. He leads them to his secret lab. Thomas and Amani explain their dire situation.While waiting for Albert to help them, Albert’s friends Einstein and Rapunzel with a Mohawk show up. Thomas screams at the sight of them.

Chapter 11 – Rapunzel with a Mohawk and Einstein the G.M.O. rodent are laughing at Thomas. Einstein explains that Albert had the same reaction when they met. Most people aren’t used to meeting a giant rodent.  Albert shows Thomas and Amani the black hole – tear in time, where Rapunzel is from. They see Rapunzel’s adopted mother, the Wicked Witch, turn a crow into a frog.Rapunzel wants to go visit her mom for tea but Albert and Einstein disagree. When Albert turns his viewing screen back to his front door, he discovers that the Santiagos are there.He decides to take Rapunzel up on the offer to visit her mom. They take an exit to the back yard where a pool disguises the wormhole to Rapunzel’s dimension.They jump in.

Chapter 12 – They roll out of the base of a tree to the smell of gingerbread. Rapunzel’s mom is busy in her garden. When the Wicked Witch sees Rapunzel, she gives her daughter a hug. She warns everyone not to steal from her garden and then invites them into the gingerbread house for tea.Inside the kitchen, Rapunzel discovers that her mother has been busy turning village folks into toads. She starts to kiss the boy ones to turn them back into humans. She insists that Albert and Einstein help but they don’t want to kiss any girl frogs today.Thomas volunteers. Together, they change all the toads back into humans.While they are sitting down to tea, Albert explains why they are there. Rapunzel’s mom explains that she is related to the Santiagos. They know how to get there. Rapunzel offers to hide Thomas at her tower.The Santiagos knock on the door.The children escape out the back.

Chapter 13 – Dr. Mr. Santiago confronts them. He takes Albert’s botched formula and drinks it. It turns him into a monster. The children battle him. Rapunzel runs to her mom’s garden and gets a type of stinkweed that she makes Thomas eat. The weed gives Thomas knockout gas. Everyone faints from the smell.Rapunzel shoves gumdrops into Thomas’ mouth in order to wake him up from the knockout gas. They wake up the others and escape to Rapunzel’s tower.

Chapter 14 – Rapunzel gives them a tour of her tower that consists of three floors plus a basement. On the top floor – the bedroom – a mysterious guest is waiting for them.Albert’s future-self steps from the shadows. The present Albert screams and faints. Rapunzel and Amani tend to him. Future Albert explains that the Santiagos who followed them from the mall are actually from the future. They have used the formula from Thomas’ blood to take over the world and stop people from farting. Albert created a time machine to send Thomas’ future-self back in time to save the future.   They made several attempts but the Santiagos keep getting the formula.Thomas suggests that they infuse the formula with his cells than the Santiagos won’t be able to separate it. Albert thinks that this is a great idea. He asks Rapunzel to communicate with her mom and bring some special ingredients from her garden. Then they wait.

Chapter 15 – Present Albert wakes up and meets his future self. Together they devise how to make the formula that will merge the hunger formula with Thomas’ cells.
Thomas and Amani help Rapunzel retrieve the chemistry set from the basement. They give it to Albert and then they go upstairs and make beds for everyone to sleep in. They suspect that Dr. Mrs. Santiago will follow the wicked witch so they come up with a meeting place, away from the tower.

Chapter 16 – Albert and Rapunzel go to a meeting place so they can get the ingredients from the wicked witch. They are followed back by Dr. Mrs. Santiago. While Thomas and Amani hold her off, Albert and Einstein finish the formula.Dr. Mrs. Santiago takes some of the botched formula and turns into a monster. She breaks into the tower and chases Thomas and Amani up the stairs to the kitchen. Thomas gets the formula and drinks it.It gives him a severe gut ache. He blows some gas that knocks out Dr. Mrs. Santiago. Rapunzel shows up with sheriff Wolf who arrests her.Albert explains that Thomas will have knockout gas from now on. He will work on a formula that will ease the effects.They all go back to the wicked witch’s house for snacks. Albert shows them the way home. Thomas is delighted with his situation. The next time Eugene gives him a wedgie, he will have a smelly surprise waiting for the boy.Comic is inserted that shows the readers that the future Albert and Thomas have made it back. They have saved the world with their F.A.R.T. Movement. The Future Santiagos want revenge.STEM – this last part of the book is for parents and teachers to give them ideas about experiments, technology, Engineering, and Math ideas to do with the human body.

Audience

I'm looking for a traditional publisher not an Author's choice publisher.

The book is written in Canadian English. For example, Canadians spell humor and color with an ou. Humour. Colour. I am willing to edit the langue to Americanize it should an American publishing company show interest.

The characters of Thomas and Amani were developed over ten years ago during my career as Children’s Program Coordinator. I wrote puppet scripts about them but I always knew that I wanted to write books about them too.

The Thomas and Amani Series is geared towards ages 10 to 12. My beta readers suggested that older males may like the book too.  My beta readers included ten-year-old children, teens and adults who are willing to read the book and offer suggestion. They found the book funny and the characters engaging.

Other books that are published along the lines of fart humour are:

Fart Squad  by Seamus Pilger published by Harper Collins April 21, 2015 Four star reviews

Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesho published by Aladdin Press Dec. 7 2010 Five star reviews

Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey published by Blue Sky Press and Scholastics Five star reviews 

Sweet Farts by Raymond Bean published by Two Lions August 3, 2010 Five star reviews

Sir Fartsalot by Kevin Bolger published by Razorbill November 25, 2009 Five star reviews

The Day My Butt Went Psycho – Andy Griffiths published by Scholastics April 1 2003 Five star reviews

Promotion

The unique thing about my writing is my name Tekeyla (pronounced tequila) Friday. If you google me, you will see that I show up on all types of sites. I was interviewed for Novel and Short Stories Writers’ Market 2017 as well. A unique writing style and voice also helps.

Marketing is tricky. As I’ve learned, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars and not get one client or customer to buy your product or one review on your book. This is part of the reason why I became a social media addict but had to back off in order to finish my projects. I don’t shy away from interviews, cameras or the radio. I am willing to schedule tours for libraries, schools and tradeshows in order to sell copies of my books. I can post facebook messages and tweet with ease. The biggest thing about marketing that I know, is the best way to sell anything is to insert yourself into a crowd of likeminded individuals. Places like children’s conventions, library or school conventions are great places to network and gain sales.

My work life, my writing life, and soon to be my claymation animation life leaves me with little time.  On my blog, readers will find interesting videos and posts about writing.

I have over six-hundred people following me on Facebook and two-hundred on twitter.

In the past I scheduled my own tour for my first short story release in 2011. 

I'm looking for a traditional publisher not an Author's choice publisher. 

Competition

Fart Squad  by Seamus Pilger published by Harper Collins April 21, 2015 Four star reviews

Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesho published by Aladdin Press Dec. 7 2010 Five star reviews


Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey published by Blue Sky Press and Scholastics Five star reviews 


Sweet Farts by Raymond Bean published by Two Lions August 3, 2010 Five star reviews


Sir Fartsalot by Kevin Bolger published by Razorbill November 25, 2009 Five star reviews


The Day My Butt Went Psycho – Andy Griffiths published by Scholastics April 1 2003 Five star reviews

7 publishers interested
Isabella Media Inc logo Isabella Media Inc

Isabella Media Inc is a Rhode Island-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover unknown stories. We combine unknown or little known authors’ undiscovered potential with Isabella Media Inc’s unique approach to publishing to provide the highest quality books to readers about stories they may not find anywhere else. It’s our desire to find unique stories that drives us.

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Canada, United States

Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. logo Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.

For over 30 years Atlantic Publishing has been providing millions of readers information to jumpstart their careers, start businesses, manage employees, invest, plan for retirement, learn technologies, build relationships, and live rewarding, fulfilling lives. Our award-winning authors and publication staff strive to make our products the best and most up-to-date available. We go further than most publishers to get our customers the best products.

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Cranthorpe Millner logo Cranthorpe Millner

Too many beautifully written books are rejected on a regular basis because the submitting author doesn’t have a strong enough author platform.

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Canada, United Kingdom, United States

1106 Design, LLC logo 1106 Design, LLC

Dear Author,

Congratulations on writing your book!

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Work with us, and you'll retain complete control of the creative process, your design files, and your revenue stream, and your book will be available for sale in a matter of months.

Here's a price summary of our most popular services for books 50,000 words and under:

Cover Design starting at $995
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You can find the prices for all our services here:

https://1106design.com/services/

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If you would like a custom quote, please email your completed manuscript to md@1106design.com and let us know which services you need. Don't worry; we won’t share your manuscript with anyone else.

Questions? We'll be happy to talk to you!

At 1106 Design, we love helping authors create great books! We hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
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Owner

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Atmosphere Press is an independent full-service publisher for books in genres ranging from non-fiction to fiction to poetry to children's picturebooks, with a special emphasis on being an author-friendly approach to getting a book into the world. We're professional, honest, and kind.

Here’s what we stand for:

Honesty: because our mission is to be author-friendly, that means always giving honest advice about the ins and outs of the authorial life. We are dedicated to sticking by one of our founding precepts: “if I were the author, what would I want to know?”

Transparency: publishing is rife with dodgy behavior, from predatory vanity presses who promise the moon to traditional presses who make book changes without the author’s permission. We’re dedicated to letting you see the wizard behind the curtain, so you can rest easy that everything’s on the up and up.

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Colborne Communications logo Colborne Communications

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Partnering with PRESStinely means you as the author retain all creative control, all future revenues from your book. Our approach is simple -1 - Partner with authors and entrepreneurs to guide them through the entire publishing process. 2 - Customize every package offered to fit each client's needs. Pricing for our partner services vary from $500 USD - $7,500 USD. 3- Provide the vision, skills, and tools necessary to ensure success. When our clients succeeds, we succeed. 4 - Identify gaps and opportunities to build a brand efficiently. 5 - Become our client's “right hand” and bring their creative vision to life.

You should spend as much time publishing and marketing your book as you did writing it, together we will leave a mark on the world.

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Warning!

My story must be shared with young guys everywhere. I am Thomas Jeramiah Brown. I’m five years older than my present-self, which makes me sixteen. Yes, I’m five years in the future writing this. I’m part of the F.A.R.T. (Folks Against Restricting Tooting) Movement. We are trying to save digestive systems everywhere. Flatulent is our friend. Without it our digestive system is in grave peril. If you are reading this, than I warn you, this is a guys’ book. A book for young guys between the ages of eight and twelve and possibly a book for funny, young gals’ who don’t mind that bad habits of guys. If you an adult…especially a female adult, PUT THIS BOOK DOWN, NOW!   Do not read this book. Instead, go read a book on something cuddly, like puppies and kitties, or saving the environment by going green, or how to live healthier with green drinks, the next top model or STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) projects. Read something professionally mature or more adult.

This book is designed to lure young guys into reading and to implement the F.A.R.T Movement. It’s full of slap-stick yuckiness like butt burping, wind whistling, tooting, fluffing and cheek squeaking. Because I used to pick my nose as a young boy, this book is also about boogers! The Flatulent Poltergeist haunts this story, too. There, you see, not a book for adults. Unless, of course, you’re one of those adults who aren’t easily grossed out by boy humour, bad habits and noisy, farting ghosts. If you want to enjoy some gut busting laughs, than by all means, read this book. Know, that you’ve been warned!

In this moment, I am trying to save the world with my super fart powers. How is that possible, you ask? I must save myself first. Oh, haha, you mean, how did I get fart powers? It all started with an accident, similar to Peter Parkers (AKA Spiderman) but my accident involved a hotdog and radioactive bottle of cola.  I’ll flashback to my six-year-old self with this comic…

Now you know the true story of how it all started. I didn’t grow into my super powers until I was eleven. Let’s go to the opening scene of my present self.

Present


Thomas Jeramiah Brown was doing what most eleven-year-old boys do. He was picking his nose and having a fart battle with the boy next door... 


Chapter One

The Fart Battle

­­Eugene Williams’ face turned a violet shade making his blonde hair seem white. His muscles strained in his round, pudgy face, and thick neck. Thomas Brown sat on the couch with his picking finger in his nose. Eugene grunted, scrunched up face like he’d been constipated for about a week.

Thomas dislodged his picking finger with a squelching pop. He pulled a gum wrapper from his pocket and rolled his yellow and green prize inside. He tucked it back in his pocket to add to the rest of his booger collection.

Boogers and farts had fascinated Thomas since he was six. Then when he reached middle school and learned that he could use his boogers for homework assignments and science experiments, he became infatuated. There was nothing better than a nice rubbery booger. That was as cool a good, long fart.

 Toots like the short notes of a trumpet erupted from Eugene’s butt, followed by a long Phsssst! The living room air wafted with the aroma of sour milk.

Thomas burst out laughing. He stopped, cutting the air off to his lungs, when he saw Eugene’s face turn red and not from holding his breath. When Eugene got mad, he gave a person one, mean wedgie. Thomas didn’t want one of those today. He hung out with Eugene because his mom made him. Staying on Eugene’s nice side was in Thomas’ best interest.

“Okay, smart stuff,” Eugene said and then sneered. “It’s your turn.”

Thomas hopped up from the couch. He inhaled deeply, feeling the cola gurgle in his stomach. He’d drunk at least three cans of pop and eaten a bowlful of beans and eggs before he accepted Eugene’s fart battle invitation. The combination of those three foods always gave Thomas nuclear farts!

Thomas pumped his stomach muscles up and down, working up his gas. Eugene watched, arms crossed and a skeptical look on his square face. Thomas grinned. He let his gas rip. First it squealed like the air out of a balloon and then one, loud tuba sound burst from his behind. Eugene’s mouth dropped open. All colour drained from his face. He gagged as his blue eyes watered. He ran across the living room, heaved up on the nearest window, letting in fresh air. Thomas grinned. He was careful to take small mouthfuls of air.

“Okay Thomas…you win!” Eugene said between gag noises and gulps of air. “Man, that’s totally gross!”

Thomas laughed. When he regained his composure, he replied, “Like, I know!”

His butt burped another round of stinky notes, keeping Eugene hostage at the window.

“Stop being a clown, Thomas Brown,” Eugene glared at him. “The fart battle is over. You won.”

Thomas combed a hand through his shaggy, brown hair. He wanted to laugh more but stifled it just in case it made Eugene mad.

“Sorry, like I had a few left over farts.” Thomas shrugged.

Eugene crossed his arms, “Well just stop now. You stink enough!”

Flip-flop of sandals echoed down the hall. A flowered skirt swished around the corner as Mrs. Williams entered, carrying a tray of snacks and drinks.

“Hey boys, I thought you could use a snack.” She inhaled through her nose. Shock shuddered through her as her face blanched. She looked about to drop the tray and cover her nose. She held tight to the snacks as she brought them to a safe landing on the coffee table.

“Bumble Bee Stings, Eugene, was this you?” she said, fanning her nose.

“No Mom, it was Thomas! He’s the one that stinks!” Eugene said, fear in his blue eyes.

“Eugene!” Mrs. Williams’ hands flew to her hips. “That’s not polite. You shouldn’t tell your friend, he stinks…even if he does—um—smell.”

All the commotion caused Thomas’ nervous stomach to release an SBD—silent but deadly fart. Mrs. Williams turned and smiled at Thomas. Her red lips pinched as the SBD made its way to her nostrils. Her blue eyes watered. Thomas was sure she wanted to gag. She covered her mouth and nose with her hand.

  “Ah, Thomas, I should have a word with your mother. Has she—um—taken you to see a doctor dear, about your—gas issue?”

Confusion furrowed Thomas’ brow. Since when was gas an issue? Then he remembered the time when he was six, he saw several doctors including specialists but that was more to do with the fact that when he was nervous he farted uncontrollably.

“Uh—not since I was like smaller?” Thomas replied. “The doctors I saw totally didn’t find anything wrong with me.”

Thomas’ neck heated up. He hated to admit to people that not only he had seen lots of butt doctors who diagnosed him with everything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to worms. He’d also saw a psychologist who decided that Thomas’ issue stemmed from a mild case of juvenile anxiety. Like Thomas, the psychologist thought that some sort of trauma had happened to him when he was younger that caused the issue. His parents remembered one thing—the day they took him to Regina. They visited the Saskatchewan Science Centre. Desperate to go to the bathroom, and neither parent paying much attention to him, Thomas took himself there. He got lost and cried until a security guard found him. The guard took Thomas back to his parents.

Thomas recalled crying because his stomach felt funny and not because he was lost. He’d eaten a radioactive hotdog that was part of a science experiment and washed it down with an ancient bottle of cola. The man and boy genius who were conducting the experiments with the food had left the hotdog and bottle of cola unattended. It was at a height that Thomas could reach. After he’d chowed down on the food, the man came back. He was so angry that he chased Thomas through the Science Centre. Thomas had dived behind a garbage can, losing the man. That’s when the first pains exploded in his digestive tract. It felt like a billion needles were prodding and poking his insides with hot fire. He felt ill and started to cry. He never told his parents what he’d done. Since then educational buildings caused him major gas. It had taken ten months of therapy before he could control his fart bursts in school. He secretly thought of his flatulence as a super power sort of like Spiderman.  

Thomas shivered. The smell of spring — earthy and fresh — wafted in the window. Mrs. Williams stared at Thomas with a polite expression on her face.

“Did you hear me, Thomas dear?” she asked.

Thomas shook his head. “Sorry, I drifted off.”

Mrs. Williams sighed.

“Just like Eugene when I’m talking. I know a great doctor and naturopath path. I’ll give your mother their numbers. They will get to the bottom of your issue. Why they were excellent with Eugene’s…”

“Mom! Don’t embarrass me,” Eugene shouted. “Sheesh, you don’t have to tell every friend I invite over!”

Mrs. Williams crossed the room. She patted Eugene on the shoulder.

“I’m sorry dear,” she said. “I thought that Thomas would like to know about your tummy troubles. It might make him feel better about his—um—issue.”

Eugene glared at his mother. She glanced away and touched her blonde hair, tugging at a strand.

“I’ll talk to your mother, Thomas,” she said. “You boys should eat those snacks. They’re organic.”

Eugene made a gag motion with his finger in his mouth as his mother left. Thomas glanced down at the snack tray and found flax cracker sandwiches and some fruity smelling drink.

Thomas snagged a cracker sandwich and chopped into it. His mouth dried out and the cracker stuck to his palate like wet cardboard. He tried to swallow but his tongue stuck to the sandwich. Eugene laughed at Thomas’ surprised expression.

When he pried his mouth open, he sputtered, “E-Eugene, you like didn’t warn me that your mom’s snacks were totally lethal.”

Eugene laughed so hard that he fell on the floor and rolled around, holding his stomach. Thomas’ face burnt. He missed something somewhere.

“I guess, you’ll just have to get better at reading sign language, Thomas,” Eugene said, once he stopped laughing. “I did warn you. I made a gag motion.”

Thomas eyed up the fruit drink like a poisonous snake. It smelled delicious but after the cracker sandwich he was wary. Eugene crossed over to the antique desk that sat against one of the turquoise walls in the living room. He popped open a drawer and the crinkling of a chip bag emerged in the room like music to Thomas’ ears.

“My dad and I keep a supply,” Eugene said. “You never know what dangerous, organic food my mom tries to stuff into us. Last week we had tofu that was supposed to taste like salmon. Yuck! Give me some fish any day and keep the tofu.”

Eugene deposited a large bag of cheesy chips and a few candy bars on the table. He grabbed a glass and poured some of the fruit drink.

“Do worry, the drink is usually safe,” Eugene said. “She quit trying to feed me the green one several months ago when she discovered it made my farts smell worse.”

Thomas grinned. “So what was in the green one?” he asked.

“Horrible things,” Eugene said. “Like raw cabbage, broccoli, onions, kale, peas, and asparagus. I swear she tried to feed me Brussel sprouts in one of those green drinks too. Blah!”

Thomas shivered. He couldn’t image drinking his vegetables. It was bad enough he had to eat them! Eugene handed him a glass. He sniffed it. A wonderful aroma of orange filled his nose. Thomas sipped some of the thick mixture. His taste buds exploded with flavours of orange, mango and banana. He snatched up a chocolate bar while Eugene ripped open the chips.

“So doesn’t your mom notice when you don’t eat her snacks?” Thomas asked between bites of chocolate.

Eugene shook his head, “Naw, I burry them in the plants. It’s great fertilizer.”

They both laughed. They munched chips and chocolate in silence. Eugene stretched out on the couch, flopping his socked feet on the coffee table.

“So Thomas,” Eugene said. “Have you noticed that you and I don’t hang out much at school?”

Thomas raised an eyebrow. Where was this going? He was relieved not to have to hang out with Eugene all the time. He could annoy Thomas much of the time. Thomas preferred his best friend, Amani Chi Banani, the smartest and coolest girl at Fairview school.

“We could hang out more but you’re not as cool as you use to be, Thomas,” Eugene continued. “I prefer to hang out with cool guys and you’re not cool anymore.”

Both of Thomas’ eyebrows rose. Not cool? Since when?

“Of course you’re more than welcome to hang with us if you change that one part of yourself that’s not cool—”

Thomas’ eye grew wide as an evil smirk spread across Eugene’s lips.

“The most uncool thing about you, Thomas, is the fact that you hang out with a girl. And you’re probably covered in girl cooties.”

Thomas sputtered as words failed him. What were they in kindergarten—girl cooties?

“If you drop Amani then you can hang with me,” Eugene concluded.

“B-but Amani and I have been friends since preschool!” Thomas said, exasperated. “She’s smart and cool—”

Eugene yawned. “That’s my point, Thomas. She’s too smart. She even scares the cool gals at school. You’re better off without her.”

More like drop Eugene.

“I would never just drop, Amani. That’s not what friends do,” Thomas replied.

“It’s your choice, Thomas,” Eugene sneered. “You can either drop Amani or you can face an atomic wedgie three times a day for the rest of your life!”

Thomas’ butt ached just thinking about Eugene’s atomic wedgie—three times a day! His mouth dried out like the flax cracker sandwich. He tried to swallow but his tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth. Eugene sat back, folding his hands behind his head with pure triumph plastered on his thin lips.

“Think about Thomas. Wedgie or Amani!”

Chapter Two

Battle Of The Zombies

A hollow feeling slunk into Thomas’ gut and wouldn’t leave him alone. He forced his legs to climb the stairs to his room. Why would Eugene present him with such a terrible choice? Thomas felt sick. Because he was a bully and bullies needed to have power over others. Thomas concluded. Another regret to add to his list. If Mom hadn’t forced him to make friends with Eugene when they were in grade three, he wouldn’t hang out with him now. Their first encounter involved Eugene giving Thomas one of his atomic wedgies. As soon as Mrs. Brown had heard what had happened, she made Thomas to go next door and make friends with Eugene. For some strange reason Mom thought that since Eugene was new to the neighbourhood, he was expressing his loneliness by bullying others. Eugene apologised to Thomas and Mrs. Williams invited them in for tea. It had worked to a degree. Over the years, Thomas tolerated Eugene and in return Eugene gave Thomas less wedgies than the other students in their school.

To choose his best friend over Eugene—that was a tough pill to swallow. In his room, Thomas kicked his sneakers off. He heaved a sigh and flopped onto his bed.

“Thomas, did you remember to shut the door when you came in?” Mom yelled from downstairs. “I hope you took your shoes off at the door and didn’t drag dirt through the house!”

Thomas grumbled under his breath as he hopped off the bed and grabbed his shoes. He theatrically thumped down the stairs and slammed the door. He dropped his shoes on the rack in the front entrance.

“Thanks Thomas,” Mom yelled. “I have faith that next time you’ll remember to close the door more quietly.”

Yeah, whatev, Thomas thumped back upstairs. He wanted to be alone for a few minutes before Amani arrived to play the Pickled Zombies game. It was his newest video game and until his visit with Eugene, he was excited about it. Next Saturday, he and Amani would see the movie at the theatre.

Robotic-like, Thomas plugged the game card into the machine and turned on the T.V. He figured that playing a few rounds before Amani came would take his mind off his problem.

 Eerie music played. Thomas picked up his control panel.

“Thomas!” Mom yelled. “Can you come downstairs, please? I want to talk to you.”

Zombie snot! Thomas groaned. Now what? He dropped his control panel on the bed and thumbed back downstairs.

When Thomas entered the kitchen, Mom stuck her tongue out as she held up a baggy of green slime.

“Hey, you found my latest booger experiment!” Thomas said, half joking.

Mom frowned. “Thomas, you can’t keep saving your snot in baggies and leaving them all over!” she said. “It’s gross! I found this one in your binder!”

She crossed over to the garbage can and stomped on the peddle. The lid flipped up — mouth open for its boogey snack. Mom tossed the bag in. The lid snapped shut.

“Hey!” Thomas protested. “I was saving that for a freezer experiment.”

Mom crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. “Thomas Jeramiah Brown! There is no way, you are putting a bag of snot next to my chicken or bacon or anything else in that freezer, young man. This habit of yours needs to stop.”

Thomas rolled his eyes. “But Mom,” he said. “Like it is science and I get extra credit for my experiments.”

Mom’s blue eyes turned dark as she tightened her arms. “I will have a word with your teacher. Now, I have something else to discuss with you.”

Thomas gulped. He didn’t like Mom’s no nonsense tone. It meant trouble.

“Clair Williams called and talked to me about your flatulence,” Mom said. “Apparently, you were—rather smelly at the Williams’ today and she—”

“But that’s because Eugene and me were having a fart battle,” Thomas said.

Mom’s dark eyebrows rose. “Seriously, Thomas?” she said but the corner of her mouth twitched.

Thomas bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. “I won by the way,” he said.

Mom shut her eyes and then opened them with a shake of her head. She grinned.

“Well, because of your juvenile behaviour, Clair gave me a couple of doctors’ names and numbers,” Mom said. “She was concerned about your bowels. I guess, Eugene has some bowel trouble too so she thought these doctors could help you with your flatulence.”

Great, another butt doctor! Thomas groaned.

“Give it a try, Thomas,” Mom said. “Who knows, maybe one of these doctors can get to the bottom of your smelly issue. I called their offices and—”

“But Mom!” Thomas protested. “It’s not an issue. It’s more like a super power.”

“It’s only a super power, Thomas, if you’re skunk or a stink bug. Then you’d need to smell to keep predators away,” Mom said. “You have an appointment next week with Dr. Santiago. He’s a naturopath path. I figured that we would try Dr. Santiago first and if that didn’t work, we could try Dr. Medford.”

The pit in Thomas’ stomach sank to his toes. He was so not hearing this. He stared at Mom. Should he try to explain the radioactive hotdog cola episode? She stared back at him. He decided that unlike Peter Parker, he couldn’t shoot webs so there wasn’t any proof that Mom would believe. The only cool powers hotdogs and cola gave him was gas. He had a whole lot of that.

“Are we done now?” he asked.

“Yes, I suppose we are,” Mom said. “Supper will be at five. Is Anami staying?”

Thomas shrugged. “I’ll ask her when she comes over.”

  The bell trilled.

“That’s probably Amani, now,” Thomas said.

He jogged to the front door. Jessica stood in the hall with her pink tutu around her waist. She swung the door open.

“Hey Amani, do you want to play princess tea party?” she asked

“Ah no thanks. Jessica,” Amani said. “Like, I totally came to help Thomas save the world from Pickled Zombies.”

“Pickles Zombies, eewww!” Jessica said and stuck her tongue out. “No zombies at my tea party. I’ll call Marla Williams to come play.”

Marla was Eugene’s younger sister. Jessica whirled around and ran upstairs. Thomas grinned. His sister was such a princess. She didn’t like anything that wasn’t sparkly.

The eerie music blared through the T.V. in Thomas’ room. The growl of a zombie moaned over the tune.

“Hey like you started without me, Thomas?” Amani said and scowled. She flipped her red ponytail. Her green eyes, darkened, causing her freckles to pop-out on her nose.

Thomas scratched his scalp. Unsure about what he should say to her, he dug his toe into the brown plush carpet.

“Well, did you?” Amani asked. “We agreed that you wouldn’t play the game until I had time to play it with you.”

Thomas shrugged. “I was like just getting it set up. I turned it on, that’s all.”

His cheeks flamed but he knew Amani bought the fib when her face brightened. Geesh, it was his game after all. She flopped down on the end of his bed and retrieved the discarded control panel. She patted the bed beside her.

“Let’s kick some zombie buns!” she said.

Thomas grinned. Now that was the Amani, he liked. He retrieved the second control panel from beneath his T.V. and sat down beside her.

Click, click – Blllaaaaahhhh! The game started. Flashing yellow and green lights lit the screen. Two characters emerged onto the scene. Amani chose a ninja girl while Thomas picked a man clad in armor with a mace. A small wizard character popped on the screen and a talk bubble hovered over his head.

“Your help is needed. An invasion of zombie pirates has landed on Fantasia Island. They are about to invade the people of Fantasia. Please help us. A little secret—these zombie pirates hate pickles. Collect as many pickle jars as you can and toss the juice at the zombies. Once the pickle juice hits them, they will dissolve. Eat pickles for extra life. Good luck, young warriors.”

The wizard popped off the screen. The ninja girl and warrior dropped onto Fantasia Island. They started in a village with a maze of streets. Some villagers ran by and hid in shops. Thomas and Amani collected coins, a few pickle jars, and a couple of pickles. They travelled down the street. A villager stopped them.

“Run!” he said in his word bubble. “It’s nearly night and soon the pirate zombies will storm our streets. Find shelter if you can!”

The villager ran off. Thomas chuckled. This was a silly game. He ducked into a shop and bought a shield with a of the few coins he collected. When he emerged the sun was setting to a coral colour and the moaning of the dead filled his room.

“Cool, Thomas,” Amani shouted over the music. “The first wave of zombie pirates! I hope you got enough pickle jars!”

“Yeah, me too!” Thomas said. “Whoa, like there is about a hundred of them coming our way!”

Thomas’ character threw several jars of pickle juice, melting the green-skinned pirates into puddles of ooze. Eyes balls floated in the puddles of green slime. He and Amani realized there were too many zombies for them to get to the next level.

“Ah, Thomas,” Amani shouted as a zombie caught her character and bit her. “What am I going to do? I got zombie sickness!”

“Ah we gotta run and hide in one of the buildings elsewise we might die.” Thomas said.

He maneuvered his man in a turn and jogged down the street. The ninja girl staggered along behind him. He stopped his man and got his character to pick up the ninja girl. He helped them both to safety.

A thump made Thomas jump. Someone was knocking on his bedroom door.

“Thooooommmmaaassss!” yelled Jessica. “Thomas, you’re wanted on the phone.”

Thomas rolled his eyes as Amani clicked paused.

“I’m dying of zombie sickness so you mat-as well go answer the phone.”

He nodded. Jessica poked her head into his bedroom and upon seeing him, she thrust the portable phone at him. She skipped into his room and plunked down beside Amani.

“Thanks,” Thomas said. “Hello?”

“Hey Thomas,” Eugene said.

Thomas’ skin prickled.

“Yeah what do you want?” he replied.

Eugene coughed. “I want to know if you made up your mind yet. Wedgie or Amani,” he said.

Thomas ground his teeth. Seriously! Eugene had to call because of this stupid request.

“Can I sleep on it?” Thomas asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Eugene said. “But don’t take too long to decide. Elsewise, I’ll decide for you. Tell your sister, that Marla is on her way over.”

“Yeah whatev,” Thomas said. He punched the hang-up button with his thumb. A fire burned in his belly. He wanted nothing more than to yell at Eugene. But ending up on this bully’s bad side wasn’t exactly good for him.

Both Jessica and Amani stared at him when he turned around. Amani’s green eyes were wide with concern.

“Are you alright Thomas?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m just great!” Thomas said and winced at the sarcasm in his voice. “That was just Eugene. He’s trying to pressure me into something I don’t want to do.”

“Like what?” Jessica asked, kicking her legs out in front of her.

“Like it’s nobody’s business but mine,” Thomas said. “Marla is on her way over to play.”

Amani shrugged and waved him over. He thrust the phone back at Jessica and pointed to the door. She stuck her bottom lip out and tromped out with the phone. They continued the game but Thomas couldn’t keep his mind on it. More than once he messed up, costing Amani and him the level.

“Hey Thomas,” Amani said, sniffing. “Did you let a SBD fly?”

Thomas looked at her with an odd expression. He shook his head and sniffed the air. He gagged as the smell of rotten skunk entered his nose.

“I swear, that wasn’t me,” he replied.

Amani frowned. She glanced at his window. “There may be a skunk outside somewhere.”

Thomas nodded.

“So Thomas, what’s eating you up?” she poked at him.

“Nothing,” he said. “It’s between Eugene and me.”

 Amani frowned and then shrugged. A light breeze lifted the curtains from Thomas’ window knocking down one of his action figures from his desk. The noise made them both jump and turn to see the curtains parallel with the floor.

“It must be getting windy outside,” Amani said.

“Ah, except I didn’t open the window,” Thomas said.

Goose bumps burst out along his arms. Amani jumped to her feet. She grabbed Thomas’ skateboard from under his desk. Holding it like a weapon she approached the curtains.

“What are you doing, Amani?” Thomas whispered.

“Just checking this out,” Amani said.

She swung at the curtain on the left. The curtain dropped and Amani did a complete spin. As she advanced on the second curtain, it suddenly dropped as well. Amani stood and stared at the curtains for a few moments before she inched towards the window. She checked to ensure that it was closed. She wiggled the latch. She put Thomas skateboard back and made her way to the bed.

“Okay, like that was seriously creepy Thomas,” she said. “If I did believe in the super natural, I’d say you have a ghost. A farting ghost!” she laughed. “Like, as if!”

“Weird!” Thomas scratched his head. “I’m sure there is an explanation. Maybe Dad will have to check for drafts.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” Amani eyed up the still curtains.  

Thomas woke in the middle of the night. As he lay in bed trying to figure out what woke him, he watched the shadow of a lone car pass outside. He was about to turn over when he saw eyes staring at him. Big brown eyes, almost eye to eye with him.

“Blah!” Thomas shrieked and pulled the covers over his head.

He squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled slowly. It’s just my imagination. It’s just my imagination. He chanted. A tiny fart squeaked out of him. He always passed gas when he was scared. His family nicknamed it fear gas. Grab a nerve, Thomas. There’s no such things as zombies or ghosts or monsters. He hadn’t feared the dark since he were seven and a similar brown eyed boogeyman used to taught him at nights. Thrusting a shaking hand outside his blanket, he switched on his lamp.

He peeked out of the covers, and scanned his room. Relief flooded him when he saw no one. His imagination must have been—wait—what? A paper airplane drifted towards his bed and landed in his lap. With shaking hands, he reached for the plane. He would have crumpled it up and threw it in his wastebasket but the black lines of printing caught his attention— the ghost was trying to communicate with him.

He unfolded the plane. Black print covered the page at a slant. It almost looked like a six –year-old-wrote it. DON’T GO TO THE DOCTOR! Chills shook Thomas so hard that his teeth chattered. He glanced frantically around the room trying to see if Jessica was up and was playing a prank on him. His eyes saw no evidence of his door ajar or the window or any possible way for the plane to have floated to his bed.

Phphphphrrrtttt! The sudden sound of his own gas made him gasp. It took all his nerve not to run screaming to his parents’ room and beg to sleep with them. But eleven-year-olds don’t sleep with their parents. They face their fears so Thomas did the only thing he could do. He hopped out of bed, ran to the switch by the door, and flipped on the light. He raced back to bed, jump in and pulled the covers over his head.

Honk! Honk! Honk! Thomas’ bird alarm blared in his ears. He shot out of bed with a crackling of paper and a flurry of bed covers. When his heart quit pounding, he glanced around his sunlit room. Phrphphrrrttt! A mound of paper airplanes were scattered about Thomas’ floor. His eyes landed on the bright red letters scrawled across his bedroom wall. DON’T GO TO THE DOCTOR. SAVE YOURSELF.

“Mom! Dad!” Thomas yelled. “Someone’s been in my room!”

The thud of footsteps pounded down the hall and Thomas’ door flew open. Jessica stood in the doorway, her brown eyes went wide and her hand flew to her mouth.

“Mom! Dad!” she yelled. “Thomas is drawing on his walls!”

“I didn’t do that!” Thomas said, angrily. “A stupid ghost did!”

Jessica whirled around and ran half way down the hall.

“Mom! Dad! A ghost is drawing on Thomas’ walls!”

More thudding on the stairs. Then Thomas’ parents appeared in the hall out of breath. As they strolled towards Jessica, identical annoyed looks on their faces, Thomas rolled his eyes. This was going to be a bad day. He could feel it.

“Thomas Jeramiah Brown, what is going on?” demanded Mom. “W-what happened to your room?”

Thomas threw his hands in the air. Was it even worth explaining?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I woke up with that written all over my wall and a billion paper airplanes piled on my bed.”

“I don’t like your attitude young man,” Dad said. “Try explaining this mess to us in a civil tone.”

Thomas wanted to shout and stomp his feet. But Dad wouldn’t understand a tantrum. Mom crossed her arms waiting for his explanation. Thomas took a deep breath.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said as even toned as possible. “I woke up in a pile of paper airplanes and that written on my wall.”

Mom rubbed her shoulder and chewed her lower lip. Dad ran a hand through his thinning brown hair.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Thomas,” he said. “I guess we’ll help you clean it up after school.”

Thomas nodded. Goosebumps cover his body. He didn’t want to spend one more minute in here until the weird message was scrubbed from his wall.

“Okay,” Mom said. “Come down to breakfast.”

After his shower, Thomas felt a little better but he was still mad about his room. Who wrote on his wall and why? He shoved waffles and scrambled eggs into his mouth. He didn’t want to be late for school. The sooner this day was over the better.

“Eeeewww, Thomas!” Jessica said. “That’s gross?”

Thomas glanced up from his plate with a perplex look.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Jessica whined. “You didn’t even say excuse me. Yuck, you stink worse than usual.”

“I didn’t fart,” Thomas said.

“Yes you did, Thomas!” Jessica said.

“No I—”

“Just excuse yourself, Thomas,” Dad said.

“But I didn’t fart!” Thomas said. “Jessica must have.”

Jessica shook her head. “I don’t stink like that!”

“Thomas,” Mom said.

“But it wasn’t me!” Thomas jumped up from the table, taking his plate into the kitchen.

He would not excuse himself for something he didn’t do.

He scraped his plate and deposited his dish in the dishwasher. He grabbed his stuff and headed out the door for school. A pit formed in his stomach. Eugene stood at the end of the sidewalk, waiting for him.

“Well, well Thomas Brown,” he said with a sneer. “How was breakfast?”

Thomas frowned. He strolled passed Eugene and crossed the street. He hoped Amani was ready so they could walk to the bus. Eugene jogged up beside him and lightly punched him in the arm.

“Ow!” Thomas said, rubbing the arm. “Buzz off Eugene, I’m not in the mood.”

“You’re not in the mood? You sound like a whining girl, Brown,” Eugene said. “You’ve been hanging out with girls too long – now you’re starting to sound like one.”

Thomas glared at Eugene and kept walking. Let him tease, I’ll just ignore him and hopefully, he’ll get a clue. He knocked on Amani’s door.

“Hey Thomas!” Amani said, cheerfully as she shifted her backpack on her shoulder.

“Hey Amani, you—Oooowwwww!” Thomas yelled as his rear received a bad case of rug burn. Amani’s face paled, her hand flew to her mouth as she stared at him confused.

Eugene snapped the elastic on his shorts for emphasis. Thomas whipped around and shoved Eugene.

“You jerk! What was that for?” Thomas shouted.

“Reminding you of our deal,” Eugene said. “Her or wedgies!”

Anger rolled through Thomas like lava. He so wanted to hit Eugene right now but didn’t dare. He rearranged his underwear and glanced at Amani over his shoulder. Her green eyes were wide.

“Come Amani, we’ll be late for the bus,” Thomas said over his shoulder.

He shoved passed Eugene not waiting for Amani. There would be plenty of time to deal with him later. Amani appeared by his side.

“You okay, Thomas?” Amani whispered. “Like, what’s with Eugene being such a pain?”

Thomas shrugged a shoulder. His blue and white sneakers crunched on gravel as he picked up his pace. If he didn’t keep walking he would clobber that zombie jerk, Eugene! What he wouldn’t give to have a jar of pickle juice right now. He could watch Eugene blue eyes bulge and melt into green slime just like on his video game.

“I get that you don’t want to talk about what happened, Thomas,” Amani pressed. “But at least say something? What did he mean when he said, her or wedgies?”

Thomas took a deep breath. He just wanted to get on the bus so they could get to Fairview school. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Eugene keeping a pace behind them.

“Thomas, are you going to say anything?” Amani asked.

“Yeah, I’ll trade you my cucumber and egg sandwich for your ham and cheese at lunch,” Thomas said.

Amani glared at him. “Seriously, Thomas, that’s like all you have to say?”

He shrugged a shoulder. “Eggs tend to give me gas so I just thought if you switched me then I would have less of it today.”

Amani stomped down the street to the bus stop. She pulled her red backpack off, flipped open the top and pulled out her matching lunch kit. She dug through it and withdrew a plastic container. As Thomas approached, she thrust the sandwich at him.

He opened his own backpack and pulled out his sandwich. He handed it to Amani. She threw it in her kit and dumped it back in her backpack. Oh man, Thomas thought. She’s in one of her moods. With her arms crossed, she sat on the bench and waited for the bus. Thomas sat down beside her. He could feel the heat from her body. What did he say that made her mad?

Since they would not talk, he mat-as-well listen to his mp3 player. He slipped it out of his backpack and jammed the ear buds in. He flicked through his play list until he came to Zombie Battles, the latest song by Fuzzy Peaches. A heavy beat drummed in his ears as the bass over rode the lyrics. Peace at last.

A light punch on his shoulder, jarred him out of his bliss. He scowled at Eugene. The blonde boy pointed at the bus. Thomas grabbed his backpack and got in line behind Amani. A few other students boarded the bus. Amani hopped up the stairs and was lost down the aisle before Thomas could take the first step.

A stinging burn tore at his butt as the snap of elastic slapped his lower back. Thomas stumbled, grabbed the rail and braced himself saving his face from meeting the step. One of his earbuds popped out and Thomas could hear the whole bus of kids laughing. Thomas scrambled to his feet, pivoted in the small space, and shoved Eugene.

“That hurt, you Zombie’s fart hole!” He shouted.

Eugene’s face went from shock to anger. He scrambled up the steps and shoved Thomas back. He fell on the top step. Students rose from their seats. Some stared, some laughed and a few hooted.

“Fight! Fight!” someone yelled.

“Boys! Boys! Cut it out or you’ll both will be walking to school!” the bus driver yelled.

Thomas wanted to punch the smug look off Eugene’s face but he didn’t want to walk to school. He glared at Eugene and then got up. He made his way to a seat behind Amani. Eugene continued to the back of the bus. Thomas heard some of the popular boys give Eugene high fives.

“What was that all about?” Amani peered at Thomas over the seat, her green eyes full of concern.

“It don’t matter,” Thomas grumbled.

His ears were red from embarrassment and his rump hurt from having his underwear pulled up to his neck. If Eugene gives me one more wedgie, I’m going to punch him right in the mouth! Thomas decided. Amani turned around in her seat and didn’t ask him anymore questions.

For the remainder of the bus ride, he stared out the window, watching the houses blur by. Once the bus turned onto the second avenue bridge, Thomas sighed. They were just a few stops away from Fairview School. He hoped that Eugene would leave him alone for the rest of the day. He would not decide between his best friend and some bully’s antics.   

Chapter Three

The Boo Butts

“Ow!” Thomas' books went flying in the air. The snap of elastic whacked his waist. He whipped around coming nose to nose with Eugene. “What is your problem?”

“You are my problem, Brown,” Eugene said, narrowing his blue eyes. “You take longer than my grandmother to make up your mind!”

Heat burned Thomas’ cheeks. He clenched his fists. This had to end and it had to end now. He raised his fist, pulled back his arm and—“Aaaahhh-ouch! Ouch!” Thomas smashed his elbow into his locker door. All the other students burst out laughing as they watched what was going on.

“Thomas Brown, he’s a clown,” Eugene chanted.

Thomas ground his teeth and rubbed his elbow. He would like to run and hide somewhere but too many bodies were pressing close around him. Surrounded by a bunch of laughing, mindless zombies. He glared at the crowd. There were a million things he wanted to shout at Eugene or even take a proper swing at him but he’d already drawn too much attention to himself. He glowered at Eugene.

“What’s going on?” the principal’s voice boomed over the crowd of students.

A collective gasp rang out in the hall. Mr. Harold stared at the crowd, waiting for an explanation. Beside him was Amani, panting and out of breath. She must have run all the way to the principal’s office and back with him.

“It’s Eugene—” Amani gasped out. “He’s been bullying, Thomas since this morning.”

“Boys,” Principal Harold said. “What is this about?”

Thomas caught movement out of the corner of his eye and saw that some students were dispersing now that an adult was among them. Eugene smiled wide at the principal. He threw his arm around Thomas’ shoulders and gave him a squeeze.

“Nothing Principal Harold,” Eugene said. “Thomas and I were just fooling around. We’re the best of buds.”

Thomas ground his teeth. He was about to spill when one of Eugene’s buddies made the cut throat sign just behind the principal. Great, if I speak up for myself, I’m just going to get it worse. Thomas took a few deep breaths then nodded.

“But Principal Harold,” Amani said. “Eugene has been giving Thomas wedgies since this morning. I know he’s bullying him.”

Principal Harold glanced between Amani and the smiling Eugene.

“It’s true,” Eugene said. “I have been giving Thomas wedgies but he likes it. Honestly, it’s all in good fun. Right, Thomas?”

Thomas swallowed several times trying to push the dry lump down his throat. “Yeah, it’s all fun.”

Principal Harold’s face darkened. His gray eyes looked like storm clouds. He frowned, deepening fine lines around his mouth and eyes.

“I don’t care for this sort of behaviour,” he said, “So no more of this non-sense today or you’ll get detention, Eugene. Do you understand?”

“Yes Principal Harold,” Eugene said. Then he whispered in Thomas’ ear. “This is just the beginning Clown. You’d better hurry up and make up your mind. Wedgies or Amani?”

“What was that?” Mr. Harold asked.

“I was just asking Thomas if he wanted to eat lunch with me at noon,” Eugene fibbed.

Thomas shrugged Eugene’s sweaty arm off his shoulders and replied, “I’ll think about it.”

Eugene and his gang shuffled off down the hall. Amani started picking up Thomas’ books while he stared at the floor. The smell of mint filled Thomas’ nose as two black polished shoes appeared on the tile he glared at. A hand touched his shoulder. He looked up into Principal Harold’s face.

“You know Thomas,” he said. “I can’t help you unless you tell me what’s really going on.”

Thomas nodded but said nothing further. He didn’t need Principal Harold involved in this. Eugene would be three times as bad if any adults knew what he was doing. Principal Harold squeezed Thomas’ shoulder.

“Okay, Thomas,” he said, letting go of Thomas’ shoulder. “Know that I’m always here to talk if you need to.”

“Yup,” Thomas replied. “I’m fine.”

Principal Harold nodded then retreated backwards, pivoted on his shining shoe and marched down the hall. Thomas watched him retreat until he turned a corner. He bent down and gathered his books.

“Thomas,” Amani said. “You have to tell me what’s going on.”

Amani straightened and handed Thomas the books she gathered. He stood up and took them from her wanting to avoid her question. He so did not want her to know what Eugene said about her. He turned to his locker and gasped, dropping his books.

“What is up with you?” Amani said and huffed as she pushed Thomas out of the way.

Thomas pointed to the note stenciled on the inside of his locker. Don’t Go To The Doctor. 

“You totally need to spill,” Amani said. “What is this? Did Eugene put that there?”

Thomas shrugged. “Like I don’t know. I think I might be haunted by a-a…”

The bell trilled cutting him off. Thomas shoved the lump of freaky down his throat with a good ball of saliva.

“I think I’m being haunted by a ghost,” he said, letting a SBD escape.

Amani’s mouth twitched as her red eye brows shot up in surprise. “Why do you think it’s a ghost? I mean, anyone can crack a locker combo.”

“I guess we’d better get to class,” Thomas said. “We can talk about this later.”

Thomas gathered up his books, shut his locker, and joined the throng of students crammed like toppings on a pizza. Amani elbowed her way to Thomas’ side.

“So tell me more about this spook,” Amani yelled over the students’ chatter.

“Let’s talk at lunch,” Thomas yelled back. “I don’t want anyone to hear us.”

Amani nodded her agreement. Their first class was science, Thomas’ favorite subject. He could hardly wait to show his booger experiment for the bonus marks.

As they made their way down the hall the crowd thinned out. Thomas was glad. He hated crowded hallways. He liked it better when there was just a few students and the rest had gone on field trips. Those trips would be coming up soon in June.

He took his seat in the middle row of the class. Amani joined him. She was often his lab partner. He liked having her as a partner especially when it came to writing hypotheses and theories, and other Einstein stuff that he didn’t care to know. She wrote excellent reports while Thomas played video games.

He slipped off his backpack to check and make sure that his bag of booger balls were still frozen. He surrounded them in a thermal lunch kit with two ice packs and a bag of peas. It was a good thing Mom hadn’t found them sitting next to the steak in the downstairs freezer. She would have thrown them out.

Mrs. Thatcher glided into the room. She wore a dark shirt and shirt that made her white lab coat, appear stark and blinding. She kept one hand in a pocket while the other carried a stack of manila folders pressed tight against her chest. She dropped the folders on her desk and then pulled a watch out of her pocket.

“Okay, let’s start with row call,” she said. “Amani Banani.”

“Hear,” said Amani.

“Bree Jacobson.”

“Hear!”

Thomas’ brain shifted from listening mode to thinking mode as the students murmured their heres. He needed to figure out what to do about Eugene and how to get him off his case. Why was Thomas so important anyways? Eugene had five buddies already, he didn’t need Thomas. He glanced behind him and saw Eugene making kissy faces at him and pointing to Amani. Yuck! Thomas grimaced. Eugene giggled.

“Thomas Brown,”

Amani elbowed him in the side and pointed up at the front.

“Thomas Brown,” Mrs. Thatcher said.

“Here!” he responded.

A loud burp of gas burst through the room. Thomas was sure he saw green gas shimmering around him. Some students burst out laughing and others gagged, their faces turning a pale shade of green.

“Who did that!” demanded Mrs. Thatcher, then she gaged and staggered towards the windows.

“Thomas must have,” Eugene shouted as he ran for another window at the back.

He flung it open and took a sniff, then gagged. “Yup, that definitely smells like Thomas, alright. I should know. He won the fart battle we had yesterday. My mom almost passed out when she smelt it.”

  “Oh Thomas, that’s a foul funk,” Amani said from behind her hand. “You need to warn me next time you let that rip.”

She moved her chair away from him.

“But it wasn’t me,” Thomas protested.

“Phew,” Amani said. “If I breathe through my mouth, I can taste it. Man, what have you been eating?”

Thomas’ mouth dropped open as Amani’s green eyes watered. She gagged and staggered over to a window. More and more students gathered around the open windows, trying their best not to gag. He would have liked to have joined his classmates. They were right, this was the foulest gas ever but he decided he had to suffer it out since they blamed him. He didn’t want them to run away like they used when he was in Elementary School.

“It smells like skunk butt is back in action,” Marvin Millard said. He launched into a poor acapella version of the Batman theme song. “Skunkman!”

Thomas’ ears turn red. He slunk to the floor and crawled out of the classroom on his hands and knees. This was worse than when Mom made him see all those butt doctors when he was smaller.

Once outside the classroom, Thomas debated whether or not he should pretend he was sick and spend the rest of the morning in the nurse’s office or sneak off and hide until next period. This day was turning out to be more than he could bare and no one would believe that it wasn’t him who was the foul smelling brute. In the end, he decided that he would wait out the period in the bathroom.

The boys’ washroom was down the hall and up the stairs on the main level of the school by the teachers’ lounge. He liked to take the teachers’ stairs when no teachers were around. This made the washroom closer and easy to slip into. Since all the teachers were occupied with classes this was the perfect opportunity to sneak up the stairs.

As Thomas rounded the corner, he took the stairs two at the time. As he came out, Principal Harold trotted towards the stairs. Thomas froze as Mr. Harold’s gray eyes found him.

“Thomas, why are you using the teachers’ stairs?” Principal Harold asked. “You know that those stairs aren’t for students.”

Thomas nodded. A burst of foul gas pipped through the air. His eyes grew large and as surprised as Principal Harold’s did.

“I ah-uh, took the teachers’ stairs to um, get to the boys room faster!” Thomas fibbed, waving his hand behind his butt.

The gas stretched its vulgar, green tendril towards Principal Harold’s nose. He flung his hand towards his face as his gray eyes watered.

“Oh Thomas,” Principal Harold said. “I can smell—I mean, I can see that this must be an emergency and you are on your way to the boys’ washroom. You have my permission to use the teachers’ stairs.”

Thomas breathed a sigh of relief. That was a mistake. The gas stunk of rotten eggs, skunk cabbage and he wasn’t sure what else. The principal waved him on. Thomas hurried to the sanctuary of the boys’ room. He found the nearest, cleanest stall and locked the door behind him. He sank down onto the toilet. That was a close and convenient call, he decided.

For quite some time, he sat like a bump, twiddling his thumbs. What exactly should he do about Eugene, the mysterious foul gas that followed him around and how to get out of seeing the doctor? At one point, he read the badly scrawled poetry written in black marker on the door and walls. His favorite was: Some people come here to sit and think. I come here to sit and stink! Yup, that was his predicament right now. A stinky life. The squeak of marker filled the washroom. At first, he thought the sound came from another stall. Then his eyes landed on half a sentence. You will pay the… More black letters squeaked their way onto the door in front of him. Consequences. Do not go to the doctor! You’re life depends on it. And your past…the invisible marker drew an X through the past part. A plague of goosebumps covered Thomas from head to toe as his whole body shook. A foul stench filled the stall. Twin pairs of denim shorts with their back pockets facing him materialized in front of his nose.

“I told you, you used too much. Now look,” said a familiar voice. “He can see our butts!”

“Wicked!” said the younger one. “Oooooooo! I’m the haunted butt of your past. Do not go to the doctor…it will destroy your life. Oooooooo!”

Thomas scrambled for the door, shoving the floating butts aside. He fumbled with the lock. Click! The lock opened. He tore out of the boys’ room, screaming. He ran into the office.  

Out of breathe, he gasped for life saving air while Mrs. Vallu frowned at him from behind her tapered bifocals. She pulled down her glasses, allowing them to rest on her chest by their fancy, pearly string.

“Can I help you, Thomas Brown?” she asked in a pinched voice.

“Yay, there’s a butt psycho in the boys’ room,” Thomas said. “No, I’m meant there’s a psycho butt in the boys’ washroom!”

Mrs. Vallu’s mouth dropped open. She shut her mouth, the sides twitching as she put her glasses back on and turned to her computer.

“What exactly did this butt psycho - psycho butt look like?” she asked, mirth in her voice.

Thomas’ head felt like it was doused in hot water as steam simmered around his neck. The room twisted from side to side as his mouth suddenly felt dry.

“It wore denim shorts,” Thomas said.

Mrs. Vallu snapped her head up and humour shimmered in her blue eyes.

“Oh really,” she replied. “Did it dance the cha cha or do the salsa.”

Thomas’ mouth dropped open as Mrs. Vallu started to shake. She was laughing and trying to her best not to show it.

“Neither,” said Thomas. “It wrote on the stall door!”

Mrs. Vallu bust out laughing. “What did it say?” she said between giggles.

The foul cloud of gas filled the office. Mrs. Vallu’s bouts of laughter were cut short with an ugh! The room spun as heat washed through Thomas’ entire body fallowed by ice water. He collapsed into a blanket of stinking darkness.

***

“Perhaps, he drank too much cola again,” Amani’s voice piped through the thick fog in his brain. “I tell him, he should be drinking water. Like too much pop will dehydrate you. Not to mention it would be better for his gassy issue.”

His eyelids, heavy and fuzzy, refused to open. A bit of light danced on them so he knew he emerged from the black abys he’d collapsed into.

“I don’t think it was too much cola,” Nurse Tremble replied. “It’s hard to say what happened without Thomas seeing a doctor.”

The word doctor sent spikes of fear racing along his nerve endings. He tried to yell, “No doctor.” But his mouth was as numb and fuzzy as his eyes.

“I heard him grunt,” Amani said. “I think he could be waking up.”

Nurse Tremble thumbed back Thomas’ eyelids. Her wrinkled face smiled at him.

“Thomas, can you hear me?” she asked.

Thomas tried to speak but his mouth refused to work.

“Amani, please get your friend a bottle of water from Mrs. Vallu,” the nurse said. “I think he needs a drink.”

His eyelids lowered. He felt the nurse take his pulse and then the biting cup of the blood pressure machine twisted around his bicep. She was checking his vitals. With one last effort, Thomas flung his eyelids open and took in the view of the nurse’s sick room. He wiggled his fingers and cleared his throat.

“Oh good,” said Nurse Tremble as she pulled the cup off Thomas’ arm with a protest of velcro. “You’re awake now. I’ll help you sit up and then you can have a drink.”

Thomas’ head felt like thick, wool socks were stuffed into it. He was dizzy. Nurse Tremble placed an extra pillow behind him, then reached under his shoulders and lifted him up. He was propped up on pillows. The room tilted and his stomach heaved.

“Oh dear, a little nauseous are we,” replied the nurse. “I’ll get something to help settle down that stomach. You are very lucky, you didn’t hit your head.”

Hit my head? Whatever for?

“You passed out in the office,” the nurse continued. “Mrs. Vallu said it was the oddest thing. You burst into the office muttering something about a butt psycho - psycho butt then you blacked out and, well she said, you floated to the floor. I would say, you crashed to the floor but there is no sign of a goose egg or a concussion. You don’t have any bruises from your fall. Weirdest thing, I’ve ever come across in my career. I’ve been the school nurse for twenty years, now.”

Thomas just nodded. Like weird, wasn’t the word for it. More like bizarre! Or like completely freaky! He was safe for now. He watched as Nurse Tremble made her way to the cabinet across the room. 

The nurse’s sick room was a plain white walled room about the size of a classroom but instead of desks, it held about five single beds, a medicine cabinet, a sink, some charts of various parts of the anatomy and a skeleton on a stand in a corner. Nurse Tremble pulled a bottle of pills out of the cabinet. She put some in a small paper cup and brought them over to Thomas. He took the cup from her and glanced down at the two, yellow pills. Yuck! He liked pills as about as much as he liked water – which was not at all.

Amani burst back into the room with a bottle. She gave it to Thomas. The Nurse’s hand signal encouraged him to drink up. He popped the chalky pills in his mouth and washed them down with the water.

“How are you feeling?” Amani asked.

“Ah like totally tired,” Thomas said.

Amani nodded.

“Your mom will soon be here,” Nurse Tremble said. “You can go home and rest. You had a nasty fall. You may well feel dizzy. I advised your mom that she should take you to the doctor just to be sure that you don’t have an internal concussion.”

Thomas nodded. His stomach jingled about like a jelly fish battered by waves. This was the whole reason why he was in the nurse’s sick room to begin with. Something did not want him to see a doctor. He crossed his toes hoping that that something wasn’t listening to him.

“Nurse Tremble,” Mrs. Vallu said from the doorway, “Mrs. Brown is here for her son.”

“Great,” the nurse said. “Thomas, just rest a bit more while I fill your mother in on what happened.”

Thomas nodded. He swallowed some more water and then sank back on the pillows. He hoped that Nurse Tremble wouldn’t make him sound too silly. The thought of what he said to the secretary, Mrs. Vallu, made his neck hot.

“So like what happened?” Amani said, keeping her voice low.

Thomas shrugged. “Like I’m not exactly sure,” he replied. “One minute, I’m in the boys’ room, the next minute an invisible marker is writing a warning message of doom on the stall door and then, out of nowhere, two butts appeared!”

Amani’s face paled causing her eyes to turn a dark shade of green. “What?” she mouthed.

Thomas nodded. “Like I so am not kidding you, Amani,” Thomas said. “I think I’m being haunted by a couple of butts who don’t want me to see the doctor.”

Amani’s mouth twitched. She burst out laughing. The sound echoed around the room like a prairie chickadee. Thomas glared at her and crossed his arms. Fine, if she doesn’t believe me but like, she doesn’t have to laugh at me too.

Amani snorted as she stopped her laughing episode. She moved her mouth around until she could set it in a straight line without the hint of a smile.

“I’m sorry, Thomas,” Amani said. “Like I totally shouldn’t have laughed but being haunted by butts is just—so—funny!”

“It’s not just butts. It’s eyes too,” Thomas said, recalling the night before. This sent Amani into another fit of laughter.

“Butts with eyes!” she said between bursts of giggles. “This sounds more like a deranged potato.”

Thomas sighed and rolled his eyes. “It’s not a potato—especially not one wearing denim shorts! It’s some sort of ghost! Two ghosts to be exact!”

Amani calmed herself down enough to nod. Her green eyes glisten with tears from laughing so hard and the freckles on her nose were bright red spots.

“Okay so like what do these ghosts want?” Amani said.

“They don’t want me to see the doctor that my mom booked me in to see.”

“Like that is totally weird,” Amani replied. “You’re still going to the doctor regardless of what these ghost say, right? Right?”

Thomas nodded. “I don’t have much choice in the matter. You know my mother, don’t you?”

Amani gulped. “Okay like we need to come up with a plan to stop these twerpy ghosts from haunting you. I’ll do some research at the library after school on hauntings and we’ll see if we can’t get rid of them for you. In the meantime—”

The door flew open and Amani’s stopped talking. She turned and smiled at the adults who entered the room. Mrs. Brown stood behind the nurse peeking around the old woman’s shoulder.

“Okay, Thomas,” Nurse Tremble said. “You can go with your mom now.”

Mrs. Brown rushed forward. “Oh Thomas,” she exclaimed. “If I had known you weren’t feeling well this morning, I’d never would have let you come to school.”

Amani moved just in time. Mrs. Brown flopped down on Thomas’ bedside, bumping his thigh. She wrapped her arms around him and smothered him in a motherly, all too embarrassing hug. The scent of her sunflower perfume caused him to cough.

“Thanks Mom,” Thomas said between coughs. “But I was fine this morning. This just suddenly hit me.”

“Don’t worry, dear,” Mom said. “I have an emergency appointment with Dr. Frank. He’ll check you over and then we’ll find out what’s going on.”

Once Mom finished smothering him, she allowed him to get up and walk out. He waved goodbye to Amani and Nurse Tremble. His stomach gurgled as his nerves drew tight. He feared the haunting butts would have something to say about this.

 



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