Read an Excerpt
“Get the full-size candy bars, Mom,” George Brown pleaded. “Kids hate when you give them the mini fun-size ones.”
George’s mom looked at the stacks and stacks of bags of Halloween candy on the store shelf. “Nope, sorry. It’s the mini candy bars, or no candy bars.”
“At least your mom gives away candy on Halloween,” George’s best friend, Alex, said. “My mom gives everyone mini tubes of toothpaste. Talk about embarrassing.”
George gave Alex a sympathetic look. “I guess that’s what happens when your mom is a dentist.”
Alex nodded and pointed to the shelves filled with ooey, gooey sugary candy. “This place is my mom’s worst nightmare. She calls candy bars a cavity waiting to happen.”
“Which is why it’s good you boys will get toothpaste in your trick-or-treat bags,” George’s mom interrupted. She gave George a stern look. “And you really have to watch how much you eat in one sitting. Remember what happened last year.”
“Don’t remind me,” George said with a groan. This Halloween, he would try not to eat his whole bag of candy in one night. But then again, he made that same promise every year.
“I still have a few things to buy,” George’s mom told the boys. “Why don’t you two go over to the next aisle and take a look at the masks?”
“Good idea!” George shouted.
“Right behind you, dude,” Alex said as he followed him to the costume aisle.
Alex picked up a clown costume in a box. “I remember when I used to wear these kinds of costumes,” he said. “I hated the plastic masks with the rubber band around the back.”
“Me too,” George agreed. “I could never see through the eyeholes, and it got all hot and sweaty near where my nose was supposed to go.”
Alex walked farther down the aisle and picked up a rubber monster mask. “Now this is cool,” he said.
George looked at the mask. It had rubber nails jammed into the neck, big bulging eyes, and blood dripping down the sides. It was scary.
But not nearly as scary as what was suddenly happening in the bottom of George’s belly. There was something really frightening going on down there. Bubbles. Hundreds of them. And they were bouncing around madly.
George gulped. Those weren’t ordinary, weak, wimpy bubbles. They were strong, crazy bubbles. Bubbles that kickboxed his kidneys and boomeranged from his bladder. Bubbles that were threatening to burst out of him at any moment, and . . .
Just then, George let out a powerful burp. A super burp. A burp so loud, and so strong, it knocked the rubber mask right out of Alex’s hands.
“Dude! No!” Alex shouted.
Dude! Yes! The magical super burp had escaped. And now, whatever the burp wanted to do, George had to do.
The burp wanted to eat some candy corn. So the next thing George knew, his feet were running back over to the candy aisle. His hands reached out, grabbed a big bag of candy corn, ripped it open, and started pouring the orange-and-yellow candies into his mouth.
“Kid, what are you doing?” one of the store’s employees shouted at him.
Then he called across the store to George’s mom. “Lady, is this your kid?”
George’s mother turned around. “Oh no. Not again!” she cried out. Her cheeks got all red. “George! Stop that right now!”
George wanted to stop. He really did. He didn’t even like candy corn. But the super burp loved candy corn.
“Lady, you’re going to have to pay for that candy,” the employee said.
“George, get out of the candy aisle this instant!” his mother yelled.
For once, the burp let George do what he was told. George bolted back toward the costume aisle.
A few older girls were standing there, buying face paint. George pushed them aside and grabbed a green rubber mask with bulging eyes and snakes for hair.
“Can’t you say excuse me?” one of the girls demanded.
George wanted to say excuse me. But he couldn’t. The burp never said excuse me for anything.
Instead, George threw on the mask and started shaking his head. The rubbery snakes wiggled all around.
“Hiss! Hiss!” George’s mouth said.
One of the older girls shuddered. “I hate snakes,” she told her friend. “Even fake ones.”
“Snakeman bites!” George said.
The girls grabbed packets of face paint and hurried out of the aisle.
George’s mother came running over. “Put that mask back on the shelf. NOW!”
George stared at his mom. Her face had gone from red to purple. She looked like her head might explode.
“And tie your shoelace,” George’s mom continued. “You’re going to fall.”
“Hissssss!” George replied.
A little boy who had been looking at a Superman costume started to cry. “SNAKES! That monster’s scary!”
The boy’s mother turned to George’s mom. “You need to control your son!” she told her.
“George!” his mother shouted. “NO MORE WARNINGS. Stop what you’re doing this instant.” She reached out and tried to grab him. But George was fast. He began to run down the aisle.
George tripped over his shoelace and landed on his belly. Quickly, he flipped over onto his back. His arms and legs waved crazily in the air. He looked like an upside-down crab. Well, an upside-down crab with a scary snake-haired mask on its head.
George yanked off his sneakers and waved his stinky feet in the air. “Trick or treat! Smell my feet!” he shouted.
The little boy cried harder.
The smell of stinky feet spread through the store.
Pop! Just then George felt something burst in the bottom of his belly. All the air rushed out of him. The super burp was gone.
But George was still there, with the mask on his head, and his feet in the air. Quickly he sat up, whipped off the mask, and looked around. No one looked happy. Even Alex was shaking his head.
“Dude, your feet smell,” Alex said.
George opened his mouth to say, “I’m sorry.” And that’s exactly what came out.
“George, get up,” his mom demanded. “And put your shoes back on. We’re going home. We’ll talk about this later.”
George frowned. He was in trouble. Again.
Stupid super burp. It was all tricks and no treat.
“How much trouble are you in?” Alex asked George over the phone later that afternoon.
“My mom’s pretty angry,” George admitted. “I had to pay her back for the candy I ate at the store. And then she made me clean out the garage as a punishment. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend Sunday afternoon.”
“It could have been worse,” Alex pointed out. “The burp really made you go out of control.”
“I hate burps,” George groaned. “More than anything.”
“I know,” Alex said, trying to sound as if he understood. But how could he? George was the only kid in town who was bugged by burps. Oh sure, other kids burped sometimes. But nobody burped quite the way George did.
It all started when George and his family first arrived in Beaver Brook. George’s dad was in the army, so the family moved around a lot. George knew that first days at school could be pretty rotten. But this first day was the most rotten.
In his old school, George had been the class clown. He was always pulling pranks and making jokes. But George had promised himself that things were going to be different at Edith B. Sugarman Elementary School. He was turning over a new leaf. No more pranks. No more whoopee cushions or spitballs shot through straws. No more bunny ears behind people’s heads. No more goofing on teachers when their backs were turned.
Of course, being the non-funny new kid in school didn’t exactly make him popular. And as he left school that first day, the only friend George had was the same one he walked in with: Me, myself, and I.
That night, George’s parents took him out to Ernie’s Ice Cream Emporium. While they were sitting outside and George was finishing his root beer float, a shooting star flashed across the sky. So George made a wish.
I want to make kids laugh—but not get into trouble.
Unfortunately, the star was gone before George could finish the wish. So only half came true—the first half.