Chapter 2: Tapping on That Jim's Head
After the party, me and my other bestest friend rode home on the bus.
Her name is Grace.
Me and that Grace take turns sitting next to the window.
That is good sports of us, I think.
Except for sometimes we forget whose turn it is.
Then we have to settle it with our fists.
This time, it was that Grace's turn to sit next to the window.
"Guess what? I don't even care if you sit there today," I told her. "'Cause eating all that cake made me in a happy mood."
That Grace smiled.
"Me, too," she said. "Eating that cake made me in a happy mood, too."
"Yeah, only you can't be as happy as me," I explained. "'Cause I had two cakes. And you just had one."
That Grace did a frown.
"That's okay, Grace. Don't be upset," I said. "'Cause when I have my birthday, I will invite you to my house. And you can have two cakes, too."
"Oh boy!" she said.
"I know it is oh boy," I said back. "Plus also you will get your very own paper cup with M&M's in it."
"Ooo! Yum! I love M&M's," said that Grace.
"Me too. I love M&M's, too," I said. "On account of the chocolate doesn't melt on your hands. Just the colors melt on your hands and that's all."
I smiled real big.
""And here's another good thing, Grace. When you come to my party, you will get your very own party hat. And we will play Twister. Plus also we play that game where you shout Bingo. Only I keep on forgetting the name of that one."
Just then, a meanie boy named Jim jumped up from his seat.
"BINGO, stupid!" he shouted. "Its name is BINGO! What a MORON! Who would even want to come to a stupid party like yours?"
He made his voice real loud. So everybody could hear.
"At my house I have cool birthday parties. Like last year my party was named Clowning Around. And we had two clowns from the circus. And they made balloon animals and did magic tricks."
I leaned way close to his face.
"So?" I said. "I don't even like clowns. Clowns are not normal people. Plus my very own Grampa Frank Miller can make balloon animals, too. Except for they all look like wiener dogs. Only he's working on it."
That Jim wasn't even listening to me. He just kept on talking about his parties.
"This year my party is named Old MacDonald's Farm. And a real farmer is bringing a petting zoo right to my front yard. And he's going to bring a lamb, and a goat, and a burro, and some rabbits! And he's also bringing a real live pony for us to ride."
I put my hands on my waist.
"Yeah, well too bad for you," I said. "'Cause I saw all about ponies on TV. And ponies buck you off their backs. And then they stomple you into the ground and kill you to death. And so I wouldn't even come to your stupid dumb party in a jillion billion years."
"Good!" hollered that Jim. "I'm glad! 'Cause my birthday is this coming Saturday! And tomorrow I'm bringing invitations to every single person in Room Nine! Only not to you! You're the only one in the whole class I'm not bringing an invitation to! So there!"
Then he did a big HAH! right in my face.
And he sat back down in his seat.
Meanwhile, I just kept on standing and standing there.
'Cause something had gone a little bit wrong here, I think.
I tapped on his head.
"Yeah, only here's the thing," I said. "I didn't actually know you were having a party on Saturday. And so, good news...I think I can make it."
"No!" shouted that meanie boy. "You're not coming! Now go away!"
I tapped on him again.
"Yeah, only I was just kidding about the ponies," I said. "They hardly even stomple you probably."
"I don't care! Stop bothering me!" he shouted.
I stood on my tippy-toes and looked at his head.
"Love your hair today," I said.
That Jim swatted at me.
"Get away from me!" he hollered. "You're not coming to my party! And that's final!"
Just then a big lump came in my throat.
A big lump is what comes before crying.
It hurt to swallow.
I sat down and hided my face in my sweater.
"Darn it," I said. "'Cause I think I really would have enjoyed myself at that thing."
Then my bestest friend named Grace put her arm around me.
And she patted me real gentle.
And she let me sit next to the window.
From the Trade Paperback edition.