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It Takes Guts!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys, girls, dogs, and upper marsupials ... the story I'm about to tell you is so frightening that I can't recommend it to the faint of heart, pregnant mothers, children under 46" tall, or the easily spooked. If you're scared of bats, rats, or old hippies, then this tale is definitely not for you.
So turn the page if you think you've got the guts. Otherwise, BEWARE! Children, grab your mammas! Elderly, take your heart medication! Prepare yourselves for the ultimate in raw terror....
Don't get scared yet! That's not a monster. It's just Grampa. And that goop in his hand? Those aren't the brains of some poor kid....
Those are pumpkin guts. You see, it was Halloween night and Grampa was having his annual jack-o'-lantern carving contest. That's me, Wiley, next to Grampa and over there, that's Merle the cat torturing a june bug.
"WILEY, MY BOY!" said Grampa, pausing to put on a record. "The secret to an expertly carved pumpkin is to set the proper atmosphere. For tonight's listening pleasure I have selected "The Sound of Mucus" followed by "Old MacDonald Had One Arm and Ninety-nine Buckets of Blood on the Wall."
"Two of my favorites!" I replied.
Alas, it was my turn to gut the next victim.
"YUCK!" I grimaced as the stringy orange goop squished between my fingers.
"Kinda looks like one of your Gramma's casseroles, huh?" Grampa joked.
"I HEARD THAT!" yelled Gramma from the kitchen. "There'll be no Halloween snack treats for you if you keep that up!"
Gramma's casseroles may taste like pumpkin innards, but her Halloween snack treats are par excellence (that's French for "pretty darn good"). My favorite is her Screaming Skull popcorn balls with marshmallow brains inside.
At the awards ceremony, my one-eyed pirate was a hit, and Merle the cat presented a simple yet effective piece. Of course, we were no match for Grampa, whose carving of a Mediterranean village clutched first prize—not surprising since he was also the only judge!
"I call it Pompeii Before the Eruption," bragged Grampa.
"Show off," I muttered.
Just Kickin' It
Next on the agenda was some serious rest and relaxation. Grampa and I kicked back, turned on the tube, and snacked on some black cherry soda and Pork Cracklins (that's deep-fried pig skin in layman's terms).
"OLD MAN!" yelled Gramma from the kitchen. "You better not get any pork crumbs on my new chair!"
"IT'S ALL RIGHT, GRANNY!" Grampa replied. "Merle's licking them off the upholstery!"
"SHHHHHH!" I shushed. "The All-Night Mega Monster Scare-a-thon is about to begin!"
"Good evening, kiddos! I'm Claud Bones, your horrible horror host! On tonight's menu we have three tasty tales of terror: Dracula Down Under, The Nebraska Weed Whacker Nightmare, and Mayonnaise: The Motion Picture! So turn out the lights, pop some corn, and prepare for utter terror! Tonight's flicks are brought to you by Velvet Knuckles hand lotion. For smooth skin that smells like honeysuckle, it's gotta be Velvet Knuckles."
The Dracula flick started off with a bang. A beautiful girl was sprawled on a sofa as a fanged creature of the night approached. He hovered above her, ready to chomp, and then ...
some guy who's had too many chili dogs comes on chuggin' a bottle of Pepty Bizmo.
"It never fails," complained Grampa. "Just when it's getting good they gotta cut to a Pepty Bizmo commercial! It's just disgust—"
A Dream Come True
That's when it happened! A TV commercial so awesome it stopped Grampa in mid-gripe.
"Tonight only!" shouted a crazed announcer. "The Gingham County Colosseum presents Colonel Dracula's Monster Truck Spectacular! Witness over 200 monster vehicles, including the world's only vampire truck! With special musical guest eight-year-old country sensation Lil' Buckaroo and the Texaflo Supreme Unleaded Dancers! Tickets are still available!"
We stared at the TV, trembling. Pork bits fell from our mouths.
"World's only vampire truck," I said.
"Texaflo Supreme Unleaded," Grampa drooled.
"Meow," meowed Merle.
But our bliss was short-lived.
Channel 5's smarmy weatherman interrupted, "Hi, folks! Blue Norther here! I hate to ruin any trick-or-treat plans, but Channel 5's Whopper Doppler Radar has picked up an F5 tornado in the vicinity and if you've seen Robo-Shark Vs. Lava-Twister, you know that's a big one! So stay indoors, stay tuned to me, don't do anything fun whatsoever, and have a wonderful evening!"
"Grampa," I pleaded, "we've just gotta get to that truck show! I don't care if there is an F5 tornado!"
"Wiley," Grampa replied, "there are more dangerous things than an F5 tornado."
"Like your Gramma if she finds out we're going to a monster truck show in the middle of an F5 tornado!"
But it was too late. Gramma stepped in saying, "Don't you two get any harebrained ideas about going to that truck show! Didn't you hear Blue Norther? There's foul weather afoot!"
Now, Gramma's known to have a temper. You see that thing on her head? That's her anger meter, and the needle in Gramma's anger meter was starting to move into the red zone—a zone you don't wanna visit!
Grampa was torn. Sure, the idea of ridiculously souped-up monster vehicles destroying one another was hard to resist.
But was it worth risking certain death by tornado and flood?
Or, even worse, the wrath of Gramma?
I was sure Grampa would make the right and responsible decision.
So he lied to Gramma and told her we were going outside to check on the hounds. "BE BACK IN TWO HOURS!" Grampa yelled back. Gramma looked pretty, pretty miffed.
Outside, the wind was picking up and thunder rumbled. The storm was approaching! Grampa's two hounds, Esther and Chavez, were already well prepared.
On our trek to the colosseum, we saw Nate Farkle trick-or-treating with his kids.
"Storm's coming!" he warned Grampa. "Blue Norther says there could be an F5 tornado, and if you've seen Robo-Shark Vs. Lava-Twister, you know that's a big one!"
"I've napped through F5 tornadoes!" Grampa bragged.
Grampa has been known to exaggerate, but I can verify that he did nap through the Great Septic Tank Explosion of 1999.
"Wiley," said Grampa, "if we wanna make it to the truck show in time, we're gonna have to cut through those woods."
"You mean those dark, scary, wild animal–infested woods?" I asked nervously.
"Why, that's the best kind, my boy!"
"You see those things up there that look like gnarled skeleton hands reaching out for you?" asked Grampa. "Well, don't worry. They're just tree branches."
"And those slimy things moving down around your feet? Don't worry. Those are probably just snakes looking for someplace warm, like your pants leg, to curl up for the night."
"Thanks for the words of comfort," I said.
"Don't look so worried, Wiley. Everything's gonna be just fine!" said Grampa.
Boy, was he wrong.
The wind wailed!
Golf ball–sized hail pounded my head!
The Gingham County Colosseum
Finally, we crawled out from the woods—muddy, wet, and itchy. There before us was the Gingham County Colosseum—at least, I think it was the Gingham County Colosseum. Something about it just didn't seem right.
Inside, the place was a madhouse, stuffed to the brim with freaky people.
"Grampa," I said, "all these fans look pretty weird."
"It's Halloween, Wiley!" said Grampa. "Everyone's wearing costumes ... or just really ugly."
Colonel Dracula stepped out in a black suede cape and plaid shirt and greeted the crowd in a funny accent.
"Velcome to the show, my vonderful friends! Tonight you vill see the most terrifying trucks ever to prowl the streets of Gingham County! But first, let me introduce our opening act!"
That's when Drac, accompanied by the Texaflo Supreme Unleaded Dancers, broke into a showstopping rendition of the disco classic "I Vill Survive."
Excerpted from The Monster Book of Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs. Copyright © 2013 Kirk Scroggs. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted May 7, 2013
Kirk Scroggs cracks me up. I loved his Muppet Books and this Creature Features book is just as good.
Perfect for kids, and there are jokes in there for adults, too! This should totally be a movie or something.
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