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Killer Lunch Lady
By Elise Leonard
AladdinCopyright © 2007 Elise Leonard
All right reserved.
"I think Mrs. Holt is a killer," Mike said.
"Me too." Keith said. He had a bag lunch, but he was looking at my food.
"Yeah," I agreed. "I know what you mean."
I looked down at my tray. Big mistake. It's best not to look at it. At least not
Lunch food. It was better just to eat it. You know, with your eyes closed.
When you looked at it, you wouldn't be hungry anymore. Any idiot knows that.
School lunch food was most edible when you had a cold. Then you couldn't smell
it. Or really taste it. That's when it tasted best.
Too bad I didn't have a cold.
"What is this?" I asked.
I poked at my lunch.
It didn't move, so that was a good thing. The only problem was that I didn't
think it should be brown. Whatever it was.
"I'm not talking about the food," Mike said.
"What? You like this stuff?" I asked as I poked at it again. It
still didn't move.
"Of course I don't like it, Al!" Mike said. "Do I look like I don't have
We all stared at Mike.
"You look like you don't have a brain," Roshni said.
Roshni always cracked on people. No one took it to heart.
"Can you look like you don't have a brain?" Keithasked. "I mean, that's
not something you can really see."
"At least not yours," Roshni said back to Keith.
Things were getting out of hand. I had to change the subject.
"I think it's meat loaf," I said.
"My brain?" Keith asked.
I wanted to say something to Keith, but knew that one Roshni in the bunch was
Before Roshni could answer Keith, I spoke up. "No, the brown stuff. I think it's
"Would you forget about the brown stuff?" Roshni said to me. "For all we know,
it's poop on a plate."
Mike threw his fork down. "Okay. Now I can't eat it. Thanks a lot!"
"You were going to eat it?" Roshni asked Mike.
"I'm so hungry, I was going to try."
"Here. Take my corn bread," Keith said. He held out a square of corn bread.
"Your Mom's famous corn bread?" Mike asked.
"Thanks!" Mike said as he snatched the corn bread out of Keith's hand. He
started eating it like he was on Survivor or something and hadn't eaten
in days. "God, this is good," he said to Keith. He was taking huge bites.
Just then, four tables over, everyone started screaming.
A crowd formed, and Roshni ran over there.
Keith, Mike, and I stayed seated. We figured we'd wait until Roshni came back.
We knew he'd tell us everything.
"That idiot -- Chris Vale -- shoved another Tater Top up his nose," Roshni said
as he came back.
We rolled our eyes.
"Yeah, what else is new?" I said.
Chris Vale shoved a Tater Top up his nose at least two times a week. We
think he did it to get the attention of some girl. But all he got was Mrs. Holt
jumping over the lunch counter.
Mrs. Holt is the lunch lady. She's a real weirdo. And of course, she can't cook.
That's why the school hired her.
Have you ever met a lunch lady who could cook?
I can see their interviews. The school principal asks a future lunch lady to
bring in a sample of her cooking. If it's totally disgusting, she gets hired. If
her food is somewhere near good, she's probably told to go to a restaurant. "No
use wasting your skills on these kids," the principal probably says.
"You know, I've never had a school lunch that was any good. In all my
years of school," I said. I poked at the brown stuff some more.
"Yeah, me neither," Keith said. "That's why I 'bring.'"
"Can you guys forget about the food for a minute?" Mike said.
He looked worried. Or upset. I couldn't tell which.
But Keith hadn't noticed.
"We're at lunch, man. How can we forget about food?" Keith asked Mike.
"Because there are other things to worry about," Mike said.
"Like what?" I asked.
"Like, I think our lunch lady really is a killer," Mike said.
We all looked at Mike. Then we looked at Mrs. Holt.
She was walking around the lunchroom. Her eyes were wild and shifty. And she
"Okay. I'll bite," I said as I turned back to Mike.
"Yeah, me too," Keith said. "Why do you think she's a killer?"
"She's always doing stuff that's not, you know, very lunch ladyish," Mike
"She's weird, but that doesn't make her a killer," Roshni said.
"Yeah, if 'being weird' made you a killer, then Chris Vale would be a serial
killer," I said.
"You mean a Tater Tot killer," Keith said.
"What?" Roshni asked Keith.
"You know. He's not a cereal killer. He's a Tater Tot killer,"
Keith said. Then he laughed.
He was the only one who laughed.
"You really are an idiot," Roshni said to Keith.
"Like take now," Mike said. "Look at her. What is she doing?" He got us
back on topic. That was good.
She was waving some kind of metal box thing around.
Copyright © by Elise Leonard, 2007
Excerpted from Killer Lunch Lady by Elise Leonard Copyright © 2007 by Elise Leonard. Excerpted by permission.
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