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The Snake Charmerís Secret
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-258-5
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 101 Pages
Published: June 2005

From inside the flap

Andrew Small has won two transatlantic tickets to attend a strange annual ritual held in CooperHill, England called RUNNING The CHEESE. Unknown to him and his brother Michael, it is the start of another adventure that dates back to the time of the Sepoy Mutiny in India in 1857 where a distant relative lost his life with hundreds of other British soldiers in the rebellion while stationed at Cawnpore. But before he died he entrusted a letter that would insure his son would inherit his estate and become the next lord of MacDonald Manor. The letter was never delivered; the son and his descendents never had the opportunity of gaining what was rightfully theirs until the iIncredible Smalls become involved with the mystery of the Snake Charmerís Secret.

The Snake Charmerís Secret (Excerpt)

Prelude: Sour Worms, Slime Balls & Big Feet

"Billy Meeker, you?re the most disorganized person in the world. If you don?t get out of bed, wash up, dress and get downstairs in five minutes, you?ll miss your breakfast and make us late for the dentist."

My mother is angry. Sheís always pestering me. So I?m not at my best in the morning, or even in the afternoon. I force myself out of bed. My bedroom floor is covered in books, dirty clothes, games and odds and ends. I trip over my running shoes and coming crashing down onto my bedside table.

"Whatís going on up there?" my mother shouts.

"Nothing, I?ll be right down!" My knee is skinned and my funnybone is playing ?Paralyzing Fool?. I can?t help it if my feet are too big.

The drive downtown to the dentist is an endless lecture. "Your shirt doesn?t match your socks. Your pants need pressing. Is that a ketchup stain? Really Billy, you?ve got to pay more attention to deportment. You?ve become a grub. People will think you?re a slime ball."

I?ve heard it all before. I?m not too worried. Most of my friends dress like me. Itís the comfort look. Everything is chosen for comfort, not for style. Colour isn?t too important. The ketchup stain I had forgotten about. A bit of spit and some elbow grease makes most of it disappear.

The carís muffler announces to the world that the Meeker vehicle is a candidate for the wreckers. I try to make myself disappear as people turn and see us roar past in a cloud of blue choking smoke and deafening noise.

"Pull over!" a motorcycle patrolman shouts to my mother, trying to be heard over the muffler.

"Can I see your license? Do you know that your car can be impounded? Thereís a law against excessive noise. Your car will also fail the pollution test. It looks like your rings are going."

"I know, officer, but I?ve really not had the time to take it to the garage. Itís like driving a tank."

"This is a provisional ticket. If you get the car fixed within 48 hours the $97 fine can be voided. Bring the mechanicís report to the precinct and ask for Officer Brown. Good day Ma?am!"

My mother swears under her breath, I?m shocked. I?ve gotten into the habit and sometimes the words come out like the blue smoke enveloping our car, but my mother hardly ever swears. She notices my look of disbelief.

My clothes smell of exhaust and I can barely breathe. I sit in the dentist chair and wait, hoping I?ll air out before Dr. Wargen comes in.

I place my chewing gum behind my left ear moments before he arrives.

"Your momís still driving the clunker I see." He opens the window. " If you don?t stop growing I?ll have to get an extra long chair. You must have grown 8 inches in six months. How are your teeth? Are you brushing regularly? Last time your pockets were full of candies. You know all that sugar is not good. You don?t want your teeth to rot out at the age of thirteen!"

Dr. Wargen gives me a clean bill. "Your teeth are fine. Now that all your baby teeth are gone, make sure you keep brushing."

Mom drives me to school.

"I?ll get out here!" I said.

"But itís two more blocks?"

"Thatís OK. I don?t want to pollute the school."

I think my mom knew I didn?t want to be embarrassed by the smoking, noise machine.

"Well, son, see you tonight. Remember our talk. Try not to use any profanity. I know itís popular and part of everyday living, but it doesn?t have to be. If you speak properly people notice."

"I promise I?ll try. I?ll use replacement words like brown sugar, or sour worms to clean up my act. I?ll still get my frustrations out. And it won?t sound so bad."

"Do you have your permission slip?" she asks.

"Yes, itís right here. Thanks Mom."

I go to my locker and get my books. From the top shelf I retrieve a small paper bag. I?m starving. I missed breakfast. I reach in and take out sour worms, slime balls and big feet.

"Thank ?goodness? for candies," I say out loud. "Good thing I?ve got a sweet tooth and a sweet disposition."

The woman at the desk in front of the class finished reading the story aloud then took off her glasses.

"Class, this story is by one of our students here in Spoonerville Public and it has been chosen to represent our school in the District Public School Writing Contest. Not only does it show a certain skill by the way the writer has molded the mood of the protagonist but that skill is one many writers would like to have. It makes us all believe that itís just about a boy who perhaps should not have gotten out of bed."

There was laughter in the class. "I feel that way all the time," Chris Ribbit said.

The children in the class had enjoyed the story and the way the author had manipulated the words and left clues to the various types of candy."

"Can you tell us who wrote it? "Annette Ashwin, the best student in English, asked.

"Yes I can; it is going to be announced shortly over the PA system so I don?t think it needs to be kept a secret any longer. It may surprise many of you. Michael Small congratulations! You have exceeded all my expectations. Speaking for our school and myself, I can say we are very proud of you. Keep up the good work. I hope you win first prize."

The surprised looks on the faces of Michaelís fellow students showed that he, the worst student in English, had certainly amazed them.