3123 CR 2407 Rusk, TX 75875
|TRADER WOOLY & THE TERRORIST|
Read the excerpt below
Trader Wooly has a crush on the new girl in his class. The only problem is, she's a terrorist planning to blow up the school.
Will he save her?
Reading Level 5th grade and up.
Published by Eakin Press
Terrorists were a long way from anyone's mind that
day in the school cafeteria when Arty Sue Braggston al-
most drowned in her vegetable soup.
"Honestly, John Wooly," she scolded, and dumped half a
shaker of salt into the big bowl of blood-red broth on
her tray, "if you don't straighten up, you are going to be in the seventh grade
for the rest of your life." She slammed
down the salt shaker and slurped a spoonful of the lumpy liquid. "You're not in
middle school anymore. This is junior high school, and you're going to have to
really get with it and study. What is that you're reading, anyway?"
She leaned across the table and turned up her nose. "I'll bet that hasn't got a
thing to do with school. It's full of
pictures of stupid old toy trains. How many times have I told you it's . . ."
Arty Sue was about the only person at Munich American
Junior High School who called John T. Wooly "John."
Everyone else just called him "Trader," because trading things was what he did
best and most. He was a small
and wiry boy with rather thick glasses that made his eyes look bigger than they
really were. His hair was rarely
combed, his clothes never seemed to fit quite right, and he always seemed to be
At that moment, Trader Wooly had his nose in a
large picture book and was trying very hard to ignore Arty Sue.
When vegetable soup spattered across the page he was reading, he finally looked
up and saw that Arty Sue's head,
all except for her ears and pigtails, was in the soup bowl while most of her
soup was on the table.
"Come on, Arty Sue!" he said sarcastically. "Use your
"I think she fainted," his friend Wes McCaully said
from beside him.
"You never know—she'll do anything for attention,"
Trader answered and then noticed little air bubbles coming up around her ears.
"Uh-oh, I think she's drowning!" Both boys quickly reached across the
table. Each of them
grabbed a pigtail and lifted Arty Sue's head up out of the soup just as several
girls at the next table started screaming.
"Wow, she's out like a light!"
"Gross!" Trader groaned. "She looks even gunkier than
usual." Soup was dripping from her turned-up nose, and
a half-dozen squashed peas stuck to her cheeks like green pimples. Diced carrots
and green beans were trapped be-
hind her glasses, and bits of celery were tangled in her hair.
Arty Sue coughed suddenly, choked on a green bean, and
opened her eyes to see nothing but carrots. Very slowly, she reached up and
removed her glasses, wiped the assorted vegetables from her eyes, and looked
down at her dress.
"Aaaeeeh! Look at me!" she screamed at the top of her
lungs. By this time, everyone in the cafeteria was
doing just that. There was a lot of yelling and laughing, and about half of the
seventh-graders were climbing up
onto the tables for a better look. All of the teachers on lunchroom duty were
running toward Arty Sue.
"She was talking pretty fast. Maybe she hyperventilated
or something," Trader told Coach Macintosh, who arrived first after easily
outrunning two English teachers and the librarian.
The coach just frowned and pointed a suspicious finger
at Trader and Wes. "You two just sit down and wait
for the bell," he growled and started leading the soup stained Arty Sue off
toward the nurse's office.
Trader and Wes watched them go and sat down again.
"What a mess," Trader said as he tried to wipe the soup
stains off his book.
Except for the spilled soup and the near riot in the
cafeteria, Munich American Junior High School did not
look much different from a school in any city of the United States. The only
real difference was that this school was
located in West Germany, just outside the city of Munich. Most of the
students had fathers or mothers who were in
either the United States Army or Air Force. Trader's mother was an army nurse
and Wes's father was captain
of a tank company. Arty Sue's father was the commanding general, and she always
made sure everyone knew it.
Wes had lived in Munich for almost a year and a half.
Up until last spring, when he met Trader, he had not
liked living in Germany all that much. He soon found that Trader knew all the
really neat places to go and things
to do. Together they had explored old tunnels in search of war souvenirs and
even found an abandoned German
Of course, Trader had also gotten them both into a
great deal of trouble and, along with Arty Sue, they had
almost been killed last spring.
Trader had lived in Munich for almost five years. This
was unusual since most families stayed in Germany for
only three years before being transferred back to "the States." That was a
normal tour of duty, but Trader's
mother liked living in Germany enough to extend her tour for another three
"That was really weird about Arty Sue," Wes said
thoughtfully as he ate the last of his sandwich. "She was
just talking and . . . zap! Out like a light."
Arty Sue, everything is weird."
The bell rang just as Trader was wiping vegetable soup
off the salt shaker. A girl he had never seen before
stepped suddenly in front of him and said, "May I have that, please?"
She wore jeans and a gray sweater. Her hair was very
short and reddish-brown — the same color as the autumn
leaves which were falling outside, Trader thought. He got lost somewhere in her
green eyes and forgot to answer.
"I need the salt shaker," the girl said again, as if
she was not used to asking for anything twice. She held out
her hand and Trader noticed a large jeweled ring on one finger.
"Oh . . . yeah, sure," he stammered, at last taking his
eyes off her and noticing the salt shaker in his hand.
She took it and started to go just as he finally got
his tongue working. "Uh, hi ... I'm Trader . . ."
For a moment, she hesitated. "An odd name," she said.
"Uh, yeah . . . well it's not my real name, of course,
they just call me that because I trade stuff a lot and . . .
well . . . what's—?" The girl had turned her back and was walking away.
"Oh, heck!" Trader said to himself and looked at Wes.
"Wow! Who is she?"
"Some new girl," Wes shrugged and picked up his
lunchbox. "Supposed to be a contessa or something. I heard
she just escaped with her family from some communist country. Come on, get your
books. We're late for class."
Trader still looked a little dopey. "Yeah, right," he
mumbled. "What's her name?"
"Katrin, I think."
"Katrin? Katrin what?"
"I don't know, I just heard some guys talking. Now come
on. If you're late for class one more time, Arty Sue
is gonna be right—you will be in the seventh grade for the rest of your life!"
Trader remained in a daze as he picked up his backpack,
tucked his picture book under his arm, and then
tripped over a chair.
"What were you reading about, anyway?" Wes asked as he
helped him up and they started down the hall.
"Huh? Oh, toy trains. What's a contessa?"
"I don't know — some kind of royalty or something."
"Sorta like a princess, maybe?" Trader asked dreamily
as he stopped at his locker and fumbled with his combination lock.
"I think it means her mother is a countess, but I'm not
even sure what that is," Wes answered.
"You think she lives around here?"
"Are you kidding? She's probably got some big mansion
somewhere, or a castle." Again, Wes tried to change
the subject. "So why are you reading about trains? I didn't know you were into
stuff like that."
The locker door came open and Trader put his book
inside. "I'm not—not exactly. I found part of one. According to this book, it's
real old, made back about 1940. If I can find the rest of it, it'll be
good to trade for something."
Wes watched as Trader removed a bundle from his locker
shelf. He recognized that certain gleam in his friend's
eyes; Trader got it every time he found something really good. Inside was a
rather large model of a steam locomotive. It appeared to be made mostly of heavy
brass, which had now turned green with age. There was a lot of dirt
between the drive wheels and inside the tiny cab. The whistle was bent, and some
of the handrails were gone,
but bits of faded gray and blue paint still clung here and there. It was plain
to see that it once had been a very
well-built and expensive model.
"It's neat," Wes said and then gave Trader a suspicious
look. "And just where did you find this?"
Trader Wooly was never one to carelessly give away any
of his trade secrets. He looked both ways to be sure no one was listening and
then lowered his voice. "Down at that old mansion on the river."
Wes had figured it was someplace like that. "You've
been going there?" he whispered loudly. "You're crazy!
That place is off-limits. Have you forgotten how much trouble you'll be in if
you get caught messing around any-
where like that again?"
"This is different. There's nothing dangerous
there—it's just a cool place to go. The house was all bombed out
in the war, but there's a big old spooky garden and—"
"And if Arty Sue ever finds out, she'll go running
straight to her father, and then you're history, man."
"Right," Trader agreed as he put the model back in his
locker and closed the door. "So don't tell her. I won't
tell her, and she'll never know. Right?"
That seemed simple enough, but Wes knew very well that
was not the way things usually worked when Trader
Wooly was involved.
"Okay," Wes warned, "but you're gonna get in trouble."
The afternoon periods dragged by with the speed of a
half-squashed caterpillar. Trader could not seem to think
about anything except the girl with the reddish-brown hair. For Trader, this was
highly unusual. Ever since the
very first day of fourth grade, when Arty Sue had jabbed him in the behind with
a lead pencil and it got infected,
he had avoided girls. He was certain that they were dangerous and always got him
into even more trouble than
he could possibly get into by himself. Arty Sue was living proof of that.
So why, Trader kept wondering, was he thinking about
this new girl? He hardly knew her name and she certainly had not acted friendly.
The final bell rang long before he had anything figured out.
Outside at the bicycle rack, Wes was just loading up
his books when Trader walked up. "Since tomorrow's Saturday, I thought I'd go do
a little exploring. You want to come with me?" Trader asked casually.
"Exploring? Where?" Wes was suspicious.
Trader shrugged. "Oh, maybe down by the river
"Somewhere like the old mansion where you found the
"Yeah, if you want to go there, I guess it's all
right," Trader answered, trying to sound like it was all Wes's
Wes was still thinking about it when Trader noticed
that a long, black limousine had pulled up in front of the
school. A chauffeur in a dark suit was holding the door open as the new girl got
into the back seat.
"Look, there she is again!" he almost shouted in Wes's
ear. He waved at the tinted windows as the limousine
drove past, and hoped the girl inside could see him.