March 30, 2018

D is for Danny

Hi Grandma,
        Well, I’m afraid your advice didn’t work.  Not even a little bit.  See, in computer lab today my partner was Brandon, and he was being a total idiot jerk and driving me crazy.  He kept pinching me and threatening to beat me up after school, while John and Madison laughed from the next computer station.  Then I remembered what you said about your cat Napoleon and police officers and all, and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to tame Brandon.  Turns out I was wrong and it was a horrible idea, but of course I didn’t know that until afterwards.  But it wasn’t my fault, Grandma, I did everything you said.  I approached him softly and gently.  When it was his turn at the computer I spoke in a non-threatening voice, made no sudden moves, and held out my hands so he could see I had no weapons.  I offered him some Swedish fish, left them out on the table and stepped away from them, so as not to scare him.  When it was time to change places at the computer I crept forward slowly and warned him what I was doing so he wouldn’t be startled and turn defensive.
        At first I thought it was working because he stopped pinching me and started staring at me with his mouth hanging open.  But that didn’t last very long before he said, “What the heck is wrong with you?”  And then he said, “Hey John, are you watching Dan?  He’s either totally psycho, or he’s possessed.”  John said, “So what’s new about that?  This is weenie Danielle we’re talking about.”  Brandon laughed, but sort of nervously.  Then I remembered your advice about the music soothing the savage bully, so I started humming something soothing – “Twinkle twinkle little star” was the first thing that occurred to me.  Brandon began to back away from me.  I smiled reassuringly and came forward slowly, my hands out, murmuring, “Don’t worry, it’s okay, Brandon.  I won’t hurt you.”  But he just backed up even faster - so fast he fell backwards over a chair and up against a table.  That didn’t stop him, he kept scuttling backwards like he was in a panic, going right under the table until he was up against the wall.  By then the teacher asked what was going on and Brandon said from under the table, “Ms Mertle, Dan’s acting all weird!”
        Ms Mertle said, “Dan and Brandon, you can both settle down and get back to work.”  Well, Brandon came back over reluctantly, and we sat down at the computer together again, but he kept looking at me as if I was about to bite him.  So I began humming again, very quietly.  At that Brandon leapt up, grabbed his chair, and held it out between us.  “Don’t come any closer, man!  I mean it!” he said.
        I said again, “It’s okay!  Don’t be afraid.  I mean you no harm!”  But Ms Mertle said, “Brandon and Dan, if I have to talk to you two again you’ll both be coming after school.”  Brandon squealed, “No, Ms Mertle!  Please!  Don’t make me stay after with him!  He’s freaky!”  She asked me what I was doing to him and I said I wasn’t doing anything, just trying to soothe him because he was obviously stressed out.  So Brandon whimpered, “I’m stressed out because Dan’s gone all wacked out.  I think he wants to eat my brains or something!”  John said “Why would anyone want to eat your brains, Brandon?” which was actually pretty funny, but I didn’t laugh because I was still trying to tame him, and you said taming is all
about earning trust.  I just sang very softly and sweetly, “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky...” and Brandon shrieked, dropped the chair, and vaulted over Ms Mertle’s desk to crouch behind her.  Needless to say, we got detention.

        Danny Hasenfuss from The Bad Advice of Grandma Hasenfuss, an epistolary tall tale for middle grade readers.  More information here, or “Look inside” at Amazon.

        This is the last post of the month and therefore should be Words of the Month, which is why it’s perfect that today features Danny Hasenfuss, as he is a boy who loves his vocabulary.  He always gets 100% on his weekly vocabulary quizzes (except when being sabotaged by bullies), and he sends his Grandma his vocabulary list each week to savor.  Some of his choice vocab words include calumnies, abominable, brandish, skulk, oblivious, occasion, scuttle, bombardment, solicitous, and benefactor.  (Can you spot which vocabulary word he used in this letter?)  To make sure
readers are appropriately forewarned, printed on the cover of the book is the urgent, “WARNING!  This book includes exciting vocabulary up to and including floccinaucinihilipilification!” 

[Picture:  Danny writing email, illustration by AEGN, 2010.]

A-Z Challenge, all entries for the letter D.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Ha! I think grandma's advice worked fine. The bully cracked and stopped bothering him.