Dogs dont tell jokes, p.1
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       Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, p.1

         Part #2 of Someday Angeline series by Louis Sachar
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Dogs Don't Tell Jokes


  For more than forty years, Yearling has been the leading name in classic and award-winning literature for young readers.

  Yearling books feature children’s favorite authors and characters, providing dynamic stories of adventure, humor, history, mystery, and fantasy.

  Trust Yearling paperbacks to entertain, inspire, and promote the love of reading in all children.

  OTHER YEARLING BOOKS YOU WILL ENJOY

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  Louis Sachar

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  TROUT AND ME, Susan Shreve

  CRASH, Jerry Spinelli

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  Published by Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books a division of Random House, Inc., New York

  Text copyright © 1991 by Louis Sachar

  Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:

  Dwarf Music: Excerpt from the lyrics of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” by Bob Dylan.

  Copyright © 1966 by Dwarf Music (renewed). All rights reserved.

  International copyright secured. Reprinted by permission.

  Random House, Inc.: Excerpt from Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.

  ™ & © 1940, renewed 1968 by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.

  Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

  Warner Bros. Inc.: Excerpt from the lyrics of “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter.

  Copyright © 1934 by Warner Bros. Inc. (renewed). All rights reserved.

  Used by permission.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. For information address Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

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  eISBN: 978-0-307-79712-4

  Reprinted by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

  v3.1

  To Ace

  I meant what I said

  And I said what I meant.…

  An elephant’s faithful

  One hundred per cent!

  —Dr. Seuss,

  Horton Hatches the Egg

  Contents

  Cover

  Other Books by This Author

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Epigraph

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  1.

  This story begins with a smile.

  It was a stupid-looking smile on a rather stupid-looking face. Maybe it was the smile that made the face look stupid. Or maybe it was the face that made the smile look stupid. It was difficult to tell because the two were rarely apart.

  It was the smile on the face of Gary Boone.

  He was in the seventh grade at Floyd Hicks Junior High School. Just about everybody there thought he was a goon. They called him Goon right to his smiling face.

  “You’re an idiot, Goon, you know that?” Paul Wattenburg said to him one morning.

  “No, as a matter of fact I didn’t,” Goon said, then laughed.

  He called himself Goon too. On the first day of school, his math teacher, Miss Langley, asked him his name and he said, “Goon.”

  “I beg your pardon,” said Miss Langley.

  “See, my name’s Gary Boone,” Gary explained, “so you take the G from Gary and the ‘oon’ from Boone, and you put them together and get ‘Goon.’ Ha. Ha.”

  Miss Langley went on to something else.

  Last year at the end of sixth grade, Gary was voted Class Clown. He took it as a great compliment. He wanted to be a stand-up comic when he grew up. “Or a sit-down comic,” he would sometimes say, “if my legs get tired.”

  Unfortunately, however, nobody who voted for him meant it as a compliment. They never laughed at his jokes. He was simply the obvious choice.

  Gary often daydreamed about being on a late-night talk show, sitting next to beautiful starlets and other celebrities, cracking jokes. Naturally, all the starlets would fall in love with him because he was so funny.

  Sometimes Miss Langley would be up on stage with him.…

  “You were his seventh-grade teacher, weren’t you?” asks David Letterman.

  “That’s right,” says Miss Langley. “But even then I knew he’d grow up to be a famous comedian. Of course, as a teacher, I never would let myself laugh at his jokes. I bit the insides of my cheeks raw to keep from laughing. He was so funny. I only wished I was fifteen years younger.”

  Miss Langley happened to be one of the most beautiful teachers ever to teach seventh-grade math. At night when Gary dreamed about her, he called her Miss Longlegs.

  He dreamed about her surprisingly often—at least once a week.

  “Hey, Goon!” said Matt Hughes. “Has anybody ever told you you’re an idiot?”

  “Yes, thank you,” said Gary. “Paul mentioned it this morning. Ha. Ha.”

  2.

  Gary wrote a story called “The Boy Who Ate Fire” for English class.

  Mrs. Carlisle was his English teacher. Someone in the class had asked how many pages the story had to be. “Whatever’s appropriate,” Mrs. Carlisle had answered.

  That was her big mistake.

  THE BOY WHO ATE FIRE

  by

  Gary W. Boone

  Once upon a time there was a boy who ate fire. He died.

  Mrs. Carlisle refused to accept the story. “It’s not a story,” she said. “It’s only one sentence.”

  “Two,” corrected Gary.

  She told him he had to rewrite the story, and that it had to be at least five pages. She said it was a good title, but it doesn’t tell what happens.

  “But that’s what happens when you eat fire,” said Gary. “You die.”

  It was supposed to be a joke.

  Mrs. Carlisle didn’t laugh.

  Someday, Gary thought, his story would be published. It would be a big thick book and cost $19.95. The Boy Who Ate Fire by Gary W Boone. Then you’d open it up and it would just have two sentences, followed by three hundred blank pages. It would be hilarious. Millions of people would buy it and put it on their coffee tables. He’d be rich.

  After English, Gary headed to math class. He’d been in junior high for almost a month, but he still found it muddling to have to change classrooms every period. At night he sometimes dreamed he couldn’t remember his schedule. He also dreamed they changed his schedule without telling him.

  They changed his locker com
bination in his dreams too. Once, he dreamed that for some odd reason he had taken off his clothes in the hallway and locked them in his locker because he thought it was his gym locker—although that didn’t exactly make sense either. He quickly realized his mistake, standing there in the hallway in his underwear—as Miss Longlegs, wearing cowboy boots and holding an umbrella over her head, walked toward him—but he couldn’t get his locker open. In fact, he couldn’t remember which locker was his.

  In real life, however, he had no problem with his locker, or in finding his way from class to class. But having to rush around changing classes all the time, he felt like he was missing something; like there was something happening that everybody in the school knew about—except him. And there was nobody he could ask. And even if there was somebody to ask, he didn’t know the question.

  “Gary, why didn’t you do the homework?” Miss Langley asked him after class.

  He was standing by her desk, wondering if she owned a pair of cowboy boots. “I didn’t know about it,” he said.

  “You didn’t know about it? How could you not know about it?”

  He shrugged. “There are a lot of things I don’t know about. In fact, there are probably more things I don’t know about than I do know about.” He laughed.

  Miss Langley stared at him. “It was on the board,” she said slowly and distinctly, like she was talking to an idiot.

  “Where?”

  “Where it always is,” said Miss Langley. “In the box in the upper right-hand corner.”

  Gary looked at the blackboard. There was a section blocked off which contained the day’s homework assignment.

  “I’ve put the homework there every day since the first day of school,” said Miss Langley. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know that.”

  He didn’t tell her.

  Miss Langley stared at him in disbelief. “Have your eyes ever been checked?” she asked.

  “No,” said Gary. “They’ve always been brown.”

  In one of his more bizarre daydreams Gary imagined himself as some kind of superhero who caught criminals by telling them jokes. The crooks would laugh so hard they’d fall down.

  SUPERGOON CATCHES BANK ROBBERS! the headline proclaims. The newspaper has a picture of the two masked men laughing hysterically on the sidewalk, while Gary is standing over them, telling one joke after another.

  Gary “Supergoon” Boone broke up a bank robbery at the First National Bank this afternoon. The two armed robbers were fleeing from the scene, when Goon shouted out a joke, causing the men to fall over in uncontrollable fits of laughter. Goon bravely continued to crack jokes, despite the guns pointed at his heart, until the police arrived. “I knew they wouldn’t shoot,” Goon said, “because then they would miss the punch line.”

  For the safety of our readers we cannot reprint any of Goon’s jokes. They are so funny they are dangerous. Besides, Supergoon might need to use them again to catch other dangerous criminals.

  Gary never cried. He laughed. The more it hurt, the more he laughed.

  Like the time he accidentally bumped into Philip Korbin, making him drop his ice cream bar in the dirt.

  “Sorry,” Gary said, with a silly grin plastered across his face.

  “You think it’s funny, Goon?” asked Philip.

  “No,” said Gary, “ha ha.”

  Philip pushed him.

  “I said I was sorry. Ha. Ha.”

  Philip pushed him again, and he fell down. He smiled at the crowd that had gathered around.

  “Pick it up!” said Philip.

  Gary picked up the ice cream bar. The vanilla ice cream was covered with dirt on all sides. “Looks good, ha ha.”

  “Eat it.”

  Gary laughed.

  “What a goon!” someone said.

  “Eat it,” said Philip.

  Gary licked the dirty ice cream. “Yum chocolate chips,” he said. “Ha. Ha.”

  “All of it,” said Philip.

  Gary brought it back to his mouth.

  Philip grabbed Gary’s hair with one hand, and his elbow with the other. He shoved the ice cream bar deep into Gary’s mouth. The stick hit against the back of his throat.

  Gary continued to laugh as ice cream dripped down his face.

  3.

  Gary had a girlfriend.

  He never told Angeline (that’s her name) she was his girlfriend. He never kissed her, except one time on the cheek when she was asleep. Angeline was only ten years old.

  But she laughed at his jokes. She didn’t just laugh. She howled. Sometimes she rolled around on the floor in hysterics.

  “You’re the funniest person in the world,” she once told him.

  “You can’t know that,” Gary said modestly. “There might be somebody in New Zealand who’s funnier.”

  “No, there isn’t,” said Angeline. “You’re the funniest. I know.”

  When Angeline spoke like that, Gary believed her. Angeline knew things. Everyone called her a genius—except Gary, because he knew she didn’t like to be called that.

  He first met Angeline when he was in the fifth grade. She was only eight years old then, but she was put in the sixth grade. She was the smartest person in his elementary school. She was smarter than the teachers.

  So if Angeline Persopolis (that’s her last name) said he was the funniest person in the world, that meant he was the funniest person in the world. It didn’t matter if nobody else laughed at his jokes.

  Now Angeline was going to the Manusec School in Nebraska, where she studied astrophysics and nuclear chemistry, then played kickball at recess.

  But sometimes, when Gary told his jokes at school, he could hear Angeline laugh a thousand miles away.

  He had gone with her to the airport. He remembered standing in the gate area along with Gus, Mr. Bone, and Angeline’s father, Abel Persopolis. Everyone was sad. Gary was afraid that Angeline’s father was going to cry.

  Gary told a joke. “Did you hear about the man who fell out of an airplane—and lived?”

  “Did he have a parachute?” asked Angeline.

  “Nope,” said Gary.

  “Did he land in a haystack or something?” asked Angeline.

  “Nope,” said Gary. “The airplane was on the ground!”

  Angeline laughed.

  “No, really,” Gary said. “There was a guy who fell out of an airplane thirty thousand feet up in the air, without a parachute, and the fall didn’t hurt him at all.”

  “Really?” asked Angeline.

  “Really,” said Gary. “He was fine the whole time he was falling. But when he stopped falling, boy, that hurt!”

  Angeline cracked up.

  Angeline’s father pointed out to Gary that it wasn’t an appropriate time and place to tell jokes about people falling out of airplanes.

  “Yes, it is,” said Gary. “That’s how you keep accidents from happening. You know how to make sure the plane doesn’t crash?”

  “How?” asked Angeline.

  “I don’t want to hear this,” said Angeline’s father.

  “It’s not a joke,” said Gary. “You just think about it crashing. You try to imagine it crashing. You daydream about it crashing. Because,” Gary concluded, “daydreams never come true.”

  As a child traveling alone, Angeline was the first to board the airplane. She started crying as soon as she went through the gateway. She heard her father calling “ ’Bye, Angelini,” but she couldn’t bear to turn around and look at him.

  It would be her first time away from her father. Her mother had died when she was only three.

  A stewardess took her hand and led her to her seat.

  She didn’t want to go to the Manusec School. She wished people didn’t think she was so smart.

  “My name is Paula,” said the stewardess as Angeline sat down. “If there’s anything you want, just let me know.”

  Angeline shook her head, then wiped her face with the back of her hand. She stared out the window. There was nothing she w
anted. Except … “Paula!” she called.

  The stewardess came back to her.

  “Do you know any good jokes?” asked Angeline.

  4.

  Floyd Hicks Junior High School was named after Floyd Hicks, a very wealthy and boring man who was born November 16, 1903, and died January 14, 1969. He donated the property on which the school was built. He also wrote a book about himself. There were ten copies in the school library, and no one, not even the librarian, had gotten past the second chapter.

  But it was Floyd Hicks Junior High School, so every November 16 they celebrated Floyd Hicks Day in honor of the great man. This year there would be a talent show, which was ironic because Floyd Hicks had absolutely no talent.

  The Spirit Club made posters, and Gary spotted one when he came to school.

  CAN YOU SING? DANCE?

  OR PLAY THE TUBA?

  FLOYD HICKS WANTS YOU!

  —IN THE TALENT SHOW

  He went straight to the office.

  The office was crowded with kids and adults all waiting to speak to Mrs. Walls, the school secretary, who was constantly being interrupted by the telephone. Gary waited nervously. “This is my big break,” he muttered.

  “What?” said the woman beside him, who was holding a box.

  Gary looked at her. “Huh?” he said.

  The bell rang.

  “Oh, great,” he said. “Now I’m late for class.”

  “Are you talking to me?” asked the woman with the box.

  “Huh?” said Gary.

  He imagined himself up on stage in the auditorium, jokes rolling off his tongue, and the audience rolling in the aisles. Suddenly he’d become popular. Kids who had never talked to him before started hanging around, waiting for more of his jokes.

  “Gary, you’re too much!” says Brenda Thompson, one of the more popular girls in the seventh grade.

  “Just call me Goon,” he replies.

  “Yes, Gary?” said Mrs. Walls.

  “Just call me Goon,” he said.

  Mrs. Walls stared at him.

  He laughed, then said, “Uh, I want to sign up.”

 
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