Bonus Chapters
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Bonus Chapters Archive

Dear Reader,

 

In the bonus chapters, my goal is to bring out smaller characters from the Wrinkles Wallace series to provide insights from behind the scenes. I write bonus chapters after getting advice from readers who have wanted to know more. Enjoy!

Steady,

Marquin Parks

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Numerous supporters of WWKNS have asked me what happened in the gym before Wrinkles, Clumsy, and Grandma Wilbur arrived. Well, here is a detailed account from someone who experienced the entire event:

"Where am I?" It was an important question, and I’d want an answer if I were him. I paused and remained as relaxed as ever before I said, “Sir, you’re in the back of an ambulance. I’m going to need you to stay calm.”

Instantly he tried to sit up, but the pain in his legs and chest tore through his body. Plus, the straps I put across his body to keep him secure to the stretcher were doing their job.

“What happened to me? Was I in some sort of car accident?” I saw his eyes darting around the ambulance, trying to figure out if he really believed he was lying down in the back of one.

He was.

I took a deep breath and told him, “Sir, you participated in a dodgeball game.”

“What?”

“A dodgeball game,” I said.

He asked, “And I’m in the back of an ambulance because of it?”

“Yes. You don’t remember?”

The man wearing a jersey paused for a second and then he spoke. “Yeah, I remember now. There was this kid who didn’t have a team of his own, so we were just playing around with him before the real game started.”

“So a kid did this to you?”

“He was no kid.”

“What, was he around 17? Could we consider him an adult?”

“No, he was more like ten, but you would never know by looking at him that he could throw like that.”

“He was ten years old? Did he have a beard and a mustache? I mean, I went to school with a kid who was ten and had a full beard and mustache.”

The man lying down on the stretcher looked at me and started speaking slower, as if he thought I couldn’t hear fast enough.

“The kid...was ten...and he looked like he was ten.”

“Okay, so then what happened?”

“There were four of us there from my team and we were waiting on our friend Wrinkles to show up. Then, there was the kid who seemed like he just wanted to play around with the adults. So, we figured we’d warm up a little before our competition showed up and the actual game started. We had no clue he was the opposing team.”

“He was his own team?”

“Yeah, but we didn’t figure that out until later. We just started warming up with a little game of 5 Steps and Throw. We even let the kid start off with the ball because he was a kid. But that was a mistake. Without even taking five steps to get closer to someone, the kid fired the ball at my best friend and caught him in the pit of his stomach.”

The patient paused and his eyes got as big as biscuits, so I asked, “What happened?”

“The poor guy threw up breakfast from four days ago.”

“You mean your friend was hit so hard he vomited breakfast from four days ago?”

“Yes! Man, we speak the same language, but you’re not acting like it.”

“I’m sorry.” I said. “So what happened after that?”

“The rest of the guys on our team looked at each other and called a timeout. We moved our friend away from his breakfast and huddled up. That’s when we came up with a plan to try to get out of there alive.”

“Why didn’t anyone call the ambulance?”

“We didn’t have time to call an ambulance. Plus, we figured the three of us could quickly get the kid out, and then everything would be good. And, if everything went well, next week we would try to replace our friend Wrinkles with the kid, since Wrinkles isn’t really that good at dodgeball.”

“So what happened after that?” I asked.

“Once the timeout was finished we started with our plan.”

“What plan?”

“The plan was simple. When one of us got the ball, we would take our five steps, and then purposely bounce the ball on the ground to pass the ball to one another and avoid getting out. Once we had him surrounded or cornered, we would get him out really quickly, and then just toss the ball softly at each other to hit one another and end the game.”

“That sounds like a good plan. What actually happened?”

“This happened!” He started looking at me crazy and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. Next, his body was twisted in pain. I couldn’t wait until more of the numbing medicine darted through his blood and did its job.

I tried to take his mind off the pain by asking, “How did it happen?”

“We started using the plan, and the kid started running around and dodging our throws by jumping and flipping like he just came from a gymnastics class that meets before the dodgeball game. It wasn’t too bad at first because we weren’t trying to hit him hard. I mean, we were playing with a kid, and in the back of our minds, maybe we thought his vomit-toss was just a lucky throw. So, we were just trying to barely hit him with the ball.”

“And he kept dodging?”

“Yeah! He kept flipping and sliding and ducking and everything. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. We were chasing him around the gym, five steps at a time, and he was making us look bad. That’s when we got upset and started to get serious.”

“You were going to hit the kid as hard as you could?”

“We had to. He was too quick for our little tosses. Plus, all that running was catching up to us, and we needed to get the game over with. All that running is why my legs are hurting right now.”

“This doesn’t sound so good.”

“Ya think? So anyway, we finally had the kid surrounded in the corner and my teammate had the ball. He fired a rocket at the kid. The kid ducked out of the way and the ball bounced off of the wall, and then hit my other teammate right in the nose! The kid took off running and laughing. My friend who got hit in the nose was knocked out cold because he didn’t expect to be hit. I mean, if this was wrestling or boxing, the referee could have counted to a million and he’d still be out.”

“So your friend in the other ambulance is in there because of what your other friend did, and not the kid?”

“Yeah, why do you think I’m in here?”

“Because of the kid?”

“Yeah!”

“Did he hit you with the ball too?”

“Yes and no.”

“What do you mean?” This was getting crazier and crazier by the minute.

“Stop interrupting me with questions and I’ll tell you.”

“Sorry.”

“So, I managed to get the ball while the kid ran to the other side of the gym. My friend and I took our five steps and then we bounced the ball to each other. When we got close to the kid, my friend had the ball, and he was about to take his fifth step before he bounced the ball back to me. Just then, the kid darted between us, and my friend, instead of bouncing the ball to me, threw it at the kid.”

I nod my head as not to interrupt and encouraged him to keep talking.

“That’s when he hit me.”

“The kid hit you when he ran by?”

“Stop interrupting! No, the kid didn’t hit me! My friend hit me in the chest with the ball and rocked my ribcage. Then I fell right where I stood. I was in so much pain, I could barely breathe. All I remember was lying on my back and seeing my teammate get the ball that had just stomped my sternum. He was so upset and angry at all the damage he had done to us that he put everything he had into taking the biggest five steps he could take before throwing the ball.”

That’s when he paused and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. I wanted to know what happened, but I didn’t dare interrupt. I kept nodding and made the listening noise that some people make when another person is talking.

Finally, he said, “So my buddy was trying to land his fifth step when he stepped into that breakfast from four days ago. The ball accidentally flew out of his hands while he was on his way to the ground. The kid caught the ball and my friend used the floor to stop the back of his head from going underground. He was knocked out instantly and the game was over. The kid won by only hitting one of us.”

“You’re serious?”

“I’m as serious as a trip to the hospital!” He was getting angry and trying to get up from the stretcher.

“Sir, I’m going to need you to calm down and relax. We’ll be at the hospital in about thirty seconds. Please remain calm.”

We were the second ambulance to arrive at the hospital that day. We rushed our dodgeball player to the doctor and hoped they all would be okay. Then we went back to where they were having the real dodgeball game and waited in the parking lot.

We heard plenty of noises coming from inside the gym that sounded like screams and explosions. I believe I almost heard a woman screaming for a doctor, but I wasn’t sure, and nobody called 911 for us to go back in the gym to rescue anyone else.

When the real game was over, there were three people who came out looking like they could use some medical attention. The first was a lady with blood near the thigh area of her black and white checkered pants. She was smiling, so we figured she must have spilled ketchup on herself from the hotdogs you could get at the concession stand. The second was a guy who looked like the side of his wheelchair was hit by a truck. While looked angry, and his legs, instead of his arms, were doing the walking for the wheelchair. The last person was a guy who was holding his stomach and a fanny pack like he had a broken bellybutton. He climbed onto the back of a loud motorcycle and sat behind a lady who was old enough to be his grandmother.

And the kid…well, he looked in our direction, gave us a weird smile, and flashed two thumbs up. We blew our horn, started the ambulance, and drove to another location.

The End.

After talking to a few readers of WWKNS, I found they wanted to know more about the lion that shows up in chapter two. So, after giving it some thought, I managed to come up with a little more about the lion:

I’d eat a student. I’d eat a student without barbecue sauce, extra cheese, a large drink, and seasoned fries. I’d eat a student without having to make it a combo. I’d eat a student with bubble gum in three-out-of-four pockets and homework in their backpack. Oh, give me one chance and you’d see that I’d eat a student.

Why?

I’m the lion. Not just any lion, but THE LION at Old Ending Preparatory. I’m qualified to eat students because it's what they brought me here to do, and it’s my job, but so far, I’ve only managed to snack on shoes and soggy sack lunches. For the record though, I’d eat a student.

The problem is that nobody wants to be gobbled up by a lion. I mean, I get fed by Mr. Quiet and the security guard named Tiny, but not one student has been willing to let me nibble on a nourishing kneecap or indulge on an incredible index finger. Oh, I’d eat a piece of a student like a student would eat a piece of a bird and a buttery biscuit. Too bad the students at Old Endings Preparatory are stingy with their limbs. Stingy.

Don’t think I’m being greedy or that I don’t care about students. I realize that if the shoe was on the paw, they’d do the same thing to me. Am I lying? Right, so that’s why I’m being honest when I tell you, I’d eat a student.

As you can tell by now, eating students pretty much explains my role at Old Endings Preparatory. I come out of my lair when the tardy bell rings, and my job is to encourage students to get to class on time. I guess nothing motivates students to be on time like looking at a leaping lion lunging for luscious legs. If I can get them to class on time, then my job is done. If they are tardy enough to become late-to-class casserole, then that’s their fault. That's where the perk of the job comes in for me.

During the time when I’m not trying to snack on students, I’m in my lair. Yes, I have a lair. Not a small den or a Man Cave, but a lair. See, a lair is tough to have in a regular house, and since I’m a lion, I can’t just live in a regular house. I can’t have a lamp on a night stand or cabinets in the kitchen because I’m the lion. It doesn’t matter if my house is made of hay, sticks, or bricks; a lion living in a house sounds pretty weak. So, I call it a lair, and I keep big bones on the floor by the bathroom door.

Most people just think of me as the lion that comes out when the tardy bell rings. They haven’t given me an official name or anything like that. For a while, I thought they named me AHHHHHHH!, but when I managed to get a glimpse of some folks riding the fake horse by the front door of the school, I heard them call the horse the same thing when they were flying off his saddle, about to hit the floor. That’s when I realized that AHHHHHHH! was not my name.

So, in case you care, aren’t afraid of lions, and/or refuse to ride a dangerous fake horse, you can call me Fib. Fib the Lion is what I go by, but my friends call me Fib for short.

With a name like Fib, I’m sure people could have a hard time believing anything that comes out of my mouth. Honestly, I can understand why, and it’s not for the reasons that you think. See, when I say I’d eat a student, I’m only kidding. The good folks that hired me at Old Endings Preparatory figured out I have issues with eating students, but they agreed to keep it a secret for as long as possible. No, it’s not that I care about students, or that I’d rather have a super-tasty zebra pastry. I’d love to have a student smoothie, but I kind of bit someone on an accident when I was at the zoo, and bad things happened right after that.

Now before you go feeling sorry for the guy at the zoo who climbed the fence and entered my lair, or go getting all upset about me biting one of your fellow humans, you have to understand that there were two bad things that happened that day.

#1) I got really sick. Yeah, I got a really bad stomach ache and I seriously thought I was about to die. I was moaning and groaning for days and nobody called a veterinarian to take me to the hospital and help me feel better.

#2) The guy you just felt sorry for ended up being just fine. No, he didn’t grow another leg to replace the one I ate. See, he had a fake leg, so I only ended up ruining his replaceable leg along with his day. The zoo’s insurance paid for the guy to get a brand new leg and he was fine.

Meanwhile, I had pounced on plastic and nearly died. DIED! Me, the King of the zoo, had chomped and chewed on plastic food and it took almost a week before someone found the courage to come into my zoo lair and see why I was so sad. Most everyone thought I was depressed because the leg wasn’t a tasty meat treat. Once the zookeepers realized I had the plastic in my stomach, they did as much as they could to help. However, it’s hard to get people to trust a lion that already took a bite out of someone’s leg. When you humans watched the story on the news, nobody ever mentioned that the leg was fake, or that the owner climbed into my lair. Nope, all they did was show pictures of me walking around my lair looking like I’d bite a brand new baby boy. If they could read a lion’s facial expressions, they’d know I wasn’t mad, and that I just had an upset stomach.

After the leg biting incident, I kept thinking that since the leg wasn’t really real, they would let it slide, but nope. Instead, they did what they had to do to find me a new home. It took a few days, but one day I woke up in my new lair at Old Endings Preparatory, with big bones on the floor by the bathroom door.

Well, that's enough for now. I’m Fib the Lion and I’m not lying.

This bonus chapter explains how Security Team Tiny got his job at Old Endings Preparatory, as well as his name: Security Team Tiny here, and I survey the scene. Yes, I’m the #1 member of the security team at Old Endings Preparatory. Some folks are silly enough to think I’m just another kid, but they’re wrong, and I’m okay with that. See, I don’t look like a security guard, because I’m an undercover security guard. I can promise you that you won’t see me climbing up a rope and trying to get away from Fib the Lion, because I’m no student. Plus, Fib and I have an understanding, and he would never bite the paw that feeds him. For the record, Tiny isn’t my real name. It’s a code name I go by because, since I started working at Old Endings Preparatory, I’ve put on a little bit of weight. Let’s just say I’m husky and happy, but who wants to be called Mr. Husky N. Happy? Not me.

You’re probably wondering why a school would need a security team. Before you go thinking things are bad around here, please remember that even libraries have security systems. At Old Endings Preparatory, I’m part of the security team and there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Your next question probably has something to do with trying to figure out how I managed to get my job. Well, it all started a while ago, when the school got a new student who couldn’t cook very well, and she had to repeat 5th grade over again because of it. I think her name is Tablespoon, or Spatula, or Whisk, or something that has to do with a kitchen. Sorry, but I’m bad with names, yet I don’t forget faces, and I can smell food from a mile away!

Anyway, after a few weeks of her trying to cook to pass 5th grade, the school found out that she was trying to smuggle food in and take credit for it. That’s when they hired me to make sure no outside food was brought in to school. It’s my job, and I love to do it. You might be curious to know how I developed a reputation of catching people with food. Well, I’m a kid, and I’ve been a kid all my life. And, if you know anything about kids, you know that we specialize in finding treats we can eat. I’ve never met a cookie jar I couldn’t get my hand in and out of without getting in trouble. I’m that good, and snacks are my specialty. Before coming to O.E.P., I used to do the same job at the movies. Because of me, our concession stands were sold out by the end of every night. Nobody, and I mean nobody, could ever get food past me.

I’m sure you’re interested in finding out how a kid like me could get a job at the movies. Well, I ended up getting that job because of an unofficial bathroom investigation I did. See, when you’re a kid, getting access into both bathrooms is no problem. When you’re a kid, your mother or father can bring you into the bathrooms without anyone saying a word. When my mother brought me into the ladies' room, she always made me cover my eyes so I couldn’t see anything. The only time I could open my eyes was after I was inside the bathroom stall. While I was in the restroom, I relied on some of my other senses to help me. I could hear women washing their hands and using the hand dryer, and I listened to make sure I knew what was going on around me.

On one particular trip to the movies, my mother took me into the bathroom right after she told me we did not have the money to get any candy from the concession stands. Of course, I was upset. If I didn’t know that my mother would take us back home if I showed any signs of pouting, my lower lip would have been poked out all the way down to Antarctica. If I managed to hide my disappointment about not getting any candy until I was inside the stall, I would still have to keep my lip up because it would have probably touched the toilet seat. YUCK!!!

As we waited inside the bathroom for my turn to handle my business, the lady in front of us walked into the stall. Instantly, I heard the magical sound that only candy wrappers make. I tried to contain myself, but I screamed, “Mom, that lady has candy! I wish I had some candy, but they don’t sell that kind here. She has Sour Boppers! Mom, you know I love SOUR BOPPERS!”

Even at that young age, I was a candy expert. Candy wrappers have always been music to my ears. I’ve always known the sounds that each wrapper creates, and the crackle of Sour Boppers opening always makes me want to pounce on a package. Right after I made my announcement about the lady with the candy, the manager at the movie theater (who just happened to be in the bathroom) knocked on the stall door and politely asked the lady hiding the candy to flush the Sour Boppers down the toilet, or immediately leave the movie theater. I thought I was going to hear the sound of the flush, and I knew some fish would be lucky enough to enjoy some Sour Boppers. Instead, the lady refused to waste her Sour Boppers. I couldn’t blame her for not flushing, but I did not like the sound she made after she opened the stall door and walked past me. I could hear the crunch of her biting a Sour Bopper without even bothering to wash her hands.While I handled my business in the stall, my mother and the manager talked. After washing my hands and leaving the bathroom, the manager met us outside the bathroom with a bucket of extra buttery popcorn and licorice. Of course I would have rather had some Sour Boppers, but the food she gave us was better than nothing. While my mother was thanking the manager, I started thinking out loud. I asked, “Ma’am, if I can catch people bringing in food, can I eat free snacks and watch free movies?”

“Yes!” replied the manager, and from that day on, I was on a mission to keep illegal food out of the movie theater. The manager and I came up with an idea for me to act like I was lost and hungry all the time. I would be inside one of the movie theaters quietly begging customers for food, drinks, or even Breath Mints. People would pull stuff out of their pockets, purses, hats, boots, and just about anywhere else you could think of, and then hand it over to me. I’d even ask the kids sitting next to me if they would share just one piece of candy with 'poor me.' After people would give me something to help me out, I’d STOP them from eating, DROP their food on the floor, and a moment later, they’d be out the DOOR. See, the sound of the food hitting the floor and my apology for dropping it was the signal for the manager to come up to us, walk the rule-breaking customers to the exit door in the front of the movie theater, and kick them out of the theater for bringing in illegal food.

But the begging for food scheme only lasted for a few months. Eventually people caught on to my little hoax and started refusing to talk to any strange kids. Plus, by then, I had watched all of the movies I was old enough to see, and the movie theater never did start selling Sour Boppers. Lucky for me, that’s when the good folks at Old Endings Preparatory requested my services. Once O.E.P. made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I came to work at the school. Immediately they recognized that my nose knew how to pick up on the scent of food. For the first few months, I’d catch that foodie fifth grader trying to get food delivered, or she would hide food on her that was wrapped in pepper so my nose couldn’t tell exactly what it was. If I did smell anything, I’d sneeze. That’s when I realized that if I smelled pepper, she was probably hiding the smell of cookies or pizza. On special occasions, she’d pay people by giving them half of the food they could smuggle into the building for her. On those days she would come to school smelling fine, but someone else would have me in peppery pursuit of the food. Clearly, she thought she was slick, and it was my job to catch on and make sure she actually cooked to pass the class. So, I’d show my badge, use my authority, and make sure anyone sneaky never tried to bring outside food inside the school again. Sometimes Frying Pan (I think that might have been her name) would bring me food just because. She would hand it over without any question, but I realized she was only trying to soften me up so I’d miss the little bag of brownies she had tucked in her sock. Yep, I’d catch those without any problems, too. The real problems I had were trying to figure out what to do with all the food I kept confiscating. In most schools, the items taken from students go into a box until June, and the Principal gives it back on the last day of school. With food, that wasn’t going to happen. But I couldn’t just let all that good food she was trying to get in the building go to waste. I mean, who throws away cookies, cakes, pies, and steaks? Certainly not me, so I ended up eating everything she tried to sneak in. I.Mean.EVERYTHING! That is, I ate everything before they hired Fib the Lion. Once he showed up, I started sharing with him. After all, he’s the second undercover member of the security team. What I share with Fib isn’t quite what you think it is. Normally, a lion would devour a piece of meat quicker than you can melt a marshmallow in a microwave minute. Not Fib. From what I found out about Fib, he’s not much of a meat-eater anymore. I guess he had an issue with trying to bite a guy and ended up gnawing on his plastic leg instead of a healthy portion of calf muscle cake. I guess that’s how Fib ended up here, so every time I try to offer him some of the meat that I don’t eat, he runs away. He’ll eat the sweet treats and even some baby carrots, but Fib’s tongue won’t touch meat anymore. So, I eat the meat, and I put the leftover bones on the floor by the bathroom door. Together, Fib and I fool everyone into thinking that he still munches on meat, like every other lion in the world. And, the security of his secret is safe with me, Tiny (the #1 member of the undercover security team at Old Endings Preparatory).

The End

(Originally published Nov 22, 2012.)