When Lizard Flanagan finds out about a trip to Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs play—for only fifty dollars—she is thrilled. It’s her big chance to see her favorite team in action! But how is she supposed to come up with fifty dollars before the trip?
Lizard couldn’t care less about the local teen fashion show at the mall, and when she is unexpectedly chosen to be one of the models, she’s horrified. Parading around in a dress in front of other people is just not something she’s willing to do. Lizard is determined to quit the fashion show . . . until she learns that the winner will receive a prize of one hundred dollars, which would be more than enough to go see the Cubs.
In this fun sequel to The Miraculous Makeover of Lizard Flanagan, Lizard has to face her fears and show the fashion world that a tomboy can rock the catwalk too.
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Lizard Flanagan, Supermodel??
Lizard Flanagan, Book Two
By Carol Gorman
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1998 Carol Gorman
All rights reserved.
"NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME, Lizard?" said my best friend, Mary Ann Powers. "I told you I saw it. Isn't it fantastic?"
I unsnapped the chin strap of my bike helmet and stared at the poster. I wondered if I was dreaming. It seemed too good to be true. But there it was, hanging in the window of McCloud's Sporting Goods, printed in big red letters on a piece of white posterboard:
ATTENTION YOUNG BASEBALL FANS:
Join us on a trip to Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs play!
WHEN: September 28
COST: $25 (includes grandstand tickets and bus trip)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact
Shirley at City Park Recreation
Department. Phone: 555-5630.
Mary Ann had told me last night on the phone that the poster was in the window, but I had to see it for myself. We'd started out early for school, and we took a one-mile detour to stop at McCloud's at the edge of Spring Pines Mall.
I leaned on my bike and reread the poster. "I can't believe it. This is great, really great."
Sports—especially baseball—are my life. I live for them. Mary Ann is a sports nut, too. We both played on the metro touch football and baseball leagues in elementary school, and we're going out for the Truman Middle School baseball team in the spring.
Mary Ann and I are the Cubs' biggest fans. But even though we live in Iowa, just five measly hours from Chicago, we've never seen a game in person at Wrigley Field. My brother, Sam, and I have been begging our mom and dad for three years to go, and they always say "Sure, sometime we'll do that." But it never happens.
Now I had my chance!
"We'll all go," Mary Ann said. "You, me, Sam, Zach, Ed, and Stinky." Zach is a fantastic athlete—last year he was voted MVP for the Raiders, our metro flag football team, and he shared the MVP award with me on our baseball team, the Hawks. He's my best friend in the boy category. In fact, we're going out. Ed and Stinky are great friends of ours, too, and they play in the elementary metro leagues with the rest of us.
Mary Ann's smile got bigger. "Maybe Al will go too," she said, her face turning pink. Mary Ann's going out with Al Pickering, which I think is pretty funny. I mean, he's a great guy, but he was our archenemy when he QB'ed for the Cougars last year. Middle school has a way of mixing up old loyalties.
"You have a piece of paper?" I asked her.
She pulled off her backpack and rummaged through it before handing me a piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook.
"How about a pencil?"
This probably sounds crazy and superstitious, but I didn't want to move. I was afraid that if I budged even an inch, or looked away from the poster for too long, the spell would be broken and I'd wake up and realize it was only a dream.
I heard her pawing through her bag, and after half a minute more, she handed me a pencil whose point had been worn almost to the wood.
I copied the number and Shirley's name and let out a breath. I'd gotten it down on paper, and I hadn't awakened.
"I'll call the lady at the rec commission right after school," I said, folding the paper and shoving it into the pocket of my jeans. "This is so great! Come on. Let's go tell everybody."
I snapped the chin strap to my helmet, and we started off down the road. "How fast do you think I can go?" I called back to Mary Ann. "I bet I can do twenty-five miles an hour on this stretch."
I grinned. "Just watch me, Powers, and don't open your mouth, or you'll eat my dust."
I pumped hard, standing on the pedals, keeping one eye on my new computerized speedometer. It's a beaut. It tells me my current speed and keeps track of any new records I set. It even has a clock and an odometer. After a whole lot of talking and a fair amount of pleading, I'd convinced Mom and Dad to advance me the twenty-five dollars from my allowance to get it. Of course, that also meant that I had to promise to do some crummy chores like cleaning out the garage and the basement to help earn the money to pay them back. So far, I'd only cleaned a corner of the basement, but I was planning on doing the rest fairly soon.
I pumped the pedals and changed from ninth to tenth gear, watching the numbers on the speedometer climb higher and higher. Twelve miles an hour, 13, 14. I glanced back at Mary Ann. She was about thirty yards behind, but I kept pushing. The stretch ended about a half mile ahead.
I was up to eighteen miles an hour now, and the grass along the curb was a green blur as I raced over the road. Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one miles an hour. This was the fastest I'd ever gone. I'd told Mary Ann I could go twenty-five miles an hour.
Mary Ann saw the truck before I did.
"Lizard!" she screamed behind me. "Watch out!"
I looked up and saw a truck pull onto the street ahead, not fifteen yards away.
I squeezed my brakes for all they were worth, jerked the handlebars to the right, and spun around, my back tire sliding out from under me.
The driver of the truck saw me and jammed on his brakes just in time.
I heard the breath whoosh out of me as I hit the pavement, scraping my chin as I turned my head. I ended up on my side, just inches from the truck's back wheels.
The driver jumped out and bounded over to me.
"You okay?" His eyes were wild with fear.
I wasn't sure if I was okay or not. I moved my arms, then my legs. "Uh, yeah," I said. Actually, I was hurting all over and blinking back tears. I hadn't bawled in front of anyone since I was ten, though, and I wasn't going to let myself cry now.
"Lizard! Oh my gosh, I thought you were dead for sure!" Mary Ann stopped her bike in front of me. She was breathing hard. "Are you okay?"
I pulled myself to my feet, aching all over, and the guy's face suddenly changed from scared to angry. "What were you doing, trying to get yourself killed?"
I was about to say, No, that's generally not a goal I set for myself, but Mary Ann jumped right in.
"You know," she said to the man, "you pulled into traffic without making sure the street was clear, and my friend here is legally allowed to travel the speed limit, which is twenty-five miles an hour on this stretch. How fast were you going, Lizard?"
The man waved angrily, marched back to the driver's seat and slammed the door behind him. Then he moved off down the road.
Mary Ann turned back to me and glared. "What were you doing, trying to get yourself killed?" she hollered. "Are you crazy?"
I was shaking all over, and my knees felt rubbery. It was a stupid thing to do, I knew that now, and I didn't plan on trying it again.
"I know, it was dumb," I said. "But I'm okay."
"Good thing you were wearing your helmet," Mary Ann said.
"I didn't hit my head."
"You could have split it right open, just like a watermelon."
I didn't want to think about that. "Come on, let's go."
My bike was scraped, but it worked. I climbed back on and started off down the road. I'd probably need to get the brakes adjusted, but for now I could get to school with no problem.
"Your chin's bleeding," Mary Ann said, coming up from behind. "Your arm is too. And your jeans are torn."
"Yeah, I know. I'll clean up at school."
Mary Ann didn't say any more. Maybe she knew I was more shaken up than I let on. She has a special radar for that kind of stuff.
We got to school and parked our bikes.
"Hey, Lizard! Mary Ann! Over here!" It was Ginger Flush, my locker partner.
Everybody at Truman Middle School shares a locker with one other person of the same sex. It's according to the alphabet, so my locker partner is Ginger because her last name begins with Fl, just like mine. She's also—and I don't admit this to very many people—going out with my brother, Sam. What he sees in her is one of the biggest mysteries of my life.
Ginger hurried over. Standing nearby was Lisa St. George, the most sickeningly gorgeous girl in the sixth grade. Ginger is Lisa's sidekick. You know, like Robin is to Batman. Whenever you see Lisa coming into a room, you know that Ginger's not far behind. It's funny, though; even though Ginger's the sidekick, she talks a lot more than Lisa.
Ginger stopped in front of me. "We're all making guesses on who—" She stopped and stared at my chin. "Hey, Lizard, do you know you're bleeding all over the place?" She pointed to a spot of blood on my shoulder. "Gross!"
I shrugged. "My bike fell out from under me."
She frowned. "Bruises and scars for sure."
Lisa stepped forward, looking impatient. "We're all making guesses about who will make the first cut to model in the Spring Pines fashion show. We're making lists of everyone's guesses, then tomorrow after school when the names are posted, we'll find out who was right."
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
Ginger's eyes got big. "You mean you haven't heard about the fashion show? Everybody at school has been talking about it for weeks!"
"It's the biggest event of the year!" Ginger said. "Almost every girl in school sent in a head shot—that's a close-up picture of your face—and a bio telling about her interests and stuff. My sister said lots of girls in the high school did too. First, about twenty-five girls will get picked to go on to the interviews. After that, fourteen girls—two from every grade, sixth through twelfth—will be chosen to model in the fashion show. They'll each get fifty dollars, and the best model in the show will be picked as Spring Pines Mall's Supermodel. She'll get a hundred dollars!"
"So we're guessing who'll be on the first list?" Mary Ann asked. Ginger's head waggled up and down.
"I'll make a guess," Mary Ann told Ginger.
"I'm going inside to clean up," I said to Mary Ann. "If I see the guys, I'll tell them about the Cubs game."
I started off toward the building and heard Mary Ann say, "I bet you'll be chosen, Lisa."
"That's eighty-three guesses for me," Lisa said. I could hear the smugness in her voice from ten yards away.
I walked stiffly through the crowd of kids waiting to get into the school, trying not to limp. My right leg felt as if someone had slammed it with a baseball bat. My jeans were torn clear through at the knee, but the skin wasn't even scraped. I pulled open the door to the school building.
"Hey, Lizard!" I recognized Zach Walters's voice.
"Hi, Zach." I turned and grinned at him, then let the door swing closed again. "Boy, do I have great news for you."
"For me?" He walked over, followed by my twin brother, Sam, Ed Mechtensteimer, and Stinky Porter.
"Great news for all of us. We're going to Chicago to see a Cubs game!"
"What are you talking about?" Sam asked.
"Hey, Lizard," Zach said, looking at my chin. "What happened? You're bleeding."
"I fell off my bike," I said. "Some guy driving a truck practically killed me. And I was about to break my all-time speed record, too. If the guy hadn't cut me off, I could've made it up to twenty-five miles an hour for sure!"
Sam's face didn't change. "The trucker may not have killed you, but Mom will when she hears about it."
I ignored my brother. "Hey, listen, there's going to be a trip to Wrigley Field in a couple of weeks to see the Cubbies play!"
"You're kidding!" Zach said.
"The Cubs? The Chicago Cubs?" Ed said. "You're sure?"
"No way," Stinky said. "You're making that up."
"I saw the poster with my very own eyes. It's hanging in McCloud's window. The trip costs twenty-five dollars, and that's for box seats and the bus ride. I suppose we have to bring extra money for Cokes and hot dogs and stuff to eat along the way. You have to call someone named Shirley at the City Park Recreation Department to sign up. Here, I have the number."
I dug in my pocket and pulled out the piece of paper.
"It'd be better if we could see the Yankees play," Ed said.
"Who'd want to see the Yankees?" I said. Zach took the paper and started to copy down the number on the front cover of his social studies notebook.
"Hey, don't you guys start arguing about the Yankees and the Cubs again," Stinky said.
"I just wish," Ed said, "that if I got to see a major-league game, it'd be in New York."
"Well, you can stay home, Mechtensteimer," I said. "If you can't appreciate the talent on the Cubs' team—"
"Aren't you forgetting just one thing, Lizard?" Sam asked.
"The fifty dollars it will cost for the two of us. Where are we going to get that much money?"
"Where do you think? From Mom and Dad."
Sam looked at me as if I'd said something really dumb. "You think they'll hand over fifty bucks so we can see a baseball game? No way!"
"They won't just give it to us," I said patiently. "They'll advance us the money from our allowance."
"Mom'll never go for that. It's too much money."
"Just you wait," I said. "I know Mom and Dad better than you do-"
"They'll let us go out of guilt," I told him. "They know how long we've been wanting to go to a Cubs game, see? It's an easy way to make them feel better for not taking us all these years."
"Oh." Sam looked as if he finally understood. "Well, maybe."
Zach grinned. "We'll have such a great time, sitting at Wrigley Field, eating hot dogs and popcorn, and watching Mark Grace play first base."
"Yeah," I said. "Wouldn't it be great if a fly ball came right at us? I'm going to take my mitt for sure!"
The bell rang, and we headed inside with all the other kids. I said good-bye to the guys and headed to the rest room. When I looked in the mirror over the sink, I was surprised at how banged up I looked. There were two scrapes on my chin, both starting to scab over, and dried blood was smeared on my shirt. My right arm was scraped, too, from my wrist up to my elbow.
I washed my face with a paper towel, and the scratches on my chin started bleeding again.
I stopped in at the nurse's office on my way to language arts class, and she cleaned my chin again and put on a bandage.
"That's a nasty scrape on your arm, too," she said. "You'll have to be more careful riding your bike."
"Yeah." At least, I'd have to ride fast on quieter streets, I thought to myself.
I went through my morning classes doing two things: (1) explaining to everybody how I got scraped and bloody, and (2) daydreaming about watching the Chicago Cubs play in person at Wrigley Field. I'd dreamed about that a lot in my life, and now I was actually going to do it!
The sixth grade at Truman is divided into two groups, orange and black, the colors for the Truman Tigers. Everybody in the same group goes through their classes together. I'm in the orange group with Ed and Stinky. Mary Ann, Zach, and Sam are in the black group.
At lunch, though, everything is scrambled, and I get to see some of my friends in the black group. At five minutes after twelve I hurried to the cafeteria, as usual, to eat lunch with Zach, Ed, and Stinky. They were standing together in the hall, just outside the cafeteria door. Mike Herman and Andy Walinsky were there too.
"Hey, guys," I greeted them. "I can't stop thinking about the game. I'm going to see if I can get Mark Grace to sign my glove."
"That would be so great," Zach said, grinning.
"What're you guys talking about?" Mike asked. We told him about the trip to Chicago.
"The Cubs are horrible," Mike said. "Especially since Ryne Sandberg resigned."
"Oh, yeah?" I shot back. "Well, the Cubbies still have Mark Grace, the world's greatest first baseman. He's a Golden Glove winner and has more RBIs—"
Zach joined in. "And don't forget Sammy Sosa, their right fielder. He's making big bucks 'cause he's so talented."
"Wow, and just think," I said, grinning. "We'll be seeing these guys in person."
We got in line for lunch. "I'm going to buy a Chicago Cubs jersey," I said.
"You already have one," Stinky said.
"I already have three," I corrected him. "But none of them came from Wrigley Field!"
Just then, Ginger, Lisa, and Tiffany Brady arrived. Ginger beamed as they approached. "Oh, look who's here! More people for our poll!" They stopped in line behind us, and Ginger held up her hands. "Okay, you guys. We're conducting a poll: Which of the girls from our sixth grade class do you think will make the first cut to model in the Spring Pines Mall fashion show? Ed, you first."
Ed grinned and shrugged. "I didn't know about it. The Spring Pines—what is it?"
"The fashion show!" Ginger said. "Haven't you heard about it?"
"Nope." He grinned like an idiot, looking back and forth between Lisa and Ginger.
"Well, think of the girls in our class," Ginger said. "Two of them will get chosen to model in the fashion show. So name at least one girl who you think will get picked."
"I dunno." Ed continued to grin and look dumb. I wanted to smack him.
Ginger slowed down so that Ed would be able to comprehend what she was saying. "Well, who do you think is the most beautiful girl in the sixth grade?" She and Lisa and Tiffany leaned in to hear his answer.
I didn't think it was possible, but Ed's grin got even bigger. "Sara Pulliam."
"Sara Pulliam," Ginger said to Lisa, who held the notebook.
Lisa's jaw got tight, and she wrote down Sara's name. "Of course he'd say Sara," she huffed. "He's going out with her. Some people just can't be objective."
I paid the cashier. "Come on, you guys," I said. "You're holding up the line." I picked up a dish of red Jell-O with apples in it and started through the cafeteria line.
Excerpted from Lizard Flanagan, Supermodel?? by Carol Gorman. Copyright © 1998 Carol Gorman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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